Following the welcoming remarks by Prime Minister Hamdok, the Executive Secretary of IGAD made his opening statement and emphasised the need for a collective regional strategy to combat COVID-19 in the IGAD region. He also called for the establishment of an IGAD regional emergency fund for the control of pandemic diseases as well as the strengthening of health systems in the region.
The IGAD Heads of State and Government submitted detailed reports on the status of coronavirus infections, fatalities and recoveries in their respective countries, as well as the measures they are undertaking to combat the pandemic. The IGAD Heads of State and Government also recognised and appreciated the efforts of the chairperson, H.E. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia H.E. Abiy Ahmed Ali to mobilise support from the international community particularly the generous donation of protective equipment and testing kits by the founder and director of the Ali Baba Group to the African continent.
The IGAD Executive Secretary took the opportunity to thank and commend the leaders for the efforts they made to “strengthen peace, security and successful transitional processes in region and lockdown armed conflict before the Coronavirus imposed a lockdown on the region”. He then proposed “five broad measures that will form the basis of the regional response strategy and enable the IGAD region to efficiently and effectively respond to the threat of the Coronavirus’.
The Executive Secretary noted the gravity of the challenge posed by COVID-19 as the region is still recovering from the worst desert locust invasion in 25 years. He added, the region is bracing for a second invasion with devastating consequences for food security and livelihoods in the IGAD region.
At the Extraordinary Summit, the IGAD Heads of State and Government held deliberations on the agenda and resolved to;
- Formulate an IGAD Regional Response Strategy to pandemic diseases particularly COVID-19. IGAD Ministers of Health and Finance shall meet virtually to inform the strategy;
- Establish an IGAD Emergency Fund for the control of pandemic diseases and the strengthening of health systems in the region;
- Mobilise Support from the International Community to combat COVID-19, strengthen national health systems and build local manufacturing capacity for medical equipment and supplies to fight pandemic diseases;
- Ask international financial institutions to cancel the debts of IGAD Member states in order to free up resources to fight the Coronavirus;
- Mobilise support from IGAD medical professionals in the diaspora.