UN chief calls on the international community on Wednesday to show solidarity with Africa in the face of the threat of the coronavirus.
As Covid-19 spreads to Africa, countries on the continent have responded quickly to the pandemic, according to UN.news.org.
“To date, the number of reported cases is lower than we feared – espite this, the stakes remain high, ”warned the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres , in the presentation of a report on the impact of the coronavirus in Africa.
The pandemic is already threatening the progress made in Africa, at the risk of worsening existing inequalities and increasing hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to the disease.
As proof, the demand for basic African products, tourism and remittances is declining. The opening of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECA) has been postponed and millions of people could fall into extreme poverty. To date, the virus has killed more than 2,500 people in Africa.
In this context, “vigilance and preparation are essential,” said Mr Guterres who congratulated the countries of Africa, as well as the African Union (AU), for the measures they have already undertaken.
“Most have been quick to act to strengthen regional coordination, deploy health workers and establish quarantines, containments and closed borders,” he said. The UN is also mobilized alongside Africans in the face of threats from the coronavirus. United Nations agencies, country teams, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian actors are fully supporting these efforts.
“The UN solidarity flights have made it possible to transport millions of screening kits, masks and other equipment, across almost the entire continent,” said the Secretary-General.The United Nations released a briefing note on Wednesday (May 20, 2020) that highlights a series of pressing coronavirus problems in Africa.
“We call for international mobilization to strengthen health systems in Africa, maintain food supply chains, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat and protect the continent from lost revenue and export earnings,” said Guterres, noting that African countries must have the same rapid, fair and affordable access to all future vaccines and treatments, which should be seen as goods.
The Secretary-General has called for a global recovery plan that represents at least 10 per cent of global gross domestic product.
“For Africa, this means more than US$200 billion in additional support from the international community,” he said. On the security side, the UN believes that it will also be essential for African countries to continue their action to silence arms and confront violent extremism. Mr. Guterres welcomed support across the continent for his call for a global ceasefire.
“The political processes and the elections represent in the months to come so many opportunities to take important steps in terms of stability and peace,” he said.