High praise for Africa’s Covid leadership

Experts agree the Covid-19 pandemic which has devastated most of the developed world has been relatively light in Africa. 

But why and how?

With a death rate of just 2.4% from 1.4 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, Africa remains this year’s biggest surprise.

The continent of 1.3 billion people is no stranger to major health pandemics including HIV/Aids, cholera and Ebola.

And now experts believe the continent and its people are better prepared to respond to major health outbreaks like the coronavirus.

John Nkengasong, a director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, is celebrated as having helped to steer Africa’s 54 countries into an alliance praised as responding better than some richer countries.

News agency AP reports that Gayle Smith, a former administrator with the US Agency for International Development, shared the same confidence about Africa’s ability to deal with massive health outbreaks.

“Africa is doing a lot of things right, the rest of the world isn’t.”

Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo said African solidarity has been key to ensuring the pandemic did not kill as many people as previously predicted.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown we have no option but to depend on each other.”

As the world prepares for the next rush, the buying of coronavirus vaccines, Nkengasong has advised African governments not to wait for help or donor aid. 

Sema Sgaier, director of the Surgo Foundation which produced a Covid-19 vulnerability index said: “I look at Africa and I look at the US, and I’m more optimistic about Africa to be honest because of the leadership there and doing their best despite limited resources.”