COVID-19 Response: News, analysis and resources

COVID-19 Response: News, analysis and resources

29 May 2020

tralac is monitoring trade-related policy responses to the Coronavirus global pandemic. COVID-19 is offering many policy lessons – across macroeconomic and microeconomic policy areas. This may well require amending and fine-tuning policies as we learn from the crisis. A pragmatic balance of measures that stem transmission of the virus and permit economic activity to continue is required.

pdf tralac Newsletter: COVID-19 and its impacts, May 2020 (3.00 MB)

pdf tralac Newsletter: Special Edition on COVID-19, April 2020 (1.33 MB)

Last updated: 29 May 2020 - 21:00 South Africa Time

COVID-19 Trade and trade-related measures


African countries have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic through the adoption of various trade and trade-related measures in an effort to contain the economic impact of the crisis. To monitor the situation and encourage the sharing of information, tralac has prepared a list of these measures, which is updated regularly from official sources.

As of 27 May, tralac’s country policy tracker covers COVID-19 trade and related measures for 32 African countries. In addition, tralac has a regional policy tracker covering the regional economic communities (RECs) and the African Union.

Latest resources

COVID 19 Trade and trade related measures in Africa

Visit the COVID-19 Trade and trade-related measures in Africa page

Visit the Regional responses to COVID-19 in Africa page


The WTO Secretariat is monitoring member countries’ notifications on COVID-19. The list is an informal situation report and an attempt to provide transparency with respect to trade and trade-related measures taken in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. As of 27 May 2020, WTO members had submitted a total of 135 notifications related to COVID-19.

Information Notes from the WTO Secretariat

Members’ proposals on COVID-19

Policy monitoring tools

For information and resources relevant to Africa on the pandemic:

Additional online tools monitoring policy responses to COVID-19:

In the news


COVID-19: Act now or risk ‘unimaginable devastation’ globally, warns UN chief - 29 May 2020

COVID-19 must enable a new Africa – President Ramaphosa - 25 May 2020

Stand in solidarity to preserve Africa’s hard-won progress, urges UN chief - 21 May 2020

PSC Report comment: towards a new post-COVID-19 world order? - 21 May 2020

World Bank Group: 100 Countries get support in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - 21 May 2020

African regional responses to COVID-19 - 19 May 2020

Tracking trade during the COVID-19 pandemic - 19 May 2020

Supply Chain and COVID-19: UN rushes to move vital equipment to frontlines - 19 May 2020

WTO Members discuss trade responses to COVID-19 pandemic - 19 May 2020

ICC mobilises Sub-Saharan Africa regional network to fight impact of COVID-19 - 18 May 2020

COVID-19 triggers marked decline in global trade, new data shows - 13 May 2020

COVID-19: Trade expert says AfCFTA could help Africa bounce back - 12 May 2020

COMESA States want a socioeconomic study on the impact on COVID-19 - 12 May 2020

ECA proposes COVID-19 exit strategies to bring African economies back on track - 11 May 2020

EAC Partner States directed to support local production of essential medical products and supplies to combat COVID-19 in the region - 11 May 2020

Regional business community push for trade facilitation in amid COVID-19 - 6 May 2020

COVID-19 in Africa – some reflections on trade matters - 4 May 2020

Click here for more news on COVID-19.

On the tralac Blog


Some reflections on Africa Day 2020, COVID-19 and the AfCFTA

Trudi Hartzenberg - 25 May 2020

The Pandemic and its Aftermath: The Role of Trade Policy

Patrick Low - 19 May 2020

South Africa’s trade for March 2020 – significant trade surplus shows the initial impact of COVID-19 on imports

Willemien Viljoen - 13 May 2020

South African tourism and the coronavirus pandemic

David Christianson - 28 Apr 2020

Coronavirus and freight forwarding in SADC

Elisha Tshuma - 09 Apr 2020

COVID-19 impact on investment in Africa

Talkmore Chidede -07 Apr 2020

Recovery from the Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: What Role for Trade?

Beatrice Chaytor and Ify Ogo - 07 Apr 2020

Temporary suspension of import tariffs on medical products and equipment essential amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa

Talkmore Chidede - 07 Apr 2020

Informal Cross Border Trade in Africa in a Time of Pandemic

John Stuart - 07 Apr 2020

Protecting the vulnerable and excluded in the financial sector

Ashly Hope - 06 Apr 2020

Coronavirus, food supply and demand constraints: panic-buying and logistics

Willemien Viljoen - 31 Mar 2020

South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Trudi Hartzenberg - 26 Mar 2020

Click here to view all blogs.

tralac Publications


COVID-19: Trade and related measures and responses in Africa

Rwatida Mafurutu and Talkmore Chidede - 25 May 2020

IMF Emergency Funding in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

Gavin van der Nest - 14 May 2020

Governance in abnormal times – dealing with COVID-19: A regional perspective from South Africa

Gerhard Erasmus and Trudi Hartzenberg - 13 May 2020

COVID-19 and the legal Measures employed to deal with the Crisis

Gerhard Erasmus - 06 Apr 2020

Click here to view all publications.

Resources on COVID-19 in Africa


pdf Informal traders: A balancing act of survival (495 KB) - ATPC Policy Brief, May 2020

pdf Impact of COVID-19 in Africa (1.27 MB) - UN Policy Brief, May 2020

pdf How much will poverty rise in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020? (626 KB)  - World Bank Poverty and Equity Note, May 2020

pdf Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find a Balance (930 KB) - PERC, May 2020

pdf Insights on African businesses’ reactions and outlook to COVID-19 (962 KB) - ECA and ICE, 30 April 2020

pdf COVID-19 in Africa: Alternative to Current Confinement Approaches (2.27 MB) - AUDA-NEPAD, April 2020

pdf AUDA-NEPAD COVID-19 Response Webinar Series: Access to affordable financing for local manufacture of pharmaceutical and medical supplies in Africa (7.09 MB)  - Post-Webinar Report 28 April 2020

pdf The African Development Bank Group’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Facility (1.01 MB) - April 2020

pdf Will COVID-19 Derail AfCFTA Start of Trading? Preliminary Assessment and Recommendations by AfroChampions (2.97 MB) - April 2020

pdf Saving Africa’s private sector jobs during the coronavirus pandemic (434 KB) - Policy Brief, April 2020

pdf Measures for supporting domestic markets during the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa (206 KB) - FAO/AU brief, April 2020

pdf Intra-African trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area and the COVID-19 pandemic (365 KB) - FAO/AU brief, April 2020

pdf Safeguarding input supply chains for small scale agricultural producers in the context of COVID-19 in Africa (293 KB) - FAO/AU brief, April 2020

pdf COVID-19 in Africa: Alternative to Current Confinement Approaches (2.27 MB) - AUDA-NEPAD, April 2020

pdf Africa’s Response to COVID-19: Key Messages for IMF and WBG Meetings (592 KB) - UNECA, April 2020

pdf AUDA-NEPAD and COVID-19 Response to Food Insecurity and Malnutrition, Volume 2 (1.70 MB) - 15 April 2020

pdf AUDA-NEPAD COVID-19 Response Webinar Series: African Industrial Capacity Towards Critical Pharmaceutical and Medical Supplies (1.40 MB)  - Post-Webinar Report, 13 April 2020

pdf Africa’s Pulse: Assessing the economic impact of COVID-19 and policy responses in Sub-Saharan Africa (2.99 MB)  - World Bank, April 2020

pdf Trade Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis in Africa (277 KB)  - World Bank Trade and COVID-19 Guidance Note, April 2020

pdf Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the African Economy (1.01 MB) - African Union Report, April 2020

pdf Trade Policies for Africa to Tackle Covid-19 (1.20 MB) - ATPC Briefing Paper, 27 March 2020

pdf Report on African Ministers of Finance Meeting: Emergency Request to the international Community on COVID-19 Response (341 KB) - 22 March 2020

Virtual Conference on COVID-19 Impact on Africa - 19 March 2020

Additional resources

and publications on the trade-related impact of COVID-19 can be found here.