Regional partnerships are key to COVID-19 recovery in Africa: Report

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A new report by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) highlights how partnership between the two organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and their work with governments, communities and citizens has been key to preventing the catastrophic spread of the virus across the continent.
With over 3 million people infected and almost 100,000 lives lost across Africa, the report sheds light on societal resilience across sectors, the sheer determination by Africans to minimize the health impact, while analyzing the social disruption and economic consequences of the pandemic. From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Union was one of the first regional institutions to adopt a Joint Continental Strategy for the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Within the framework of the Strategy, and in consonance with UNDP’s role in helping countries prepare for, respond to and recover from COVID-19, the Regional Bureau for Africa established a strong partnership with Africa CDC and the AUC. “At the start of 2020, many would have bet their gold that sub-Saharan Africa was not the likely home for inventions. And yet here we are, witnessing an incredible display of possibility. Africa is managing the complexity of this devastating pandemic and looking for solutions to end it,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa.
UNDP partnered with Africa CDC, the AUC as well as other partners in the implementation of the continental strategy against COVID-19 on all fronts. These activities include: supporting the African Union Commission in studying the impact of COVID-19 on governance, peace and security; backing country offices and regional economic communities (RECs) in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence during the pandemic; supporting the procurement of personal protective equipment for countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); bolstering health systems; supporting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to create innovative solutions for African problems; and building the capacity of target groups such as health workers, faith-based organizations, civil-society organizations, youth and women’s groups and leading health institutions.
Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Deputy Director of the Africa CDC, emphasized, “Throughout Africa, people are looking inward for the innovations that will move the continent forward. We’re looking ahead, to anticipate the needs of the next generations and envision a better future. And we’re looking to each other, to build the communities, the countries and the continent that we all know are possible.” While recent evidence on an emergent ‘third wave’ across parts of the continent remains concerning, this report reinforces the importance of whole-of-society partnerships in curbing and recovering from the pandemic.