UK contributes £20million into new AU ‘anti-COVID-19 fund’
The United Kingdom (UK) has contributed the sum of £20million into the African Union’s (AU) new ‘Africa anti-COVID 19 fund’ to help tackle the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and President of the Republic of South Africa had in April announced the anti- COVID-19 funding.
Speaking on the contribution, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing in a statement issued on Thursday by the Press and Public Affairs Officer, Ndidiamaka Eze explained that the funding contribution to the AU will provide additional support to Nigeria and other African countries.
“It is testament to the fact that the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Nigeria in our collective challenge to defeat this terrible virus,” he said.
The Commission stated that the support is coming after the UK’s pledge of over $900 million to the international fight against COVID-19.
“The UK is also using its existing aid programmes to help vulnerable countries in Africa to strengthen their health systems. It also comes ahead of the UK hosting the virtual Global Vaccine Summit on 4th June, to secure future funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has already saved the lives of millions of children in Africa from infectious diseases,” it said.
It also said that the fund will help in: “recruiting African health experts and deploying them where they are needed most, strengthening global tracking of the pandemic, combatting potentially harmful misinformation, providing specialist coronavirus training for health workers and making information about the COVID-19 virus more accessible to the public.”
It noted that most countries on the continent were beginning to see exponential increases in case numbers, presenting a severe risk to fragile healthcare systems.
“If healthcare systems become overwhelmed, the worldwide spread of the virus will be difficult to slow, risking new waves of infection. The UK’s contribution to the Africa anti-COVID 19 fund will prevent this by working in partnership with the AU to help fight the COVID-19 virus, strengthen healthcare systems and save lives in the AU’s 55 member states,” the statement added.