Ramaphosa reports ‘productive call’ with US President Donald Trump
Truly a tale of two countries, the meeting between two world leaders is reported to have been "very productive".
President Cyril Ramaphosa said that he has spoken to the President of the United States (US), Donald Trump, about their respective countries’ response to the global pandemic.
“I had a very productive call with His Excellency President Donald Trump of the United States of America,” Ramaphosa tweeted on Thursday 23 April.”
“We discussed the impact of COVID-19 on our two countries. I have passed our condolences to the Government and people of the US on the devastation the virus has wrought.”
With both countries having dealt with the crisis in vastly different ways, one wonders who was giving who advice.
Tale of two countries
Ramaphosa has been widely lauded for his approach to the the disastrous pandemic, having closed borders, ordered a state of disaster and imposed a nationwide lockdown in order to aggressively stem the spread of the virus. His leadership, poise and policy decisions have been well received and, for the most part, garnered a united front from opposition parties
Trump, on the other hand, has been widely criticised for his slow, indecisive reaction, having been sceptical of the legitimacy of the threat he was warned about since January.
This is a global health crisis, and is by no means an opportunity for one-upmanship, but with Ramaphosa’s effort to ensure the survival of a country with a vastly smaller bank account, he must have sensed a smidge of irony in the respective positions the two countries find themselves in.
Pulling out of WHO funding ‘concerned Ramaphosa’
The US President pulled the plug on funding for the World Health Organisation earlier on April, saying that they had been ineffective in administering support for prevention of the spread of the virus. There have been 855 869 confirmed cases in the US, with 48 061 deaths.
South Africa has currently registered 3 953 confirmed cases and 75 deaths, and the WHO’s Executive Director for their Health Emergencies Programme, Michael Ryan, has held South Africa’s COVID-19 response among the best in the world.
The South African government last week expressed “serious concern” that Trump decided to cut funding to the WHO with immediate effect, with US funding accounting for 15% of the WHO’s total budget.
“It is alarming that this very regrettable decision is announced as this deadly virus strikes Africa and the poorest and most vulnerable states,” a letter from the Presidency read last week.
Ramaphosa passed on his condolences to Trump on the loss of life his country has experienced, and is expected to address the nation later on Thursday evening