Zimbabwean business mogul, Strive Masiyiwa has been appointed African Union (AU) Special envoy in the global mobilization of medical test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) for African countries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most African countries are facing serious shortages of essential medical and protective equipment during this pandemic due to lack of capacity to produce or import.
Speaking on South Africa's News24 livestream recently, AU chairperson and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa revealed the appointment of owner of the Zimbabwean telecommunications giant, Econet Wireless to the led the continent's response strategy.
"I appointed an envoy in addition to the other envoys that are looking at the financing aspect and debt aspects. I appointed Mr Strive Masiyiwa, a business leader with businesses here in South Africa and Zimbabwe to be our envoy of the continent to scour the world and find these diagnostic as well as the medical supplies," Ramaphosa said.
He said the development has already yielded great outcomes for the continent following an agreement met with Chinese suppliers of PPE to supply Africa.
"And we have been able to have a great success. Just in the past few days of getting the suppliers in China with the intervention of President Xi Jinping to agree that they will, make available up to 30 million test kits for us on the African continent and they will make these available per month as well as 18 million masks per month," he added.
The Union is set to launch a procurement platform next week that will ensure African countries are able to procure at a central place for easier delivery.
This will also provide an opportunity for producers of the needed equipment to also be able to supply.
With most Africa countries facing few resources to buy sufficient medical test kits and PPE, financing modalities and the procurement processes will be unveiled in weeks to come, Ramaphosa said.
Masiyiwa through various portfolios under his business empire has been playing a crucial role in fighting the scourge of Covid-19 across the continent, providing material and financial assistance.
Last month, Masiyiwa donated 45 Intensive care unit ventilators for Zimbabwe's public hospitals.