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Dealing with the Impact of COVID-19 on Africa


U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks said the U.S. Government is donating much needed ventilators.

"Our relationships and the shared experiences that we've had with our African country partners over the past decades will continue to help us meet both today's COVID-19 crisis and the broader development issues at hand, head-on.”

Dealing with the Impact of COVID-19 on Africa
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In early June, the U.S. Agency for International Development committed more than $350 million to help countries across sub-Saharan Africa respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will ensure that we continue our lifesaving mission and work, as well as support our partner countries in their own COVID-19 response, said Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa Chris Maloney. But there is more at stake here. “What's keeping me up at night more than anything else are the second and third order effects of what COVID is doing,” said Assistant Administrator Maloney:

“And what I mean by that are the economic issues. Right. So we're spending a lot of time right now thinking about things like food security and for USAID, it's… you know, traditionally we work on the rural sector, but increasingly this is an urban issue. So when you have a lot of people under lockdown, how do we think through things like cash transfers, ensuring that supply chains from rural markets get to urban markets? This has been a very key issue for us.”

“One of the problems we’re actually seeing right now across Africa is dealing with the effects of countries that have low commitments [things that help or hinder a country] and using COVID as a way to increase their authoritarianism around the continent,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Maloney:

“So, for example, there's been over 20 thousand Zimbabweans who have been locked up for violating the lockdown rules there. And there's been a lot of allegations of human rights concerns. So we want to make sure that we're thinking about how can we play a part in working with civil society to advocate when there are challenges like this.”

At the same time, said Acting Assistant Administrator Maloney, “There's just a lot of misinformation that's being proffered around”:

“And so we actually just spent a grant in several countries in the Sahel and other parts of West Africa to work with radio stations and civil society groups to counter disinformation, ensure that the right messaging is getting out on how to deal with the crisis.”

“I'm confident,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Maloney, “that our relationships and the shared experiences that we've had with our African country partners over the past decades will continue to help us meet both today's COVID-19 crisis and the broader development issues at hand, head-on.”

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