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Govts in Africa, UN, AU, others must do more – Obasanjo, ex-Presidents

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other former leaders have appealed to governments in Africa to do more in the fight against coronavirus.

They also advised international organisations to draw up a concrete, effective, and continental emergency plan to combat COVID-19 outbreak in the continent.

The ex-Presidents/Prime Ministers warned that “with porous borders all over Africa, national efforts will not be enough but regional and continental were required”.

Their position was contained in a joint statement on Tuesday titled “Appeal for preparation for Africa to confront the onslaught of COVID-19”.

It read: “We have seen the mitigation effect or otherwise by the preparatory and preventive actions made by different nations and international organisations to combat the killer virus.

“The results have been related to seriousness of preparation and preventive measures taken including the level of healthcare measures and delivery. The epidemiological progression in already affected areas has indicated that the worst case is yet to occur in Africa.

“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, the conurbation, and the communal living of our people particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in these areas of African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster.

“We, as concerned African leaders, note the efforts that African governments are making within their limited resources to deal with this global challenge.”

The statesmen urged the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and G-20, to urgently come up with a plan to alleviate social and economic effects of the disease.

The call for action was co-signed by Obasanjo, Festus Mogae (Botswana), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia), John Kufour (Ghana), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Joyce Banda (Malawi) and Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique).

Others are Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Kgalema Motlanthe (South Africa) Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia).

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