Oxfam congratulates the newly elected AU Commissioners and His Excellency Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as Chairperson of the Africa Union
Oxfam International Pan Africa Program congratulates and welcomes the election of His Excellency Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the Chairperson of the African Union and the new Commissioners of the Union led by His Excellency Moussa Faki.
''The AU elections during the 34th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit is a step forward towards realisation of the AU reform agenda and demonstration of the Union’s commitment to achieving gender parity and advancing women’s rights on the continent,'' according to Oxfam Pan Africa Director, Mr Peter Kamalingin.
This year’s elections have come at a time when the continent has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic which has exposed the deficiencies of Africa’s healthcare, economic and social protection systems that trap majority of African people in the indecency of poverty and inequality. His Excellency, President Tshisekedi and Mousa Faki take on leadership at a time Africa is confronted with the devasting social, economic, and political impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenge of extreme economic inequality crisis that is trapping Africans in poverty, undermining economic development and threatening instability across the continent.
On what should be prioritised by the new Chair of the African Union and the AU Commission, Mr. Kamalingin said that “Lack of a universally accessible COVID -19 vaccine will continue to act as a blocker to economic and social recovery efforts of African governments. Africa’s access to the vaccine must be prioritised because a recent study by campaigning organizations including Oxfam shows that 9 out of 10 people in poor countries are likely to miss out on the vaccine in 2021. The African Union should advocate for sharing of the vaccine technology and support the demand at the World Trade Organization for a waiver on intellectual property rights to enable production of enough, safe, effective, and cost-effective vaccine doses that can be easily accessed by African governments.’’ He emphasised that without a people’s COVID-19 vaccine, the milestones on Africa’s Agenda 2063 will not be realised.
Additionally, Mr. Kamalingin considers fighting inequality to be at the heart of Africa economic recovery plans. ‘‘The Union must also prioritise feeding its people by investing in sustainable food systems, providing social protection to those most impacted by the pandemic and, above all, ensuring that Africans live in an environment of security, free from conflict and threats to civil liberties.”
Oxfam also takes this opportunity to thank the immediate former Chair of the African Union, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, under whose outstanding leadership the continent laid a good foundation that has shaped its response to COVID-19 pandemic. The development and implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 and engagement with global multilateral institutions to mobilise support to mitigate the health and economic impact of the pandemic through debt relief, deferment of debt payments and the provision of new funding has helped Africa wade off very adverse effects of the pandemic. Oxfam remains a willing and ready partner to support the collective efforts of all the African people and AU Member States to fight this pandemic we have referred to as the ‘Inequality virus’.