Covid-19 – An IGI View

Covid-19 and Governance

As the Covid-19 tragedy unfolds, it becomes clear that there is a governance perspective.

China is not a country where IGI operates, and we do not have inside information, so we rely on the developing media consensus.  Covid-19 arose in Wuhan, China in November or early December 2019 (report in UK’s Guardian suggest as early as 17 November), possibly from a hygiene infringement in a market.  Early alerts by at least one Chinese doctor, Li Wenliang (report in Guardian, obituary in The Lancet), were reportedly suppressed.  The World Health Organisation was not formally told until 31 December and person-to-person transmission only admitted later.  This immediately raises questions about the dangers of a culture such as China’s where state control and suppression of free speech are standard – a culture opposed to the core principles of good governance promoted by IGI: honesty, transparency and accountability.

Several newspapers in UK on 29 March reported that a pandemic preparedness exercise in UK in 2016 (Exercise Cygnus) indicated that the health service (NHS) was not resourced to deal with a pandemic.  Only limited action was apparently taken, and the report was kept secret.  This reminds us that good governance may also be a concern in UK.

Countries where IGI operates, such as Kenya, DRC and Cameroon, have long had high levels of corruption, which has prioritised dirty money for the rich and influential over care for the poor.  Resources for infrastructure and health have been wasted, so that many citizens live crammed together in unhygienic slums, with little healthcare.  If Covid-19 takes off in those countries it will be catastrophic.

We dare not ignore the lessons of this crisis, but must redouble our efforts to ensure accountable and transparent governance for the good of all citizens.

Covid-19 and IGI

Covid-19 is a serious hindrance to the frontline work of IGI.  Monitoring the work of officials, holding them to account, building capacity to protect against fraud, educating the young are almost impossible in conditions of lock-down and social distancing.  Nevertheless, our workers and offices still need support, so that they can do whatever remains possible, and rise with renewed vigour after the crisis.  Covid-19 will show that the work is more necessary than ever, not only for economic well-being, but for the very life and health of innumerable people in Africa and elsewhere.  We therefore urge you to continue supporting the work of IGI  …and if you order books from Amazon to read in self-isolation, don’t forget to use Amazon Smile and choose to support International Governance Institute with every purchase.

Meanwhile, we will monitor the accountability and transparency with which our national leaders attack this latest crisis, and when  it is over how they investigate it and restore our curtailed liberties.

Keep safe, care for the vulnerable, and pray for the mercy of our Heavenly Father!