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UN ‘not sure’ there’s Covid-19 in Africa, thinks leaders using crisis to make money? No, claim ‘fake indeed’

The United Nations has said it is “not even sure if there is any Covid-19 in Africa”, claims a graphic shared on Facebook in Kenya.

It shows a photo of UN secretary general Antonio Guterres.

Text above the photo reads: “African leaders are using the present global health crisis to extract money from the world's financial concerners. They are liars!” 

Has the UN said it’s uncertain that the coronavirus pandemic has reached Africa? Or that African leaders are using the crisis to get money from global “financial concerners”?

We checked.

Covid-19 in Africa recorded, discussed

The World Health Organization is the UN’s agency for global public health. It has reported on the spread of Covid-19 since 21 January 2020.

The WHO’s 18 June report says the disease has been found in 47 countries in its "Africa" region. According to the report, this region has 194,539 cumulative confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 4,482 deaths. (Note: The WHO lists other countries in Africa, such as Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia, under its eastern Mediterranean grouping.)

The UN has also made a number of statements about Covid-19 in Africa, including the policy brief The Impact of Covid-19 in Africa, issued on 20 May.

The brief “calls for urgent international action to strengthen Africa’s health systems, maintain food supplies, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings”.

Africa’s ‘valuable lessons for the rest of the world’

The graphic was posted on Facebook on 9 June, just days after Guterres hailed Africa’s Covid-19 response as having “provided valuable lessons for the rest of the world” .

In a 5 June article on the UN’s website, Guterres says: “African countries, like all countries, must have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment for Covid-19. These must be considered global public goods.” 

UN dismisses claim

The Covid-19 response across Africa has been boosted by donations of money and medical supplies from international donors.

But we found no statements from the UN that African leaders were using the pandemic to deceive donors.

UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told Africa Check the graphic was “fake indeed”. – Grace Gichuhi


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