The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) says the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the failure of governance in Africa and its leaders’ vulnerability.
The foundation disclosed this at the maiden edition of its programme, “Policy Dialogue Series”, which held during the weekend. The theme of the dialogue was “COVID-19, Peace and Security in Africa: Impact, Risk and Mitigation”.
The dialogue attracted participants from many nations, including Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Nigeria.
In a communique on Monday, the foundation called on African leaders to look inward and develop “country-specific, original and organic solution that spoke to peace and security issues.
It also said the dialogue was used to seek approaches and strategies for mitigating such impacts in the light of current realities and the fragile nature of some African states.
It tasked leaders to take advantage of the talents, skills, and experiences that abound within the continent and urged African countries to start collaborating and leveraging on their comparative advantage.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposes the vulnerability of many communities, placing citizens at a high risk of recruitment by extremist groups.
“There is a tendency for African leaders in their attempt to end the cycle of infection of the virus to shift focus or be blind to the peace and security issues facing the continent.
“Shutting down tertiary institutions during this period of crisis is counterproductive to the growth and development of the continent as the pandemic presents an opportunity for African leaders to leverage on technology and ensure that learning continues.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the long history of failure of governance in the continent. Economic concerns are beginning to take priority over the health, peace and security of citizens.
“The current approach of city-wide lockdowns and movement restriction denies citizens access to their safe spaces and other forms of human rights, increase in reported cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the continent.
“The needs of women, the youth and other vulnerable groups are often neglected in emergency response situations as posed by the current pandemic.”
“Leaders across the continent should develop a robust database and clinical evidence about the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
“This would “help in developing the appropriate approach in tackling the impact and risks associated with the health crisis,” it added.