African FMs emphasizes unity, cohesion to effectively implement continental anti-COVID-19 strategy

ADDIS ABABA: April 11 (EI) — African ministers of foreign affairs on Saturday emphasized the importance of unity and cohesion as a vital imputes in effectively implementing the Africa continental anti-COVID-19 strategy.

The urgent call was made by the Bureau of the AU Executive Council, which brings together African foreign ministers, in a statement issued on Saturday that followed the Council’s teleconference meeting that dwelt upon the situation of COVID0-19 in the African continent.

“The ministers underscored the importance of unity, cohesion in order to effectively implement the continental anti-COVID-19 strategy that is underpinned by coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and communications in order to prevent transmission, limit deaths, and mitigate harm,” the final meeting outcome communique issued by the 55-member pan African bloc on Saturday read.

They also recommended for approval of the measures undertaken by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, of putting in place all the necessary legal requirements for the operationalization of the AU Covid-19 Response Fund.

According to the 55-member pan African bloc, African countries are in the process of transferring a combined total of 17 million U.S. dollars, as seed capital to both the AU Covid-19 Response Fund and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), in which the combined total will be allocated 12.5 million U.S. dollars to the Fund while 4.5 million U.S. dollars to the Africa CDC.

Latest figures from the Africa CDC – specialized agency of the 55-member African Union (AU) – in its latest situation update issued on Saturday revealed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent have surged to 12,973 as of Saturday morning, in which among the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa, Algeria, Egypt as well as Morocco.

The African foreign ministers, reiterating “the need for African leadership and ownership of the response to COVID-19,” also took note with satisfaction of the efforts of the AU regional economic communities to implement the Africa anti-COVID19 strategy, and encouraged the regional economic communities to ensure synergy, complementarities and coherence in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic through the Africa Taskforce for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response.

The ministers further welcomed the progress report on the establishment of Ministerial Task Forces on Health, Finance and Transport, which they said are “critical for the comprehensive implementation on the continental strategy to fight COVID-19.”

Members of the AU Executive Council also urged African countries “to make contributions to both the AU Covid-19 Response Fund and the Africa CDC,” as they also invited regional development institutions, the African private sector, international financial institutions and bilateral partners to honour their financial commitments to the Fund.

They further agreed on a governance framework for the Africa COVID-19 Fund, which will provide effective oversight and ensure the equitable distribution of these funds to member states.

The Africa COVID-19 Fund is a pan-African initiative that will mobilize financial resources for Africa’s war against COVID-9 pandemic.

The AU Executive Council also expressed its “deep appreciation to the Africa CDC for providing an invaluable platform for the exchange of real-time information and data regarding the spread of the virus.”

Meanwhile, the Bureau of the AU Executive Council also expressed its “appreciation and unequivocal support” for the statement of the AU Chairperson, and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa regarding Africa’s common position in support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its leadership in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The African finance ministers, in their latest virtual meeting, also “affirmed the AU’s support for the WHO, under the capable and inspiring leadership of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,” the final meeting outcome statement read.

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