….First batch of winners unveiled as BUA Foundation, 24 Others recognized

By Boma Wesley – Onugha

At the appearance of the first reported case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Africa in February 2020, experts predicted that the pandemic would hit Africa the hardest. And since then, African governments and communities have continued to grapple with the unprecedented health emergency, with implications for national economies and the livelihoods of citizens. The pandemic that has now seen over a million infections and thousands of deaths continues to be a challenge, hence galvanizing multi-stakeholder collaborations in a bid to addressing the virus and related issues.

Experts predicted that African countries may find it difficult to follow through with the WHO laid out guidelines to curb the spread of the pandemic, and some of the issues highlighted in the forecast include:

  • Many African health systems, already overburdened with different illnesses, do not have the capacity to respond to a pandemic of this proportion.
  • As most families in Africa live in poverty and are striving to get food on a day-to-day basis; therefore, it will be difficult for families to stay home and prevent social contact.
  • The spread of the virus could result in more family separations, making it extremely challenging for African governments, donors and development partners to implement responses for affected children in time
  • Insufficient measures to raise awareness about preventing infection, which may quickly lead to overflowing hospitals and high fatality rates.

However, contrary to these predictions, Africa, and Africans, have risen to the challenge to fight the impact of the coronavirus on its economies in the most unexpected ways. The African continent has presented a united front as Governments, organizations and individuals have come together in the fight against the pandemic, through rigorous awareness strategies, upgrading of medical facilities, support for businesses and SMEs, encouragement of frontline responders, providing aid and relief materials for citizens, among others.

This combined effort from African Governments, organizations and individuals alike, much to the surprise of forecasters, has placed the continent among the least affected regions. The WHO’s June 26th report on coronavirus, listed Africa among the two least affected continents with a total of 223,960 confirmed cases, against the 4,816,794 confirmed cases in the America’s – the World’s most affected region.

African Leadership magazine, in carrying out its mandate of showcasing development, innovation, and reporting the best of Africa to the world, put together a listing of Top 100 COVID-19 Africa Response Champions. Which comprise of Government bodies, organizations, and individuals who have championed the fight against the impact of the pandemic, in their communities and across Africa in the most impactful ways. These response champions have partnered with Governments, through financial donations, equipment supply, service provisions, and mobilizing citizens to support, etc.

The first twenty-five names on the Top 100 COVID-19 Africa Response Champions list were unveiled at the African Leadership Magazine’s first virtual Africa Summit 2020, with the theme ‘COVID-19: Pathway to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Growth’ on June 25, 2020.

These groups have shown a dedication to the growth and sustenance of Africa through their generous contributions towards mitigating the effect of the pandemic in their regions. The First 25 Champions Unveiled at the ALM Africa Summit 2020, include:

  1. African Medical professionals, doctors and nurses
  2. President Cyril Ramphosa – South Africa
  3. BUA Foundation Nigeria – Abdulsamad Rabiu
  4. Aliko Dangote – Dangote Group
  5. Jack Ma – Alibaba Group
  6. Patrice Motsepe – South Africa
  7. Ghana Covid19 Private Sector Fund
  8. Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe
  9. Trade Kings Zambia
  10. President Andry Rajoelina – Madagascar
  11. Commercial International Bank – Egypt
  12. Ayo Oritsejafor – Word Of Life Bible Church, Nigeria
  13. E. Jewel Howard Taylor – Jewel Starfish Foundation Liberia
  14. Modupe & Folorunsho Alakija Famfa Oil Limited
  15. Ladol Logistics Limited
  16. Vodafone Ghana Foundation
  17. Safaricom Kenya
  18. President Paul Kagame, Republic of Rwanda
  19. Karimjee Jivanjee Tanzania Plc
  20. Association of Tanzania Oil And Gas Service Providers
  21. The Oppenheimer Family – South African Future Trust
  22. Mohan Rao – Indian Association Of Uganda
  23. Barrick Gold Zambia
  24. Sawiris Family Egypt
  25. Mohammed Al Amoudi – Midroc Ethiopia

Others on the list to be unveiled end of July/August 2020.

Africa indeed owes a debt of gratitude to these winners and many others out there who are truly contributing to the fight against COVID-19 in the most audacious ways, often with tremendous sacrifices and courage. When all this pandemic is over, as we believe it will, Africa would still be depending on all stakeholders to chart a path to a more inclusive future for all.