By Ken Giami
These are unprecedented times for our world, and especially for Africa following the onslaught and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the continent bracing to be the next epicenter of the outbreak. And as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed aptly said recently, “if COVID-19 is not beaten in Africa it will return to haunt us all”. It, therefore, calls for extraordinary leadership, unprecedented collaborations, and a reinforced commitment by all stakeholders in the Africa project; and for all Africans on the continent to follow all directives from Governments, the World Health Organization, and experts regarding measures like hand washing and general hygiene, social distancing, and stay at home as much as possible to curb the spread.
We have seen some very positive responses from certain quarters in mobilizing support for the fight against the spread of the virus in Africa. The Nigeria private-sector coalition’s contribution spearheaded by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is quite commendable, and the contributions of spirited individuals across the country is an example other countries can copy from. We have also seen music icons, football players, major industrialist, international and multilateral development organizations set up all kinds of schemes to help the seemingly dire situation the continent faces with COVID-19.
We also call on the West and other partners of Africa to not only look at addressing their own internal challenges with the virus, but also prioritize the need to assist African nations to deal with this outbreak, as failing to do so would only elongate the sufferings of people, create a greater loss of lives not just for Africa alone, but also for the rest of the world. Success in Africa in dealing with this pandemic must be seen as a success for the rest of the world, for otherwise would be an adventure in futility for all. For when humanity defeats the virus, as we surely will, Africa and its resilience may very well be the hope of recovery for the global economy, as was the case in the 2008 global financial crises when growth for the region as a whole remained reasonably strong at around 5% when the rest of the world economy was still in jeopardy. While these parallels are not exactly the same, it attempts to underline the need for the rest of the world to make the business decision of helping Africa deal decisively with the virus and reap returns or risk another outbreak with potential consequences we can only imagine.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their loved ones and others who have been affected by this coronavirus. And we salute the extraordinary work of our medical practitioners, researchers, government leaders, community leaders, businesses and other key actors in the frontline in this fight. We pray for God’s benevolence on us all at this very challenging time.
For the last 14 years, my organization – the African Leadership magazine have committed itself to reporting and showcasing the critical role that effective leadership plays in moving societies forward, by channelling our efforts towards celebrating and enabling top achievers on the continent so as to inspire the next generation of African changemakers. These achievers and selfless leaders across all spectrum of society are needed now more than ever before if the gains recorded on the continent in the last 20 years would not be wiped off. We must all play our part in safeguarding the future of our continent and our world at large.
At African Leadership magazine, we are responding by asking all our employees at our UK and Nigeria offices to work from home to protect our staff and clients. We are also introducing a daily COVID-19 Update newsletter to keep you informed on the facts, but also the progress made and key actors in the COVID-19 response process. And as most of you are at home, we shall be making our digital edition of the African Leadership free to access via our websites, although we recognize that the physical copies may take longer to reach our subscribers due to COVID-19 related logistical challenges. We are also moving our Africa-focused events from physical locations to virtual. If you need to, you can reach us at any time with your offers for collaborations and partnerships, questions, enquiries, stories or contributions via +44 23 9265 8276 (UK/International) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our websites and social media handles by searching for African Leadership magazine or via filling the ‘contact us’ forms on our website – www.africanleadershipmagazine.co.uk.
We look forward to seeing greater collaborations in the days ahead and you can count on our serving you with even greater resolve in the coming weeks as we look earnestly towards a resolution of the coronavirus pandemic. The wellbeing and safety of our readers, clients, partners, staff and all stakeholders in the Africa project would continue to be uppermost in our priorities.
Ken Giami is the Publisher and CEO of the African Leadership Magazine and writes from Portsmouth , The United Kingdom.