Read full remarks by UN Secretary General António Guterres on COVID-19 impact on Africa and why help is needed now Updated for 2021

82,089FansLike
2,966FollowersFollow
2,700SubscribersSubscribe
82,089FansLike
3,122FollowersFollow
2,700SubscribersSubscribe

Updated: March 6, 2021

As COVID-19 spreads across the continent, Africa has responded swiftly to the pandemic, and as of now reported cases are lower than feared.  Even so, much hangs in the balance.

In recent years Africans have done much to advance the well-being of the continent’s people. Economic growth has been strong. The digital revolution has taken hold. A free trade area has been agreed. 

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

But the pandemic threatens African progress. It will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease.  Already, demand for Africa’s commodities, tourism and remittances are declining.  The opening of the trade zone has been pushed back – and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty.

The virus has taken more than 2500 African lives. Vigilance and preparedness are critical.

I commend what African countries have done already, together with the African Union. 

Most have moved rapidly to deepen regional coordination, deploy health workers, and enforce quarantines, lockdowns and border closures.

They are also drawing on the experience of HIV/AIDS and Ebola to debunk rumours and overcome mistrust of government, security forces and health workers.

I express my total solidarity with the people and governments of Africa in tackling COVID-19. 

United Nations agencies, country teams, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian workers are providing support. 

United Nations solidarity flights have delivered millions of test kits, respirators and other supplies, reaching almost the entire continent.

The policy brief we are issuing today highlights a spectrum of urgent challenges.

We are calling for international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings. 

African countries should also have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment, that must be considered global public goods

I have been calling for a global response package amounting to at least 10 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.  For Africa, that means more than $200 billion as additional support from the international community.

I also continue to advocate a comprehensive debt framework — starting with an across-the-board debt standstill for countries unable to service their debt, followed by targeted debt relief and a comprehensive approach to structural issues in the international debt architecture to prevent defaults. 

It will also be essential for African countries to sustain their efforts to silence the guns and address violent extremism – and I welcome African support for my call for a global ceasefire.  Political processes and elections in the coming months offer potential milestones for stability and peace.

Women will be central to every aspect of the response.  Stimulus packages must prioritize putting cash in the hands of women and increasing social protection. 

We must empower African youth.  The human rights of all must be respected.

Many difficult decisions will need to be taken as the pandemic unfolds, and it will be essential to retain the trust and participation of citizens throughout.

These are still early days for the pandemic in Africa, and disruption could escalate quickly.  Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative – now and for recovering better.

Ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world.

Thank you.

UN Secretary General António Guterres

[/read_more]

Opinion contributor
Opinion contributor
This opinion was received by Today News Africa in Washington, District of Columbia. The views expressed here are those of the writer(s) and not ours. You can send your own article to todaynewsafrica@gmail.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

TRENDING

Confidential U.S. government report concludes Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed leading ethnic cleansing in Tigray region

A confidential U.S. government report has concluded that the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia along with allied militia fighters are leading a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in Tigray."Whole villages were severely damaged or completely erased," the report, first obtained by The New York Times, says.It adds that fighters from the neighboring Amhara region of Ethiopia who moved to Tigray...

Stay connected

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
Reddit
Pocket
Share
More