COVID-19: AU, UN renew Africa’s appeal for $100bn global support

 The United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU)  have renewed Africa’s appeal for $100 billion (N38 trillion) annually to support its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint communique from their fourth annual conference held on Dec. 9, the organisations solicited support for the continent’s private sector through  new Special Drawing Rights.

The communique, signed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and AU Commission Chairman, Moussa Mahamat, was made available to UN correspondents on Monday.

Guterres and Mahamat expressed “deep concern” over the human, economic  and social-political impacts of the pandemic in Africa.

They said the crisis “is exacerbating fragilities, impacting disproportionally women, youth and the most vulnerable.”

The officials underscored the importance of a robust AU-UN cooperation especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, “which demands a collective, coordinated and unified response.”

According to the communique, they noted that the response should address the socio-economic effects, leaving no country or individual behind.

Gutterese and Mahamat said COVID-19 responses and measures should contribute to longer-term recovery, including reduction in inequalities and discrimination and increase in healthcare and social protection investments for all.

The conference examined cooperation between the AU and UN on peace and security, development and human rights, and “reviewed progress in the implementation of their joint commitments.”

The communique said issues surrounding the rollout of vaccines in Africa also came up during the forum.

“They reaffirmed their commitment to support a coordinated international approach on debt relief for African countries and asserted the need for full debt restructuring.

“The AU and UN noted efforts advanced through meetings co-convened by the Secretary-General, Canada and Jamaica to advocate for an ambitious global financing response to the crisis.

“They welcomed the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and called for its extension and full implementation, as well as expanding it to middle income African  countries also strongly affected by the crisis,” the communique said.

The conference also agreed that support of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFTA) would remain a priority for the AU-UN partnership and sustainable development, it added. (NAN)

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