Planète Enfants & Développement has cosigned with other NGOs an opinion column in Le Monde newspaper to call on the French President to support international solidarity with Africa facing the coronavirus epidemic.
Disastrous consequences for Africa
“We ask you, aware of our responsibility, to take an initiative, for and with Africa. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has pointed out, the Coronavirus crisis will be particularly dramatic on this continent where social safety nets do not exist and where the medical equipment required to respond to this crisis is lacking, where 85% of the population south of the Sahara has no access to clean water or soap and where you have to go to work no matter what happens to feed your family. It’s a matter of days. … “In this age of globalization, our solidarity cannot be with our territory alone“.
The coronavirus epidemic has now struck Africa, so far unscathed. With this rapid spread of the epidemic, we are extremely concerned about the African continent, which is sorely lacking in human and material resources in order to answer the crisis.
The health situation is out of all proportion to that of France, which already lacks masks, hydro-alcoholic gel or artificial respirators. We therefore fear a major crisis in Africa, for the extremely vulnerable populations.
In addition to the lack of water points and promiscuity in large cities, poverty is an aggravating factor in the face of the epidemic: “for many inhabitants, the daily emergency is to continue working in order to be able to eat. They think it’s more risky to lose one’s job than to catch Covid-19” as Arnaud Tougma, our Early Childhood Project Manager in Burkina Faso, reminds us.
Finally, it is education and the fate of the 1.3 billion children and young people deprived of schooling that is of great concern to us. The digital resources made available in France are far from being as widespread and accessible in Africa. The consequences of this educational disruption for several weeks could therefore prove disastrous for these thousands of children.
We therefore join the appeal of several French NGOs to the President of the Republic to implement :
- a safeguard fund for international solidarity organizations in financial crisis following Covid-19
- the respect of official development assistance commitments for education and health
- the mobilisation of public funds with “the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union, Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the World Bank, and the major development banks, but also with private funds from companies and foundations, in order to propose a collective and coherent response”.
March 26th 2020