from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE – PERSISTENT terror attacks, maritime insecurity and rising political tension are impeding the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Central Africa.
More than 22 000 cases of the virus have already been confirmed across 11 countries in the region.
François Louncény Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), said COVID-19 had disrupted lives and the functioning of institutions across countries that already suffer a range of serious security and development challenges.
“The persistence of armed conflicts in some parts of Central Africa undermines our efforts to respond to challenges posed by COVID-19,” he said.
Despite the UN’s appeal for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic, conflicts continue, and terrorists and armed groups are destabilising the sub-region.
The pandemic has also resulted in an economic crisis.
New projections indicate that Central Africa is likely to experience a 2,3 percent contraction in growth.
“The slowdown in economic activities due to COVID-19 deprives states of the resources they need to address the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, with the risk of creating social unrest,” Fall warned.
Central African states continue to grapple with other major challenges, including the impacts of climate change and the mounting threat of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
Central Africa region comprise countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo Republic – Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé & Principe
– CAJ News