AU mobilises US$88.5 million to fight COVID-19

By ZBC Reporter
THE African Union has raised US$88.5 million to fight against coronavirus while measures have been adopted to contain the spread of the virus and to mitigate the economic fallout that will be caused by the virus.
In a statement, African Union Chairman President Cyril Ramaphosa said a lot of work needs to be done in the fight against COVID-19.
“To date, we have managed to raise $25 million for the Response Fund and an additional $36.5 million to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. We are confronted with an unprecedented public health crisis, which poses a real existential threat, with far-reaching socio-economic consequences,” he said.
Ramaphosa said there is need to raise additional funds for the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and intensive lobbying of the international community, including the international financial institutions, for a comprehensive, robust economic stimulus package for Africa.
“There is a need to effectively protect citizens against the coronavirus, with e urgently need more health workers, medical supplies and equipment, including ventilators.
While the numbers of infections in Africa at this time is lower than elsewhere in the world, we expect that the peak of infections in Africa will come later, with devastating consequences.
We are concerned about the impact the virus will have on our societies, our economies and our public health systems,” he said.
Ramaphosa addressed the virtual Summit of the G20 and a virtual joint meeting of the World Bank and IMF, underscoring the need for a comprehensive, robust economic stimulus package for Africa.
“In these engagements, we have called for, among other measures, the allocation of more Special Drawing Rights Allocations to Africa to provide much-needed liquidity to central banks, the corporate sector and SMEs.
We also argued for a waiver of all interest payments on multilateral and bilateral debt. This would provide the necessary fiscal space for African governments to devote all available resources to response and recovery.
This economic injection should support both the continent’s immediate humanitarian needs and place the continent on a path towards economic recovery.
We further emphasised the need to ensure trade and investment flows are not further disrupted by measures inconsistent with WTO rules,” he said.
The AU chair reiterated the need for lifting of sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe as a way of easing pressure on available resources for the fight against COVID-19.
“There is also an urgent need for economic sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe to be lifted, in order to provide the necessary space for these countries to devote their resources to the fight against COVID-19.
At this time, it is also vital that we intensify efforts to end all forms of violence, destabilisation and terrorism on the continent. If we are to be successful in overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, we need to work even harder to silence the guns – and to ensure that they remain silent,” he said.