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Ramaphosa calls for African unity to overcome COVID-19 pandemic

African Union chairperson President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the resilience of Africans must see its people through current challenges.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - African Union chairperson President Cyril Ramaphosa said that Africa must not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to derail the continent's efforts to stop the war but to continue to strive for economic integration.

Ramaphosa has delivered a virtual address as the continent celebrates the 57th Africa Day.

He has used the address to once again express support for World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

On this day 57 years ago, African countries that had gained independence from colonial powers gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to form the Organisation of African Unity.

In 2002, more African countries gathered in South Africa to transform that body into the African Union.

Today chairperson President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to the founding fathers as the continent battles COVID-19

"If we remain united, we will overcome this pandemic. We will recover and restore our economies. We will uplift the conditions of our people and we will be worthy inheritors of the legacy of the great Africans who met in Addis Ababa in 1963 to form the OAU."

President Ramaphosa said that the resilience of Africans must see its people through COVID-19 as it did with colonialism and apartheid.

And he singled out the Ethiopian-born Ghebreyesus whose credibility has come under fire from super powers, including the United States.

"We thank our brother, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, for demonstrating strong and foresightful leadership to the world during this crisis."

He also singled out Western Sahara, whose territory remained occupied by Morocco, saying that the continent remained in solidarity with its people towards self-determination.