Strong partnerships needed to tackle Covid-19 challenges

30Jun 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Strong partnerships needed to tackle Covid-19 challenges

Participants in the opening ceremony of the African Development Bank Group’s annual meetings on Wednesday issued forceful calls for action to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines and tackle mounting debt – two challenges that stand in the way of Africa’s recovery from the pandemic.

Covid-19 provided a pressing backdrop to the meetings, which were held virtually for the secondconsecutive year. Noting the meetings’ theme, Ghanaian president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said: “Today’s annual meetings have an appropriate focus, ‘building resilient economies inpost Covid-19 Africa’, which is an unavoidable imperative if our continent is to recover from theeffects of the pandemic.”

President Akufo-Addo recounted the pandemic’s toll in human lives, as well as in economicdamage – massive loss of jobs and revenue, economic contraction, and rising deficits.He urged continued concerted action, saying the surest path towards stability is to abandon half-hearted partnerships and develop new approaches that support self-sustaining economic growthand development. He praised the Bank’s rapid response to the pandemic and called for moresupport for the continent’s foremost development institution.

“We need to resource the AfricanDevelopment Bank and position it as the catalyst for our economic advancement,” he said.Other participants in the African Development Bank Group annual meetings opening ceremonyalso said the Bank would be critical to build back more resilient economies in the post-pandemicperiod.  

The Chairman of the Bank’s Board of Governors, Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta,referred to an African financial stability mechanism – recently proposed by the AfricanDevelopment Bank president – modeled on a European one, and an African liquidity andsustainability mechanism. “The African stability mechanism will be a permanent firewall forAfrica to provide instant emergency access to financial assistance to countries in difficulty, hesaid.  

Citing a Ghanaian proverb, Ofori-Atta underscored the need for action: “This has to be said, whowill say it? The work has to be done, who will do it?”Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat commended the AfricanDevelopment Bank as a partner and lauded its support to the establishment of the AfricanContinental Free Trade Area and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Today, more than ever before, Africa needs to build up its health infrastructure and themanufacture of vaccines,” Faki said.  

“Africa is starting to move forward, again, said African Development Bank President AkinwumiA. Adesina. “Vaccines are becoming available gradually. Businesses are reopening.”The Bank, he said, was taking steps to tackle the most pressing issues. “We have launched a

Debt Action Plan and a new Strategy for Economic Governance in Africa. Both will supportcountries to tackle debt, and to embark on bolder economic governance reforms to forestall adebt crisis.”

Adesina cited the Bank’s commitment to domestic manufacture of medicines across Africa. Hesaid the African Development Bank will support Africa to produce vaccines, as part of theVaccines Plan of the African Union.The opening ceremony of the meetings also included a statement by the African DevelopmentBank’s Secretary General Vincent Nhemielle, and informational videos of Bank flagshipinitiatives and projects.   

The meetings will provide a platform for its governors to share their countries’ experience inaddressing the pandemic and the policy measures they are employing to rebuild economies andlivelihoods.


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