African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday commended African countries on the great work they have done to manage the coronavirus pandemic since its outbreak on the continent in February.The South African leader said this when he observed the 57th anniversary of Africa Day which marks the formation of the Organisation of African Unity – the precursor to the AU – on 25 May 1963.
Ramaphosa attributed Africa’s success in managing the pandemic due to its previous experience in dealing with outbreaks such as Ebola, Malaria, HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and other deadly diseases.
He said Africa’s current mass screening, testing and contact tracing in communities have proven to be successful, and this was due to lessons learnt in dealing with HIV/Aids and TB in the past.
“Our understanding of communicable diseases and how to manage them has put us in good stead when it comes to coronavirus,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “African governments have been swift and proactive in implementing measures to flatten the coronavirus curve. This African response to the coronavirus pandemic has received widespread praise.”
Africa’s first case of coronavirus was registered in Egypt on 14 February and since then all 54 countries have recorded cases, with the last being Lesotho.
Ramaphosa said the worldwide expectation was that Africa would be the most hit in terms of recorded cases and deaths, given its vulnerability to most disasters.
But this has not proven to be the case, he said, noting that scientists across the world have questioned how this was managed in Africa.
There are over 100,000 cases and 3,354 deaths on the African continent, with South Africa being the most affected with 22,583 cases and over 400 deaths.
“As countries around the world battle to turn the tide against the pandemic, Africa has taken firm control of its destiny by developing a clear strategy and raising financial resources from fellow member states.
“Despite the multitude of resource challenges they face, African countries have come together in remarkable ways, united by a common purpose,” Ramaphosa said.