President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged African countries to collaborate more in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic through information sharing and pooling of intervention resources.
Speaking during a virtual meeting of the African Union Bureau of the Assembly with the Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), President Kenyatta appreciated the support Africa has received from the international community but emphasized the need for the continent to stand together in the fight against Covid-19 saying unity will ensure better results.
“I want to say that we need to be able to work together and to pool whatever little resources we have and show that we are also capable of coming together to defeat this virus.
“I also believe that at the end of the day it is going to take each and every one of us individually and collectively to win this war and not necessarily depending 100 per cent on our friends from the outside world coming to support us,” President Kenyatta said.
He said African leaders need to understand that countries the world over are overwhelmed by the pandemic pointing out that even the richest nations are struggling to meet demands brought about by Covid-19.
“We are facing financial, material and structural constraints. However, we must also face up to the reality that resources are finite everywhere and even the richest countries today are struggling in the wake of this global pandemic. Therefore, I am very encouraged by what we are doing for ourselves on the continent,” the Kenyan leader said.
He pointed out that African nations need to move with speed in mobilizing and deploying resources to support countries in the fight against Covid-19.
So far, African countries led by South Africa and Egypt have pledged 61 million US Dollars for the fight against the virus on the continent.
The Kenyan Head of State said there was a need to encourage more African nations to contribute to the kitty so as to scale up continental interventions.
“As we continue to fight this pandemic which continues to pose an existential threat to many of our countries, I also believe that there are encouraging signs if we continue to stay the course, remain focused, vigilant and more importantly disciplined,” he said.
President Kenyatta, however, expressed concern about the rise of infections on a daily basis noting that 10 countries in Africa have over a thousand cases with three of them having passed the four thousand mark.
He, therefore, urged countries to intensify actions aimed at containing the spread of the respiratory disease including increased testing and enhanced surveillance measures.
The President emphasized the need to use Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as enablers of effective monitoring and implementation of continental response to Covid-19, saying enhanced cross-border communication will help slow down the spread of the virus.
“I just think that if we were to defeat this enemy, we need to really be able to ensure that through our RECs we are able to communicate, to work together, to be able to deal with cross-border issues because unless we fight together, we will lose together,” he said.
President Kenyatta thanked the African Union Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa for organising the meeting of the bureau of the assembly in a span of one month with the objective of unifying the continent in the fight against the global novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Other leaders who participated in the meeting included Presidents Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Egypt), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Idriss Deby (Chad), Andry Rajoelina (Madagascar), Felix Tshisekedi (DRC), Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (Mali) and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat