Africa: President Rallies Support As Africa Recovers From Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa says African countries will continue to need substantial support to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We reiterate our call for a comprehensive economic stimulus package for Africa, for a suspension of interest payments on Africa's external and public debt, and for the lifting of all economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Sudan to allow them to adequately respond to the pandemic.

"It is only through multilateral cooperation that we can overcome this global emergency," the President said on Thursday in a pre-recorded message delivered virtually at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly Special Session on the Coronavirus pandemic.

The session was held at the level of Heads of State and Government.

President Ramaphosa called for equitable access for all to an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

"To ensure that there is equitable access for all to an effective vaccine, we call on UN Member States to work with the WHO on the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the COVAX Facility."

The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) is the proven, up-and-running, global collaboration accelerating the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

"In the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, let us continue to work together to overcome this crisis and build a better, safer, more equitable, peaceful and prosperous world.

"We must continue to drive a holistic response to COVID-19, which recognises the relationship between health, social, economic and environmental measures."

The President said the pandemic must not detract from the commitment to both the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

As South Africa marks 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, President Ramaphosa said gender equality must be placed at the forefront of recovery efforts.

Africa's efforts to deal with COVID-19

The continent, led by the African Union, has established a COVID-19 Response Fund to contain the pandemic in member States and enable their economies to recover.

"As the African continent, we have driven a deliberate, targeted and coordinated response to COVID-19.

"The African Union appointed several Special Envoys to solicit concrete support for the continental effort, as pledged by the G20, the European Union and international financial institutions," President Ramaphosa said.

The continent launched the African Medical Supplies Platform to facilitate access for all African countries to critical equipment and supplies.

"We have also established a COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to ensure that African countries are able to access and distribute affordable and effective vaccines without delay.

"In addition, an African Green Stimulus Programme is being developed to ensure our economic recovery takes place in a more sustainable manner," President Ramaphosa said.

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