$420m required to implement African continental strategy on Covid-19’

The implementation of the “Africa Continental Strategy on Covid-19” will require $420 million over the next six months, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has estimated.

The Africa CDC gave the figure to the newly-nominated African Union (AU) Covid-19 Response Fund Board of Trustees inaugural online meeting.

AU Social Affairs Commissioner, Amira Elfadil, apprised the board members on the status of the response fund and the plans to mobilise from member states and partners to enable the AU to safe-guard Africa’s health through the Africa CDC.

She informed the board that $61,500,000 had so far been raised, and urged the board members to close the gap by raising the remaining $358,500,000 to reach the target.

AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, highlighted that the Union is using the economic, humanitarian and health dimensions to get through the global pandemic.

He explained: “The economic dimension aims to realise debt relief for the continent, and the provision of sufficient liquidity to get Africa through the crisis.

“In this regard, the AU Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has appointed four special envoys to advocate with partners and the international community, providing substantial support to Africa in the face of the potential economic crisis caused by Covid-19.

“The humanitarian dimension refers to the situation where Africa is strengthening its partnerships with the United Nations and other international humanitarian agencies, to provide logistical support to states in caring for refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants.

“Last but not least, the health dimension focuses on strengthening preventive measures and health infrastructure, including provision of equipment, trained health personnel, and surveillance systems that inform government decisions.”

Africa CDC Director Dr. John Nkengasong said the funds would support the Africa CDC’s pool procurement of diagnostics and other medical commodities for distribution across the continent, which will enable the continent to test one million Africans in 10 weeks.

“It will also support the deployment of one million community healthcare workers to support contact tracing; and standardisation and deployment of common technology platforms to boost public trust in testing data, epidemiological models and critical health forecasting techniques as part of the economic recovery and re-opening agenda. We need to enhance testing, improve logistics and scale up manufacturing,” he added.

The governance structure of the AU Covid-19 response Fund Board of Trustees is made up of member states, the private sector and AU representatives.

Some private sector members of the Board include President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Oramah; President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Executive Director, Dangote Group, Mansur Ahmed; and Chairman, Afro-Champions, Mr. Paul Gomes.

The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Board of the AU Covid-19 Response Fund will be announced at a meeting to be held next week.

Sammy

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