Ver Angola


Staying at home is a privilege in the African context, says Angolan expert

The Angolan specialist in African studies and social policies Edmilson Ângelo defended that the measures to prevent and combat the pandemic of covid-19 must attend to the local contexts and privilege the dialogue and decentralized decisions.


Speaking to Lusa, the academic considered that the measures that have been taken should take into account local realities: “This idea that one size fits all does not work because the realities are totally different. It is not possible to make a 'hashtag' # stay at home that is not adjusted to our reality, it is necessary to do a 'hashtag' # stay at home, but also help those who cannot stay at home ”.

"Only then would civil society mobilize for a real struggle together because staying at home is a privilege in the African context," he said.

The expert stressed that the variables in Africa are totally different from the West or China, so the strategy to fight the disease should not be replicated in Angola without taking into account the regional context and the sharing of experience between African countries.

"I think that some African countries were very quick and understood that it is necessary to react specifically to the African context and Ghana is a good example of that," he said.

Angola "has also been following much of what Namibia is doing," added Edmilson Ângelo.

"We will see what will be the decision this Friday, if they are going to reopen some things now, because the country is reopening alone", he stressed.

Parliament decided this Thursday on the request of the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, to prolong the state of emergency, declared on 27 March and in the meantime extended for another 15 days until 25 April.

In the context of the state of emergency, exceptional measures were adopted including closing schools and non-food trade, closing borders, confinement and social isolation.

In the field research he carried out to analyze the policies that have been implemented in the fight against the disease, particularly in the informal sector, the Angolan academic considered that inclusion is failing.

“We are not focusing on the vulnerabilities of people in the informal sector, we are focusing only on the dangers for more social activities, which occur in the formal market,” he said, saying that there is still a need to provide answers in terms of basic sanitation, such as promote detachment so that economic activities continue and how to help the most vulnerable people to stay at home safely.

On the contrary: “The discourse has been very centered on how we can eliminate clusters in the squares, how to prevent people from joining the informal market, so that we, digital Angola, can be more secure and keep these people away from us ”, a perspective that claims to be exclusion.

Complaints from the informal sector, in which about 70 percent of workers work, highlight this reality and the lack of dialogue and interaction with local communities.

For the also director of the British NGO Change 1's Life, aimed at supporting victims of poverty and natural disasters in sub-Saharan Africa, “the message is not getting where it needs to go because decisions were made in a very Chinese way, without looking at local contexts with local solutions ”, instead of replicating the strategies of the World Health Organization, China or Western countries.

Exceptional measures of a state of emergency include limiting hours in informal markets, many of which were closed for failing to comply with sanitary rules, limiting street vending to three days a week and banning the movement and stay of people on the road public.

In addition to the times being unsuitable for local sales rhythms, the fact that food products are only allowed to leave out many sellers who survive selling other types of products, noted the expert, pointing to the absence of a concrete plan for the informal market.

“Hunger and poverty are still the priority in the informal market, and not the pandemic”, he stressed, adding: “They are the ones who are suffering the most and feel indignant because so far all cases have been imported and belong to citizens who live in prime areas of Luanda ”.

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