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GFA CORONA UPDATE

GFA shares the wide-spread concerns that the immediate and longer-term consequences of the current Covid-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of the people and on the systems to ensure social, economic and environmental stability are likely to be most severe in many of our partner countries. The project teams of GFA are engaged in our partner countries to help limiting the pandemic itself and coping with the immediate effects of the dramatic economic slow-down. Many of our clients have started immediately to provide additional specific funding and to re-orient budgets in ongoing programs to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. Local governments and municipalities in our partner countries themselves switch into emergency mode by redirecting their priorities towards targeted health and community development programmes with a view on more immediate relief of Covid-19-induced impacts. Our project teams in the partner countries together with their counterparts are charged to identify respective priority support measures. To this end, we have already started concrete action in the context of several ongoing programs and projects, in which GFA is involved.

In cooperation with West African Health Organization (WAHO) and funded by KfW, GFA helps strengthening epidemiological services and health systems in the ECOWAS region. Following the outbreak of Covid-19 our team organised with WAHO and Senegal’s Pasteur Institute a three-day-training workshop for 24 laboratory experts from 18 countries on COVID-19 diagnosis. All of the participants received a kit with 100 tests, swabs for sampling and viral transport medium to take back to their countries. 

 

In Namibia, GFA supports 200 Namibian start-ups in the framework of the GIZ start-ups project with cash transfers out of a specifically designated Covid-19 start-up fund. The intention is to supplement current revenues and help the start-ups to pay wages and operational costs and to offset the decline in revenue during the lockdown. GFA supports the incubation of six start-ups, which developed solutions to improve business continuity and remedy to health challenges during a Hackathon. Anticipating that the impacts of the pandemic might also limit the ways in which capacity development activities can be implemented in future, our team of experts is currently designing an online incubation platform for promising start-ups.

Offering an innovative and flexible approach, GFA managed to successfully kick-off a new fiscal agent project in Chad for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. Some of the GAVI funds will be directly allocated to COVID-19 measures. Standard operational procedures for a remote approach have been developed and are currently being implemented.

 

In Ghana, GFA organises webinars through the GIZ REEE project on enhanced energy management as an option to safeguard liquidity by reducing energy costs. 

In Namibia, GFA supports 200 Namibian start-ups in the framework of the GIZ start-ups project with cash transfers out of a specifically designated Covid-19 start-up fund. The intention is to supplement current revenues and help the start-ups to pay wages and operational costs and to offset the decline in revenue during the lockdown. GFA supports the incubation of six start-ups, which developed solutions to improve business continuity and remedy to health challenges during a Hackathon. Anticipating that the impacts of the pandemic might also limit the ways in which capacity development activities can be implemented in future, our team of experts is currently designing an online incubation platform for promising start-ups.

In Niger, GFA experts in the project “Improving the Management of Migratory Challenges” support local authorities in combating COVID-19. On behalf of GIZ, they distribute hygiene and protective equipment to different healthcare institutions and organize the rollout of radio awareness campaigns and sensitization measures. The project is co-financed by BMZ and the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

In Senegal, too, authorities are preparing against the spread of Covid-19. The Technical Vocational Education program that GFA is implementing on behalf of GIZ, currently trains multipliers in health authorities and administrations on awareness campaigns. Subsequently, trained staff visit companies that have public business to inform about the virus, potential paths of infection and appropriate protective measures. 

GFA supports the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) to collect and assess detailed information on how Covid-19 impacts on SMEs and the business environment in Eastern Partnership countries. Moreover, our team supports the design of adequate interventions that help businesses in the region to cope with the economic crisis of the pandemic. In its role for the secretariat for the EU4Business Initiative, the GFA team also raises awareness on success cases of EU projects tackling crucial healthcare challenges through their existing capacities, and at short notice. 

www.eu4business.eu

At the same time, we support the urgently needed launch of targeted action and programs to mitigate negative social, economic and environmental impacts in the medium and longer term. Several teams within GFA are currently busy developing integrated solutions in and across various sectors ranging from agricultural production and food security or SME development and employment to education, finance, health, energy supply or water. They draw directly on the understanding of our project teams and networks in the partner countries as to what is most urgently needed, now and for a likely required system’s reset post-corona.

 

 

In our understanding, any approach to such a reset must be green, digital and fully embedded into the SDGs to enhance resilience against further crises in rural and metropolitan areas alike. Our Unit for Digital Innovation, C3 Unit for Better Learning and our Climate Competence Center together with our Technical Working Groups on Green & Circular Economy and on Resilient Cities strengthen that focus.

 

GFA is thus not only ready to assist our clients and partners on short notice with solutions to be implemented immediately. We are as well prepared to develop and support implementation of more comprehensively integrated solutions, which can be scaled to wider-reaching programs. To mitigate restricted travel, we implement our activities increasingly via digital channels and our experts on the ground. The results of a survey on 164 ongoing projects of GFA are currently being systematically analysed and grouped along urgent needs, e.g., for re-orientation or digitalization of activities and outreach programs. From 1st May onward, we should be able to support our team leaders and project teams with the respective in-house expertise and a close network of experts.

 

Through our subsidiaries in North and Southern Africa, in the Western Balkans and in India we are furthermore ready to offer solutions and support services to local governments and municipalities. 

 

 

For our clients, partners and experts, which are interested to join into our efforts, we will continue to post updates on our engagement in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. 

 

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