KENYAN President Uhuru Kenyatta and former President Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan have called for closer collaboration among African leaders as a means of deepening Africa’s post-COVID-19 recovery efforts and finding answers to the continent’s growth and development challenges.
Both leaders recognised the prominent role played by Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the Africa COVID-19 Fund and the joint Africa procurement platform in COVID-19 response as a demonstration of the continent’s potential to overcome its development challenges, going forward.
They spoke, weekend, during a webinar on post-COVID-19 reconstruction organised by the African chapter of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP-Africa). They also were joined on the programme by former the Central African Republic President Catherine Samba-Panza and ex-President of Madagascar Henry Rajaonarimampianina. ISCP-Africa which is chaired by former President Jonathan is an international network of current and former Heads of State and Government who use dialogue to address global challenges among them climate change, conflict and, poverty.
President Kenyatta urged African leaders to continue working together in crafting interventions and solutions that would enhance the resilience of the continent’s vulnerable populations.
“We should work in collaboration with our development partners to build capacity for local production of health equipment and to strengthen our local manufacturing capacity more generally,” he said. He also observed that African leaders had for the first time, extended their cooperation and collaboration by taking joint actions with nations of the Caribbean community.
Noting further that Africa is stronger together, President Kenyatta said: “Whatever it is that we want to put across shall not be owned by individual nations but by all of Africa and should be applied to save humanity.
In his earlier comment as chairman of the forum, President Jonathan stressed that African leaders must come together to collectively confront the challenges facing the continent, especially social, economic and governance issues.
He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic places urgency of actions on African leaders to move from plans to implementations of the different developmental strategies. I am particularly optimistic that conversations such as this will chart a new course towards building a new world; an interdependent peaceful and just nations of Africa.
“What changes can we bring to bear to enable us to manage governance structures and democratic processes in Africa better? How do we manage our political issues to reduce conflict and promote good governance? How can we improve our economies to withstand the negative impact due to this pandemic?”
Dr. Jonathan further charged African leaders to seriously consider the option of coming together as one body to confront insecurity and terrorism, rather than allowing different countries to fight individually. “Terrorists do not respect national boundaries as they move from one country to another. If we continue to approach it the way we presently do with national troops fighting only to protect their territories while terrorists move freely within the continent, we may not record the required progress.
He said further: “There is a need for us to re-examine our strategy in order to make it possible for the creation of continental and regional bodies that could confront these criminals in any part of the continent. We have been fighting individually without the required success. We cannot continue to do the same thing all the time and expect to get different results.”
The former Central African Republic President Dr Samba-Panzi said Africa’s response to COVID-19 should give more prominence to women, adding that they play the same role at the household level as frontline health workers.