President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, March 30, held a historic meeting as he stepped up his efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The president was joined by 5 other African leaders namely: The Chairperson of IGAD who is also the Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok, President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), President Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Vice President Dr. Riek Machar (South Sudan) and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia in the unique meeting which was held via a video-conference
The meeting was convened by the member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to find solutions for the Covid-19 pandemic.The various African Heads of State present during the video conference meeting on March 30, 2020.PSCU
While briefing his counterparts on the measures Kenya is taking to curtail the spread of the virus, President Uhuru provided the outcomes of a teleconference with the Bureau of the African Union Heads of State and Government held on March 26.
One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the agreement to establish a continental anti-Covid-19 Africa Fund to which members of the Bureau agreed to immediately contribute US Ksh1.25 billion as seed funding. The bureau also agreed to contribute a further Ksh450 million towards boosting the capacity of the African Union Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC), with the total contribution totaling at Ksh1.7 billion.
Kenya pledged, on its part, pledged to contribute Ksh300 million to the aforementioned funds.
“My administration will do whatever is within its power and capacity to extend any support that our brothers and sisters in our neighboring countries might require,” President Uhuru stated.
The heads of state present during the meeting all agreed to forge a joint approach to curb the spread of Coronavirus disease.
The leaders also agreed to intensify information sharing including tracking of infected persons across any of their countries.
Further, the heads of state agreed to direct relevant agencies to enhance cooperation in border control and management, with a view of ensuring safety along common borders and guarantee the movement of cargo.
The leaders appealed to the international community to provide support for vulnerable groups, particularly refugees within IGAD countries, and to support national efforts to ensure that humanitarian corridors remain open.
The leaders went on to urge the private sector to contribute more to the fight against the pandemic.
To mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, the heads of state tasked regional ministers of finance to carry out a comprehensive assessment with a view of establishing an IGAD emergency fund.President Uhuru taking notes during the video conference meeting held with IGAD members state leaders on March 30, 2020.PSCU
Further, the heads of state tasked the IGAD secretariate to formulate appropriate response programmes to be discussed by the leaders.
The leaders said the assessment will form the basis for joint engagement with international partners such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank Group, and the G20 for economic stimulus packages.
President Uhuru also reminded IGAD member states to continue the fight against desert locust invasion even as they worked to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus.
He said the desert locust invasion risked plunging the region into a food crisis at a time when the world's attention was on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
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