The Council’s programming, like that of other organisations, was affected by restrictions relating to the COVID pandemic. From March 2020 to February 2022, a ‘work from home mandate’ had been in effect for most of the Secretariat staff based in Dakar. Following the gradual easing of restrictions, staff resumed office towards the end of February 2022.
The pandemic forced the Council to upscale the technology it uses to deliver its activities and grow its online presence. It successfully produced three annual thematic institutes online – the Democratic Governance Institute, the Gender Institute, and the 4th CODESRIA/CASB Summer School in African Studies and Area Studies in Africa. This was made possible by CODESRIA’s pre-pandemic efforts to upgrade its digital equipment, which ensured an almost seamless online transition of some of the Council’s work. The Council hopes to enhance its digital efficiency going forward.
While this technological shift enabled the Council to implement most of its workplan when the pandemic spread to Africa, some of the core activities that require significant movement of participants and large meetings have been held in abeyance. This includes the postponement of the 16th General Assembly from December 2021 to a date that will be deliberated on by the Executive Committee during its 96th meeting to be held in April, 2022. Thereafter, the proposed new date will be open for endorsement by the CODESRIA community.
As a premier research institution, our responsibility is to contribute to defining the responses the continent needs to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath. In line with this, the Council plans, in 2022, to relaunch the Health, Politics and Society Institute, which will continue to reflect on illness and disease and reinforce the contextual analysis of their sources and consequences.