Special Issue on public governance for rural and peri-urban livelihoods in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and other disasters

The changes brought by Covid-19 were sudden, drastic and unexpected for citizens and governments alike. While there are some predictions of likely future trajectories of the social and economic impact of the pandemic, and the post-covid-19 world, much of the discourse reveals deep uncertainties. What appears to be clear though, is that, even if the pandemic was to end today, the impact is already massive and will be long-lasting. Developmental livelihood initiatives and projects have been set back and livelihood activities have been curtailed or halted altogether. While, globally, recovery from this impact will be painfully slow for most sectors, it is the poor and vulnerable populations that will find it most difficult to recover from the impact of the pandemic. The rural populace already facing numerous challenges including the impact of climatic change are in a particularly more vulnerable situation.
Governments and institutions consistently adjust to the changing dynamics created by the pandemic and are taking proactive measures to remedy future impact. In Africa, despite numerous constraints, government responses have been fast and decisive albeit at varying degrees. Yet, emerging voices decry how government response does not adequately address vulnerable populations including people living in informal settlements and rural areas, whose living conditions, for example are less conducive to lockdown situations. Their livelihoods depend on their daily ability to work or trade, and yet they constitute a significant portion of the informal economy. There are also concerns that government cash and kind relief options might be inaccessible to some members of this population. These and other issues increasingly reveal that in order to address the Covid-19 pandemic and such disasters in future, critical research/engagement from the social sciences, management sciences and the humanities are as important as other areas of research that have been prioritized.

The African Journal of Governance and Development (AJGD) invites contributions for a special issue on livelihoods and responsive public governance in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. We believe that the pandemic requires a public governance approach defined by an ability to respond efficiently and effectively to the real needs of its people. This means that strategies, programmes, resources, activities and policies need to take seriously local variations, needs (assessed as best as possible), and people’s expectations and ambitions, in a way that promotes sustainable livelihoods.
Contributors may write on any relevant topic of their choice; we will primarily consider papers that explicitly analyze and make practical (policy) recommendations on, but not limited to:

  • The impact of the pandemic on any livelihood assets (see the sustainable livelihoods framework) and the extent to which governments and institutions are responsive;
  • Adjustment and adaptation strategies of governments to the pandemic;
  • Emerging dynamics of the impact of the pandemic and government responses among rural populations, and other vulnerable groups;
  • Emerging gender dynamics of both the impact and government response, especially how women are affected considering pre-existing social, economic, cultural and political exclusion that informed their livelihoods options;
  • Role of formal and informal governance, private, civic and other livelihood support networks in response to the pandemic; and
  • Role of traditional leaders and community-based governance structures.
    Where possible, we strongly encourage contributors to ground their papers within the several emerging datasets and documents on the pandemic.

Since this issue is intended to serve as useful resource that could inform ongoing response and policy, we aim to fast-track the publication process without undermining the high standards and quality of our journal. We therefore urge contributors to adhere strictly to the following deadlines:

Abstracts: 14 May 2020 (not more than 300 words)
Full manuscripts: 30 June 2020
Expected publication date: 30 August 2020
Manuscripts should be submitted through the AJGD website https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/jgd/information/authors
First time users of the site must register to submit.
Authors should include “Covid-19 Issue” in the file name of their manuscripts.
To learn more about the AJGD visit our website: https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/jgd
Guidelines for authors can be found here: https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/jgd/submisionguidlines

Dr Sokfa John
Managing Editor

AJGD Editor-in-Chief
Prof. BC Mubangizi