Ramaphosa impressed by Africa's response to Covid-19 pandemic
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday he was impressed by the continent's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly newsletter that if African countries continued in the “positive vein” with which they have responded, the continent would prove its capability to deal with its problems.
The virus, said Ramaphosa, had also proven that working together was much more productive than working as individual countries.
The pandemic had “exposed the fragility of inward-looking and insular political, economic and social systems”.
Ramaphosa also revealed that the AU, which SA is chairing this year, had managed to secure more than R321m worth of financial commitments through the African Union Covid-19 Response Fund, the driver of the continental response strategy to Covid-19.
“Africa cannot do this alone. During the virtual summit of G20 leaders late last month, I raised the need for financial and logistical support for Africa’s response,” wrote Ramaphosa. “Given the substantial toll this pandemic is already taking on African economies, the assistance that will be needed could run into billions of dollars.
“A number of measures have been proposed by the AU Bureau, including a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa. This could include debt relief in the form of interest payment waivers and deferred payments.
“This would free up much-needed financial resources now that national budgets are being reprioritized to support the coronavirus response.”
Ramaphosa said the continent was blessed with the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which he said was world-class, as well as health professionals, scientists and epidemiologists.
The spirit of African countries to help one another during the pandemic was also impressive, he added.
“If we continue in this positive vein, Africa will truly demonstrate it is more than capable of resolving its challenges. Through deeper collaboration, we will turn the tide against this virus — region by region, country by country.”