African Union Chair Cyril Ramaphosa to provide public update on continental strategy to fight COVID-19

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President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU), will Thursday, June 18, 2020, provide a public update on the continent-wide effort to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The update, in the form of a media conference, follows ongoing deliberations at the level of the Bureau of the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government, and the Chairpersons of the AU Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

The update also follows the virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against COVID-19 co-hosted by the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the AU on Wednesday, 17 June 2020.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against Covid-19, 17 June 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against Covid-19, 17 June 2020

The Summit explored opportunities for African states to leverage multilateral cooperation, through the FOCAC mechanism, so that resources and knowledge can be mobilised in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

FOCAC is an official forum that coordinates cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and African states.

The continent’s leadership has been seized with the coordination of continent-wide containment measures as well as the implementation of social and economic relief measures.

At the heart of the continent’s management of the pandemic is the creation of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform – an online mechanism enabling the procurement, coordination and distribution of COVID-19 medical supplies for all AU member states.

The platform will be formally launched during President Ramaphosa’s engagement tomorrow.

The development of this pool procurement platform has been necessitated by exponential growth in COVID-19 cases and deaths on the continent, shortages of key supplies and the need, at the continental level, for the procurement of commodities to prevent coronavirus transmission and related deaths.

President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against Covid-19, 17 June 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against Covid-19, 17 June 2020

The AU leadership has identified an urgent need to procure critical medical equipment and bridge the supply gap to help fight the pandemic for the next six months at least.

The Africa Medical Supplies Platform serves as a unique interface which allows African governments and NGOs to easily identify available suppliers in Africa and outside the continent.

The platform makes it possible for governments and NGOS to place their orders optimally for diagnostic test kits, clinical management and PPE equipment. 

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will facilitate payments while logistics partners will expedite delivery.

The online platform was developed under the leadership of African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa at the behest of the AU Bureau of the Assembly. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against Covid-19, 17 June 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a virtual Extraordinary China-Africa Solidarity Summit against Covid-19, 17 June 2020

This has been done in partnership with Afreximbank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), with the support of leading African & international institutions, foundations & corporations as well as the Governments of the Republic of China, Canada, and France. 

The technological platform was developed by the African private sector and made in Africa by Vaya Technologies Limited and Janngo as lead partners. 


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