THE advent of the deadly flu, 2019-nCoV RNA or COVID-19, or Sars-COV II, but more popularly known as coronavirus, is engendering the physical isolation of people globally, hurting economies of almost all nations, especially with the resultant lock-down. However, with the partial or full easing of the lock-down, the world may yet get a relief, especially on the economic side.
In its subtle and more deadly form, the outbreak is driving a political and ideological wedge between nations with no benefits and only costs to its unsuspecting pawns. Africa has not been spared from this misjudgement. The outbreak of the virus on the continent was accompanied by a blame-game targeted at foreigners and expats, especially Europeans, accusing them of deliberately importing the disease to Africa in attempts to recolonise the continent.
France was one country at the receiving end of such brutal attacks, even though the first case of COVID-19 in Africa was recorded in Egypt on February 14, involving a non-European, and Africans in diaspora were returning from around the world, including Asia at that time. Anti-European sentiments are unbeneficial for Africa which has a strong bond and mutually beneficial relationship with Europe.
On its part, Europe has been the worst-affected continent by the pandemic so far having recorded 152,418 deaths as at May 11. Even though the virus originated elsewhere, deaths in Europe have been in their thousands; United Kingdom (31,855), Italy (30,560), Spain (26,621), France (26,380) and Belgium (8,656). This clearly shows that coronavirus is not in any way a ploy by Europe to colonise Africa; for Europeans themselves the disease is a nightmare and a big cost to their economies.
Understanding the importance of unity and cooperation, the European Investment Bank, EIB, which is the lending arm of the European Union, EU, in April announced €5.2 billion of emergency funding for its non-EU operations, the bulk of which would be sent to Africa for immediate support to their healthcare systems and provide liquidity to SMEs on the continent. The EIB’s effort is just one part of a wider collaboration between European Commission, the EBRD, European countries and other organisations to help support countries affected by the pandemic.