The United Nations (UN) has selected Accra, Ghana’s capital, along with a few others to set up Africa-wide regional hubs for its humanitarian operations in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Per information gathered, other hubs will be established in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, the Egyptian capital of Cairo and Johannesburg in South Africa to serve three main functions.
These functions include:
- as cargo hubs to receive medical and humanitarian supplies from United Nations global hubs for distribution to UN entities in the region;
- as regional aviation services to ensure the transportation of UN humanitarian personnel around the region in the absence of commercial flights and;
- as locations for the establishment of regional treatment centres for UN staff who are staying in the region to deliver on humanitarian and development mandates.
The initiative was made known after Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas announced the initiative.
The statement was issued on Thursday, April 23, 2020, after the Extraordinary Session of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government on COVID-19.
It added that the UN was working with ECOWAS in Nigeria to make available UN procurement system to obtain value for money in the acquisition and speedy delivery of essential medical supplies needed by the West African Health Organization (WAHO) in the sub-region for distribution to member states in the fight against the coronavirus.
It said the world body was working closely with national governments to set up the regional humanitarian hubs and that the Secretary-General would in the coming days write to ECOWAS Heads of State to seek their support for the initiative.