Africa: The Begging Region In Readiness To Solve Problems
Over the last 50 years, Africa for the first is set to make historic gains by solving its problems. Many would think that the Novel Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 isn’t unique to the continent alone. Oh yes, unlike another regional pandemic of the past. The global health crisis the region would have fully look to the west and other good will nations to step out-front. But time is fast changing with Africa approach to continental and national issues.
By Jefferson G. Togba, Contributing writer
Africa’s COVID-19 death rate and positive cases have surprised many experts because the region has far lesser cases than any region. There were many predictions that Africa would have a dispositional death rate. These predictions were based on the fact that the region lacks adequate health facilities and capacities to handle the pandemic. Experts estimated that Africa would have had suffered the worst causalities then any region if not other countries.
Most countries in the west have more death rates than Africa combined. Take for instance, Sweden has 4,656 death. France 29,142 death, Italy 33,846 death, Germany 8,767 death, England 36, 127, China 4634 death, USA 111,064 death, India 6,946 death, Brazil 35,211 death while Africa combined COVID-19 4,344 is lesser than many great nations like the United States and Italy etc. These statistics are as of the research. Therefore, the figure might be higher than reported.
For these reasons, 31 Heads of State met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 25,1963 founded a regional body “to promote solidarity between African nations and eliminate colonialism in Africa” through the Organization of African unity (OAU). Nevertheless, barely 5 months after its existence; there were more problems than collaboration and solutions on the continent. Yet, besides civil wars, Africa has witnessed and experienced numbers of sporadic border and interstate conflicts.
On one front, was Algeria- Morocco conflict over the Atlas Mountains area in October 1963. On the other hand, Kenya- Somalia border war of 1963 -1967 where Somalia aimed at reclaiming its lost territories including the Northern frontier district of Kenya. Before then, was Eritrea- Ethiopian crisis between 1962 and 1979. There were so many civil unrests faced by the new continental body that endangers solidarity and cooperation and reembraces anarchy and colonialism.
Every conflicted nation was still looking up to their former colonial masters for voice, support and solution.
The wars and civil upheavals, political instabilities continue. While, the African union inherited wars, civil unrests, Coups, internally displaced peoples (IDPs). So then, why did Africa gain independence if it enjoys colonials command structures and interventions?
Now, the main idea of handling its problems. The region still receives supports from Multilateral institutions then bilateral relations. However, there was no wait game before actions. Before COVID-19 surfaces in Africa, the continent in general and nations have already made awareness, set mitigating solution. For example, the establishment of COVID-19 Africa Fund, Quick Lockdown, Local Personal Protective Equipment production
COVID-19 AFRICA FUND
As COVID-19 sweeps across nations and been declared Public Health Emergency on 30 January 2020 by the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Subsequentially, upgraded from Public Health Emergency to Global Pandemic with more than 118,000 cases of the virus globally on March 11,2020.
After 15 day of declaration, a respond fund was established Covid-19 Africa Fund by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat on 26 March 2020. Accordingly, “with the aims of strengthening the continental response to COVID-19 and mitigate its socio economic and humanitarian impact on African populations”.
Since then, the continental Bank; the African Development Bank continues to approve stimulus loan for members economies. Though Africa still lag after many regions and not much has change, yet this consolidated effort must be applauded. This has never been seemed like before.
The Bank has $10 billion in COVID-19 Crisis Response Facility. The Bank’s Board of Directors approved millions of dollars to members states to “help fight the COVID-19 outbreak and mitigate its economic impacts”. From Kenya to Nigeria, Morocco to Zambia, Egypt to Senegal. Many would argue, that Africa has no choice then to do it. Well, every independence comes with full responsibility to stand up for and this is undeniable. The Bank also released 2 million to the World Health Organization to help curb this COVID-19 in Africa (ABFD).
Since declaring the virus global pandemic in March, most countries on the continent declared in part or whole a Stay-At-Home order with Tanzania being the only exception but closed all official borders in the country. Commercial flights were suspended as done in other parts of the world.
The lockdown helped many governments to create awareness and conduct effective contact tracing through trained health workers and nonworkers. It avoided overwhelming of its already limited health facilities. In more cases, some states used local hotels while makeshifts were built to quarantine those confirmed positive of the virus. Permanent Africans, corporations and Institutions raised resources to feel less fortunate and improvised communities.
Local PPE production
Africans of all walks of lives saw the deadliest virus effects in Wuhan, China, Europe and other parts the world. South Africa Donated 30,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to China in the fight against COVID-19. Local tailor shops produced fashionable face masks to combat the virus at minimum cost. In some places, tailor shops were contracted by local NGOs to produce face mask.
Everywhere in Africa today, you find citizens wearing fashionable locally made face mask from different collection of African attires. In time past, these were little thing that exacerbated most health crisis if the west and bilateral partners didn’t supply; Africa would not have acted. The COVID-19 has changed African leaders’ attitudes to solicit, received and act.
More than four top universities in Zimbabwe produced masks, groves, hand sanitizers, gowns, eyewear like Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt (QA). Senegal too make significant history for the continent when the west African state produced a testing kit for one United States dollar.
Africa has shown great leadership and united front toward the fight of COVID-19. Africa have not seen any effort like the fight against COVID-19. The evidence is EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE in 2014 within the Western part Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and by extension the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal). There was no real solution until America steps in.
Arguably, citizens can agree that African leadership is understanding sovereignty and the spirit of being fully responsible. Africa does not have to wait for help before taking initiative on its own interest and well-being. Gravitating from beggar is self-evidence that Africa ready to make transition like other regions. Healthy and sound minded people make change and bring sustainable growth and development.