Africans must work together to deal with COVID-19 challenges


African political leaders, entrepreneurs and civil society organizations have been asked to pull together to beat the flu-like coronavirus.

Participants at the ‘African Vs Virus Challenge’ International Conference, were unanimous in their call for home-grown solutions to the pandemic and its devastating impact on businesses, food and agriculture systems, across the continent.

The 72-hour video conference was jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Laboratory, the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, Luvent Consulting – a digital agency, and other partners.

In excess of 25,000 innovators from all the 54 African countries participated.

A press release issued by the organisers, a copy of which was made available said a panel of experts had been constituted to come up with the innovative solutions.

These are expected to be implemented with the support of development partners and donors.

It added that, the ‘Africa Vs Virus Challenge’ was part of the AfDB’s strategy to support young African entrepreneurs, especially young women entrepreneurs, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and startups’ to adopt creative approaches, to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The participants focused their discussions on the areas of public health and epidemiology, vulnerable populations, business and the economy, education, entertainment, environment, energy and food security.

The release said they looked at how face masks could be produced locally from recycled materials, the use of drones to broadcast information and to disinfect public spaces, crisis communication, monitoring and management powered by Artificial Intelligence tools and the use of hand-free water fountains.

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