Sant'Egidio express concern on Africa Day as aid drops


ROME – Sant'Egidio, the lay Catholic association dedicated to social causes, registered their alarm on Monday, on Africa Day, over the reduction in aid due to the coronavirus crisis at a time when it is needed more than ever, and expressed their concern that during a pandemic, "we must also deal with Africa, which at this moment is suffering more than the other continents due to the effects of the economic crisis linked to COVID-19,” read a press statement.

  Sant'Egidio noted that in the sub-Saharan belt, although so far the contagion seems to have been contained, it is essential to continue to be vigilant and intensify the prevention activity given the extreme fragility of the local health facilities.

  Despite major concerns that Africa does not have the resources to cope with the health crisis, Africa has experience with epidemics in the past, and countries such as Senegal and Uganda learnt to develop effective measures.

  Professor Tereza Němečková, specialist in development economics in Africa and EU-Africa relations, has pointed to the decades of positive growth in Africa which is set to change with the expectation that Africa goes into recession this year, and with a huge informal sector that leaves many people vulnerable.

  In the press statement, Sant'Egidio renewed its commitment to peace in Africa. Sant'Egidio has many initiatives in different African countries protecting the most fragile sectors of society, from street children to the homeless, from prisoners to the elderly.

  One Sant'Egidio, 'DREAM', a programme for the treatment of AIDS patients, is active in 10 countries, and has treated 500 thousand people and over 100 thousand children born from HIV-positive mothers.