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More help to fight the COVID pandemic in Africa, especially support for local healthcare systems. This is what Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament Jan Olbrycht MEP and György Hölvényi MEP, both Co-Chairmen of the EPP Group Working Group on Intercultural and Religious Dialogue, called for today.

Olbrycht and Hölvényi hosted a webinar with African church leaders entitled ‘Fighting the effects of COVID in the developing world - the role of religious communities’.

The webinar provided first-hand information on the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic reality and socio-religious practices in Africa. MEPs debated with the Roman Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria of the Archdiocese of Nyeri, Kenya, and the Roman Catholic Bishop Alfred Agyenta of the Diocese of Navrongo–Bolgatanga, Ghana.

"If Africa is left alone in this struggle, the grave situation of the African people may not be managed any longer, a phenomenon which will directly affect Europe", Hölvényi explained.

Olbrycht highlighted that development aid should allow for a prompt response to the Coronavirus crisis. He also underlined that special attention and financial help have to be dedicated to supporting health systems and caregiving for the elderly.

"Churches and religious communities have a special role to play in supporting African governments and international organisations to respond to the crisis. However, without understanding the local and regional approaches in Africa, Europe will hardly be able to provide any effective assistance to African countries", Hölvényi concluded.

The EU is currently re-formulating its policies towards Africa. The European Commission, together with the African Union, is working on the new Comprehensive EU-Africa Strategy.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States

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