Virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit: Let’s create country-specific COVID-19 measures — President Akufo-Addo

April 24, 2020 / Comments (0)

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Africa must be country specific rather than copying blindly.

“I think it’s very, very important that we tailor a specific Ghanaian, African response to the handling of this pandemic, and not necessarily copy blindly the methods that are being adopted by countries to the north of us and elsewhere.”

President Akufo-Addo said this yesterday when he joined other West African Heads of State for a virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the coronavirus pandemic.

Ghanaian response

President Akufo-Addo told the assembly that the Ghanaian response to the coronavirus pandemic was based on four principles.

They included the Ghana approach, which hinged on mobilising the social forces of the country – religious, scientific, academic, political and civil society – to deal with the threat of the pandemic.

 “Secondly, that we are led and informed by the science and our data that we are able to assemble. We are also learning from the experience of governments of countries that are further down the road in responding to the pandemic. Then, finally, we think that it is an opportunity for us to continue to push with our Ghana Beyond Aid agenda,” he added.

To that end, President Akufo-Addo stated that the first decision taken by Ghana was to “try to limit and stop the importation of the virus”.

Tracing and testing

To contain the virus, the President told his peers that there had been an aggressive process of tracing and testing, with over 85,000 Ghanaians having been tested for the virus.

Stopping community spread

In trying to stop community spread, President Akufo-Addo indicated that public gatherings had been banned, including the closure of churches and mosques, and modalities put in place for the holding of funerals.

To limit the impact of the virus on the economic and social life of Ghanaians, the President indicated that specific measures had been taken to provide relief for all Ghanaians, stressing that “we have relief programmes to provide free water, subsidise electricity in order to deal with the impact on, especially, vulnerable segments of our society.”

The onset of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo said, “has also given us an opportunity to scale up domestic production for medical material, protective equipment as well as medicines, sanitisers and the rest. We believe that with their sufficient support and inspiration from government, domestic manufacturers and local enterprises are capable of rising to the challenge to find us the opportunity to meet our needs from Ghana.”

Regional efforts

Towards finding a vaccine for the virus, the President stated that “we want to get to the point where we can have an African vaccine to deal with the problem because the mutation of the virus is different, so we need to have our own way of dealing with it.”

Sharing strongly the views of Ivorian President, Mr Alasanne Ouattara, in the continuous pursuit of a regional agenda, President Akufo-Addo stated: “I am also happy to hear that the Convergence Council is going to meet very soon to see where we are in terms of the developments that have taken place, and the impact that they have on our goals of monetary union.”

Debt relief

On the matter of debt relief for African countries, President Akufo-Addo supported “100 per cent the view of President Macky Sall about the public debt”.

He told the assembly of the efforts being made by the Ghanaian and South African Ministers of Finance to negotiate with the World Bank a debt standstill for the countries of the International Development Association.

“Therefore, the efforts that are being made should get the wholehearted support of all of us. I believe that the issue of debt relief should not just stay at public debt. The private debts also should be looked at,” he added.

Source: Graphic Online

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