Ahead of an expected surge in cases of COVID-19 in Africa, the African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have launched a public-private partnership with the AfroChampions Initiative, known as the Africa COVID-19 Response Fund
The partnership aims to raise an initial US$150mn for immediate needs to prevent transmission and up to US$400mn to support sustainable medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic by pooling the resources required for the procurement of medical supplies and commodities.
Cyril Ramaphosa, chairperson of the African Union and President of the Republic of South Africa, said, “While we continue to welcome expertise and feedback from regions already engaged in the fight against the coronavirus, we must also establish an autonomous strike force. Other regions in the world are already paying a heavy tribute to Covid 19 and their support will be limited. Therefore African money and African expertise must be mobilised.”
The Africa COVID-19 Response Fund is a financial instrument to mobilise and manage funds from the private sector in Africa, and other well-wishers with the support of several African banks. The Fund will operate under the supervision of the African Union through its public health institution Africa CDC, which will determine priority interventions and actions.
In addition to medical response, part of the funds raised will be allocated for supporting the most fragile communities, in the least developed African countries, whose socio-economic activities have been impacted significantly by measures taken to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
“There is a race against time to prepare and protect our communities. Africa must fight this as one and no country on our continent should be left behind. We must coordinate efforts of member states, African Union agencies, World Health Organization, and other partners to ensure synergy and minimise duplication. We must also promote evidence-based public health practice for surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and control of COVID-19,” commented Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.