“Our collective humanity is at stake and every life matters” - Adesina
African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina has called for a collective effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) was honored to feature Dr. Adesina on its recently launched webinar series “Navigating the Impact of COVID-19”. CCA, a leading U.S. business association established to promote business and investment between the United States and Africa, created the webinar series to provide a platform to address the health as well as the economic impact of COVID-19 in Africa.
The webinar, attended by U.S. and African government officials and private sector executives, was part of CCA’s series of virtual conferences that will maintain engagement and dialogue between the private sector, multilateral agencies and U.S and African governments as the world struggles to address the health as well as economic and business impact of the coronavirus.
“We need collaboration now more than ever… Africa is the latest continent to face the dire health, economic and social consequences of this pandemic. This crisis threatens to erase the unprecedented growth the continent has experienced over the last decade. The African Development Bank has been a global leader in responding to this emerging crisis in Africa,” CCA President and CEO Florie Liser said in her opening remarks.
Adesina used his address to issue a call for action.
“Our collective humanity is at stake and every life matters…Nations will always go through shocks. Systems will always come under pressure. The issue is to understand the shocks and how it affects resilience, the resilience of individuals, the resilience of communities, the resilience of local and national states,” Adesina said.
The webinar was moderated by Peter Sullivan, Managing Director, Public Sector Head, Citi Bank, who said the pandemic was “unprecedented in terms of its health and social impact, its economic impact and its financial impact. The crisis has significantly hurt economic activity across multiple sectors, including tourism, transportation and commodities.”
Fielding questions from participants, Adesina recalled the Bank’s $3 billion fundraising social bond and a $10 billion Response Facility to assist governments and businesses. The response package includes $5 billion earmarked for governments, $3.1 billion to countries that fall under the Bank’s concessionary African Development Fund and $1.4 billion to the private sector.
Answering questions on Africa’s healthcare system, the Bank’s president said African countries needed to more or less double spending in this sector, especially in primary healthcare. They also had a dearth of pharmaceutical companies, compared to their counterparts in Asia and elsewhere, he said.
China, for example, is home to 7,000 pharmaceutical companies, and India 11,000, versus 375 in Africa, even though the populations of the two Asian giants are nearly equal to that of the continent.
Dr. Adesina also fielded questions related to the impact on agriculture and farmers as well as the oil and gas sector.
“I’m hoping that out of this situation…we all will now come and say, let’s make sure Africa has the first-rate healthcare infrastructure that its people need…and pharmaceutical products.”
Adesina urged multilateral institutions to align their efforts regarding debt re-profiling, which would ensure that their ratings were not affected.
“One of the hardest things for me to watch is the announcement of deaths…It reminds us of the deadly race we are in. This is a time for even greater partnerships, partnerships that build resilience, partnerships that will endure long after the coronavirus is gone,” Adesina concluded and urged CCA to play a role in this needed partnership.
About Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)
Corporate Council on Africa is the leading U.S business association focused solely on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa. CCA uniquely represents a broad cross section of member companies from small and medium size businesses to multinationals as well as U.S and African firms. Learn more at www.corporatecouncilonafrica.com. Media Contact: Olaotan Awoyomi, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: j.mp/AfDB_Media