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African business and finance experts join forces with Save the Children

8 July 2020 at 07:34 | 632 views

A new partnership bringing together private enterprise and the UK’s leading non-profit humanitarian organisation for children has been formed to tackle the challenges posed by Covid-19 in Africa.

The African Pandemic Response Alliance (APRA) (https://www.AfricaPRA.org/), made up of businesses and financial experts with deep knowledge of and connections to Africa, has joined forces with Save the Children UK to help contain and prevent the spread of Covid-19 in African nations, and address the impact of the pandemic on children in these communities.

Founded by Dawda Jawara, a lawyer and investment adviser, APRA’s team has expertise in financial structuring, African healthcare systems, corporate operations, fundraising, and procurement and logistics. APRA partners include the African Union, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Altica Partners, Aramex, Asoko Insight, Baylis Emerging Markets, Cohen and Gresser LLP, and VIA Global Health. Together with Save the Children, APRA has launched the Africa Pandemic Response Campaign to fund activities which will help reduce the impact on children and their families, such as providing personal protective equipment to health workers, running remote training and handwashing campaigns, and implementing testing and tracking systems.

Keith Kibirango, Head of Africa Philanthropy at Save the Children, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with APRA. The combination of our networks, knowledge and our presence in affected communities across Africa will enable us to provide immediate and meaningful support to vulnerable children and their families affected by Covid-19. In countries already grappling with food crises and health challenges, Save the Children is working to help to slow the spread of coronavirus, distribute protective equipment and medical supplies, ensure children’s nutrition and vaccinations are not falling behind, and grow our network of community health workers.”

Dawda Jawara III, Founder of APRA and Partner at Altica Partners, said: “The scale of the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted traditional boundaries between the private, public and third sectors, and demands that everyone step out of their comfort zone. It is a privilege to be joining forces with our partners and Save the Children to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in Africa. As professionals and entrepreneurs with deep ties to the continent, we couldn’t sit back and do nothing. We plan to raise funds, pool resources and work on a pan-African basis to address immediate humanitarian and ongoing economic concerns raised by Covid-19.”

Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said: “Containment and preventive measures are critical to ensuring that Covid-19 caseloads in Africa remain low and already fragile health systems aren’t overwhelmed. Through coordinating businesses, governments and the nonprofit sector, the Africa Pandemic Response Campaign compliments and strengthens ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the virus across the continent. By all working together, we can help ensure life-saving resources reach those who need them most.”

Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), said: “When the Covid-19 pandemic started afflicting Africa, Afreximbank immediately put in place several initiatives to help deal with the economic and health impacts. Supporting African countries in times of crisis is part of our mandate, but no one institution will be able to shoulder the relief effort on its own. That is why we are also working with other organisations to put in place coordinated interventions to respond to the pandemic. The African Pandemic Response Alliance is one of those noble initiatives we are proud to join.”

The funds raised as a result of the campaign will be spent on providing medical and protective equipment for healthcare workers in at-risk countries, as well as a range of activities focused on raising awareness and prevention. To alleviate the economic burden in vulnerable communities, it will work alongside African governments, increase payments to parents and healthcare workers to expand health and nutrition services. Crucially, the campaign will also finance systems for Covid-19 contact tracing surveillance and case reporting.

The campaign will initially focus on higher risk countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. Other countries will be included on a case-by-case basis.

Keith Kibirango: “Africa’s health systems are ill-equipped to deal with existing medical demands, let alone the Covid-19 pandemic. Focusing on prevention and containment of the virus is key to prevent health systems becoming overwhelmed, with serious knock-on effects in terms of treatment for and prevention of other diseases, including Ebola, and common childhood killers such as malaria and diarrhea.”

Dawda Jawara III added: “Alongside the healthcare threat, African countries, many of which are reliant on revenues from remittances and commodity exports, are significantly exposed to the global economic fallout from Covid-19. We need to act now to limit the damage done, and put the building blocks in place to ensure the continent recovers swiftly and is better-placed to deal with future crises.”

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