The UN chief said recently that the coronavirus pandemic threatens the hard-earned gains Africans have made throughout the continent, urging the world to stand in solidarity with the people, “now, and for recovering better”.
At the virtual launch of a UN briefing paper focusing on the impact of COVID-19 across Africa, Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that citizens across the continent have done much to advance their own well-being, detailing strong economic growth, an on-going digital revolution, and a bold free-trade area agreement.
The Digital Revolution also known as the 3rd Industrial Revolution is the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital electronics which began anywhere from the late 1950s to the late 1970s with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day. Implicitly, the term also refers to the sweeping changes brought about by digital computing and communication technology during (and after) the latter half of the 20th century. Analogous to the Agricultural Revolution and Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution marked the beginning of the Information Age.
Central to this revolution is the mass production and widespread use of digital logic, MOSFETs (MOS transistors), and integrated circuit (IC) chips, and their derived technologies, including computers, microprocessors, digital cellular phones, and the Internet. These technological innovations have transformed traditional production and business techniques.
Yes indeed as the Un Secretary General pointed out the pandemic threatens African progress.
The UN chief elaborated on the coronavirus’ potential to aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease, saying much hangs in the balance.
Surely demand for Africa’s commodities, together with tourism and remittances, are in decline. The opening of the trade zone had been pushed back – and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty.
Moreover, the virus has taken more than 2,500 African lives: Vigilance and preparedness are critical to curb the VOVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that while UN agencies, country teams, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian workers continue to provide support, a spectrum of urgent challenges , require more urgent assistance.
We are calling for international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and we ought all to cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings as the UN chief spelled out.
Guterres echoed his call for a global response package amounting to some 10 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product and advocated for “across-the-board debt standstill”, followed by targeted debt relief.
It will also be essential for African countries to sustain their efforts to silence the guns and address violent extremism”, he continued, noting that upcoming elections “offer potential milestones for stability and peace”.
The UN chief underscored that as women will be central to every aspect of the response, stimulus packages must prioritize increasing social protection and putting cash in their hands.
“Many difficult decisions will need to be taken as the pandemic unfolds, and it will be essential to retain the trust and participation of citizens throughout”, Guterres said. Moreover, African youth must be empowered, and human rights respected.
In closing, he asserted that Africa was still in the early days of coronavirus infection, compared with other continents, warning that disruption could escalate quickly.
“Ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world”, concluded the Secretary-General.