There is no shortage of innovation in Africa, yet ambitious attempts at systemic change are often characterised by a steady crawl rather than the high-speed agility seen during the Covid-19 crisis. The immediacy of the existential threat requires a different pace.

While the hardware for change has been building ( over the past decades, the software — such as political alignment and cultural resolve — has sometimes held things back. But the pandemic has shifted the cultural context almost beyond recognition. Suddenly previous obstacles to change are surmountable as bigger ones are overcome, and an ethos of urgent action becomes the norm...

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