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Africa Day: AU Commission targets $1million donation for COVID-19 Respond Fund

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The African Union has set a target of USD $1million towards its COVID-19 Response Fund to strengthening the continental response to the pandemic and mitigate its socio economic and humanitarian impact on African populations.

The target expected to be achieved today as part of the continent’s celebration of The Africa Day marked on May 25 every year. The fund was established by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat on 26 March 2020.

This Africa Day, 25 May, all Africans, people of African descent and friends of Africa are encouraged to “give a little” to the fund.

Money raised under the Fund will be used to:

  • Mitigate the social, economic and humanitarian impact of COVID-19 in all African countries. This is important because the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse the socio-economic advancements made by Africa in the last 30 years as the pandemic proves to be more severe on the socio-economic well-being of populations in Africa.
  • Boost the capacity of the Africa CDC to support response to public health emergencies across the continent. Africa CDC was created to support efforts by Member States to prepare for and respond to public health threats across the continent. Its establishment followed the hard lessons from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, which caused the loss of thousands of lives and had a heavy toll on the socio-economic well-being of individuals and groups in Africa. Part of this fund will thus be used to boost the capacity of Africa CDC to fully play its role as a continental public health institution as stated in its statute.
  • Support the procurement and distribution of essential COVID-19 medical equipment and supplies and mobilize rapid response by Member States. There is stiff competition on the world markets for the supply of COVID19 response materials. This Fund will support pool procurement of diagnostics and other medical commodities by the Africa CDC for distribution to the Member States, and to support the deployment of one million community workers and community healthcare workers to support contact tracing.

In a statement to mark the Africa Day, the Africa Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat noted that the continent had developed and promptly implemented a response strategy “much to the surprise of those who have always belittled the Continent.

He commended the efforts of the AU Chairperson Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa “for the pertinent initiatives taken” and  My tribute also goes to all our Member States, “which in a remarkable manner, promptly took appropriate measures, consistent with the continental strategy.”

He urged the continent to “redouble efforts  determination and perseverance in strictly implementing the pillars of the strategy. We should go beyond the present situation, by preparing for post-pandemic conditions in the world.

“There is an urgent need for Africa to develop new forms of resilience. In a world in which multilateralism is sorely tested, Africa must stop expecting solutions from others. Africa should no longer be satisfied with this role of never-ending reservoir for some, and dumping ground for others.

“There is an urgent need for Africa to chart its own course. Its food dependency and insecurity are unacceptable and intolerable, as is the state of its road, port, health and educational infrastructure. Africa’s land, forests, rich fauna, mines, energy potential, and maritime and inland waterways, hold the necessary resources to provide an adequate response to the needs of its peoples.

“We should, in full lucidity, boldly opt for an innovative approach that is inward-looking rather than outward-looking. Let us live on what we have, using what we have, in other words let us live within our means!

Mahamat described COVID-19 as a brutal reminder of the imperative need for the continent to put a stop to “dependency on the exterior.”

“This can be achieved through the two-fold objective of living on our own resources, and resolutely focusing on our industrialisation process. Other entities with less resource than we have, were able to achieve this in record time.

“I strongly urge women, youth, intellectuals, academics, politicians, entrepreneurs, and civil society activists, to engage in fruitful and active discussions on the issue, which is key to our material survival, our independence, our freedom and our dignity.

“The only way to contain COVID-19 and its disastrous effects, is to ensure our food sufficiency, create millions of jobs, and save hundreds of millions of African citizens, who are currently seriously exposed to pandemics and various other hazards. This entails a real outpouring of solidarity for a truly strong and lasting African resilience.

“There is no nobler manner of celebrating Africa Day than by initiating this intellectual, moral and political venture, which is essential for the genuine renaissance of our dear Continent,” he said.

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