South African and French Presidents join forces for AU and international response to the Covid-19 crisis
The African Union Bureau has welcomed the proposals raised by President Emmanuel Macron of France as part of a comprehensive response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa.
Following phone conversations last week with several African leaders, President Emmanuel Macron had the opportunity on Friday 3 April 2020 to participate in a teleconference meeting of the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government to exchange on the multilateral effort to face the challenge of Covid-19 in Africa and in Europe.
The teleconference meeting was convened by the Chairperson of the AU and President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, with whom President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone last week to discuss the pandemic and efforts to deal with the impact.
The members of this enlarged Bureau who participated in the AU teleconference meeting included President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of the Republic of Mali, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.
President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe also participated in the teleconference.
The Bureau received presentations from French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
President Emmanuel Macron raised proposals related to a comprehensive approach to mobilizing international support for Africa’s health, economic, humanitarian, and medical research priorities, which are aligned with the African position.
The Head of States highlighted the unprecedented threat that Covid-19 presents to the health of African citizens and to the continent’s developmental and economic gains. In light of the urgent need for medical supplies and equipment, they also called for international cooperation and support while up-scaling local production on the continent.
The Bureau reiterated the need for rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20 and other international partners, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and also echoed the call for a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including, deferred payments, suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external public and private debt in order to create fiscal space for Covid-19 response measures.
The African Heads of States and Government thanked President Emmanuel Macron for his strong support for Africa during the Extraordinary G20 Summit.