UNDP launches partnership to restore international travel, economic life in Africa
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday launched a new partnership with the PanaBIOS Consortium, represented by AfroChampions, on expansion of a pan-African digital solutions to support the safe re-opening of Africa to travel and trade post-pandemic.
The initiative involves a bridge to an international system called Global Haven with a standardised and harmonised testing platform that enables international cross-border travel, trade and business continuity in the face of health and similar catastrophes hence creating resilience into the future.
In a statement, UNDP said since travel is highly international with intercontinental hubs tightly connected, the initiative anticipates the participation of many global actors within the Global Haven compact.
UNDP intends to work with existing Global Haven programme partners and supporters notably PanaBIOS, AfroChampions, the African Union and Skoll Foundation to achieve its goals.
PanaBIOS and its promotion of trusted testing will play a key role in promoting safe reopening of Africa to advance intra-African trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is a key recovery stimulus from the ravaging impacts of Covid-19.
“One of the ways forward from the devastation brought on the planet by the pandemic is for the global community to harness modern technology’s power to reimagine and transform partnerships for development. The PanaBIOS-UNDP initiative is an excellent example of the forces for good we can wield if we put our minds to it,” added Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator.
The network will enable use of tools such as digital testing certificates and vaccination e-certificates, backed by machine learning and blockchain systems, to increase the capacity of governments to screen inbound travellers quickly, securely, efficiently and respecting human dignity and rights.
The partnership also seeks to realise an international multi-stakeholder platform to disseminate technologies to help countries in Africa and around the world restore social life.
It is hoped that this platform will resonate globally by building on existing initiatives, such as the “Saving Lives, Economies, & Livelihoods” campaign launched by AU and spearheaded by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Recovery from the effects of the worldwide pandemic could be significantly accelerated if international travellers can be screened quickly and cost-effectively without the risk of fake and forged testing and vaccination certificates, UNDP noted.