US peacekeeping investment helping fight COVID-19

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Five African countries are among the over 120 worldwide on receiving end of US largesse, said to be more than $900 million, since the coronavirus outbreak started.

This is according to the US Department of State which says in a diplomatic note American investments in peacekeeping and counter-terrorism assistance are now also supporting response to the pandemic worldwide.

The funds have gone to emergency health, humanitarian, economic and development assistance specifically to help governments, international organisations and NGOs fight the pandemic. “In addition to this assistance meeting urgent needs, US government departments and agencies are seeking creative applications of previously delivered aid to support allies and partners around the world,” the communication said.

“US-provided medical equipment and training delivered to Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda for use in international peacekeeping operations is temporarily bolstering domestic responses to the COVID-19 challenge. Outside Africa similar measures were authorised for North Macedonia.

“The temporary loan of tents, ambulances, other equipment and permanent transfer of mattresses and cots to Sierra Leone from the US-funded logistics depot in Sierra Leone, where equipment for peacekeeping and counterterrorism purposes is held, supports the COVID-19 response.

“In Chad and Mauritania temporary use of US-provided ambulances, medical and other equipment procured for counter-terrorism purposes is now supporting the COVID-19 response.”

Explaining the funding the note states: “Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda have long demonstrated support for international peacekeeping. They deployed personnel to support UN and AU missions in challenging peace operations, including the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali, Somalia, and South Sudan. Under US initiatives such as the 54-nation Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) and regionally focused six-nation African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP), countries are encouraged to step up to the peacekeeping challenge helping them develop capabilities such as combat medicine, logistics, engineering and aviation.  All are critical enablers, essential to mission success.

“US security assistance capacity building programmes are making an additional contribution as the world addresses the COVID-19 pandemic, which, like many transnational threats, does not respect borders and requires a resolute and unified response.

“Previously delivered field hospitals and ambulances and in some cases, personnel trained for peacekeeping operations, are now working to support COVID-19 response in their own countries.”