The Head of State spoke on Saturday evening at State House, Nairobi during a webinar on post-COVID-19 reconstruction organized by the African chapter of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP-Africa). ISCP is an international network of current and former Heads of State and Government who use dialogue to address global challenges among them climate change, conflict, poverty, and corruption. ISCP-Africa is chaired by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
The President commended Africa’s concerted response to COVID-19 saying measures being implemented by African countries are helping slow down Coronavirus spread.
The President said despite limited resources, the continent had rolled out proactive measures that were helping save lives.
“Africa has responded to Covid-19 much better than most other parts of the world, particularly when you consider its relatively weaker resource base.
“For a continent with 1.2 billion people, we have about 400,000 confirmed cases and just over 10,000 deaths. For comparison, that is about 15% of the cases in the United States and 7% of US deaths,” the President said.
President Kenyatta warned against complacency in Africa’s Covid-19 response saying, the pandemic is likely to get worse in the coming months.
“We need to actively prepare for the looming crisis. Let me, however, hasten to add, that there is no room for complacency,” the President cautioned.
He listed peer learning, data-driven decision making, pragmatism and, regular and transparent communication as some of the best practices that will stand Africa in a better position to defeat Coronavirus.
Using the example of Kenya, the President said religious leaders are key actors in containing the spread of Covid-19.
He said religious institutions provide critical outreach to vulnerable communities and have an extensive network of faith-based health and education infrastructure that are critical in Covid-19 response.
“I am working hand in hand with religious organizations who are influential voices in shaping personal and community responses to Covid-19,” the President told the global audience that included former Central African Republic President Dr. Catherine Samba-Panzi.
Going forward, the President urged African leaders to continue working together, with the support of partners, in crafting interventions that enhance resilience of the continent’s vulnerable populations.
“We should work in collaboration with our development partners to build capacity for local production of health equipment and to strengthen our local manufacturing capacity more generally,” he said.
Dr. Samba-Panzi said Africa’s response to Covid-19 should give more prominence to women.
The former Central African Republic President said women should be given the same prominence as frontline health workers because they play the same role at the household level.
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated the African Union for its leadership in the fight against Covid-19.
Dr. Jonathan said the prominent role played by Africa CDC, the Africa Covid-19 Fund, and the joint Africa procurement platform in Covid-19 response had demonstrated the continent’s potential to overcome its development challenges going forward.