African nations have been commended for moving their nations forward with strong economic growth, providing a formidable digital revolution and enhancing a free trade in the region.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres made the commendation while delivering global agency policy brief on the impact of covid-19 on Africa in New York in a speech which was made available to Patmos Media Line.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres
He however said the prevailing Coronavirus pandemic threatens African progress as it will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease.
“Already, demand for Africa’s commodities, tourism and remittances are declining. The opening of the trade zone has been pushed back – and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty,” he pointed out.
Commending what African countries have done already, together with the African Union, the UN Chief observed that the virus has taken more than 2500 African lives which should attract vigilance and preparedness.
Rolling out the new policies of the UN on Africa, Mr. Guterres called for “international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings”.
The UN wants African countries to have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment that must be considered global public goods.
He reiterated his call for a global response package amounting to at least 10 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. For Africa, that means more than $200 billion as additional support from the international community.
“I also continue to advocate a comprehensive debt framework -- starting with an across-the-board debt standstill for countries unable to service their debt, followed by targeted debt relief and a comprehensive approach to structural issues in the international debt architecture to prevent defaults.
It will also be essential for African countries to sustain their efforts to silence the guns and address violent extremism – and I welcome African support for my call for a global ceasefire. Political processes and elections in the coming months offer potential milestones for stability and peace”.
The Portuguese UN Chief wants attention for women development, African youth empowerment and respect for human rights.
- Eniola Olatunji.