African states will need sustained support to recover from the socio-economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic on the continent, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.In a message delivered virtually to fellow heads of state and government at the UN General Assembly Special Session on the Coronavirus pandemic, Ramaphosa said it was only through multilateral cooperation that the world could overcome the global emergency.
“In the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, let us continue to work together to overcome this crisis and build a better, safer, more equitable, peaceful and prosperous world, said Ramaphosa who is also the African Union chairman.
He called for a holistic response to Covid-19, which should recognise the relationship between health, social, economic and environmental measures.
“We reiterate our call for a comprehensive economic stimulus package for Africa, for a suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debt, and for the lifting of all economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and the Sudan to allow them to adequately respond to the pandemic,” he said.
The South African leader also called for equitable access for all to an effective Covid-19 vaccine, whose initial distribution discussion so far has failed to cite Africa as a recipient.
“To ensure that there is equitable access for all to an effective vaccine, we call on UN member states to work with the World Health Organisation on the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator and the COVAX Facility,” the president said.
The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) is the proven, up-and-running, global collaboration accelerating the development, production and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.