By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Kingdom has announced that it will invest up to £20 million in the African Union’s new Africa anti-COVID 19 Fund to tackle coronavirus on the continent.
The UK embassy, in a statement issued on Thursday, said that the fund would tackle the pandemic by recruiting African health experts and deploying them where they are needed most.
The announcement brings the total UK aid contribution to fighting coronavirus to £764 million.
The UK aid covers needs such as finding a vaccine, providing vital humanitarian relief, feeding the world’s poorest people, strengthening global healthcare systems and managing the risk of a global economic downturn.
It also added that it will strengthen global tracking of the pandemic, combatting potentially harmful misinformation, provide specialist coronavirus training for health workers and making information about the virus more accessible to the public.
The UK also noted that the fund would equally support African leaders and technical experts to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives in Africa and worldwide.
The statement quoted International Development Secretary, Ms Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who announced the funding on Wednesday.
She said that as the UK faces its biggest peacetime challenge in tackling coronavirus, it has never been more important to work with her partners in Africa to fight disease.
“No one is safe until we are all safe and this new funding and support for African leadership will help protect us all – in the UK, Africa and around the world – from further spread of the virus.” She said.
Also, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Catriona Laing, said the UK funding contribution to the AU would provide important additional support to Nigeria and other countries across Africa.
She stressed that it was a testament to the fact that the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Nigeria in its collective challenge to defeat the virus.
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