UN Secretary – General , Antonio Guterres, warned that millions of people could be pushed into extreme poverty in Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic and called for “ global solidarity ” with the continent .
“ The pandemic threatens African progress. It will aggravate long – standing inequalities and heighten hunger , malnutrition and vulnerability to disease , ” Guterres said in a statement accompanying a UN study with recommendations for the African continent .
While he congratulated Africa for responding swiftly to the pandemic , which has claimed more than 2 , 500 lives across the continent , Guterres noted that “ as of now , reported cases are lower than feared . ”
“African countries should also have quick , equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment , that must be considered global public goods , ” he said in his statement .
Since the pandemic is still in its “ early days ” in Africa , Guterres stressed that “ disruption could escalate quickly . ”
“ Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative – now and for recovering better , ” he said .
Among his recommendations , Guterres urged “ international action to strengthen Africa ’ s health systems , maintain food supplies , avoid a financial crisis. ”
It is also necessary , he added , to “support education , protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat , and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings. ”
Guterres called for “ more than $ 200 billion as additional support from the international community” to help Africa recover from the pandemic .
He said he was also advocating “ a comprehensive debt framework – starting with an across- the – board debt standstill for countries unable to service their debt. ”
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