SA has rolled out measures to limit economic impact of Covid - Ramaphosa
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered a virtual address to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos Dialogues.
WEF is convening the Davos Dialogues from January 26-29 to discuss and determine a post Covid-19 socio-economic order.
The President said: “As we confront the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, humanity is facing an unprecedented global health, social and economic crisis”.
The pandemic has triggered a global economic downturn of massive proportions, which has not been seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Ramaphosa said the world faced a common threat and needed to act together to defeat the virus.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing problems that we created and it is therefore our task to forge a new path towards a world that is just, peaceful, cohesive, resilient and sustainable.”
According to the President, multilateral action is the solution the world could use to solve the challenges the coronavirus has brought on.
“The pandemic has underscored the vital importance of multilateral institutions in facilitating coordination, cooperation and common responses.”
In South Africa, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll with around 1.4 million Covid-19 cases and more than 40 000 people having lost their lives.
The current economic downturn follows a decade of weak economic growth. South Africa has rolled out a comprehensive set of measures to limit the social and economic impact of the pandemic.
These include working together with business, labour and civil society to developed an economic reconstruction and recovery plan.
Other relief measures included a wage support scheme, a loan guarantee scheme administered by South Africa’s banks and the deferral of the payment of certain taxes.
“As we battle a second wave of coronavirus infection here in South Africa, we are in no doubt that the road ahead will be difficult.
“However, we draw hope and encouragement from the way that the people of South Africa have come together to confront this disease,” said Ramaphosa.
As the current chair of the African Union (AU), Ramaphosa said the AU moved quickly to develop a continent-wide Covid-19 response plan.
This includes an Africa medical supplies platform which will assist all AU member states to secure vital health supplies at preferential rates.
The AU’s Covid-19 African vaccine acquisition task team has secured a provisional 270 million doses for African countries directly through vaccine manufacturers. This is in addition to the 600 million doses that are expected from the Covax initiative.
Ramaphosa said: “We are deeply concerned about the problem of vaccine nationalism, which, unless addressed, will endanger the recovery of all countries. Ending the pandemic worldwide will require greater collaboration on the rollout of vaccines, ensuring that no country is left behind”.
Beyond Covid-19, climate change is an area that requires common global action.
Climate change is a key priority for Africa, as the continent is affected by it, despite releasing the lowest carbon emissions.
“If the last year has shown us anything, it is that collaboration, partnership and solidarity are the most effective instruments we have to build a better, fairer and more prosperous world,” the President said.
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