AU special envoys raise $30bn for COVID-19 response

This week’s virtual meeting of the bureau of the AU was informed that the continent had now launched a procurement platform to enable member states to access testing kits and PPEs that were difficult or expensive to secure.

FILE: Medical swabs to test for the coronavirus. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - African Union COVID-19 special envoys have raised US$ 30 billion for the continent’s response to the pandemic.

Appointed by chair President Cyril Ramaphosa, they include former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Zimbabwe businessman Strive Masiyiwa.

Their contribution forms a significant part of the $53 billion raised by the AU.

President Ramaphosa has mobilised AU heads of state and government, as well as business, in the fight against COVID-19 on the continent.

This week’s virtual meeting of the bureau of the AU was informed that the continent had now launched a procurement platform to enable member states to access testing kits and PPEs that were difficult or expensive to secure.

Partnerships have been forged with various countries including China, Canada, the Netherlands, South Korea and France.

But manufacturers from within member states will be given first preference to supply materials, including ventilators.

However, the mobilisation of resources is key for that platform to succeed and the special envoys appointed by President Ramaphosa have been commended for the significant portion of the funding they were able to raise.

They have also made significant progress in lobbying G20 countries on a moratorium on debt repayments for African countries.

The heads of state have reaffirmed their support for the envoys to also lobby for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan.