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AU calls for immediate suspension of interest payments for African countries

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This would enable African countries to create fiscal space to respond to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their economies.

JOHANNESBURG – The African Union Bureau of Heads of State is calling on creditor nations and multilateral institutions to suspend interest payments for Africa on its external public and private debt, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) reported on Monday.

Leaders from South Africa, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Mali representing the AU Bureau of Heads of State were advancing the call for interest payment write-offs.

According to the broadcaster this would enable African countries to create fiscal space to respond to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on their economies.

Zambia’s ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the AU, Emmanuel Mwamba, stated that the communiqué of the leaders of the AU bureau was issued after they held the latest teleconference last week Friday to discuss Africa’s response to the pandemic, according Zambia reports.

“The leaders have called for a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa and for concrete support as pledged by the G20 and other international partners. The communiqué called upon the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to review their current disbursement policies to display flexibility and speed, including raising the availability of the IMF special drawing rights,” said Mwamba.

Mwamba said that the communiqué called for the immediate lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan. It also stated that the bureau had created the ministerial co-ordination committees of the AU’s response to the pandemic’s effects on transport and finance.

This followed the creation of the ministerial co-ordination committee on health.

He said the bureau had called for member states to have equal access to Covid-19 ventilators, test kits, masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccines when available.

The leaders expressed satisfaction that the AU’s Covid-19 response fund established on March 26, 2020, already had raised seed funds amounting to $17 million (about R309 million).

The communiqué stated that the leaders thanked the People’s Republic of China for its support.

The leaders also thanked the Jack Ma Foundation, the World Food Programme (WFP), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for delivering one million diagnostic test kits, six million masks and personal protective kits to all AU member states.

– African News Agency