ADDIS ABEBA – The European Union (EU) has supported the IGAD member countries’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with 60 million euros worth contribution.
On Monday, the first shipment of equipment worth 14 million euros arrived at Addis Abeba bole international airport where it was handed over to Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The latest support will enhance efforts that aim to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in eight IGAD countries by providing coordinated, coherent, and comprehensive actions in the region’s response, according to the EU delegation office in Ethiopia.
It will also boost a program that ensures that borders and critical supply chains are safe for trade and promote digital solutions to monitor the crisis.
The program will be implemented by IGAD’s parters including UNOPS targets vulnerable groups, including refugees, and benefits Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda.
The EU made the latest contribution in a response to the Igad’s recent call for International support and is part of the Team Europe Global Response package to support partner countries face the pandemic and its consequences.
“The IGAD region continues to experience an upsurge of COVID-19 cases which presents myriad of logistical challenges, including the shortage test kits, infection prevention and control materials,” said Workneh Gebeyhu, IGAD executive secretary, after he officially receives equipment and supplies from EU.
IGAD’s officials expect the EU’s support will help to ease the challenges.
To date, the European Union has risen over 22 billion euros to address the health and economic consequences of the crisis in the world.
“In the Horn of Africa this included EUR 767 million (EUR 287 million for Health and EUR 480 million to mitigate the economic consequences),” said Ambassador Johan Borgstam, Head of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia.
“The European Union and its Member States, acting together as ‘Team Europe’, are working closely with partner countries to identify their main needs,” he said. “I am specifically proud of the program we are launching today in support of the IGAD Coordinated Regional COVID Response. The program will benefit all IGAD countries”.
Thanks to the EU, the region will also receive medical equipment, including 3.5 million surgical masks, 24 ambulances, 8 mobile labs, 70,000 test kits.
By Sisay Sahlu
Featured Image: Ambassador Johan Borgstam, Head of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia