The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) has launched a COVID-19 Response Plan of Action to assist African countries to improve access to sustainable and resilient health services and protecting economies. In this interview with Africa Renewal, the CEO of AUDA-NEPAD Ibrahim Mayaki discusses the scope of this initiative. These are the excerpts.
What exactly is the AUDA-NEPAD COVID-19 Response Plan of Action?
The AUDA-NEPAD COVID-19 Response Plan of Action is a comprehensive, proactive and multidimensional plan that will help tackle both the current COVID-19 challenges and the post-pandemic repercussions. It is a direct response in improving access to sustainable and resilient health services, while ensuring the protection of Africa's economic foundations.
Aiming to cover the ecosystem that would be affected by the crisis, the response plan will mainly focus on seven thematic areas: Health Service Delivery; Human Resources for Health; Research and Development Innovation and Local Manufacturing; Education and Training; Skills and Employability; Food and Nutrition Security; and Financing.
How long will the response plan last?
It is meant to last for as long as COVID-19 exists and then three years after the pandemic. The idea is to ensure that, as long as this crisis lasts, Africa has the means and tools to fight against it and, on the other hand, anticipate the big economic losses, as well as the lessons learned for a brighter African continent.
How do you plan to implement the response?
We have set up multidisciplinary teams covering four core dimensions: data collection and analysis innovation and transfer of knowledge; implementation, and monitoring of impactful projects in the response to COVID-19; private sector engagement, and communication and advocacy.
We will need to work with our Member States and Regional Economic Communities for the implementation. Basically, we play the role of facilitator and a platform of transfer of expertise and technology from and to our Member States with the help of our traditional partners such as financial institutions, the private sector, and foundations.
For the immediate term, which areas will you focus on?
We are focusing on key thematic areas including health service delivery; capacity building for healthcare human resources; research, development, and innovation to enhance local manufacturing; education and training skills and employability; food and nutrition security; and financing.