African Union leaders meet to discuss health and economic response to COVID-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as African Union Chairperson, will chair a virtual meeting of the African Union (AU) Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government and Chairpersons of AU Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The AU Special Envoys will also participate in the meeting to be held  this afternoon, Thursday, 11 June 2020.

The meeting takes place against the backdrop of the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The pandemic continues to have major impacts on the health and lives of people and threatens to have an even longer-lasting economic and social impact on the economies of Africa.

During the first few months of the outbreak, governments around the world have been focused on containing the spread of the disease, relying in many cases on stringent transmission control measures. It has become clear that the economic and social costs of the outbreak will be significant with governments increasingly turning their attention to a broader set of policy interventions that can help mitigate such costs.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projections have already been revised downward for most regions and countries, driven by shocks to both domestic demand and supply with sharp declines in the circulation of goods and services, as well as people and capital.

The  African Union has adopted a joint continental strategy for COVID19 outbreak and through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  established a task force to coordinate the efforts of Member States and partners to ensure synergy and minimize duplication. The Union has further set up a special COVID-19 Fund, embarked on efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Africa Africa CDC. and constituted a team of Special Envoys in support of its strategy.

The appointed Special Envoys are tasked to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges the Continent will face as a result of COVID-19. They are expected to solicit rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the European Union (EU) and other international financial institutions.

Today’s meeting follows  previous meetings held by the AU Bureau and AU RECs will receive a briefing on the Africa COVID19 pandemic strategy and updates on the situation on the continent. It will also receive a report on the economic relief measures from the AU Envoys and a presentation, ahead of the public launch, of the Africa Medical Supplies – a pool platform for African countries for the procurement of critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment. 

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