OrderPaperToday – The South African Parliamentary Delegation to the inaugural Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments in Abuja in Nigeria has shared the country’s experiences of budgeting during the COVID-19 pandemic and raised the problems posed by unconstitutional regime changes, while also attending various bilateral meetings.

While addressing a debate about the pandemic in the context of national budgeting and legislative oversight alongside Speakers from Djibouti and Senegal, the South African National Assembly Speaker, Ms. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said the pandemic had taught many lessons that can help Africa to recover faster, deal with vaccine hesitancy, address poverty and improve food security. It has also prepared the continent to respond more effectively to any future disasters.     

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Furthermore, she said that COVID-19 also underscored the importance of gender-responsive budgeting and of addressing vaccine nationalism and food security prioritisation, which contributed to Africa’s poor 16% vaccination coverage and worsened poverty.

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She called for strong partnerships among African parliaments, states, and across the world to accelerate the continent’s recovery and readiness to deal effectively with future pandemics and other disasters.     

The South Africa delegation to the three-day conference is led by Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula and includes the National Council of Provinces Deputy Chairperson, Ms. Sylvia Lucas, and the Chief Whip of the majority party, Ms. Pemmy Majodina.

They had four meetings on the sidelines of the Conference with Mr Hamma Salam Ali Salem, Speaker of Western Sahara; Ibrahim Boughali, Speaker of Algeria; Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of Zimbabwe; and Moustapha Niasse of Senegal.

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During these meetings, matters of mutual interest between parliaments were discussed, as were the general challenges facing the Pan Africa Parliament. They also discussed the need for greater cohesion and unity to achieve Africa’s development ideals.

 Today, Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula is scheduled to chair a debate on “Financing Africa’s Pandemic Response: Legislative Imperatives and Interventions.” The World Health Organisation will participate in the debate, along with Algeria’s Speaker Ibrahim, Ghana’s Speaker Ms. Alban Bagbin, and Rwandan Speaker Ms. Donatile Mukabalisa.

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