Emergence of Omicron outcome of "uncoordinated global response" to pandemic: UNECA official

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ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The emergence of the latest Omicron COVID-19 variant is a manifestation of the global community's failure to exert concerted efforts against the pandemic, a senior United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) official has said.

The statement was made by Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNECA, at the ongoing 2021 African Economic Conference, which is being held in a hybrid format virtually and in Cabo Verde from Dec. 2 to 4, the UNECA said in a statement.

"Failure to address the pandemic through universal access to vaccines will spawn more resilient and potent variants, threatening the global effort to fight the virus," the statement quoted Pedro as saying.

"The recent emergence of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus illustrates my point," he said, attributing the emergence of the latest Omicron variant to "an uncoordinated global response to the pandemic."

"The possibility of new and more virulent variants, coupled with imminent climate shocks, calls for a more coordinated global response to the pandemic, backed by bold and innovative financing mechanisms," said Pedro.

This year's edition of the three-day African Economic Conference mainly envisaged fostering a more inclusive and sustainable recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

Addressing the 2021 African Economic Conference, Cabo Verde President Jose Maria Neves also called for urgent universal vaccine access as a way to mitigate the impact of Omicron and other variants of the COVID-19 virus.

The World Health Organization on Friday categorized Omicron as a COVID-19 variant of concern, signifying that it could be more contagious than other known mutations.

Kevin Urama, Acting Chief Economist and Vice-President at the African Development Bank (AfDB), also stressed the pandemic's continued huge socio-economic impact on Africa.

He emphasized that AfDB stands ready to support African countries as they rebuild their economies.

"This has heightened the need for transformative domestic reforms. Challenges to Africa's financing development must be tackled collectively," he said. Enditem

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