Our Collective Humanity is at Stake says Akinwumi Adesina
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President of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi Adesina says it is important to accelerate global health and economic initiative to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. 

Adesina called on U.S. and African government officials and business leaders to establish new and sustainable alliances that will last beyond the pandemic, saying that “one death was too many” and “our collective humanity is at stake.” 

He called during a webinar of the Southern African Corporate Council (CCA). The CCA is a leading U.S. business organization that promotes US-African industry and investment. 

In calling for participants to be the custodians of their brothers and sisters, Adesina said that the fundamental global disparities and effects on the poorer and rich countries must be taken into account. 

The Africa Corporate Council President and CEO Florie Liser lauded the constructive leadership role of the African Development Bank in reacting to the crisis in Africa. 

The pandemic COVID-19 threatens to kill Africa’s unprecedented development and economic gains over the last decade, she said. 

The webinar was hosted by Peter Sullivan of Citi Bank, who believed that the environmental, educational, economic and financial effects of the pandemic were unprecedented. Adesina highlighted the bank’s recent $3 billion ‘Battle COVID-19’ bond, which has become the highest ever dollar-denominated social bond. “The crisis has seriously impaired economic activities across a number of industries, including tourism, transport and commodity.” The $4.6 billion bonds are listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Bank has also introduced a response facility for $10 billion COVID-19 to support African governments and businesses. 

The Bank’s response package comprises $5.5 trillion for African governments, $3.1 trillion for African Development Fund concessional countries and $1.4 trillion for the private sector. 

Adesina asked a number of questions about the African healthcare system and said that the country needs to invest more than twice in the field. He listed the acute lack of facilities and pharmaceutical companies in the continent as opportunities for growth and investment. 

Though China is home to 7,000 pharmaceutical companies and India to 11,000, Africa, on the other hand, has only 375 while the population of both the Asian giants is approximately equal to half the combined population. 

Adesina urged multilateral organizations to put their collective efforts into line with the debt of Africa, to monitor their ratings and to collaborate with rating agencies. 

Although the infection rates of COVID-19 are relatively low compared to the rest of the world, the acute absence of health services on the continent gives a growing sense of urgency. 

Adesina called for urgent, fresh, sustainable alliances with an eye to the present crisis and beyond that will help no one is left behind.

Data Source: African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

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