During the UN Financing for Development Informal Forum hosted virtually by the President of the UN Economic and Social Council on 23 April 2019, ActionAid’s International chair Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda raised critical concerns about the crippling affect that the new debt crisis is having on Africa. As cases of coronavirus increase across the continent, health systems are vastly underfunded and ill-prepared for the pandemic.
In her bold and relatable statement, Nyaradzayi begins with “Greetings from Zimbabwe where we are on lockdown and have just travelled 100 kilometres from my village to ensure internet connection for this forum. We meet today in the most trying of times, to design the future together on financing for sustainable development, the age of coronavirus. This virus has unleashed an unprecedented economic and social crisis in this century. This demands that we completely rethink our approach to each of these three words: financing, sustainability and development. We must revisit the fundamental values that underpin financing for development. Human solidarity and wellbeing; not just economic growth, national self-interest, nor profit, should be the basis for our actions. We must reclaim the ethos of the United Nations Human Rights Charter, the right to dignity, the right to development, and the fundamental principle of equality between all human beings, at the heart of financing strategies. We are where we are today, standing on the brink of catastrophe, because of the yawning gaps we have tolerated in social and economic rights such as access to health care, clean water and rights to decent work. Gaps between rich and poor, women and men, within and between nations. Medical experts tell us that those most vulnerable to coronavirus are people with pre-existing conditions. Well, inequality, especially gender inequalities is the mother of all pre-existing conditions.” Click here to read the full Statement.