COVID-19 in Africa – 2022’s Missed Goals mean a mixed Outlook for 2023

 In 分析, 资料图, Social Media

As 2022 has drawn to a close, there has been much coverage about China’s challenges with COVID-19 vaccinations as the country eased social distancing restrictions. But completely missing from front pages is the fact that across the Indian Ocean, an entire continent has missed its fairly low-ambition vaccination targets.

Today, just a quarter (25%) of the African population is fully vaccinated, falling short of the African Union’s goal of 60% to be fully vaccinated by 2023, and, as we covered earlier this year, only 3% boosted. Why and how? Does it matter? And what does this mean for 2023, the third year since COVID’s onset?

First, international vaccine distribution has been mostly appalling in 2022. Africa only makes up 704 million (5%) of 13 billion full vaccinations globally, while Africa’s booster uptake has also been lower at only 59.8 million doses (2%) of the global average of 2.6 billion booster doses administered. The vaccination and booster campaigns have stalled due to populations accepting a low-risk global sentiment – especially the mass removal of testing and physical restrictions in travel and public spaces across most of the world. In this “each to their own” environment: Africa’s collective instrument to procure vaccines, the  (AVAT) has been active but not fared well, accounting for just 10% of vaccines delivered to the continent, while bilateral inflows are slow at just over 25% – compared to COVAX, accounting for over 60%; which is funded by donors but rife with problems of crowding out local production.

Second, potential breakthroughs in local vaccine manufacturing and development, such as the Aspen Pharmacare facility producing Johnson and Johnson’s COVID vaccine in South Africa – and other facilities such as in Morocco and Egypt – have faced procurement challenges and taken much time to set up, and have also been slowed by IP issues with existing formulas restricted, due to the US’ refusal at the WTO to waive IP protection for COVID test and treatments.

So what do we expect in 2023?

While the above might imply doom and gloom for 2023, our global health team at Development Reimagined are more optimistic, for four key reasons.

First, there are presently fifteen (15) facilities capable of vaccine manufacturing across eight (8) African countries, nine (9) of which are making COVID vaccines, including the Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines facility in South Africa, making strides in the manufacturing of an mRNA vaccine candidate for COVID. Five more facilities are in the planning stages in five additional countries (Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and Botswana) to add to these ranks.  While we have not yet been able to assess their complete capacity or existing manufacturing volumes now, this is something we will be focusing on in 2023.

Second, the US has been consulting internally on its WTO position, and the US also announced at the US-Africa Summit in Washington on December 15th, that it was looking into supporting African countries on local vaccine production in the future. This means hope for a deal that aims to ease patent rights for vaccines as well as antiviral therapeutics – like Pfizer’s Paxlovid, Merck’s Molnupiravir, Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir and Eli Lilly’s Baricitinib – will be on the table in 2023.

Third, China is opening up and has yet to meet its FOCAC goal for donating 600m vaccines and locally manufacturing 400m on the continent, with our research showing an increment in donations from China post-FOCAC in 2022. It is worth noting that at the time of writing (27th December 2022), no African country has imposed travel or testing restrictions on travellers from China. So we can expect an uptick in Chinese-branded vaccines on the continent, and more collaboration. One area we would recommend collaboration is on the possible effects of long COVID – a chronic illness stemming from an acute COVID-19 infection, which has been hardly studied in African countries. In particular, long COVID negatively impacts clinical and public health systems as patients often need extended care, weighing on already limited health resources. Thus, it is essential that African governments continue to closely track and monitor cases of long COVID, increase research into its effects and work to mitigate its impact moving forward into 2023.

Fourth, it has been agreed that GAVI’s COVAX vaccine facility, will be phased out over the next two years.  While COVAX claims to have sufficient supplies to maintain coverage into 2024, this hastens the need and creates more space for Africa’s self-sufficiency for vaccines and medicine manufacturing. To bolster this, our hope is that African governments will push harder in 2023 for all global procurement agencies such as GAVI, UNICEF and others to include local manufacturing targets, such as the African position agreed by Heads of State in 2022 for at least 30 per cent of all vaccines from Africa to be used in their sourcing.

Overall, in many ways, 2022 was hardly progressive, except on the local manufacturing progress. In 2023, we need to return to Africa’s 2020 – 2021 strategies. Africa has fared better than the early pandemic models assumed; through a combination of local expertise, and strong negotiation when it came to international cooperation. The current international order leaves Africa behind – African governments must work to change this, as well as secure our own capacity. That is the only way African countries will achieve better health sovereignty in 2023 than in 2022.

This data was collated and analysed from several sources, such as the Africa CDC outbreak updates, the WHO Global Trends (including its Health Emergency Dashboard), UNICEF databases, as well as multiple government and media releases.

Special thanks go to Osaru Omosigho, Rugare Mukanganga, Sena Voncujovi and Jiaying Xu for their work on the graphics, collating/analysing the underlying data and the preparation of this accompanying article, published in both English and Chinese.

If you spot any gaps or have any enquiries, please send your feedback to us at, we will aim to respond ASAP!

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Research Analyst

Edmond is a research analyst who is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and the environment. Passionate about climate financing, he firmly believe there is a more reliable system to promote equality, growth, and welfare in societies without affecting the ecosystem. Through his skills, knowledge and experienced gained over 7 years, he wants to make an impact in the world of development. Edmond holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Korea Development Institute and a BA Degree (Honors) in Business from University of Derby.


    Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.


Deputy Director

Leah Lynch is Deputy Director of Development Reimagined (DR), and head of the China office. Leah has over 10 years of experience in development and has lived in China for over 8 years. Leah has also travelled extensively around Asia and Africa for research. Leah supports the strategic direction of the team across China, with a mission to deliver high quality research on sustainable development and poverty reduction. Leah is also Chair of the Sustainability Forum at the British Chamber of Commerce in China, providing direction on sustainability initiatives for British and Chinese business. Leah has also consulted on various evaluations on UK aid (ICAI) and is a specialist on development cooperation from the UK and China. Leah has also consulted on various UN projects, including providing support to the UN China team during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prior to DR, Leah was at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) China, supporting the UN’s portfolio on communication strategies, China’s South- South Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before UNDP, Leah lived and worked in Kenya developing sustainable water policies for the Kenyan government.


China-Africa Policy Analyst

Yike Fu is a Policy Analyst and has been responsible for leading numerous areas of work, including on debt analysis in Africa and beyond, and China-Africa trade and investment logistics and analysis. She is the co-author of “African Debt Guide”, in which she challenged the narrative that Africa is in the midst of a new debt crisis by analysing data back to the 1970s and adopting new metrics to present the real story behind the data. She also developed a benchmark to compare the financial distribution of development partners such as the UK, US, Japan, France and China in Africa. Prior to her role at DR she worked at the International Finance Corporation and African Union Representational Mission to the US. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from George Washington University.


Research Analyst

Judith is a Research and Policy Analyst, where she specialises in Africa-China relations, international development, and diplomacy. During her time at Development Reimagined, Judith has co-authored several articles published in The Diplomat on debt and China-Barbados relations and was quoted by China Daily in a piece on Women Rights in China. Previously, Judith worked as a research analyst for an Advocate and Commissioner and Oats office in Kenya.


Policy Analyst

Ovigwe specialises in geopolitics with particular reference to Africa in a changing Global Order. He is adept at critically analysing the politics of contemporary development processes and providing insight into the geopolitical interests that influence them. His work includes research, publications, tailored briefings and advising on global and regional trends, and issues at the nexus of geopolitics and development. Ovigwe appears frequently in media around the world such as Al Jazeera, TRT World, SABC, CGTN, BBC Radio, and other platforms.


Policy Analyst

Jing leads China-African health and agriculture cooperation research at Development Reimagined, having managed our FOCAC Policy Analysis and Advocacy project. She is also the co-author of “China-Africa Health Cooperation under FOCAC Umbrella”, in which she analysed China’s commitments around health cooperation since the first FOCAC summit and deepdived into four African countries’ health overview, challenges and cooperation with China as cases studies. Before DR, Jing worked at GIZ Cambodia on M&E of a disability advocacy project. She also worked as a translator with Chinese medical team in Benin.


Trade Policy Analyst

Patrick is an International Trade Policy and Trade Law Expert with over 5 years of experience. His expertise includes trade law, trade policy analysis and regional integration. He is currently engaged with Development Reimagined as a Senior Trade Analyst and was the lead author of Development Reimagined's recent Report on Africa-China Relations titled "From China-Africa to Africa- China: A Blue Print for a Green and Inclusive Continent-Wide Strategy Towards China." and “Reimaging FOCAC Going Forward.” Patrick has previously consulted for the East African Community, UNECA and for the Kenya Ministry of Trade.


Senior Policy Analyst 

Rosemary is our Senior Policy Analyst. She is a skilled policy analyst and has previously worked as a UK civil servant. She is studying Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London with a research focus on international law in the context of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


Project Manager and Africa-China Communication Assistant

Jade is a Project Manager for Development Reimagined’s flagship project Africa Unconstrained, which focuses on financing needs and debt vulnerabilities of African countries. Her research focuses on China-Africa development finance alongside debt vulnerabilities, infrastructure needs and South-South cooperation. She has worked with a breadth of stakeholders from China, Africa and the wider international community, including governments, private sector, NGOs and civil society. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Africa Report, The China-Africa Project, The Diplomat and more. Jade holds a Master’s in China and Globalisation studies from King’s College London.


Programme Manager

Rosie is the Project Manager of Africa Reimagined (AR) at Development Reimagined (DR) where she supports high-end African brands with entering the Chinese market by operating services such as trademark protection, Chinese market research, Chinese partnership building, and Africa to China logistical support and import/export services. Rosie has worked with DR for over two years now with proven success in helping high-end African brands navigate the Chinese market. She is extremely passionate about her work because more African brands selling in the Chinese marketplace means African countries can export MORE value-added goods, create MORE jobs and foster MORE innovation in African countries.

Rosie is also alumni of the School of International Studies at Peking University in Beijing where she is also an editor at the Peking Africa Think Tank. PATT is led by a diverse group of scholars who specialise in African Studies within the context of Sino-Africa relations.



Lauren has lived in six countries from the Americas to Europe and Asia and speaks both French and Spanish proficiently. At Development Reimagined, Lauren’s research focuses on climate action both in the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, and how countries are using tools such as SDGs and Covid-19 action to build a more climate-resilient future. She holds a Masters in International Relations from Leiden University.



Etsehiwot holds a Masters’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics. She has diverse experience in humanitarian and development issues by working in both multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Etsehiwot is currently a consultant focusing on the SDGs and development finance.


Economist Consultant

Dibekulu is an economist by training. He holds an MSc in International Development Studies from Palacky University Olomouc, an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Clermont Auvergne, and an MSc in Economics, Finance, and International Integration from the University of Pavia. At Development Reimagined, he works as an Economist consultant. He has strong data analysis skills, with research interests centring around development finance, impact assessment, food security, and agricultural insurance.


Project Manager

Osaru is a health professional with an MSc in Health Systems Policy and an interest in women’s health and population management. At Development Reimagined, she applies her health sector experience to global health research and collating locally applicable development insights from China.


Research Analyst

Ferdinando’s research at Development Reimagined is centred on South-South Cooperation dynamics, specifically on the analysis of Chinese investment and debt flows in Africa and their linkages to African industrialisation. He is currently a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, after having graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Development Studies.


Research Analyst

David is a Research and data analyst at Development Reimagined. His scholarly focus is mostly on interdisciplinary research in demographic economics and development with interests in migration, economic development and policy, education, health and subjective well-being. He is currently a PhD scholar at Nelson Mandela University from which he also holds Economics and Statistics and respectively.


Research Analyst Kenya

Ivory is a Kenyan lawyer with experience in policy research and analysis. She also supports the communications team at DR. Ivory speaks English, Swahili and French.


Research And Data Analyst China 

Joy Ene is a Research and Data Analyst at DR. Joy is passionate about African/global development, poverty eradication and trade policies between underdeveloped and developing countries. She is also a fourth-year student of International Economics and Trade at the  Liaoning University, Shenyang, China. She serves as the President of the Student Union, Liaoning University, International Students chapter.


Research Analyst 

Chensi Li is a research analyst. She has previously worked for local NGOs in Nigeria and Cameroon and think-tanks in China.  Her research areas include Sino-African relations, African foreign affairs, public diplomacy, state-building and national governance.

Yixin Yu

Research Analyst 

Yixin is a Junior Research Analyst and her focus areas is on public-private partnership and entrepreneurship. She has over three years of working experience in both private and public sectors in Ethiopia. She was the China Liaison Officer for project ‘Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa’ at International Trade Centre, where she accumulated rich experience in investment and trade promotion


Founder and CEO

Hannah Ryder is the Founder & CEO of Development Reimagined. A former diplomat and economist with 20 years of experience, named one of 100 most influential Africans in 2021, she is also Senior Associate for the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), sits on the Board of the Environmental Defence Fund, and is a member of UAE's International Advisory Council on the New Economy. Prior to her role at DR, Ms Ryder led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s work with China to help it scale up and improve its cooperation with other developing countries, including in Africa. She has also played various advisory roles for the UN and OECD and co-authored the seminal Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change in 2006.