By Fungi Kwaramba
ZIMBABWE stands ready to support actions that will enable Africa to recover better from the Covid-19 pandemic through industrialisation, pharmaceutical advancement, improving health infrastructure and financing models, President Mnangagwa said.
In his virtual address to the second Aswan Forum on Sustainable Peace and Development, hosted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the President said the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, a plague that has left a trail of disaster globally, entail that the continent takes a collective approach.
“Zimbabwe stands ready to support and participate in concrete actions that will help our continent recover better, in the Post COVID-19 Era; towards enhancing sustainable peace and economic growth for Africa,” the President said.
This year Aswan Forum, which is an Egyptian initiative, was held under the topic post-Covid-19 Recovery: Strengthening Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa, and saw leaders on the continent making contributions towards entrenching peace on the continent.
“It is paramount that we re-look at our respective national health infrastructure and health financing models. The need to capacitate the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urgent.
“Accordingly, a review of the Statute founding the Agency must be undertaken in accordance with the decision of the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments.
“Zimbabwe therefore calls for the urgent implementation of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, to enable research and the production of drugs on the Continent. There is now a more compelling case for our nations within the AU (African Union) to ratify the Agreement for the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA).
“We need to live up to our pledge to Silence the Guns on our continent. To do so, sustainable peace and development in Africa in the Post COVID-19 Era will be largely dependent on our collective commitment to implement the Conventions, Treaties, Protocols and Agreements already adopted by our Continental Body, the African Union. Specific strategic tasks envisaged under the revised African Pence and Security Architecture (APSA) Roadmap must be implemented”.
Measures that will ensure that the continent speedily recovers from a pandemic that has killed more than 100 000 people on the continent will include, “conflict preventions, crisis/conflict management, post conflict reconstruction and peace building, as well as coordination and building partnerships by the African Union Commission (AUC), and the Regional Economic Communities (RECS). Procrastination over the strengthening of the African Standby Force (ASF) cannot continue.
“We must persist on the path to ‘reignite industrialisation’ and modernise our economies, leveraging the AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area). Inclusive governance and sustainable economic empowerment programmes, especially for the youth and women as envisaged in Agenda 2063 should be intensified. In this regard, collaboration with all stakeholders and strategic partners, remains key,” the President said.
The AfCFTA agreement that was launched on January 1 this year seeks to increase continental trade riding on the continent’s nations interconnections and also access to a market of more than 1 billion people.
The President saluted his Egyptian counterpart for the invitation to attend the Forum and also for the Arab Republic’s support to the African Union in the fight against Covid-19.
“The collective response by the African Union to the threat posed by Covid-19, as Championed by His Excellency President, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, is a clear demonstration of Africa’s ability to come up with innovative ideas to resolve contemporary challenges.
“The ramifications of the pandemic will indeed be far reaching across all spheres of life, thus endangering peace and security, human capital development and socio-economic recovery,” the President said.