MINNEOLA, Florida — British actor Idris Elba was one of the celebrities who tested positive for COVID-19 back in March of 2020. His wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, also tested positive. In an interview with Radio Times, Elba confirmed that he remained asymptomatic and “didn’t get the major symptoms everyone else got.” However, he did discuss the mental health issues that went along with contracting the disease. Recently, the actor has been advocating that wealthy nations relieve any debts held by low and middle-income nations.
Idris Elba’s Past Works
For as long as he’s been in the spotlight, Idris Elba has been involved in a number of charitable works and funds. Elba supported Cancer Research U.K. and joined the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty with the ONE Campaign. In April 2020, Elba and his wife joined forces with the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as U.N. Goodwill Ambassadors. With their new roles, they helped to launch the new $40 million fund to help farmers and food producers in rural areas who were impacted by COVID-19.
The effects of the pandemic had a huge impact on food production, market access and rural employment. IFAD launched the $40 million fund, and an urgent appeal for additional funds, to help rural communities and farmers to continue growing food. As impoverished territories are already lacking in so much, essentially healthcare, rural and poor areas are likely to suffer more in the pandemic.
Calling for Debt Relief
There’s no denying that COVID-19 pushed countries into states of poverty. Some estimates stated that 150 million new individuals will suffer from poverty this year. As a matter of fact, the pandemic has intensified the divide of inequalities between countries and their occupants. Healthcare, education systems and more are in danger of the crisis.
Therefore, in 2020, Idris Elba has called for debt relief for many developing nations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, G20 countries had already put into force a debt “moratorium” through the end of 2020. If low-income countries save $16 billion from coverage of private creditors, the money saved could then be used for important issues “like providing healthcare during a global crisis.”
Debt has a broad impact in low-income countries. Elba noted that “debt relief for poor countries is a longer-term solution. There is no excuse for not taking action. It’s in our best interest to fund a global recovery.”
Sabrina Dhowre Elba had also not just sat idly by. In an article from the Guardian, it’s highlighted that “the old idea of aid is dead,” and Sabrina Elba, along with her husband as IFAD ambassadors, hoped to make a difference in rural communities in Africa. She hopes to bring awareness of the importance of Africa and the survival of its people. Her husband’s stance on debt relief in poor countries and how a long-term solution is beneficial relates to her viewpoint for making a lasting difference in Africa.
Both Sabrina and Idris Elba utilize their roles as ambassadors to focus on food security issues as well as climate change and environmental conservation. What could happen in one country could affect another. Advocating for farmers in developing worlds is critical, and both Sabrina and Idris wanted people to understand that these farmers are the reason we are able to run to the stores and stock up on food.
Success in their efforts, with aid from IFAD, involved mobilizing emergency resources such as “supplying equipment, seeds, and cash assistance; helping with crop storage and transportation; supporting livestock and fisheries; providing timely information on weather and markets and helping out with loans.” Idris and Sabrina Elba continue to help the lives of smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone by aiding in transforming fields to produce high-quality foods.
Idris Elba is just one of many who have used their platform to help other countries during the pandemic. However, there’s no ignoring his drive and devotion for the aid he wishes to give to countries in need. Low-income countries have faced economic devastation. They have “only been able to mobilize about 1.3% of their GDP for COVID-19 stimulus plans.” To compare, high-income countries are spending an average of 8%.
Although debt relief in low-income countries seems like a hard battle to win, Idris Elba has shown that it can prove beneficial for those countries facing impoverished circumstances. Together, Idris and Sabrina Elba have joined the fight to bring a voice to the voiceless and protect those who aren’t in a fortunate position.