AU special envoy succumbs to COVID-19

ABDERRAHMANE Benkhalfa, one of Africa’s leading politicians and a special envoy of the African Union has succumbed to COVID-19.

Benkhalfa succumbed to COVID-19 on 23 April 2021 in a military hospital in Algiers. He was 71.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the immediate past chairperson of the AU, has expressed deep sadness at the passing of Benkhalfa, a financial expert and former Algerian Minister of Finance.

During Ramaphosa’s year-long term as Chairperson of the African Union (AU), the President appointed Benkhalfa as one of five AU COVID-19 Special Envoys to mobilise international financial and other support for the African continental effort against the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramaphosa offers his sincere condolences to Benkhalfa’s family, the government and people of Algeria, as well as Benkhalfa’s colleagues including fellow Special Envoys.

Ramaphosa said: “This is a very painful moment, as we bid farewell to an accomplished and globally respected African compatriot who has championed the cause of our continent in the global fight against COVID-19.

“It is tragic that Abderrahmane Benkhalfa’s life was claimed by the very disease he fought as a Special Envoy, and it is poignant that this loss has befallen Algeria and our continent during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

“This is a moment for all of us to intensify our continent’s efforts to save lives and to rebuild economies that have been gravely affected by this pandemic.”

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