Covid-19 should not hold back Africa’s progress, Kagame says

President Kagame and other Heads of State during the virtual meeting on Thursday, June 11. (Village Urugwiro)

Efforts to curb the Covid-19 pandemic should not hold back the African continent from implementing existing and new development programmes geared towards the African Union’s Agenda 2063, President Paul Kagame has said.

The President was speaking at a virtual meeting of the African Union Bureau and Chairs of Regional Economic Communities on Thursday 11th June.

 

Kagame commended the six special envoys who are working to mobilise resources for the continent to facilitate getting through the pandemic.

 

The provision of fiscal space for the African continent, he said not only benefits the continent but the entire world.

 

“Providing adequate fiscal space to Africa does not only benefit Africa. It should be seen as part of the overall effort to stabilize the global economy. This is in everyone’s interest,” said Kagame, who currently chairs the East African Community.

"Moreover, the urgency of creating fiscal space must not come at the expense of existing and new development programmes which are essential to sustain progress toward Agenda 2063 including resilient health systems," Kagame said.

Providing an update on the East African Community efforts amidst the pandemic, the Head of State said that the region continues to work closely to establish and implement procedures to facilitate flow of trade while protecting public health.

“This includes the expanded use of digital tools and working to harmonize testing guidelines,” he said.

Across the bloc, countries have put in place a taskforce with focal persons to follow up on agreed guidelines such as the testing of truck drivers at entry points as well as information sharing to improve response.

Countries such as Rwanda have also since deployed robots to ease the follow up of patients, which is aimed at minimizing the exposure of healthcare workers.

He, however, pointed out that there exist few challenges such as harmonization and shared understanding of actions that need to be taken but noted that there were ongoing efforts to address them.

Kagame also sent condolences to the citizens of Burundi on the sudden demise of the outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Kagame also lauded progress on the Africa Medical Supplies Platform led by Zimbabwean business magnate Strive Masiyiwa which is working to help the continent procure medical supplies fast and at more affordable prices. 

He reiterated his support to the cause.

Later in the day, the President had a phone conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss partnership with Rwanda and Africa amid the pandemic, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences as well as the Africa Center of Excellence for Children Peace and Security.

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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