Global Perspectives | Salon | 24. June 2020

COVID-19 in Africa: Turning Economic Crisis into an Opportunity for Sustainable Growth

with Prof. Carlos Lopes and Prof. Dr Dirk Messner

The COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges for Africa. The virus has caused tremendous unemployment and economic downturn, and it has shown the number of vulnerabilities associated with dependency on raw materials, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the current crisis is also an opportunity for green recovery and conscious investments in renewable energies moving forward.

Forging a way out of this crisis with economies that are based primarily on raw materials and fossil fuel production will most certainly only result in the aggravation of the effects of other global health problems and natural disasters. On the contrary, investing in renewables would allow for greater self-reliance, enabling countries to take control of their economic prospects – and thus lead to better health for the poorest and most vulnerable people.

To what extent has COVID-19 impacted African economies and how should a climate-friendly and sustainable restart look like after the pandemic? What strategies do African governments and the private sector need to implement to ensure a sustainable growth moving forward? And what are the expectations towards the European Union and the international community as to supporting this important transition?

We look forward to discuss these and further important questions with Prof. Carlos Lopes, High Representative of the African Union and one of Africa’s most influential economists, and Prof. Dr Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency and internationally renowned expert on sustainable development and climate change.


  • Dr Carlos Lopes, High Representative at the African Union for Partnerships with the EU
  • Prof. Dr Dirk Messner, President Federal Environment Agency


  • Christine Mhundwa, Anchor & Correspondent, Deutsche Welle (DW)

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