AFRICA – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a grant agreement with International Organization for Migration (IOM), to provide grant aid of up to 544 million yen for the Project for Enhancing Border Management Capacity for Responding to the Public Health Crises including COVID-19 in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo.

Under this project, public health equipment and infrastructure needed to ensure more effective preparedness and response to potential public health crises including COVID-19 will be procured and provided, with the aims of reinforcing appropriate health systems and border management capacity.

It is expected that this project will facilitate sub-regional cross-border trade along West Africa Growth Ring Corridors and strengthen connectivity among the countries. This project will contribute to the achievement of SDGs Goals 3, 9, and 10.

The member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are promoting the infrastructure development of the West African Growth Ring Corridor

One of the most important international economic corridors in West Africa, as well as the elimination of intra-regional tariffs and the introduction of common external tariffs in order to facilitate sub-regional cross-border trade.

Meanwhile, the border situation in the West African region has changed drastically due to COVID-19 infections since 2020, and new sanitary measures are urgently needed.

This project will procure public health equipment and infrastructure, to respond to potential public health crises including COVID-19, at six border crossings between Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Benin on the West African Growth Ring Corridor, and then enable more than 1,000 border officials to protect themselves from infectious diseases.

More than 1.7 million people crossing the borders will benefit from the procedures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

The health and hygiene security of those involved in border procedures will facilitate sub-regional cross-border trade and further strengthen connectivity within the region.

A few days back, Health authorities in Guinea confirmed a case of Marburg virus disease in the southern Gueckedou prefecture.

This was the first time Marburg, a highly infectious disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, was identified in the country, and in West Africa, in what might appear as a possible game changer in the West African health scene.

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