Regional heads converge to address regional preparedness to COVID-19 Pandemic

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The regional heads of state have resolved to adopt a harmonised system for certification and sharing of covid-19 test results across East Africa.

This came out at the heads of state consultative meeting of the East African Community that took place on the 12th of April 2020.

The heads of state took note of the EAC regional covid-19 response plan and its key targeted interventions and directed the ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs to ensure that it complements the partner states’ national covid-19 response plans.

“The heads of state noted that information sharing is key during crisis such as the covid-19 pandemic and directed the ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs to finalise and adopt an EAC digital surveillance and tracking system for drivers and crew on covid-19 for immediate use by partner states.” Read the communique that was released at the end of the meeting.

The presidents also took note of efforts by partner states in undertaking bilateral engagements to address cross-border challenges and the EAC secretariat mission that assessed the situation on clearance processes at the borders during the pandemic.

Currently, the region’s key economic sectors are experiencing a slowdown as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, such as agriculture, trade, manufacturing and industry, tourism, hospitality and entertainment and directed partner states to prioritize regional value/supply chains to support local production of essential medical products and supplies including masks, sanitizers, soaps, coveralls, face shields, processed food, ventilators as part of efforts to combat covid-19 in the region.

Farmers have however will be facilitated by the partner states as per the agreement at the meeting. The facilitation is expected to help farmers to continue farming activities during this pandemic and post covid-19 period, support agro-processing and value chains as an import substitution measure and establish special purpose financing schemes for small and medium enterprises, to cushion them from the negative effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

The heads of state also designated the ministers responsible for health, transport and East African Community affairs to be the focal persons for the regional covid-19 response under the leadership of the ministers of health.

Meanwhile the East African Business Council has lauded the EAC Heads of State for adopting a common approach towards curbing the outbreak of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in the EAC region, following the Heads of State Consultative Meeting held via video conference.

“The East African business community further appreciates the Heads of State for ably interrogating the impact of the COVID-19 on the lives of East African citizens, businesses, intra-EAC trade and investments. Indeed, the communique from the Heads of State Consultative Meeting is geared towards protecting the lives of people, economic recovery and facilitating the free movement of cargo and services across EAC borders during this COVID-19 pandemic period; in line with the proposals by the private sector.” Read a statement from EABC in part.

The East African business community is steadfast to continue supporting and collaborating with the governments of the EAC Partner States to combat COVID-19 pandemic in the EAC region.

The regional heads also commitment to continue holding consultative meetings regularly will boost confidence to regional businesses, partners and the people of East Africa.

Also Read:How COVID-19 compels Africa to find stringent measures

Yvonne Kawira is an award winning journalist with an interest in matters, regional trade, tourism, entrepreneurship and aviation. She has been practicing for six years and has a degree in mass communication from St Paul’s University.

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