IGAD to establish Regional Ministerial Taskforce in fighting COVID-19
The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, on Thursday (April 09) held a video teleconference for the Finance Ministers of the Member States. According to a statement issued by the regional organization, the ministers considered the outlines of the collective IGAD Regional Response Strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic presented to them by the Secretariat and deliberated on the establishment of a Regional Ministerial Taskforce to coordinate the response. They also exchanged on mobilizing support domestically and from the International Community to respond to COVID-19 and minimize impacts on the economies. They looked into costing, budgeting and mobilizing the monetary resources required to underwrite the current needs of the region including debt relief and cancellation as well requesting access to financial assistance for all IGAD member states. ‘If we do not act fast to arrest it and minimize its impact, the virus has the potential to mutate into a social and economic catastrophe’, Dr Workneh said before putting forward a Draft Call for Action for deliberation and adoption. The European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms Jutta Urpilainen, commended IGAD for holding meetings with Health and Finance Ministers of the member states. Ms Jutta Urpilainen announced the setting-up of an EU financial package to include ‘immediate humanitarian assistance’ and ‘support for the strengthening of health systems and support the mitigation of the economic crises. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance of Sudan, H.E Dr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, with in attendance the Ministers of Finance of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and the Minister of Finance of Uganda.