Former President Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) says the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the continent is exposing the long history of failure of governance in African continent.
The Foundation added that if not addressed promptly it might lead to the collapse of many African states.
The foundation stated this during her first edition of its flagship programme ‘Policy Dialogue Series’ held during the weekend with the theme “COVID-19, Peace and Security in Africa: Impact, Risk and Mitigation”.
The foundation said in a communiqué on Monday that the rationale for the series of dialogue was to create awareness on some of the effects the African continent faced in the wake of the global pandemic.
The communiqué was signed by its Executive Director, Ann Iyonu.
The dialogue attracted participants from many nations, including Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Nigeria and was used to examine the impacts and risks associated with the pandemic on peace and security in Africa.
The online dialogue was also 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, however, called on African leaders to look inward and develop country-specific, original and organic solutions that spoke to peace and security issues, taking advantage of the talents, skills, and experiences that abound within the continent.
It urged African States and the continent as a whole to go beyond rhetoric and 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 and if this is not addressed it may lead to the collapse of many African States.
“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.
The dialogue tasked leaders across the continent to develop a robust database and clinical evidence about the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
It noted that the measure would “help in developing the appropriate approach in tackling the impact and risks associated with the health crisis.”