The African continent is currently facing a range of socio-economic challenges that have given rise to a serious humanitarian crisis. These challenges include soaring rates of unemployment and inequality, which can exacerbate violent conflicts by creating conditions that are conducive to looting and making it easier for rebel groups to recruit new members. Despite these challenges, South Africa has demonstrated a strong commitment to tackling them by actively participating in both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Union established regional task forces across the continent to address the crisis. These task forces focused on early detection, rapid testing, prevention, and isolation of infected individuals. The African Task Force for Coronavirus played a critical role in coordinating these efforts and ensuring that resources were allocated effectively. In addition to these regional efforts, South Africa and the African Union Bureau secured a significant amount of $12 million in funding to support the fight against COVID-19 (Lalbahadur, 2020).

However, there are concerns about the impact of these interventions on military capacity, particularly in regions where South Africa has been heavily involved. These concerns highlight the need for careful planning and coordination to ensure that efforts to combat COVID-19 do not undermine other critical priorities. Continued vigilance and collaboration will be necessary to ensure that the pandemic is brought under control.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa necessitated a concerted effort from various stakeholders, with the South African government taking a leading role in coordinating these efforts. President Ramaphosa collaborated closely with the World Health Organization, the African Centre for Disease Control, and the African Union Commission to spearhead coordination efforts across the continent. Moreover, South Africa was proactive in preparing for strict COVID-19 regulations and lockdown measures. Lalbahadur's (2020:2) provides critical insights into the effectiveness of these measures and their impact on the African population. Overall, this collaborative and proactive approach by the South African government and its partners played a vital role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic in Africa.

The endorsement by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, of the United Nations Secretary-General's call for an international ceasefire aimed at assisting health and humanitarian workers in controlling the spread of COVID-19 has been further bolstered by South Africa's backing of the initiative (Lalbahadur, 2020:2). This global ceasefire holds the potential to align with the goal of "Silencing the Guns" that South Africa has been spearheading as a leader in the African Union.

However, despite the noble intentions of individual countries to control COVID-19 (DIRCO, 2020), it has resulted in a delay in making progress towards achieving this goal. Maintaining a balance between controlling the spread of COVID-19 and upholding peace is crucial. There can be a sustainable environment by emphasizing public health and finding solutions for the pandemic's adverse economic effects.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa emerged as a leader in promoting multilateralism and fostering collaboration among African nations. While some African governments utilized the crisis as a means of oppressing their own citizens (Lalbahadur, 2020:2), South Africa remained steadfast in its efforts to implement various initiatives aimed at combating the virus throughout the continent.

The African Union, led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, took significant measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Various initiatives were instituted, including the Africa Coronavirus Response Fund and the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which helped to coordinate and procure vaccines (De Coning, (2021:353). These measures were instrumental in mitigating the spread of the virus throughout the African continent. This proactive approach demonstrates the African Union's commitment to combating the pandemic and protecting its citizens (Nkuhlu, 2020 and African Union, 2020).

Moreover, the resources that were initially earmarked for containing arms were redirected towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a reduction in efforts in this area. This redirection of resources has had a significant impact on the ability of international organizations to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa. As such, it is crucial to maintain a delicate balance between addressing the COVID-19 crisis and other critical priorities to ensure that the African continent is able to address all of the challenges it is facing effectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected various aspects of human life, including international affairs. The 10th review conference of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was among the events that were postponed due to the pandemic, which had significant implications for the international community. This conference is a crucial platform that brings together representatives from almost all 191 states-parties to the treaty. Its main objective is to review compliance, identify action steps, and fulfill overarching goals and objectives.

Initially, the conference was scheduled to take place from April 27th to May 22nd, 2020, at the UN headquarters in New York. However, due to the severity of the pandemic, it was rescheduled to August 1st–22nd, 2022 (UNODA, 2022). The delay of the conference created challenges for states-parties in maintaining momentum towards the treaty's goals and objectives, particularly in light of emerging threats such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the use of nuclear energy for non-peaceful purposes.

The shift to virtual platforms for diplomatic and groundwork activities had a significant impact on the effectiveness of international counterinsurgency initiatives (Schultes, 2021). The inability to conduct physical meetings and engagements made it difficult to build trust and establish relationships with key stakeholders. Furthermore, it has made it more challenging for international organizations to coordinate their efforts with local actors and communities, who are often the first line of defense against non-state actors.

These developments have brought to the fore the need for stakeholders to remain vigilant and adapt to changing circumstances to effectively address the myriad of security challenges plaguing the region. It is crucial that international organizations work closely with local actors and communities to address the root causes of insecurity in the region. The efforts must include measures to address governance and socio-economic issues, which are often at the heart of the conflict. Without addressing these underlying issues, the region's insecurity will likely persist, and non-state actors will continue to thrive.

Therefore, it is essential for South Africa to assist states such as DR Congo and Mozambique amid the pandemic. These countries have been experiencing various challenges, such as armed conflict, political instability, and natural disasters, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The assistance provided should focus on addressing the root causes of insecurity and promoting socio-economic development. This will not only improve the security situation in the region but also promote regional stability and economic growth.