African Risk Capacity (ARC) could be allowed to expand the scope of its assistance to include provision of rapid financial support during epidemic episodes, according to a briefing on Africa and COVID-19 from the UN. ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union established to help African governments improve their capacity to cope with Nat CAT.
The UN stressed that disaster-risk finance and insurance mechanisms are essential tools in disaster risk management and that, despite many lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID-19, Africa has plenty to be hopeful about, with lessons learned from previous epidemics.
In the briefing, the UN said, “It is too early to know the full impact of COVID-19 on Africa. There are causes for concern, but also reasons for hope. Early estimates were pessimistic regarding the pandemic’s impact on the continent. But the relatively low numbers of COVID-19 cases reported thus far have raised hopes that African countries may be spared the worst of the pandemic.” While the virus is present in all African countries, most countries have recorded fewer than 1,000 cases, it reported.
However, some countries, said the UN, also have a ‘wealth of relevant lessons’ from dealing with previous HIV/AIDS and Ebola epidemics, with regards to engaging communities, communicating risks and adapting local and innovative methods to craft African approaches to control spread of the disease.
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