The Global Fund WCA board member and Minister of health of the Democratic Republic of Congo H.E Dr Jean Jacques Mbungani along with the leadership of the African Constituency Bureau for the Global Fund (ACB) met with Dr John Nkengasong Director of Africa CDC.
Noting the fact that Global Health Institutions (GHIs) such as The Global Fund, Gavi, RBM, Stop TB, GFF, Unitaid, etc. spend billions of USD on addressing Africa’s health challenges, it however become apparent lately that the continent’s engagements in governance bodies of GHIs is sub-optimal due to unstrategic, uncoordinated and sporadic interventions without a united approach. African representation in GHIs governance boards, through their selection and accountability are in their individual capacity without any formal links and accountability to Africa’s continental bodies such as the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Africa CDC, contributing to this disintegrated approach and to the lack of united front on priority policy issues for the continent.
In fact, Africans in the public sector that represent the continent in these bodies have no formal mechanisms to engage countries, to undertake policy research, policy analysis and to arrive at African consensus on policy issues. As the biggest beneficiary of GHIs’ resources, Africa need to be more strategic and consistently deliver a unified message in all these bodies. This has been reiterated by the director of Africa CDC who furthermore pointed out the gap of knowledge on decisions taken at the regional level by African representatives operating in GHIs. Hence the importance of the role that ACB could play in terms of being a regional policy advocacy hub and a liaison advancing these decisions to African representatives in GHIs.
Recalling that the ACB, was initially established to ensuring a stronger African voice in Global Fund governance discourses, its Board came to a decision in 2020 to expand the Bureau’s mandate to enable the organization provide support to other Africans from the public sector who represent the continent in other GHI governance bodies. As such, the ACB’s Governance Framework was modified to, inter alia, provide for this changed mandate, including by having representatives from the African Union and other GHIs to sit on the ACB’s board. This will streamline and strengthen Africa’s voice in GHI governance bodies and increase the likelihood of decisions passed by these boards to reflect the continent’s interests and be more impactful.
Going forward, it was agreed to urgently commence a process for getting the Bureau affiliated or integrated with African continental bodies. Such affiliation could result in the creation of an “Africa Global Health Bureau” and would coordinate Africa’s stronger engagements in GHIs’ governance bodies for a stronger African voice.