EGYPT. Cairo: The World Health Organization, The African Development Bank and the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on the 1st of March called African countries to develop home grown innovations in the wake of shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was the stand of these organizations during a virtual conference of the Aswan Forum hosted by Egypt.
The theme of the virtual conference is ‘Shaping Africa’s New Normal: Recovering Stronger, Rebuilding Better.
The Aswan Forum is held annually every March and discusses issues around the peace, development and security challenges faced by Africa.
The WHO Director, Tedros Adhahom Ghebreysus urged that investments in health care should be a priority.
He said, “a healthy population is secure,resilient and prosperous population”.
Ghebreysus added that as the continent moves together in responding, recovering and rebuilding from the current shock, there is need to see health as an investment which should be nurtured.
The Head of the African Development Bank (ADB), Akinwumi Adesina stressed the need of establishing an African Financial Stability Mechanism.
This, he said, will help the continent from future shocks like COVID-19.
“As we go into the African Continental Free Trade Area, we can’t afford these kind of shocks that could pull our economies down. An economy of 3.8 trillion dollars,” he said.
Adesina gave an example of the European Financial Stability Mechanism, created by European Commission.
As a short term measure, all speakers to the summit said access to COVID-19 vaccine would be critical.
The Africa CDC Director, John Nkengasong urged Africans to use the vaccines effectively.
He said, “unless we vaccinate at least 60 percent of our population, we will remain a continent of COVID-19 going forward with economic and health implications. We must do everything to meet our vaccination targets”.
Participants agreed that Africa should learn to manufacture diagnostics against diseases like COVID-19 locally.