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COVID-19: Conte and other world leaders, only victory in Africa can end pandemic

LONDON, APRIL 15 – “This crisis has shown how interconnected we all are. No region can win the battle against Covid-19 alone. If it is not beaten in Africa, it will return to haunt us all”: the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte joined other European and African leaders calling for an urgent debt moratorium and unprecedented health and economic aid packages.

Writing on the Financial Times, the 18 world leaders state that “only victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere”. They stress that governments, medics, scientists and local communities in Africa have valuable experience in containing outbreaks and that most countries have already taken forceful action to slow the spread of the virus: “We also welcome the AU’s appointment of four special envoys to mobilise international support for Africa’s fight. Their role will be decisive in the implementation of our collective strategy”, they add, warning that “success requires an international effort. Effective containment measures carry huge costs to health systems, economies and livelihoods. To withstand this shock, Africa needs the full support of all its partners. Governments, multilateral institutions, philanthropic and non-governmental organisations and private businesses must immediately answer the G20’s call and join forces in an unprecedented effort to consolidate Africa’s health defences”.

The leaders call for immediate support to Africa’s public health systems deploying all available resources within existing institutions and channels, such as the Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and for a huge economic stimulus package of at least $100bn, as has been assessed by Africa’s finance ministers and the UN. In particular they urge the World Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank, the New Development Bank and other regional institutions to use all available instruments and to revisit access policies and quota limitations so that low income countries can fully benefit from their support, as well as an immediate moratorium on all bilateral and multilateral debt payments, both public and private, until the pandemic has passed. “To support this process and provide additional liquidity for the procurement of basic commodities and essential medical supplies, the IMF must decide immediately on the allocation of special drawing rights. We also ask that all of Africa’s development partners ringfence their development aid budgets.

“This crisis has shown how interconnected we all are. No region can win the battle against Covid-19 alone. If it is not beaten in Africa, it will return to haunt us all. This is not the time for division or politics but for unity and co-operation”, conclude the leaders including, besides Conte, Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal; Moussa Faki, African Union Commission Chair; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; João Lourenço, President of Angola; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Charles Michel, President of the European Council; Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of The Netherlands; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain; Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt; Felix Tshisekedi, President of Democratic Republic of Congo. (@OnuItalia)

 

OnuItalia
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Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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