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Regional Intergretion key to development of Africa, says ITUC- Africa

The International Trade Union Confederation- Africa (ITUC-Africa) has said that regional Intergretion is key to the development of Africa continent.

General secretary of the African regional labour centre, brother Kwasi Adu-Amankwah in a statement commemorating Year 2020 Africa Day said it the path to ensure structural transformation and facilitate the beneficial integration of Africa into
the global economy.

Africa Day is celebrated every May 25, in commemorates of the creation of the Organization of African Unity
(OAU) in 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa Day celebrates the aim to bring together the African peoples, strengthen their faith in integration and popularize the ideal of
union of the continent.

According to the general secretary, the vision of unity and integration of the African peoples has fueled several
development projects and initiatives on the continent.

He said in recent times, the continent witnessed the birth of different Institutions in various regions to advance the integration project of Africa.

“In recent years two major agreements have come into being to boost the integration agenda.
These are the Abuja Treaty, Agenda 2063: The Africa we want and the 2018 agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.

Brother Adu-Amankwah further urged African leaders to do more to eliminate factors that may frustrates the actualisation of regional Intergretion.

He named poor leadership and abuse of democratic rights, institutionalized corruption, violent conflicts, poor infrastructure, poor public services, dependent mentality and above all
lack of confidence and ability to take our destiny into our own hands as challenges and factors that is standing against real Intergretion.

Speaking on the global Covid 19 pandemic, the labour leader said “Today the COVID-19 health crisis in the world has exposed Africa in all its weaknesses.

“The growing number of infections on the continent and the devastating impact that the coronavirus has had on black people in Africa’s diaspora around the world is a wake up
call to African leaders at all levels.

There is every indication that African leaders must do better for their people in all respects. At the level of the state, in business, in the trade unions and civil society, in academia, religious society and at all other levels, African
leaders and actors must do better for our people.

“As the world went into crisis with COVID-19 the hard reality dawned that every people must do well to rely primarily on their own effort and that solidarity support can only be
a complement to local effort. Sadly, as many parts of the world dug into their reserves to respond to the crisis, most of us in Africa had to run around begging for reliefs and resources to weather the storm on hand.

COVID-19 has destroyed businesses and worsened unemployment, destroyed incomes and livelihoods and made many more persons destitute. It has exposed overcrowding and poor housing, poor health infrastructure, poor social services like water and sanitation and the overall poor social protection for African people.

The hard lesson is there for us to see, that we in Africa will also do well to ensure that we can provide our most basic needs for ourselves. We need to secure our food safety and our basic medical and pharmaceutical supplies and to rebuild our socio-economies
to serve the interests of African people.

“As we celebrate Africa Day, we must rededicate ourselves to African unity and integration at all levels. We must remind ourselves that Africa has a predominantly youthful and energetic population as well as vast reserves of natural resources. And that
if we apply ourselves with the necessary commitment, we can move Africa onto a path of progress and prosperity.

“As Africa struggles to cope with the current crisis let us strengthen the things we are trying to do together. The AU is encouraged to give all the necessary support to the
African Centre for Disease Control to continue to coordinate Africa’s responses to the
COVID-19”

Also lending voice to the call for an urgent need to overhaul African countries’ dysfunctional health system, ITUC-Africa’ Deputy General Secretary, comrade Akhator Joel Odigie urge government to take bold, diligent, and imaginative measures to revamp public health care.

“There must be a willingness to commit to the necessary investment needed. Essentially, the focus must be on the development of a pragmatic health care system. Such a system must make provision for functional infrastructures with ample location in the rural areas.

“There must a deliberate drive to deliver Health Care Workers’ (HCW) package that works. Such a package must place primacy on skills development, professionalism, and morale of workers. Equally important is the need to deepen public education on sanitation and hygiene. Of course, their relevant agencies tasked with enforcing public health measures should be well-resourced and effectively supervised.

COVID-19 being a global health crisis has taught us that a global and multilateral approach is needed. African countries should commit resources to their continental health agency to be able to research and inform on health crises before they occur.

Given that financing a revamped public healthcare is a challenge on account of the weak economic and fiscal situation of most Africa states, comrade Akhator Joel Odigie advised African governments to be really bold and imaginative in terms of resource mobilisation.

Specifically, he suggested that the African States should rethink and recalibrate their anti-corruption wars. They must seriously consider assets forfeiture arrangements. Also, he enthused that readiness by African governments to fight and halt Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) will contribute to shore up local resource mobilisation.
End.

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