AU to host virtual business meeting
South African President and African Union (AU) chair, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa will today host an online meeting with business leaders on the continent to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and responses to the pandemic.
The deadly Covid-19 pandemic had by yesterday, claimed at least 1 161 lives in Africa, while 23 514 others were infected since the beginning of the year.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) estimates that the continent could lose up to half of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$2,5 trillion owing to the pandemic which has caused falling revenues from key sectors like oil exports, tourism and declining foreign direct investment among others.
Last month, African ministers of finance called for the immediate release of US$100 billion to go towards debt relief for the continent and rebuilding of its economy in 2021.
The South African presidency confirmed today’s virtual meeting.
“In line with decision of the Extended African Union Bureau meeting held on the 3rd April 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday, 22 April, 2020, chair a virtual meeting of business leaders on the continent to discuss the continental impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the response to this challenge. The President will convene the virtual meeting in his capacity as African Union (AU) Chair.
“Members of the AU Bureau, other invited Heads of State and/or Government, the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and business leaders from some of Africa’s largest firms are expected to participate in the meeting,” reads the statement.
Issues on the agenda include the need to foster business support for the AU’s Joint Continental Strategy for the Covid-19 outbreak.
The development of a continent wide initiative to assure the resilience of the African economy and Africa’s joint capacity to manage the economic consequences of the pandemic will also come under focus.