Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the G20 countries and international financial institutions to help Africa amid the novel coronavirus economic turmoil.
“We encourage the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and other institutions to provide debt relief to highly indebted countries,” Mr. Ramaphosa said in remarks at the G20 extraordinary leaders’ virtual summit on COVID-19 held on March 26 attended world leaders, including President Donald Trump.
President Ramaphosa warned that the coronavirus pandemic “will worsen the economic situations of many African economies” and reverse the gains that many countries have made in recent years.
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“We need to ensure trade and investment flows are not adversely disrupted. At the continental level COVID-19 is already having a devastating impact on many countries and in this regard many African economies need a robust economic stimulus package,” he said.
“African central banks, including the South African Reserve Bank, have responded through stimulus measures, such as rate cuts, among others, to provide liquidity. But these efforts need support.”
Ramaphosa said the international community needs to demonstrate solidarity with Africa through financial support measures.
“These measures should both support the continent’s immediate humanitarian needs and place the continent on a path of economic recovery.
“Given that a third of Sub-Saharan African countries are in debt distress or at risk of debt distress the waiver of all interest payments on bilateral and multilateral loans would help. This would give fiscal space and liquidity to governments,” he said in his remarks received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. on Sunday.
At the continental level, Ramaphosa announced that the African Union Bureau met on March 26, 20202 and established the African Coronavirus Fund to help fund Africa’s work in fighting this virus.
“A few African countries were able to raise $20 million in just 30 minutes. We invite G20 countries to support this African initiative by donating to this fund,” he said.
President Ramaphosa reminded G20 leaders what late African icon, former South African President Nelson Mandela said 15 years ago about helping others during crisis times.
“Fifteen years ago, when confronted by the challenge of HIV/AIDS, President Nelson Mandela asked: “When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing.”
“I am certain that when the history of our times is written, it will reflect on today’s meeting and will record that the leaders of the G20 did the right thing,” he said.