Cairo – Amr Abdulrahman
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi participated this morning in an online mini summit with African leaders and members of the African Union office, mainly the President of South Africa and AU Chief Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keït, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Félix Tshisekedi and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki.
The summit focused on tackling the repercussions of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on African countries and means to address this crisis in cooperation with international partners, ahead of the G20 summit.
There was agreement among the leaders to establish a fund to provide the necessary resources to support efforts to combat the coronavirus in Africa and face the expected economic ramifications on African countries, similar to previous African efforts to combat the spread of the Ebola epidemic in a number of African countries.
President El Sisi confirmed Egypt’s keenness to offer the appropriate financial assistance to establish the fund so as to enhance joint African efforts and offer financial assistance to the African Center for Disease Control, which Egypt is expected to host its regional office.
There was also agreement to form a working group under the AU umbrella, in coordination and cooperation among all African countries, with the mission of exchanging experiences and information to fight the coronavirus pandemic and updating the African public opinion on developments in this regard.
African leaders also agreed on the importance of focusing in the coming period on maximizing the local production of chemical substances, solutions and disinfectants in various African countries, and framing awareness campaigns for African peoples on how to combat the coronavirus and effective means of prevention, including reducing interaction and movement and paying attention to daily personal behavior.
The African leaders underlined the need to strengthen efforts and coordination in this regard between the AU’s apparatuses and the various African regional economic groupings. They also stressed the importance of forming action groups, comprising African ministers of transport, so as to coordinate the transportation of medical equipment and tools to combat coronavirus, and ensure their easy access and distribution among African countries.
Within this framework, and in light of the inevitable repercussions of the coronavirus crisis on the economies of African countries, President El Sisi presented an initiative to G20 countries to study easing the burden of debt owed by African countries, either by re-scheduling or postponing payment or by debt relief. This shall take place in coordination with regional and international financial institutions, including the Islamic Development Bank, The African Development Bank , the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, in addition to donors from major industrial countries.
President El Sisi emphasized that in the coming period counter-terrorism efforts in Africa will constitute an additional burden, as countries will direct their efforts toward combating the spread of the coronavirus disease, which will negatively impact the continent’s endeavors in this regard. Therefore, international support is needed, notably by G20 countries, to assist Sahel countries and their counter-terrorism joint force specifically. This aims to prevent the escalation of the threat of terrorism in this region and in the entire continent.
The African countries agreed that President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa presents the aforementioned resolutions to the G20 world leaders during their summit which was held via video conference later on Thursday, as South Africa is a G20 member state. This aims to urge G20 countries to support African countries within the framework of efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus disease and to fulfil their actual needs in this regard. This includes providing medical equipment, exchanging experiences and expertise, notably with China.
MAY ALLAH PROTECT MISR