Harare (New Ziana)-President Emerson Mnangagwa on Saturday commended the African Union’s response towards the COVID-19 pandemic and called for more robust strategies to eradicate the disease and to deal with future pandemics.
He was speaking during the opening day of the 34th AU Heads of State and Government Summit which is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I concur with the proposal for more robust strategies to deal with future pandemics and the need to strengthen and review statutes of the Africa-Centre for Disease Control to enable it to fully perform its task,” he said.
“I equally support the call for Africa to develop our own pharmaceutical industry drawing from our rich heritage based scientific knowledge and competent scientists. Zimbabwe further supports calls for the establishment of the Africa Medicine Agency.”
President Mnangagwa also commended the outgoing chair of the AU, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa for leading the organisation during a difficult period.
He also said the African Centre for Disease Control had adequately responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I further commend the outgoing chair of our union, His Excellency Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa and President of the Republic of South Africa for his exemplary and sterling work in leading our continental body. His innovative and responsive approach in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our continent is admirable.
“Today our organisation boasts of elaborate, well co-ordinated and effective new initiatives towards combating the spread of the pandemic. This demonstrates the power of our solidarity, cooperation and unity which can be traced to our rich culture and heritage as a continent,” he said.
“My country appreciates the critical role and efforts of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and the African Union Special Envoys to procure vaccines. Efforts by the private sector and other stakeholders to mobilise and set up platforms on which member states of the Union can procure Personal Protective Equipment, diagnostic equipment and vaccines are equally commendable. We also hail the Afreximbank which will avail financial facilities to enable countries to purchase their COVID-19 contingencies.”
President Mnangagwa also pledged Zimbabwe’s support to the new chair of the AU, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo.