Governments can take the opportunity of COVID-19 to change Africa's place in global economic structures, but it will take pan-African coordination.
Since the 16th century, Africa has been a place of both resource extraction - in the form of enslaved people, gold and minerals - and of external financing as European traders provided credit to their African counterparts to help finance the expansion of the Atlantic trade.
The structural adjustment policies promoted by the IMF and World Bank following the 1970s oil crisis may have further entrenched African economies' dependency on the export of raw materials.
Rather than trying to return to normal - albeit with even greater debt and mass unemployment - African governments should take this rare chance to rebalance Africa's relationship to global capital.
Although they would be just a start, these twin policies of a debt cancellation campaign and increased credit - financed through the diaspora and pan-African banks - would bring money into African economies and significantly ameliorate the current crisis.