Faki re-elected head of AU Commission at summit focused on COVID

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Moussa Faki Mahamat wins support from 51 of 55 member states in secret ballot to win second term as AU executive leader.

Moussa Faki Mahamat has won a second term as the head of the African Union’s (AU) executive body at the opening of a two-day virtual summit expected to focus on the continent’s pandemic response.

The former Chadian prime minister, who ran unopposed, received support from 51 of 55 member states in Saturday’s secret ballot, officials said.

“Deeply humbled by the overwhelming and historic vote of confidence,” Faki tweeted. He also congratulated Monique Nsanzabaganwa, deputy governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, on her election as his deputy.

The AU summit comes almost exactly one year after Egypt recorded the first coronavirus case in Africa, prompting widespread fears that member states’ weak health systems would quickly be overwhelmed.

But despite early doomsday predictions, the continent has been hit less hard than other regions so far, recording 3.5 percent of virus cases and 4 percent of deaths worldwide, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, many African countries are battling damaging second waves while straining to procure sufficient vaccine doses.

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, who has extensively covered AU affairs, said the summit comes at a time where countries on the continent find themselves at the bottom of the ladder of a “grossly unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world”.

“Experts estimate that the richest countries will have vaccinated most of their populations at some point later this year, and that the world’s poorest countries – many of which are in this continent – will not vaccinate the same amount of their population until maybe three years from now or possibly never at all,” Webb said, speaking from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

He added that the AU’s task force has been trying to collectively buy vaccines on behalf of other countries – 600 million vaccines, or half the number of people living in the continent.

In recent weeks, health experts and political leaders have warned that “vaccine hoarding” by wealthy nations is putting lives at risk in African countries.

“There is a vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more than they require,” Faki said in an interview posted on the AU’s website before the summit.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to deliver a pandemic response update during the closed portion of the summit on Saturday.

In an earlier speech, he had called for “a fresh injection of resources” from the International Monetary Fund to “correct the glaring inequality in fiscal stimulus measures between advanced economies and the rest of the world.”

Source: Aljazeera.com

 

Moussa Faki Mahamat has won a second term as the head of the African Union’s (AU) executive body at the opening of a two-day virtual summit expected to focus on the continent’s pandemic response.

The former Chadian prime minister, who ran unopposed, received support from 51 of 55 member states in Saturday’s secret ballot, officials said.

“Deeply humbled by the overwhelming and historic vote of confidence,” Faki tweeted. He also congratulated Monique Nsanzabaganwa, deputy governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, on her election as his deputy.

The AU summit comes almost exactly one year after Egypt recorded the first coronavirus case in Africa, prompting widespread fears that member states’ weak health systems would quickly be overwhelmed.

But despite early doomsday predictions, the continent has been hit less hard than other regions so far, recording 3.5 percent of virus cases and 4 percent of deaths worldwide, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, many African countries are battling damaging second waves while straining to procure sufficient vaccine doses.

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, who has extensively covered AU affairs, said the summit comes at a time where countries on the continent find themselves at the bottom of the ladder of a “grossly unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world”.

“Experts estimate that the richest countries will have vaccinated most of their populations at some point later this year, and that the world’s poorest countries – many of which are in this continent – will not vaccinate the same amount of their population until maybe three years from now or possibly never at all,” Webb said, speaking from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

He added that the AU’s task force has been trying to collectively buy vaccines on behalf of other countries – 600 million vaccines, or half the number of people living in the continent.

In recent weeks, health experts and political leaders have warned that “vaccine hoarding” by wealthy nations is putting lives at risk in African countries.

“There is a vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more than they require,” Faki said in an interview posted on the AU’s website before the summit.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to deliver a pandemic response update during the closed portion of the summit on Saturday.

In an earlier speech, he had called for “a fresh injection of resources” from the International Monetary Fund to “correct the glaring inequality in fiscal stimulus measures between advanced economies and the rest of the world.”

Source: Aljazeera.com