Africa’s security issues have suffered serious attention deficits. This article analyses why a globally accepted health security norm, such as fighting a communicable disease during a pandemic such as the COVID-19 pandemic, was, in Africa, perceived as a security threat emanating from external—foreign—actors importing a ‘foreign virus’ into Africa. This fear-based perception can be explained by West Africa’s ontological security fears, ultimately based on its colonial past and a relationship of exploitation by the West. While this article analyses the case of COVID-19, it also explains the same process with previous epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS and EDV/Ebola.
- ontological security
- West Africa