Speakers at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) have called for financial assistance from multilateral institutions in order to rebuild economies following the COVID-19 pandemic. The session, which took place virtually, was addressed by 33 heads of state and governments. Many leaders called for the cancellation of African countries debts to enable redirection of meagre resources to tackle poverty. Several leaders including Guinea and Niger presidents referenced the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfFTA) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda as frameworks through which social and financial inclusion could be achieved.
Many African countries celebrated identity day on 16 September to coincide with sustainable development goal (SDG) 16.9 that aspires that everyone has a legal identity by 2030. Identity day is a campaign by the coalition ID4D Africa and it is supported by several African states and private companies. Nigeria became the first country in the region to have an official national identity day, and announced plans to enrol internally displaced persons into the national digital identity programme. Biometric updates reported that at least 10 countries, including the Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Lesotho, Niger, Senegal, Somalia, and Uganda held commemorations. Kenya also announced plans for a second phase of its digital ID programme before the end of the year.
South African public agencies are increasingly adopting digital technologies for the processing and disbursement of COVID-19 relief grants, following various lockdown measures by the government. For example, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) gave recipients of a COVID-19 grant the option of receiving cash transfers through mobile phones instead of the post office. SASSA also launched an online grant application portal in September. Similarly, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has an online system for application of temporary employee relief benefits, under a government grant to cushion the unemployed. However, both systems have faced challenges such as beneficiaries being unable to receive benefits due to efficiency challenges with the post office, as well as lax controls on the UIF system, raising audit queries on whether the grant was being accessed by deserving recipients.
Human rights groups are concerned about the shrinking civic space as Tanzania heads to elections on 28 October 2020. The Human Rights Watch notes that authorities have been cracking down on opposition leaders and civil society groups both online and offline. The government prohibited speech related to the economy or national security issues in August. It has also imposed restrictions on media houses or bloggers discussing COVID-19 or other issues that could destabilise the country. Public interest litigation has also been limited.