By Anayo Ezugwu
MOHAMMED Ibn Chambas, special representative, United Nations Secretary-General and head, United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, UNOWAS, has said that the United Nations launched the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund, COVID-19 MPTF, to support low-and middle-income countries in overcoming the health and development crisis caused by the pandemic. He said the COVID-19 MPTF is a UN inter-agency finance mechanism.
While delivering a paper titled: “Democracy, Politics, Leadership and the Development of Ghana and Africa” on Wednesday, May 27, in Accra at the Ishmael Yamson and Associates Businesses Roundtable, Chambas said the UN also launched a $6.71 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to support the 22 African countries that are facing humanitarian needs or hosting refugee populations.
According to him, the world body has called for a global ceasefire in all war zones across the world to facilitate the transportation and delivery of urgent medical supplies and provide the enabling environment to address the pandemic. “Furthermore, the UN Secretary-General has been vocal on the need for additional financial assistance to African countries to the tune of $200 billion, freezing of debt servicing charges, ensuring targeted debt relief and a restructuring of the international debt architecture to prevent defaults.
“The UN is also working to open humanitarian and medical evacuation hubs in Accra, Addis Ababa, Cairo and Johannesburg to facilitate the transportation of vital medical supplies and provision of urgent medical attention. In two days’ time, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, WFP, will be visiting Accra to see the progress in the operationalization of the Accra hub and UN field hospital.
“United Nations solidarity flights have delivered millions of test kits, respirators and other equipment, reaching almost the entire continent. In Nigeria, the UN has assisted the ECOWAS Commission to procure US$6 million worth of medical supplies through UN procurement systems to fast track delivery,” he said.
According to Chambas, while the response has been exemplary, and much is still needed, many are wondering how to address this current pandemic and ensure rapid and effective recovery in the medium and long term. “This pandemic, just like the Ebola epidemic, has once again exacerbated profound structural inadequacies in our governance and economic systems which continue to expose states and increase their susceptibility to external shocks.
“I am sure that our eminent panellists will be delving deeper into this. Nonetheless, I would like to underline that, the decline in revenue due to a fall in commodity prices, increased fiscal deficits, fall in annual growth, increasing inflation coupled with a decline in remittances and worsening unemployment, posed serious threats to the peace and stability of countries in our region.”
– May 29, 2020 @ 16:45 GMT |