African leaders’ concerned with one million COVID-19 cases but happy with high recoveries

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

AFRICAN leaders have expressed concern over the number of COVID-19 cases across the continent has reached a million, with 26 000 recorded deaths.

The worry of Africa’s heads of states and governments was communicated after an extraordinary meeting of the African Union (AU), convened by its chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

Ramaphosa chaired the third teleconference Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government with Chairpersons of the AU Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

Although concerned about the levels of COVID-19 on the African continent, the leaders welcomed the hight rate of recoveries. They, however, cautioned that the COVID-19 pandemic situation remains serious and urged member states to exercise caution in the easing of restrictions on socio-economic activity. 

In a statement, the AU said the heads of state and government renewed their call for member states to contribute towards the AU COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, which was critical in the effective implementation of the Continental strategy.  ‘They endorsed the Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine development and access strategy presented by the Director of Africa CDC, and called for the acceleration of African involvement in vaccine development, Africa’s access to vaccine supply, and the removal of barriers to vaccine delivery and uptake. The Heads of State and Government stressed that Africa should take appropriate measures, as part of the strategy, to ensure that it secures timely access to COVID-19 vaccines when they become available,” the AU said. 

The AU said while the heads of state and government welcomed the flexibility displayed by financial institutions and their disbursements to African countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they renewed their call for:

  • A debt moratorium to be refined and extended to December 2021 with the expectation that multilateral institutions and bilateral creditors outside the Paris Club participate
  • A market friendly solution, to safeguard access to private sector markets in the future
  • An early replenishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and the World Bank International Development Association.
  • An early decision on the Special Drawing Rights.
  • A general capital increase for the AFREXIMBANK which has played a major countercyclical role in recent months
  • The IMF to consider a second round of measures before the end of the year, and to ensure that countries that have not been able to access support so far are included, taking into account neighborhood effects of excluding those countries.

The AU was happy that 46  countries have thus far subscribed to the African Medical Supply Platform which was launched in June 2020, with twenty-three (23) countries in the process of ordering medical supplies through the Platform. 
“The Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their support for Continental efforts to procure critical personal protective equipment and other diagnostic and therapeutic supplies and to ensure that African countries are at the front of the queue once a vaccine is developed.  The Heads of State and Government welcomed six Caribbean Community countries who have joined the African Medical Supply Platform and are purchasing medical supplies through the platform. The extension and inclusion of fraternal CARICOM countries on the platform is a concrete manifestation of cooperation and solidarity with the Diaspora. The Heads of State and Government commended the Special Envoys for their efforts to mobilise international resources to support the Member states in their fight against the pandemic and to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects on the people of Africa. The excellent work undertaken on the Platform was also acknowledged.”

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