Activists from several African countries have networked. They want to know what happens to funds to fight the corona virus.
COTONOU taz | What funds flow to fight the corona pandemic from outside to Africa and which ones are generated on site? It is difficult to keep track of it.
In Liberia, for example, planning minister Samuel D. Tweah, according to a local newspaper, spoke of around $ 15 million from various World Bank pots. Elsewhere, the World Bank and the West African state have signed a $ 40 million budget support contract for the current fiscal year. Here too, a large part of the money is intended for COVID-19 and the far-reaching consequences.
"We know that huge sums are being committed. But the government only gives us updates on the number of cases, not on what the money is used for, ”criticizes Samuel Kpator, activist and chairman of the Youth Wash Coalition in Liberia.
The concern about the money is justified, says Kpator and reminds of the Ebola crisis of 2014 and 2015. At the time, 4,809 people in Liberia died from the virus. "There were donations. But officials and people in strategic positions have disappeared with the money. ”
Millions of euros are currently flowing into other countries or are at least promised. At the end of March, the non-governmental organization Connected Development (CODE), based in the Nigerian capital Abuja, listed donations from business people, politicians, banks and companies in the amount of 43.8 billion naira (a good 104 million euros). Again, it is unclear whether the money has already been paid, and if so, to whom and how it will be used.
Especially there is no overview of what is happening in the huge country with over 180 million inhabitants at local and regional level. Nigeria has 36 states, where numerous local actions are also running or at least being considered. For this purpose, photos of alleged donation transfers appear on Facebook again and again, but they never took place in reality.
As of now, activists from currently seven countries want to take care of all this. The initiator is Hamzat Lawal, co-founder of CODE and initiator of "Follow the money". For the past eight years, this initiative has been pursuing whether government promises are implemented and whether state funds such as private donations are actually used for the specified projects. The focus is now on corona funds.
The hashtag of campaign is # FollowCOVID19Money. An extensive data collection is to be created. Authorities and politicians should also be held responsible. "For example, we want to know from the NCDC (Nigerian Center for Disease Control) how many people were tested at all."
Not an easy task. A curfew is currently in place in many countries. Authorities are not staffed or do not want to provide any information. Teslima Jallow from Gambia Participates, an organization that works to combat corruption and a transparent financial policy, knows the problem. The World Bank has pledged $ 10 million to the Gambia to fight Corona. But Jallow has not yet received detailed information about the use of the amount from any government agency.
"Do patients get support in isolation centers?" Is one of his questions. The goal is therefore to speak to Corona patients in the coming weeks.
The results are to be published on social networks and especially on local radio stations. In the context of the corona crisis and especially the curfews, more and more jobs and thus sources of income are breaking down, so that internet credit has long since become a luxury.
For Evelyn Mathai, who works for the Kenyan organization Slums Information Development and Resource Center (SIDAREC) in Nairobi, radio is therefore the ultimate medium. "We also use different languages," she says. Because not everyone speaks English.