COVID-19: AU, RECs makes fresh call for help
By Tasie Theodore
The African Union and its affiliate Regional Economic Commissions, RECs have made a fresh call for help from the global community as part of its plans to further check the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, The Difference has learnt.
A communique issued at the close of a summit of leaders of the AU and the RECs outlined that some of the areas of help should include debt moratorium and speedier access to aid and associated resources.
The session, which was a teleconference meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government with Chairpersons of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of the African Union was held on 20 August 2020
It was convened and presided over by President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and had in attendance President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo; President Uhuru Muigi Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya; and Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who represented President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, all as members of the Bureau.
On the RECs side, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) was tepresented by President Ali Bongo of the Republic of Gabon; the East African Community (EAC), was represented by President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was represented by President Issoufou Mahamadou of the Republic of Niger; the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) by President Filipe Nyusi of the Republic of Mozambique; the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), by His Excellency Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of the Republic of Sudan; and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), H.E. Mr Mohammed Taher Sayila, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya who participated on behalf of the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Mr Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj of the Libyan Arab Republic.
Equally at the meeting on behalf of the Community of Sahel–Saharan States (CEN–SAD), was Mr Amine Abba Sidick, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad, who participated on behalf of President Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Dr John Nkengasong, as well as the AU Special Envoys on COVID-19 also participated in the Meeting.
Among other resolutions, ‘The Heads of State and Government renewed their call for Member States to contribute towards the AU COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, which is critical in the effective implementation of the Continental strategy. They endorsed the Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine development and access strategy presented by the Director of Africa CDC, and called for the acceleration of African involvement in vaccine development, Africa’s access to vaccine supply, and the removal of barriers to vaccine delivery and uptake. The Heads of State and Government stressed that Africa should take appropriate measures, as part of the strategy, to ensure that it secures timely access to COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.’
‘While the Heads of State and Government welcomed the flexibility displayed by financial institutions and their disbursements to African countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, they renewed their call for (a) a debt moratorium to be refined and extended to December 2021 with the expectation that multilateral institutions and bilateral creditors outside the Paris Club participate; (b) a market friendly solution, to safeguard access to private sector markets in the future; © an early replenishment of the IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and the World Bank International Development Association (IDA); (d) an early decision on the Special Drawing Rights; (e) a general capital increase for the AFREXIMBANK which has played a major countercyclical role in recent months; and (f) the IMF to consider a second round of measures before the end of the year, and to ensure that countries that have not been able to access support so far are included, taking into account neighborhood effects of excluding those countries.’