African countries appeal for $100 billion to stave off pandemic recession
The continent has seen a surge of infections during the past month, as it recorded one million new cases and a 43 percent jump in Covid-19 deaths last week.
Eleven African heads of state have called this week for $100 billion in hardship funding to help the economies of their countries out of the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lockdowns and reduced travel and trade have thrown sub-Saharan Africa into recession.
While most African nations haven’t reached the peaks of fatalities and infection seen in other parts of the world, there are concerns that a third wave of the coronavirus could get worse, with faster-spreading variants driving infections.
Appeal for help from vulnerable economies
The leaders met in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, where they produced a declaration asking for $100 billion for the period of 2022-2025 from the International Development Association (IDA), an arm of the World Bank Group that offers loans and grants to some of the world’s poorest countries.
The funding would be a step up from a previous disbursement of $82 billion agreed in 2019.
“I appeal to our partners to take ownership of this Abidjan declaration and significantly increase their contribution … to fight inequalities and help finance the most vulnerable economies,” Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said in a speech.
The presidents of Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Togo, Liberia and Madagascar also signed the appeal.
Vaccination campaign lagging behind amid surge in cases
The continent has seen a surge of infections in the last month, with one million new cases recorded, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 6 million and more than 153,000 deaths.
Africa recorded a 43 percent jump in Covid-19 deaths last week. The World Health Organization warned that as hospital admissions rise, countries face shortages of oxygen and intensive-care beds.
So far, only 18 million people in Africa, a continent of 1.3 billion, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, deepening fears of a protracted economic slowdown as much of the world re-opens.