The Adequacy of Nigeria, South Africa and Other Sub-Saharan Countries’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Unemployment


  • Howard Chitimira North-West University
  • Oyesola Animashaun North West University


Unemployment, coronavirus (COVID-19), economic policies, Sub-Sahara


The measures taken by the governments of the sub-Saharan states, especially in Nigeria and South Africa, in a bid to curb the spread of the dreaded corona virus (COVID-19) are discussed in this article. It is submitted that measures such as social distancing and lockdown of businesses exacerbated the existing problem of unemployment in sub-Saharan countries. Accordingly, this article analyzes the adequacy of the relevant laws and policies that were adopted by the governments of selected sub-Saharan African countries, namely, Nigeria and South Africa in a bid to stimulate the economy and to reduce unemployment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria and South Africa were selected because they are amongst the largest economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors argue that the governments of Nigeria and South Africa should adopt and enforce pragmatic policies that are backed by appropriate legislation to combat the huge unemployment rate which was worsened by the advent of COVID-19. The article highlights that the problem of unemployment in Nigeria and South Africa must be addressed through adequate review of the employment policies, finance policies, educational curriculum and other related policies. It further recommends the review of the empowerment and socio-economic policies of these countries in order to prevent restlessness, riots and poverty-related protests that are induced by massive unemployment of the youth, women and other marginalized persons in Nigeria and South Africa.

Author Biographies

Howard Chitimira, North-West University

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law

Oyesola Animashaun, North West University

Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa


African Union. (2020). “Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the African Economy, retrieved from < virus-covid-19on-the-african-economy-african-union-report-april2020/file.html>.
Akanni, L. O. and Gabriel, S.C. (2020). “The implication of COVID-19 on the Nigerian Economy”, Retrieved from
Akpan, B.B. (2010). “Innovations in Science and Technology Education through Science Teacher Associations” Science Education International Vol.21, No.2, 67-79.
Akuthson, S., Messiah, A. J., and Araf, Y. D. (2018). “The Impact of Unemployment on Economic Growth in Nigeria: An Application of Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) Bound Testing”, Sumerianz Journal of Business Management and Marketing, Vol.1, No.2, 37-46.
Al-Awadhi, A.M., Alsaifi, K., Al-Awadhi, A. and Alhammadi, S. (2020). “Death and Contagious Infectious Diseases: Impact of the Covid-19 Virus on Stock Market Returns”, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance Vol. 27, 1-6.
Al-qaness, M. A. A., Ewees, A. A., Fan, H. and Aziz, M. A. E. (2020. “Optimization Method for forecasting confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China”, J. Clin. Med, Doi:10.3390/jcm9030674
Andersen, A., Hansen, E., Johannesen, N., and Sheridan, A. (2020). “Consumer Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: Evidence from Bank Account Transaction Data” CEBI Working Paper Series 18/20. University of Copenhagen.
Anderson, R., Heesterbeek, H., Klinkenberg, D., and Hollingsworth, T. (2020). “How will Country-Based Mitigation Measures Influence the course of the COVID-19 Epidemic?” The Lancet, Vol. 395, 931–934.
Ankiewicz, P. (2020). Technology Education in South Africa since the New Dispensation in 1994: An Analysis of Curriculum Documents and a Meta Synthesis of Scholarly Work”, International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 589-81.
Arndt, C., Davies, R., Gabriel, S., Harris, L., Makrelov, K., Modise, B., Robinson, S., Simbanegavi, W., van Seventer, D. and Anderson, L. (2020). “Impact of Covid-19 on the South African Economy: An Initial Analysis” Southern Africa–Towards Inclusive Economic Development, retrieved from
Baker, S.R.N., Bloom, S.J. Davis, Kost, K.J., Sammon, M.C. and Viratyosin. T. (2020). “The unprecedented stock market impact of COVID-19”, NBER Working Paper No. 26945, retrieved from
Baker, T and Judge, K. (2020). “How to Help Small Businesses Survive COVID-19” in Law in the Time of COVID-19, K. Pistor (ed.), Columbia Law School Books, New York, USA.
Bauer, G. K. (2020). “Beyond the Western gaze-Africa Is a Country”, retrieved from https://africasacountry. com/2020/05/beyond-the-western-gaze.
BBC. (2020). “How the End SARS protests have changed Nigeria forever”, retrieved from
Beratazegui, M.E. (2020). “The IMF, COVID-19 and Anti-Corruption: The Story so far Transparency International”, retrieved from
Bessa, M. (2020). “Africa's Disproportionate COVID-19 Pandemic” E-International Relations, retrieved from MARCELLEBESSA.
Bhorat, H., Kohler, T., Oosthuizen, M., Stanwix, B., Steenkamp, F., and Thornton, A. (2020). “The Economics of Covid-19 in South Africa: Early Impressions”, DPRU Working Paper 202004, University of Cape Town.
Budget Office of the Federation. (2020a). “Addendum to the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper”, Budget Office of the Federation & Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Abuja.
Budget Office of the Federation. (2020b). “Medium Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper”, Budget Office of the Federation & Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Abuja.
Central Bank of Nigeria. (2020a). “Circular to Deposit Money Banks and the General Public on: CBN Policy Measures in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak and Spillovers”, retrieved from ONSE%20TO%20COVID-19%20OUTBREAK%20AND%20SPILLOVERS.pdf.
Central Bank of Nigeria. (2020b). “Circular to Deposit Money Banks and the General Public on: Guidelines for the Operation of the N100 Billion Credit Support for the Healthcare Sector”, retrieved from careintervention.pdf.
Chisholm, L., Volmink, J., Ndhlovu, T., Potenza, E., Mahomed, H., Muller, J., Lubisi, C., Vinjevold, P., Ngozi, L., Malan, B. & Mphahlele, L. (2000), “A South African Curriculum for the Twenty First Century. Report of the Review Committee on Curriculum 2005’, Pretoria, South Africa.
Corbet, S., Larkin, C.J., and Lucey, B.M. (2020), “The Contagion Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Gold and Cryptocurrencies”, retrieved from =3564443or
Corbet, S.G., Hou, Y., Hu, B., Lucey, M and Oxley, L. (2020), “Aye Corona! The Contagion Effects of Being Named Corona during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, retrieved from
Dandara, C., Dzobo, K., and Chirikure, S. (2020), “COVID-19 Pandemic and Africa: From the Situation in Zimbabwe to a Case for Precision Herbal Medicine” OMICS-A Journal of Integrative Biology, Vol. 24, 1-5.
Deutsche Welle-Africa. (2020), “World Bank: No African Country can Face this Crisis Alone”, retrieved from a-53142901.
Dzobo, K., Chiririwa, H., Dandara, C; and Dzobo, W. (2020), “Coronavirus Disease-2019 Treatment Strategies Targeting Interleukin-6 Signaling and Herbal Medicine’ OMICS-A Journal of Integrative Biology, Vol. 24, 1-10, retrieved from plus/10 .1089/omi.2020.0122.
Eichenbaum, M., Rebelo, S., and Trabandt, M. (2020), “The Macroeconomics of Epidemics”, NBER Working Paper No. 26882, National Bureau of Economic Research.
Eranga, I. O. (2020), “COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria: Palliative Measures and the Politics of Vulnerability”, International Journal of Maternal and Child Health and AIDS, Vol. 9, No. 2, 220-222.
Ex parte: van Heerden [2020] (1079/2020) ZAMPMBHC 10 (27 March 2020).
Fataar, A. (2008), “Education Policy Reform in Post-apartheid South Africa: Constraints and Possibilities” in The Education of Diverse Student Populations: A Global Perspective, G. Wan (ed.), Springer Science, Durban, South Africa.
Federal Republic of Nigeria. 2004. National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development, Lagos: Federal Ministry of Health.
Fernandes, N. (2020), “Economic Effects of Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) on the World Economy”, retrieved from
Golub, S. and Hayat, F. (2014), “Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment in Africa”, WIDER Working Paper 2014/014-26, UN University, Helsinki, Finland, retrieved from
Gondwe, G. (2020), “Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Africa’s Economic Development”, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. UNCTAD/ALDC/MISC/2020/3.
Gralinski, L. E. and Menachery, V. D. (2020), “Return of the Coronavirus: 2019-nCov. Viruses, Vol. 12, No. 135, DOI:10.3390/v12020135.
Hale, T., Petherick, A, Phillips, T. and Webster, S. (2020), “Variation in government responses to COVID-19”, BSG Working Paper-BSG-WP-2020/031, retrieved from uk/sites/default/files/2020-04/BSG-WP-2020-031-v4.00.pdf.
Henney, M. (2020), “What is the difference between unemployment and underemployment? Fox Business, retrieved from
Ifijeh, G. and Yusuf, F. (2020), “Covid-19 Pandemic and the Future of Nigeria's University System: The Quest for Libraries' Relevance” The Journal of Academic Librarianship, retrieved from acalib.2020.102226
Igwe, P. A. (2020), “Coronavirus with Looming Global Health and Economic Doom”, African Development Journal of Research Methodology, Vol.1 No.1, 1-6.
IMF (2020), “IMF Press Release”, retrieved from 07/27/pr20271-south-africa-imf-executive-board-approves-us-billion-emergency-support-covid-19-pandemic.
Jayaram, K, Leke, A., Ooko-Ombaka, A. and Sun, Y.S. (2020), “Tackling COVID-19 in Africa” retrieved from < -covid-19-in-africa>.
John, E.A. (2020), “COVID-19 Pandemic, A War To Be Won: Understanding its Economic Implications for Africa, Appl. Health Econ Health Policy, 1–4. doi:10.1007/s40258-020-00580-x.
Johns Hopkins University (2020) “Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by The Center for Systems Science and Engineering” retrieved from /index.
Li, Q., Guan, X., Wu, P., and Wang, X. (2020), “Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia” New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 382, 1199-1207.
Lone, S.A. and Ahmad, A. (2020), “COVID-19 Pandemic – An African Perspective Emerging Microbes & Infections”, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1300-1308, DOI:10.1080/22221751.2020.1775132.
McKenzie, B. (2020), “The Impact of Covid-19 on Key African Sectors”, retrieved from <>.
McKibbin, W. and Fernando, R. (2020), “The Global Macroeconomic Impacts of COVID19 Seven Scenarios” CAMA Working Paper 19/2020, retrieved from
McQuoid-Mason D.J. (2020), “COVID-19 and Patient-Doctor Confidentiality”, South Africa Medical Journal Vol.110, No.6, 461-462.
Mennechet, F.J. D. and Dzomo, G.R.T. (2020), “Coping with COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Might the Future Hold?” Virol Sin., 1–10. DOI: 10.1007/s12250-020-00279-2.
Michael, T.O. and Odeyemi, M.A. (2017), “Nigeria’s Population Policies: Issues, Challenges and Prospects”, Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences, Vol.15, No.1, 104 117.
Mining Review Africa (2020), The Impact of COVID-19 on the Mining Sector, retrieved from <>.
Moodley, K and Obasa A.E. (2020), “Isolation and quarantine in South Africa during COVID-19: Draconian measures or proportional response?”, South Africa Medical Journal Vol. 110, No. 6, 456-457.
Moore, M., Gelfeld, B., Okunogbe, A., and Paul, C. (2017), “Identifying Future Disease Hotspots: Infectious Disease Vulnerability Index”, Rand Health Q Vol.6, No. 5, retrieved from:
Morrison, E.R and Saavedra, A.C. (2000), “Bankruptcy’s Role in the COVID-19 Crisis” in Law in the Time of COVID-19, K. Pistor (ed), Columbia Law School, New-York, USA.
Moti, U.G. and Vambe, J.T. (2020), “Responding to Coronavirus Pandemic in Nigeria: The Policy Dilemma of a Vulnerable Nation-A Review” International Journal of Health, Safety and Environment Vol. 6, No. 4, 526 – 533.
Mukumbang, F.C., Ambe, A. N. and Adebiyi, B.O. (2020), “Unspoken inequality: How COVID-19 has Exacerbated Existing Vulnerabilities of Asylum-Seekers, Refugees and Undocumented Migrants in South Africa” International Journal for Equity in Health, Vol. 19, No. 141, 1-7.
Myburgh, P.L. (2020), “Ace Magashule’s Sons each bag a Free State Covid-19 Contract”, The Daily Maverick, 31 July.
National Bureau of Statistics. (2020), Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report under Covid-19, 1-90, retrieved from ng/pdfuploads/q2_2020_unemployment_report.pdf.
National Policy on Education (2014), Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council Press, Lagos.
Naudé, W. and Cameron M. (2020), “Failing to Pull Together: South Africa’s Troubled Response to COVID-19”, Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper IZADP No.13649, retrieved from
Naude, W. (2020), “Entrepreneurial Recovery from COVID-19: Decentralization, Democratization, Demand, Distribution, and Demography” IZADP No. 13436, Institute of Labor Economics, Bonn, Germany.
Ndedi, A. A. (2020), “The Aftermath of the Coronavirus in Selected African Economies”, retrieved from
Ndegwa, A. (2020), “Africa: How Billions Worth of Covid-19 Funds Were Stolen in Africa”, Daily Nation, September 4, 2020. Retrieved from html.
NDoe (National Department of education) (1995) White Paper on Education and Training. Notice 196, 15 March. WPJ/1995. Pretoria, South Africa.
Nunley, J.M., Pugh, A., Romero, N. and Seals, R.A. (2017). “The Effects of Unemployment and Underemployment on Employment Opportunities: Results from a Correspondence Audit of the Labor Market for College Graduates” ILR Review, Vol. 70, No. 3, 642–669.
Obiezu, T. (2020), “Nigerians Justify Massive Looting of COVID-19 Supplies” VOA, October 27, retrieved from
Odigbo, B., Eze, F and Odigbo, R. (2020), “COVID-19 Lockdown Controls and Human Rights Abuses: The Social Marketing”, Emerald Open Research Vol.2, No.45, 1-7.
Okoroma, N. S. (2006), “Educational Policies and Problems of Implementation in Nigeria” Australian Journal of Adult Learning Vol. 46, No. 2, 243-263
Onali, E. (2020), “COVID-19 and Stock Market Volatility.” Retrieved from 3571453or
Osam, I. (2016), “Managing the Role of Science and Technology Education Programs in Promoting Enterprises for National Development in Nigeria”, International Journal of Scientific Research in Education, Vol. 9, No.2, 97-104.
Osseni, I.A. (2020), “COVID-19 Pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa: Preparedness, Response, and Hidden Potentials”, Trop Med Health Vol. 48, retrieved from
Ozili, P.K., and Arun, T. (2020), “Spillover of COVID-19: Impact on the Global Economy”, retrieved from 10.2139/ssrn.3562570.
Quarantine Act, 1926, Chapter Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
South African Institute of Race Relations (2020), “COVID-19: How South Africa can save Life and Livelihood”, SAIRR, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Spreen, C.A. and Vally, S. (2006). Education rights, education policies and inequality in South Africa, International Journal of Educational Development, 1-11, DOI:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2005. 09.00
Todaro, M. P. (2000), “Economics of Development”, New York University, USA.
Trading Economics (2020), “South Africa Interest Rate”, retrieved from
UN Economic Commission for Africa (2020), “COVID-19: Lockdown exit strategies for Africa”, Publications and Conference Management Section Economic Commission for Africa Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
UN. (2020), “Political definition of "Major regions", according to the UN" retrieved from
UNICEF. (2019), “Population Dynamics and the Demographic Dividend Potential of Eastern and Southern Africa: A Primer”, retrieved from
Ward, M. (2020),” South Africa’s COVID-19 Lockdown Dilemma” Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies Vol. 10 No. 3, 1-10. DOI: 10.1108/EEMCS-05-2020-0146.
World Bank (2020a), “Nigeria in Times of COVID-19: Laying Foundations for a Strong Recovery”, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Washington DC, USA.
World Bank (2020b), “Assessing the Economic Impact of Covid-19 and Policy Responses in Sub-Saharan Africa”, retrieved from 464815683.pdf.
Worldometer (2020), “South Africa Demographics”, retrieved from <https://www.worldometers. info/demographics/south-africa-demographics/>.
Zarembaa, A., Kizysc, R., Aharond D.Y. and Demir, E. (2020), “Infected Markets: Novel Coronavirus, Government Interventions, and Stock Return Volatility around the Globe Finance”, Research Letters Vol. 25, 1-7.
Zhang, D., Hu, M, and Ji, Q. (2020), “Financial Markets under the Global Pandemic of COVID-19”, Finance Research Letters, Vol. 36, 1-7.




How to Cite

Chitimira, H., & Animashaun, O. (2021). The Adequacy of Nigeria, South Africa and Other Sub-Saharan Countries’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Unemployment: Array. Acta Universitatis Danubius. Juridica, 17(3). Retrieved from



Studies and Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>