health and safety
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Whether in the form of providing much-needed health products or funding, the range of organisations that have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates that solidarity across unrelated markets is possible.

Allow me to mention a few without showing disregard for those who have dedicated time, funds, and expertise.

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 8/04/2020

The first is Africa’s local development bank, the AfDB, which has raised a record $3 billion from its Fight COVID-19 social bond. To understand the enormity of this effort, it is the largest social bond transaction in dollars to date in capital markets.

“We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries,” said Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the AfDB’s president, who explained that the funds will go toward public and private sector efforts to tackle the viral pandemic in Africa.

This message is reassuring because if the pandemic takes hold in Africa, it will have catastrophic consequences for the majority who already live under great hardship.

In South Africa, power utility Eskom has offered its Academy of Learning centre in Johannesburg to be used as a quarantine site. The site has 416 beds and facilities to allow for isolation to determine if someone has the virus. 

We are all very aware of the urgent need for face masks and sanitiser. In response to this global shortage, businesses are now manufacturing hand sanitisers for the very first time to meet the critical need.

However, regardless of the urgency, a safety data sheet remains a requirement; an area in which these new manufacturers lack expertise. In response to this unexpected quandary, UL is offering free safety data sheets for the manufacture and shipment of these products.

Meanwhile ExxonMobil has partnered with the Global Centre for Medical Innovation to redesign and manufacture COVID-19 reusable personal protection equipment for health care workers.

With the help of local governments, the Red Cross and NPOs, JinkoSolar is donating one million face masks and other protective equipment to countries severely affected by COVID-19.

These outstanding efforts are just a drop in the ocean of all who are showing solidarity and innovation to overcome the challenges we now face. We cannot forecast the shape and form of a post-COVID-19 world but we can already see that our crisis management responses of today will shape the future.

I personally invite you to join me tomorrow, 9 April, at 13h00 GMT for a live free to attend webinar on COVID-19: Utility Crisis Management to answer questions on the coping mechanisms and strategies to protect staff, customers and the bottom line.

The guest panel who will be online with me are:
Jonothan Amoako-Baah, Chief Executive Officer, GRIDCo Ghana
Gadi Ndahumba, Head: Power, African Legal Facility Centre
Kadri Nassiep, Executive Director of Energy, City of Cape Town
Mukoon Mohammed Shamshir, acting General Manager, Central Electricity Board, Mauritius

Until next week.