The proposal echoes King Mohammed VI’s call in April for a continental response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabat – Morocco’s representative at the African Union (AU) stressed during a videoconference on Thursday the importance of establishing a platform of African experts on epidemics to consolidate the continent’s response to future health challenges.
The Permanent Ambassador of Morocco to the AU, Mohamed Arrouchi, raised the issue during a meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the AU. The June 11 meeting focused on the socio-economic and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 in Africa.
Arrouchi said a platform of African epidemic experts would encourage states to exchange experiences in managing health crises and strengthen continental support for governments combating diseases and epidemics, including COVID-19.
The diplomat’s proposal echoes King Mohammed VI’s call in April for a continental response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During telephone conversations with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, and the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, the King proposed an “African Heads of State” initiative to establish an “operational framework” to aid countries throughout the continent in their various phases of managing the pandemic.
The pan-African initiative aims to share states’ experiences and develop best practices to address the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, a statement from the Moroccan royal cabinet said on April 13.
Both Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal warmly received King Mohammed VI’s proposal, as did the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).
In a statement on April 20, the PAP welcomed the initiative and Morocco’s “willingness to share knowledge and technology with the rest of the continent.” African countries have mobilized to overcome the “extraordinarily overwhelming” and “unprecedented health war” as a collective, the statement added.
The EU also commended the King’s vision. “This initiative seems to fit perfectly with Morocco’s return to the African family [AU] which we have observed with great interest for several years, especially in many areas essential to EU-Africa relations,” said EU spokesperson Peter Stano on April 29.
Morocco will be able to play its full part in “the collective efforts of the continent and its institutions with a view to combating the virus,” he added.
To highlight the importance of continental solidarity in facing shared health challenges, Arrouchi recalled during Thursday’s videoconference King Mohammed VI’s “Triple-A Initiative” (AAA) to adapt Africa’s agriculture to climate change and ensure sustainable food security.
Morocco introduced the AAA initiative during the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech. The initiative aims to reduce the vulnerability of Africa and its agriculture to climate change by promoting the implementation of specific projects to improve soil management, agricultural water control, and climate risk management.
The Moroccan initiative welcomed widespread support at the February 2020 AU Summit and several heads of state called for the mobilization of the resources necessary for its implementation throughout the continent.
Food shortages in 2019 forced Africa to import more than $49 billion in foodstuffs, Arrouchi said, underlining the continental need for a sustainable and sufficient agricultural revolution.
The Moroccan diplomat also emphasized the need to take action to reduce the humanitarian impact of COVID-19 on Africa’s most vulnerable demographics, particularly women and children. The AU must “establish a database of statistics on refugees, displaced persons, and migrants and avoid any exploitation of these vulnerable groups for political gain,” he said.
The AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Vitor Harisson, strongly supported the Moroccan proposals during the videoconference and assured the initiatives will be incorporated into the Department of Economic Affairs’ monitoring report.