MONROVIA – It is a generally accepted thought that the devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic will be at the end of it all not be measured only by the toll on untold human lives claimed but also on the pillage and toppling of world economies. What is little said and thought through is that the COVID-19 devastation, like a volcano, has blown up and exposed gross inequalities. For former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the pandemic has also exacerbated those inequalities, and there is an urgent need for come out with common, longstanding remedies. In separate visual interviews with the award-winning Christiane Amanpour of the CNN and the prestigious France 24 Cable Network, the former Liberian President said challenges of recovery are mountainous and must be addressed to benefit all regions, races and genders. The Analyst report.
During two recent interviews with international cable news organs—the Cable New Network (CNN) and France 24, former President Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pointed to a major factor created by the advent of coronavirus in the world community, calling for global action to address what she called “inequalities exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Madam Sirleaf discussed her participation in a letter calling for any vaccine that is developed to be available freely across the world.
More than 140 leaders, including former President of Malawi and Amujae Coach Joyce Banda, President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union Cyril Ramaphosa, and Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan have signed the open letter, calling on Health Ministers at the World Health Assembly to rally behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19:
“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge. The same applies for all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19.”
Madam Sirleaf also shared her experience rallying international support during the Ebola epidemic, as well as her hopes for similar collaboration in the fight against coronavirus:
“This was an extraordinary effort of alliance, cooperation, collective action, and I hope that is what we will see with COVID-19, that we are going to see global alliances improve, more collaboration.
“We live today, in an unequal world. And COVID-19, I hope, will lead to consciousness and policy action to reduce the inequities of the world, recognizing that if anyone is left behind, this becomes a threat to those that are ahead.”
In an interview with France 24 on May 20, the former Liberia President raised concerns about the economic consequences of COVID-19 for Africa.
“The biggest challenge is yet to come, as in the case of Ebola – once the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, the effect on the economy is going to be awesome. Liberia has not fully recovered from the destruction of the economy.”
She said that debt cancellation for Africa should be considered, noting that the African Union has already designated specialists to appeal to the international community on cancellation. However, she acknowledged that the ‘fiscal space’ for all countries to help themselves and each other will be made smaller by the crisis.
Madam Sirleaf also implored world leaders not to overlook the fight against other deadly diseases like malaria:
“Please pay attention to malaria, it kills. It needs the financial support, it needs the technical support, it needs the vaccine, it needs eradication. Please, let’s fight the virus COVID-19, and let’s also fight malaria.”
For full interviews log in to www.ejscenter.org for Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s live interviews on France 24, and CNN.