AU targets US$300 million for corona fight

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Addis Ababa - The African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with various institutions and prominent individuals, is set to raise US$300 million - nearly half the US$647 million needed to ease the social, economic and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 in all African countries.

In a media statement, the AUC stated that it was able to raise US$44 million since the first webinar fundraising was held in July. Established in March, the AU COVID-19 Response Fund has an upcoming fundraiser webinar to be held on October, 24 2020 to solicit support and contributions from the African private and public sector and other partners.

The Commission hopes to ensure that the continent can respond effectively to this unprecedented global crisis.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the AU and President of South Africa, will be joined by Dr Tedros Adehanom, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO); Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AUC; Professor Benedict Oramah, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the AU COVID-19 Response Fund; and other key speakers.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the AU's Special Envoy and the former Finance Minister of Nigeria - a frontrunner for the WTO leadership - is part of the fundraising programme.

The AU COVID-19 Response Fund is a vehicle for the implementation of the continental strategy to combat the pandemic.

The US$300 million fundraiser also seeks to boost the capacity of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to support response to public health emergencies across the continent; and support the procurement and distribution of essential COVID-19 medical supplies.

In his pre-event message, President Ramaphosa said, "Now is the time to come together as one continent to tackle the biggest health crisis of our generation." That being the objective, the AU fundraiser is expected to pull several leaders and international artists together.

The two-hour event will feature African celebrities. Ben Pol, Stanley Enow, Gigi Lamayne, Ahmed Soultan, Teni, Oualas, Adina Thembi and the Ethiopian singer, song writer Bruktawit Getahun, aka Betty G, will all be performing for the fundraiser. Betty G is well remembered for performing during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Norway last year where Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

In addition to that, the likes of Cairo International Bank (CIB), MotaEngil, Ecobank, Sanlam, Afrexim bank and Trace TV businesses, government leaders and frontline health workers will convey their messages.

The AU is looking at raising the US$647 million needed to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and deliver essential supplies for the next six months.

As of October 16, 2020, 1,24 million cases and 24,464 deaths had been reported across 47 countries on the continent.

With eased restrictions, the WHO is reporting that Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia, Libya and Ethiopia are the driving countries behind the resurgence of new cases and deaths. - The Reporter

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