On May 25, we commemorate Africa Day, which celebrates the creation of the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU). Now often called the African Union, it was created in 1963 to guide continental solidarity to struggle in opposition to colonialism and apartheid.
Africa Day acknowledges the continent’s progress whereas reflecting upon the frequent challenges that the continent faces in a world surroundings. This yr marks the 57th anniversary since its creation. And right this moment, as with the remainder of the world, the individuals of Africa are confronted with a brand new problem: the COVID-19 world pandemic. The virus has introduced the world to a digital standstill.
Globally, the instances of COVID-19 stand at almost 5 million, with over 320,000 deaths recorded and billions of individuals in lockdown. Just three months after Egypt introduced its first case in February, Africa now has greater than 91,000 contaminated individuals and over 2,900 deaths. While the African continent has been spared from the excessive focus of group instances seen elsewhere on this planet, the numbers are growing quickly and the affect is worrisome.
The financial affect of COVID-19 is proving to be devastating in Africa, with far-reaching penalties. The impacts of social distancing, curfews, and lockdown measures have introduced many companies to a halt, and hundreds of thousands of people that reside on every day earnings have misplaced their jobs and livelihoods. As the world faces its worst financial contraction for the reason that Great Depression, the continent is in peril of shedding 20 million jobs.
Politically, Africa has recognized using coordinated partnerships as an antidote to flatten the curve. In a world the place there’s a deficit on world management, we’ve got seen the African Union step up to make sure a coordinated response throughout the continent. The AU created the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak and is supporting member international locations with fundraising, experience, and pushing for debt restructuring. However, Africa must safe extra partnerships with the intention to recuperate from the disaster attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking about partnerships, since 2000, leaders from Europe and Africa have talked a couple of partnership between the 2 continents as a “new strategic” dimension. But that has by no means materialised. Now greater than ever, each continents want that partnership to be sturdy and equal. Europe is Africa’s largest buying and selling and funding companion and its prime help supplier — though that place is quick declining. Knitted by a shared historical past and a standard future as geographic neighbours, the affect of COVID-19 might be shared between the 2 continents. Europe and Africa have an actual likelihood to carry the much-touted partnership to fruition to sort out the challenges introduced by the pandemic.
Renewed alternatives since European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stepped into workplace, growing an equal partnership with Africa has been prime on her precedence record. Earlier this yr, von der Leyen visited Addis Ababa in the course of the African Union Summit, accompanied by the biggest delegation to this assembly. We have additionally seen very essential and concrete management from the EU within the struggle to finish the pandemic, placing Africa and a world response as a core a part of the EU’s COVID-19 response.
The Commission and its member states relocated €20 billion of present funds to assist a world COVID-19 response. This can be a commendable effort and a present of nice management as they assume past Europe. The subsequent step would be the EU’s subsequent long-term funds. This is without doubt one of the instruments on the EU’s disposal to ensure it places the monetary means behind the political will and world management.
The upcoming Commission’s proposal ought to mirror the strategic significance of well being and social safety to take care of the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen the weakest well being methods and social sectors to ensure we’re higher ready to take care of future world well being crises.
A strategic partnership with Africa on well being methods strengthening and social safety needs to be a core pillar of a financing agenda with commitments coming from each side. This is not only the precise factor to do nevertheless it’s additionally the sensible factor to do as a result of none of us is secure till all of us are secure.