Jean-Jacques Cornish

No one must be left behind in economic recovery from COVID pandemic, Ramaphosa tell G20 summit

President Cyril Ramaphosa has pressed the summit of the world wealthiest countries tonsure an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Speaking to the virtual meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia, Ramaphosa said the coronavirus pandemic has had a unprecedented  impact on health, societies and economic around the world.

“In the middle of the pandemic – even as we battle rising global infections – we must look to an inclusive  economic recovery where no country is left behind,” he said as Zambia last week found itself unable to meet interest payments on Eurobonds loans.

Africa has been hit less badly by infections than was initially feared. However African economies have borne the heaviest economic impact from the lockdown

“It was at the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit in March this year that members committed to strengthening national, regional and global capacities to respond effectively to future pandemics,” Ramaphosa said

“As the African continent, we are playing our part, including through the establishment of a Covid-19 Response Fund to mobilise resources for a continental response and to support recovery. We also launched the African Medical Supplies Platform to ensure equitable access to medical equipment and supplies.

“We have been involved in the formation of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a global network to ensure access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for all those who need it. We are pleased that there appears to be consensus in the G20 that access to an effective Covid-19 vaccine should be universal, fair and equitable” 

Ramaphosa believes a commitment by G20 leaders to invest substantially in the ACT-Accelerator’s immediate funding gap of $4.5 billion (R692bn) will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass provision of Covid-19 tools around the world, and provide a way out of this global economic and human crisis, the president said.

“We look to the G20, international partners and the international financial institutions to work with African countries to rebuild their economies.”

He says the AU has proposed several measures, including debt relief in the form of interest-payment waivers and deferred payments. He urged leaders to invest in funding and research in order to prepare for a post Covid-19 future.

“We must bolster health infrastructure and health systems. We are encouraged by the continued commitment of the G20 to financing universal health coverage in developing countries. We must accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to strengthen the capacity of all countries to better withstand the impact of future crises.

“This pandemic has demonstrated the interconnectedness of our world. It is only through co-operation and solidarity that we will ensure the future health and welfare of our global community.”

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.