African Conference of Speakers to embark on drive for debt cancellation - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Sunday, October 11, 2020

African Conference of Speakers to embark on drive for debt cancellation

A drive for debt cancellation for African countries is being advocated for by a new body, Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed this in a virtual meeting with the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Gabriela Cuevas Barron.

Gbajabiamila, who has been at the forefront of the formation of CoSAP, told the President of IPU during a zoom meeting in Abuja on Friday that the conference was formed to enhance parliamentary collaboration in advancing the growth, stability and development of the continent.

He sought the support of the IPU for CoSAP’s quest for debt cancellation for African countries, saying the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African economies demands debt cancellation.

According to him: “It is inhumane to be forced to pick between servicing foreign debt and saving lives locally.”

Gbajabiamila said the debt burden on African countries would not allow most of the affected nations to thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“Our main focus in the meantime is calling for debt cancellation,” Gbajabiamila told the IPU President.

“We decided to introduce this group to you so that you would join forces with us for the call for debt cancellation for African countries.

“We cannot do this alone. We need your voice, we need your experience, we need your advice.”

In her response, Barron congratulated the Speaker for championing the formation of CoSAP, saying it was a welcome development.

She said: “I love this idea for many reasons.

“Believe me, I share this concern.

“Pease count on me.

“Find in me an ally, a friend and someone who truly understands this important challenge for developing countries.”

Barron said as the President of IPU, she would get in touch with relevant experts to get their advice on the issue, noting that a similar initiative is being done in Latin America.

She used the opportunity to call for the strengthening of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which she said would go a long way in creating a conducive environment for African countries.

She also said the idea of regional workshops on issues such as climate change and gender should be given priority, to which Gbajabiamila agreed.

While responding, he said he was glad that both CoSAP and IPU were on the same page.

He said the issues of AfCFTA and the regional training have been on the front burner in most African countries, including Nigeria, adding that they would continue to push for both.

The first CoSAP will take place in Abuja next year in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing together all Speakers and Heads of Parliaments in Africa as well as strategic partners, which include the IPU.

(The Eagle Online)

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