African governments have been urged to embrace the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)’s Trusted Travel Platform to protect local economies and lives as the continent prepares for its largest free trade area.
African countries agreed last year to create the world’s largest free trade area measured by the number of countries participating, by January 2021.
But there are concerns that economies may be ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic if no proper health guidelines are put in place.
This has resulted in the Africa CDC establishing the Trusted Travel Platform – in partnership with Econet and Panabios – to verify public health documentation for travellers at national borders. An Econet spokesman said:
We understand that governments are under pressure to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a way of reviving their economies that are expected to lose between 25 and 30 million jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are calling for caution as they open their borders.
Countries should insist that all travellers get digital certificates to prove that they have taken COVID-19 tests from approved laboratories to contain the spread of the pandemic and protect the lives of vulnerable people.
Econet, which developed a mobile App called the Travel Pass that is embedded on Africa CDC’s Trusted Travel Platform, said the use of technology was essential in achieving the AfCFTA’s objectives.