16 Sep 2020
Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean - COVID-19 and migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean
In just a few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the global migration and mobility landscape, and added a layer of complexity to migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean. This rapidly spreading health crisis (Figure 1) has led to the implementation of mobility restrictions and border closures, as well as to the suspension of social and economic activities in most countries around the world, including in West and North Africa and Europe. While at the time of writing (end of July 2020) some governments were beginning to gradually lift these measures, public, research and policy attention was increasingly turning to the socioeconomic and political effects that these may have in the medium and longer term. As the crisis is still unfolding, these effects remain difficult to predict. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) foresees that the pandemic will lead to the worst global recession of the past century, and that the gross domestic product of sub-Saharan Africa will fall by 3.2 per cent in 2020 (IMF, 2020). Others have pointed to the longer-term consequences that the pandemic may have for domestic politics, international relations and trust in governments (Perthes, 2020), including in Africa (Devermont, 2020).