Addis ababa: Some 20 European and African leaders have made a joint appeal for a massive international effort to boost Africa’s COVID-9 response, saying that “only a global victory, that fully includes Africa can bring this pandemic to an end,” the Associated Press reported.
The appeal signed by the leaders of France, Ethiopia, Germany, South Africa and other nations, published in the Financial Times, calls for dramatic measures that include an immediate moratorium on all debt payments, public and private, until the pandemic is over.
“No region will be safe if Africa, with largely weak health systems, is left to fend for itself,” the joint appeal warned.
It further highlighted the need for an “unprecedented effort” to tackle the disease, directly addressing the World Bank and IMF.
“We must deploy a huge economic stimulus package of at least 100 billion USD” to give Africa the resources it needs to fight the virus.
The appeal comes ahead of a meeting by finance ministers of the G20 forum on economic cooperation, which includes the U.S., China, India and others.
African officials have joined forces in recent days to appeal for billions of dollars in financial assistance and improve their position in the global competition with richer countries for badly needed medical equipment.
The African Union has appointed four special envoys to mobilize support and created a platform to help the continent’s 54 countries bulk-buy medical goods at more accessible prices.
The U.N. Economic Commission for Africa has said the pandemic could seriously dent already stagnant growth in many countries, with oil-exporting nations like Nigeria and Angola losing up to 65 billion USD in revenue as prices fall.
The new appeal, signed by all European leaders of the G20, welcomes a European Union plan for a pledging conference in May.
It is to be recalled that the IMF on Monday approved 500 million USD to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries, including 19 African ones, so they can help tackle the pandemic.
Source: Ethiopia News agency