On Wednesday, 9 February, Mo Ibrahim took part in a special edition of VOA’s Straight Talk Africa show focussed on the challenges of fighting COVID-19 in Africa, and what is needed for an effective response and recovery. Mo was joined by Aloysius Uche Ordu, Director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute.
Their discussion outlined a wide range of issues facing African countries on the road to recovery from COVID-19, including vaccine nationalism. As highlighted in COVID-19 in Africa: A challenging road to recovery, as of the end of January, just 10.2% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated compared to 70.2% in Europe. Mo also stressed the impact of limited social protections for Africa citizens, many of whom lost their livelihoods due to pandemic. He explained:
We told people to stay at home, but we didn’t send them any money…the economic hit has been extremely bad.
The underestimated toll of COVID-19 on Africa’s health systems and economies was highlighted as a major challenge for the continent. In relation to this, Mo outlined the issue of data paucity and the impact on Africa’s fragile health infrastructure. He said:
The problem of data is masking the severity of the pandemic. Health services have been strained, and they were already weak. Unfortunately, we have not invested enough in our health services.
Watch the full discussion below