State 55 Afrika is deeply concerned with the “business as usual” attitude of the Afrikan Continental bodies such as the Afrikan Union, other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and indeed Afrikan Governments themselves on the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the social and economic well-being of the Afrikan citizen.
By the 9th of March 2020, COVID-19 had reportedly made inroads into many Afrikan countries—Algeria (20), Cameroon (2), Egypt (55), Morocco (2), Nigeria (1), South Africa (7), Senegal (4) and Tunisia (1)—with more rapidly getting affected. With such numbers confirmed, COVID-19 is now a serious threat to the entire well-being of all Afrikan citizen.
The economic impact this brings to an already economically distraught nation of Afrika will have serious reverberations in the foreseeable future. This will also call into question the ways in which the global economy is constructed where only a few control the means of production with the largest portion of the global economy dominated by very few wealthy and most powerful people. The inevitable lockdown will definitely lay bare the question of this inequality of opportunity as more in gainful employment will suffer wider consequences.
State 55 Afrika therefore expects all governments and continental bodies to take their leadership seriously and act with speed, precision and pragmatism in the response to the widening threats COVID-19 brings.
Now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the spread of this virus a global pandemic, we in State 55 Afrika would like to suggest a few responses to be considered by Governments and Continental bodies.
Using Afrika’s own experiences with the Ebola Outbreak in West Afrika (2008/2009), Cholera outbreak in Southern Afrika and other recent disasters on the continent including the current locust invasion, State 55 Afrika suggests the following:
- The AU/ RECs and National governments set aside domestic funding to the fight against COVID-19, these funds to be used for community preparedness, country responses and research into impact of the COVID-19. All Member State should have test kits for COVID-19.
- The AU, RECs and National government to commission research into the social and economic impact of COVID-19 on Afrika. We have already witnesses the tumbling of major Stock Exchanges in Asia, Europe and the America but have little information of the impact in Afrika. As China is our major trading partner currently, the impact on its economy and production capacity should surely also affect us negatively.
- Intensify community mobilisation, for preparedness and awareness training with special emphasis on Traditional medical practitioners who in most countries are the backbone of Primary Health Care. This will create a critical mass of cadres for a snowball effect on behavior communication change (BCC). Communities need to know how to protect themselves, and the persons next to them.
4. Member States to start creating directories of relevant retired professionals such as doctors, nurses, psychologists and experts in humanitarian assistance to assist authorities in an event of a shortage of human resources during this period.
5. it is also important for all continental bodies and governments to counter misinformation. Fake information peddled by social media pundits needs to be countered urgently.
6. Beyond preventative education and the change in lifestyle for personal health, there is urgent need for each state to control the movement of people which so far is the prime cause for carrying the virus around the world.
Finally, we at State 55 Afrika render our support in anyway necessary to the fight against the threat of COVID-19 and remain available to collaborate with all other progressive institutions and governments in confronting this unfolding challenge that threatens lives in proportions not witnessed before.
Below is a State 55 video response to the 2019 xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Source: Sikwinidi Situla- President of State 55 Afrika