East African countries have thrown their weight behind the African Union's candidate for the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, in a major way.
Multiple countries have joined together in creating a fund to support Dr. Tedros's candidacy in the election for the next Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). In an unprecedented move, African governments are pooling resources to ensure that Dr. Tedros's campaign has the financing it needs.
This is the first time African countries have united behind a single candidate for a major multilateral institution like WHO -- and the support is coming not only in words, but in deeds. The fund's establishment was led by Rwanda and it is based in Kigali, with several countries -- from East Africa and elsewhere on the continent -- having made or pledged contributions.
Interestingly, this fund won't stop with Dr. Tedros. Plans are in the works for this to become a long-term project, making financial resources available to future African candidates contesting various international roles. The motivation behind creating this fund is to ensure that Africa's voice is heard at global levels through enabling African candidates to have a fair shot at securing high-profile roles.
From the outset, Dr. Tedros's candidacy has been marked by support from the continent. He received official endorsement from the African Union and when he launched his campaign in Geneva in May, he was joined by African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as well as Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo and Kenya's Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, to lend their support and enthusiasm.