Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other African leaders on Tuesday called for effective regional cooperation and an emergency plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus on the continent.
The call was contained in a statement signed by Obasanjo and the African leaders, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abeokuta by Mr Kehinde Akinyemi.
Akinyemi is the media aide to Obasanjo.
The statement noted the mitigating effect or otherwise by the preparatory and preventive actions made by different nations and international organisations to combat the killer virus since its outbreak.
It also observed that the results had been related to the seriousness of preparation and preventive measures taken, including the level of healthcare measures and delivery.
According to the statement, the epidemiological progression in already affected areas has indicated that the worst case is yet to occur in Africa.
“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, the conurbation and the communal living of our people particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in these areas of African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster,” it said.
It therefore called for serious measures to be taken for the containment and for addressing any national epidemic.
“We, as concerned African leaders, note the efforts that African governments are making within their limited resources to deal with this global challenge.
“We, however, appeal to leaders and elites at national, regional, and continental levels and to international organisations and foundations to draw up a concrete, effective and continental emergency plan to combat COVID-19 onslaught at its crescendo in Africa which will be soon.
“With porous borders all over Africa, national efforts will not be enough but regional and continental.
“We particularly call on African Union (AU), United Nations (UN), World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank and the G-20 to urgently have a plan that will moderate the social and economic effect of the onslaught of COVID-19 on Africa,” the statement said.
The other African leaders were Festus Mogae (former President of Botswana), Hailemariam Desalegn (former Prime Minister of Ethiopia), John Kufour (former President of Ghana), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (former President of Liberia) and Joyce Banda (former President of Malawi).
Others were Joaquim Chissano (former President of Mozambique), Thabo Mbeki (former President of South Africa), Kgalema Motlanthe (former President of South Africa), Benjamin Mkapa (former President of Tanzania), Jakaya Kikwete (former President of Tanzania) and Mohamed Marzouki (former President of Tunisia) (NAN)