Event highlights: Global leadership to support Africa’s response to COVID-19
Part of IGC’s response to addressing the economic challenges of COVID-19 in developing countries is a series of online public events that explore the role of global leadership in assisting developing countries, the economic impact of the pandemic in the Middle East, and what policy measures are needed to address the challenges facing migrant workers in India.
We're kicking off our new #LSECOVID19 online event series by asking how African countries can best respond to the collapse of global trade and supply chains. 📉
— LSE Events (@LSEpublicevents) April 24, 2020
The first event on Wednesday, 29 April kicked off with introductory remarks from Minouche Shafik, LSE Director, and Jonathan Leape, Executive Director, IGC, who briefly discussed the IGC’s work in addressing the economic challenges of COVID-19. This includes a newly published policy guidance note signed by 37 renowned academics.
— Yvonne Ndege (@YvonneNdege) April 29, 2020
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and co-chair of the IGC’s Council on State Fragility started the discussion by reflecting on the key lessons from the fight against Ebola that can help developing countries tackle the present pandemic.
Effective communication, capacity enhancement, and regional and global partnerships were among the main factors that contributed to eradicating Ebola in Liberia. President Sirleaf called on the global leaders to step up again and mobilise resources.
"We need an engaged leadership. We also need reliable & informed data." @MaEllenSirleaf
Leadership, reliable data, partnerships: key things needed to deal with the #COVID19 pandemic in Africa, said our #MIFPrize laureate at #LSECOVID19 lecture 👉🏿https://t.co/Gitc8PJaPD pic.twitter.com/be1AqwYjmR
— Mo Ibrahim Foundation (@Mo_IbrahimFdn) April 29, 2020
Water & sanitation are major means of prevention.Many rural areas & developing countries have inadequate access to clean water.
— Nabila Hussain (@nnabilahussain) April 29, 2020
“No one is safe until everyone is safe”
According to an estimation announced by the African Union, Africa will require $130 billion to address the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Although international organisations and multilaterals have already launched initiatives to support Africa with debt relief and health aid, more consolidated efforts are needed, said Dr Ngozi in her opening statement.
The former Nigerian Minister of Finance added that whilst a vaccine is developed, healthcare funding, mass testing and the supply of PPE equipment are critical to minimise the spread of the virus and prevent the collapse of weak healthcare systems. And as soon as a vaccine becomes available, the international community should commit to equitable distribution and ensure that all countries can benefit from it.
— Justine Knebelmann (@JustineKneb) April 29, 2020
“Africa needs a big income injection to compensate for the income loss”
Many African nations approach #covid19 from a different frame of reference – with experience, knowledge and proven leadership in managing infectious disease outbreaks. #LSEcovid19 and @the_IGC on #policy and global leadership to support #Africa in their #COVID19Response
— Samantha Law (@samantha_t_law) April 29, 2020
As the virus unfolds, it is still unclear what strategies might work best, but African countries should not replicate the Western model and should be more cautious when enforcing lockdowns, said Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Oxford and IGC Director. He added that, in his opinion, the biggest hit to Africa was not COVID-19 but the economic hit coming from the collapse of Western economies.
Paul Collier: East Asia built its response model on its experience of SARS, West Africa has built theirs on experiences on Ebola. African countries need to trust themselves and use their wealth of leadership from recent pandemics #LSECOVID19
— International Growth Centre (@The_IGC) April 29, 2020
— accra (@afuagba) April 29, 2020
The panellists explored key policy measures to strengthen health and social protection systems, the role of civil society and opportunities for African countries to learn from past mistakes.
We will always face the threat of another disaster if (leaders) gvts do not allocate more resources to strengthening health systems, including training of key cadres e.g. community health workers (70% female) @MaEllenSirleaf #lsecovid19
— Tsitsi Chawatama (@TsitsiDC) April 29, 2020
What role can civil society play?
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Ebola experiences: Media for proper reporting, women’s groups key to supporting healthcare workers – civil society has an important role to play in the response to COVID-19 #LSECOVID19
— International Growth Centre (@The_IGC) April 29, 2020
@NOIweala says this pandemic is an opportunity for African countries to start looking into introducing affordable housing, that is also climate friendly, such that they’re prepared for the inevitably eventuality of pandemics!
— madame économiste (@FeliciaAyensua) April 29, 2020
COVID-19 has revealed the extent of our interconnectedness, with national and regional responses having consequences on neighbouring countries and beyond. To ensure effective global support for the most vulnerable countries, committing resources to and coordinating fiscal, monetary, and anti-protectionist initiatives are needed.
You can watch the speakers’ final thoughts on how the international community can best support Africa’s response to COVID-19 below.
On Wednesday we convened a panel of experienced academics and policymakers to discuss COVID-19 in Africa. Here are their parting thoughts on the challenges ahead and how to address them.
— International Growth Centre (@The_IGC) May 1, 2020
— Anna Twum (@AnnaTwum) April 29, 2020
The podcast and video from the whole event can be found here.
Very inspiring session from some wonderful thought leaders! Totally agree with Minouche “No one is safe until we are all safe” & a lovely story from Dr Ngozis 8 year old granddaughter singing All Together Now by #TheBeatles https://t.co/lQRW9FWtih #lsecovid19 https://t.co/Q4WUSpzNy7 pic.twitter.com/8l8Y7HGxdQ
— Ivan Bruce (@IvanBruce) April 29, 2020