Covid-19 in Africa: A look at the pandemic, one year on

·2-min read

Just over a year after the first African case of Covid-19 was detected in Egypt, the continent has reported more than 3.9 million cases and more than 106,000 deaths. Africa CDC chief Dr. John Nkengasong on Thursday said that vaccine arrivals in recent days have left him happy and feeling there is "light at the end of the tunnel". FRANCE 24 regional correspondent Mukelwa Hlatshwayo takes a look at the pandemic in Africa, one year on.

Since most countries in Africa lack the means to track mortality data, it is not clear how many excess deaths have occurred across the continent in the year since the Covid-19 pandemic began spreading across the continent. South Africa has been the worst affected country, reporting more than 1.5 million cases and 51,000 deaths.

African countries are receiving vaccines from the international COVAX initiative and from donors like India, China and Russia, which are producing vaccines. But much larger volumes of doses will be needed for the massive campaign to inoculate more than half of the continent's 1.3 billion people.

At least 22 of Africa's 54 countries have received Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive vaccines, Nkengasong said Thursday. The shipments range from a few thousand doses to millions sent to countries ranging from Nigeria to Uganda.

Some 600 million doses are expected to be delivered to Africa from COVAX, although the facility has faced delays and limited supply.

Nkengasong had previously set the goal of vaccinating 60 percent of Africa's population by the end of this year, but the target is now a year later, by the end of 2022.

Thursday saw the leaders of Rwanda, Malawi and the Gambia all receive their first Covid-19 vaccine injections.

Kenya, one of the first East African countries to launch its vaccination programme, says it is officially facing a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

FRANCE 24's regional correspondent Mukelwa Hlatshwayo takes a look back at the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, at the economic havoc it has played throughout the continent over the past year, and to the road ahead – the race to meet the challenge of an equitable vaccination roll-out.

To watch her report, click on the video player above.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)