President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS

AU chair Cyril Ramaphosa has praised African countries in their fight against Covid-19, which has infected more than 96,000 people continent and killed 3,000. SA is the most affected with 22,583 infections.

“This Covid-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on our ability to meet the aspiration of the AU’s Agenda 2063 of a peaceful, united and prosperous continent. The virus has exposed the deep inequalities that continue to exist on our continent and across the world,” Ramaphosa said in a statement to mark Africa Day.

May 25, regarded as a holiday in many African countries, is the day the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the AU was born.

Ramaphosa attributed the continent's ability to fight the virus to previous experiences in dealing with outbreaks such as Ebola, malaria, HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and others. Mass screening, testing and contact tracing in communities had proven to be successful and were the lessons learnt in dealing with HIV and TB, he said.

“Our understanding of communicable diseases and how to manage them has put us in good stead when it comes to coronavirus. African governments have been swift and proactive in implementing measures to flatten the coronavirus curve.”

The first case of coronavirus in Africa was registered in Egypt on February 14 and since then all 54 countries have recorded cases, with the last being Lesotho.

The worldwide expectation was that Africa would be the worst  hit in terms of recorded cases and deaths given its vulnerability in many countries, but this has not proven to be the case. Scientists across the world have questioned how this was managed.

“As countries around the world battle to turn the tide against the pandemic, Africa has taken firm control of its destiny, by developing a clear strategy and raising financial resources from its member states,” Ramaphosa said

“The African response to the coronavirus pandemic has received widespread praise. Despite the multitude of resource challenges they face, African countries have come together in remarkable ways, united by a common purpose.” 

At least 25 countries had registered clinical trials for possible Covid-19 treatments and some of these successes show that though the continent may still rely on support from the international community, “African countries are holding their own”, he said.

With Staff Reporter