Strategic conversation with Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

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Strategic conversation with Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

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Africa has reacted quickly to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders across the continent have initiated lockdowns, and both the African Union and the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have stepped up to address the situation on a continent-wide level by publishing the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Abiy Ahmed has called for emergency package worth 150 bn dollars for Africa to boost health spending, shore up foreign reserves and patch up social safety nets. If the virus is not defeated in Africa “it will only bounce back to the rest of the world”, he warns.
The IMF-World Bank meeting on April 17 will seek a coordinated international response to these and other demands, and the European Commission is readying its own initiative for African countries.

This new Strategic Conversations series invites key policymakers to share their views on a range of important and strategically relevant issues through interviews with senior thinkers on the Friends of Europe team.

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Shada Islam

Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

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Shada works on issues related to the future of Europe, minority and integration challenges as well as on Europe’s relations with emerging nations. She set up the Asia Programme for Friends of Europe in 2011 and also leads its work on development issues. She is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and continues to write for leading international publications.

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