ACE’s response to COVID-19

ACE supports decision-makers to navigate the uncertainty of large bodies of evidence in systematic and reliable ways. As the world seeks solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, our team is responding in a number of ways:

(1) We are systematically collating the large number of evidence hubs dedicated to COVID-19 response across all sectors which are being produced around the world. In collaboration with McMaster, this dataset will soon be made available online as a Living COVID-19 Knowledge Hubs Database. This hub of hubs will provide decision-makers and researchers with a one-stop-shop portal to navigate the large number of available evidence databases and repositories related to COVID-19.

(2) We are working to support colleagues in South African government (specifically the Department for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation) in rapidly collating the evidence base on two topics: (a) on support to small and medium enterprises in the context of COVID-19 and (b) to support the tracking of local and international government policy responses to COVID-19.

(3) Linked to 2b above, we are working to document the international response to COVID-19 and how it relates to South Africa, as well as South Africa’s specific national response.

(4) We are using our relationships with the global evidence communities to make introductions, where pertinent, of global experts to colleagues, directly supporting the South African Presidency’s response to COVID-19.

(5) We are collecting, via the Africa Evidence Network, examples of how evidence is being used to address a wide range of decisions across Africa, and making them freely available (in English and French).

(6) We are developing a series of webinars for the evidence community across Africa to share experiences on the use of evidence to tackle issues in a wide range of sectors.

(7) Evidence 2020, the biennial event of the Africa Evidence Network, is going fully virtual. The newly designed Digital Evidence 2020 will be launched in early May.

(8) We are contributing to global evidence synthesis efforts through our active participation in COVIDEND.

(9) In partnership with 3ie and GESI, we are establishing an Evidence Synthesis Response service where specifically decision-makers from low- and middle-income countries will be able to access rigorous and timely syntheses to inform their socio-economic COVID-19 policy decisions.

(10) We are working with Africa Check on a project – funded by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – that seeks to understand effective strategies for tackling COVID-19 misinformation on WhatsApp in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

(11) Our Distinguished Visiting Professors, Professor of Practice, Research Associates, and postgraduate students are involved in a number of COVID-19 response initiatives across South Africa and around the world; we support them fully in their endeavours.

(12) We are taking very seriously our duty of care to our staff and our role in supporting our wider communities.


The Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE) is a research organisation based at the University of Johannesburg that was founded at the end of 2016. ACE’s mission is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality in Africa and South Africa through the use of evidence. All of ACE’s work is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan of South Africa. The ACE team is multi-disciplinary, and provides the secretariat to the Africa Evidence Network. Read our five-year strategy here.

To achieve our mission, ACE focusses on four strategic goals:

1. Greater understanding of the art and science of using evidence

2. Stronger evidence capacities

3. Meaningful evidence communities

4. Rigorous and relevant evidence synthesis