Deserted streets are seen as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures in Harare, Zimbabwe on April 3, 2020. ( Wilfred Kajese – Anadolu Agency )
Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa appealed to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other multilateral institutions Monday to set up a $500 million trust fund to help Zimbabwe and Sudan tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The telecommunications tycoon, who has business interests throughout the continent, said the two countries have been conspicuously omitted from any form of relief as they are under sanctions.
“We are deeply concerned about the potential loss of life if international aid does not come quickly, especially to address the needs of this pandemic.
“This is a humanitarian appeal. Please help Sudan and Zimbabwe’s people. In God’s name, please help these nations before it is too late,” he said.
“The money would be used to provide urgently required medical supplies, training and remuneration for healthcare workers.”
Masiyiwa distanced himself from the reasons behind the imposition of the sanctions as he is a victim of persecution himself, fleeing Zimbabwe 20 years ago and never returning since.
“I am not a politician, just an entrepreneur working day and night to create wealth and jobs across many African nations,” he added.
Masiyiwa has so far donated 45 ventilators, 100,000 COVID-19 test kits and pledged to pay striking doctors and nurses to compel them to return to work.
He urged multilateral organizations to consider seeding trusts in both countries with at least $500 million and inviting others to participate, including private philanthropy.
According to the World Food Programme, Zimbabwe and Sudan are among the most vulnerable countries in Africa as they are already facing severe economic challenges and food shortages due to drought.