Coronavirus News Africa

Ramaphosa to hold virtual meetings with African heads of state

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to update African heads of state on the socio-economic steps which the African Union (AU) Bureau has undertaken to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Ramaphosa, who assumed the position of AU chair in February, has been holding weekly meetings with other African heads of state to find ways to mitigate the economic impact of the virus. 

Last week, Ramaphosa met with G8 members calling for aid from developed countries. He also called for an end to the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan to help combat the spread of the virus.

As of Wednesday, Africa had recorded 33 273 cases, including 1 467 deaths.

African economies are expected to be hardest hit by lockdown regulations which in turn will affect businesses and trade.

Response fund

In a report, the AU predicted the continent will be strangled by the pandemic, with nearly 20 million jobs, both in the formal and informal sectors, threatened if the crisis continued.

The office of the presidency said the meeting will provide the chairs with an update on the steps undertaken by the AU Bureau to combat the coronavirus pandemic. These steps include establishing the Africa Covid-19 Response Fund, a statement reads.

Also read: OPINION | Ramaphosa’s AU chairmanship will be a challenge, but he and Africa can learn from Trump

“The socio-economic and humanitarian impact of Covid-19 in Africa is likely to be felt months, if not years, after the epidemic, even as Africa implements economic measures to mitigate the epidemic risks.

“President Ramaphosa will outline the strategies and measures that the AU Bureau has put in place, first, to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and, secondly, to deal with the massive economic impact.”

The Presidency said the meeting will also provide a platform for regional economic communities’ chairpersons to outline the actions taken and plans being implemented at regional level in response to Covid-19.

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