By State House, Freetown, Tuesday 19 May, 2020
His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio yesterday joined colleague African Heads of State on a high-level virtual roundtable to discuss Africa’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
With the theme: “Resilient World: An African Call for A New World Order,” the event, which was organised by the New York Forum Institute, sought to highlight the lessons the world could learn from Africa, to address the socio-economic risks and highlight visions for the post-Covid health world order..
The other Heads of State included President Mahamadou Issoufou of the Republic of Niger, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, President Alassane Ouattara of the Republic of Ivory Coast and President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal.
In his presentation, President Bio said that he was happy to meet his colleagues to discuss ways out of the pandemic. He said that Sierra Leone suffered a lot during the Ebola outbreak but had been able to learn a lot from its experience in dealing with the COVID-19. He said that the country did not record its first case early because of the measures that were put in place.
He noted that his government had brought together people who worked during the Ebola and had developed a national structure to deal with the virus, adding that they had also been able to increase social mobilisation as a way of stopping the spread of the virus in the country.
The President also informed his colleagues that Sierra Leone had introduced inter-district lockdowns and curfews to reduce the time for interaction among huge numbers of people.
“Africa has been making progress but that has again been disrupted by the COVID-19. Again, we are dealing with COVID-19 and it will definitely have a great impact on our economies. We have to be frank with Africa and support Africa to go through this particular pandemic in a way that we can resume normal activities.”
On his part, President Kenyatta of Kenya said that it was clear that Africa’s success in defeating the disease would be based on individual country responses but more importantly on their collective response as a continent, given the porous nature of borders across the continent.
He said that the African Union had had very encouraging dialogue where they exchanged ideas and possibilities on what they could do as a continent and to also equally join together to see how they could get the international community to mobilise support not necessarily for individual countries but for the continent as a whole.