COVID 19: Okonjo-Iweala calls on African countries to seek debt relief - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Sunday, April 5, 2020

COVID 19: Okonjo-Iweala calls on African countries to seek debt relief

Nigeria’s former minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has called on African countries to immediately mount pressure on the G7 and G20 for debt-relief to tackle Coronavirus.

This she said, will help African countries deal with the economic and health issues arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to Okonjo-Iweala, the money owed by some African countries could be channeled towards dealing with the economic crisis arising from the outbreak of Coronavirus.
She told the BBC, “We have several sources, the African Development Bank, which is one of them that just floated a social bond for $3 billion to be available to African countries.
“Also, the World Bank has set aside $14 billion ,$2 billion has already beeen committed to 25 countries and 11 of them are Africans. Many of our countries need to move to take advantage of this, and they are willing to commit $150 billion dollars over the next 15 months.
The IMF has put forward $50 billion as an emergency fund, and already 80 countries have applied for this, many of them African.
“It also has a $1 billion grant fund; catastrophe containment and relief trust, which they can approach. Let me mention my own organisation, GAVI, where I am chair of the board. We have immediately made available a $200 million to $300 million grant.
“Once these monies become available, if the countries get debt relief, that means that the monies they would have been paying to service the debt can now be used to obtain food and other necessary supplies to support people in the rural and urban area.
“This can be used by the government as part of an intervention fund to help people directly,but needs to be done quickly, the debt relief we haven’t got yet.
“The african countries need to put a lot of pressure on the G7, G20 to come forward with this measure, and then pressure for the debt relief.”

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