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COVID-19 in Africa: Global calls for action

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 continues to significantly impact countries around the world. This global pandemic requires a global response as urged by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who called for global solidarity earlier this month.  

This week, the Foundation published a report titled – COVID-19 in Africa: A call for coordinated governance, improved health structures and better data –  which presents an analysis of Africa’s readiness and capacity to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. In providing this analysis, we aim to present a clear and accurate picture, highlighting where efforts can be concentrated in the management and mitigation of this health crisis on the continent.

Some of our partners and other organisations around the world have also highlighted the importance of collaboration in order to tackle this pandemic. Below is a selection of some of these publications and calls to action. 

African Union (AU) 

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, and Chairperson of the AU convened a second and follow-up teleconference meeting of the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government, on 3 April 2020, to discuss the African response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 12 April he appointed four Special Envoys to mobilise international economic support for the continental fight against COVID-19


Africa needs debt relief to fight COVID-19.Op-ed by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly, Tidjane Thiam, Donald Kaberuka, Vera Songwe, Strive Masiyiwa, Louise Mushikiwabo and Cristina Duarte.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

This month, African Finance Ministers met in a virtual conference hosted by the ECA to exchange ideas on the efforts of their respective governments in dealing with the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. 

McKinsey & Company

Recently, McKinsey & Company published a paper titled – Tackling COVID-19 in Africa: An unfolding health and economic crisis that demands bold action. This paper presents an initial analysis of COVID-19’s economic impact in Africa and outlines a framework for near-term action by governments, the private sector, and development institutions to mitigate this impact.

World Health Organization (WHO) 

The WHO launched the COVID-19: Solidarity response fund, to help countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


UNAIDS is calling on Health Ministers at the World Health Assembly to rally behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19. This includes a call for governments and international partners to unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge.

ONE: Global pandemic demands a global response

ONE launched a campaign calling for global cooperation and solidarity. Action includes an online petition urging world leaders to join a global pandemic response plan. 

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) 

ODI launched a new blog series, drawing on a range of experts to critically examine the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on healthcare systems to the economy. This series also reflects on valuable lessons learned from global response so far. 

The International Growth Centre’s Council on State Fragility

As part of the launch of The International Growth Centre’s Council on State Fragility, Mo Ibrahim, together with Ibrahim Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Board member Donald Kaberuka, David Cameron and other eminent thought leaders called on donors and the G20 to pay special attention to countries affected by conflict and fragility during the COVID-19 crisis.

Open Letter on the impact of COVID-19 on African women: bold actions to mitigate and drive meaningful reconstruction efforts 

"We have been presented the opportunity to reimagine and redesign our society into a vibrant and equitable one. We must place women at the core of the response and beyond." 

Open letter penned by Graça Machel, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr. Vera Songwe, Maria Ramos. 

Each weekday, we share a selection of media articles that are relevant to COVID-19 in Africa. 

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