French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting leaders of African countries and heads of global financial institutions for a summit that will seek to provide the continent with critical financing swept away by the impact of COVID-19.
Some two dozen African heads of state are attending Tuesday’s summit in Paris, one of the biggest in-person top-level meetings held during the pandemic. International financial leaders attending included International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva as well as World Bank managing director of operations Axel van Trotsenburg.
The summit got under way at 11:00 GMT and is due to wind up with a 16:00 GMT press conference by Macron and Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, whose country holds the rotating African Union presidency.
Africa has so far been less badly hit by the pandemic than other global regions – with a total of 130,000 dead across the continent.
However, the economic cost is only too apparent, with the IMF warning in late 2020 that Africa faces a shortfall in the funds needed for future development – a financial gap – of $290bn up to 2023.
A moratorium on the servicing of public debt agreed in April last year by the G20 and the Paris Club, a group of creditor countries that tries to find sustainable solutions for
debtor nations, was welcomed but will not be enough on its own.
Many want a moratorium on the service of all external debt until the end of the pandemic.
“We are collectively in the process of abandoning Africa by using solutions that date from the 1960s,” Macron said last month, warning that failure would lead to reduced economic opportunity, sudden migration flows and even the expansion of “terrorism”.
‘Lower interest rates needed’
Serge Ekue, the president of the West African Development Bank (BOAD), told the AFP news agency that Africa needed much longer loan maturities that went beyond seven years and interest rates that were 3 percent rather than 6 percent.
“In West Africa, the average age is 20. You walk in (Ivory Coast’s biggest city) Abidjan and there is incredible energy,” he said, noting that Africa had seen economic growth rates of 5-6 percent in the last years.
“The issue is therefore not so much a moratorium as obtaining low rates. Because it is better to issue new, cheaper and longer debt than to obtain a suspension,” he said.
The summit comes a day after a conference on Monday attended by several heads of state, that aimed at rallying support for the Sudanese government under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in the transition after the 2019 removal of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.
Macron notably announced that France would cancel almost $5bn in debt owed by Khartoum in order to help a transition he described as an “inspiration”.
French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting leaders of African countries and heads of global financial institutions for a summit that will seek to provide the continent with critical financing swept away by the impact of COVID-19. Some two dozen African heads of state are attending Tuesday’s summit in Paris, one of the biggest in-person top-level meetings held during the pandemic. International financial leaders attending included International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva as well as World Bank managing director of operations Axel van Trotsenburg. The summit got under way at 11:00 GMT and is due to wind up with a 16:00 GMT
Health authorities in Malawi have incinerated 19,610 expired doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, saying it will reassure the public that any vaccines they do get are safe. It is the first African country to publicly do this. The World Health Organization initially urged countries not to destroy expired doses but has now changed its advice. Uptake of the vaccine in Malawi has been low and health workers hope the move will increase public confidence. Out of a population of about 18 million people, the country has recorded 34,232 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,153 deaths. Africa Live: Latest updates on this and other storiesWhy are
Health officials in Botswana say they have reached agreements to get enough COVID-19 vaccine injections to treat the country’s whole adult population and are set to becoming the first African nation to be fully vaccinated. The agreements were announced this week in a speech by Mosepele Mosepele, a member of Botswana’s Presidential COVID-19 Task Force. The Southern African country has had a total of over 48,00 confirmed COVID cases and less than 800 deaths so far. Last month, Botswana received 60,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. Additionally, the government received 200,000 doses
Globally, COVID-19 stats stand at 154 million confirmed cases, over 3 million deaths, and 91 million recoveries. According to the Africa Centre for Disease Control, Africa's proportion in these numbers is a total of 4,586,147 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 122,907 deaths, and 4,134,12 recoveries. In line with the ongoing global vaccination drive over 12,757,451 vaccinations have been administered across the continent as of today. South Africa has the most reported cases - 1,586,148 - and 54,511 people died. Other most-affected countries are Morocco ( 512,285 ), Tunisia ( 314,152 ), Ethiopia ( 259,354 ), Egypt ( 231,803 ), Libya ( 178,672 ) and
Operators in the Nigerian air space have witnessed several difficulties due to some operational challenges, precipitated by what most of them describe as an unfriendly business environment. While some of the challenges like scarcity of forex and high maintenance cost are still creating holes in operators’ pockets, most of the airlines have made smarter moves to reduce some of their operational costs. This was disclosed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and the airlines. According to its Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, the airlines have re-strategised by using cost-effective aircraft for business. He said, “Already, there is a paradigm shift. People are beginning to
The Covid 19 vaccine producing company, Pfizer Inc., has said it be will transporting 4.5 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to South Africa by June, helping the country increase its vaccination drive. The initial 325,260 dosages were to arrive on Sunday night, Zweli Mkhize, South Africa's minister said in a statement; though there has been no news of its arrival yet. The government also expects Johnson & Johnson to release stock from the Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd.’s plant in the nation by the middle of May following a verification process with regulators, according to the statement. Aspen is making the
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday lifted the COVID-19 lockdown he imposed last month, allowing for a reopening of bars and restaurants, religious services, and schools as the rate of infections eases. The President had on March 26 announced that there was a cessation of movement into and out of the counties of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, and Nakuru as a block. Speaking on Saturday during the Labour Day celebrations at State House, President Kenyatta stated that Kenyans are now free to visit any part of the country. The Head of State further revised the curfew hours in the zoned
After temporarily suspending the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine a week ago after six cases of blood clots were discovered in the more than 6.8 million people who had been inoculated., South Africa has resumed administering the vaccine to healthcare workers Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Thursday that South Africa took a “precautionary measure” when it suspended the vaccination program last week, following a similar move by the U.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had previously put out a statement calling for a temporary halt in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Health experts
The advent of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China, and its consequent rise in status as a global pandemic has brought a dramatic and drastic impact on the global economy. In Africa, however, the prediction of drastic mortality by experts and stakeholders has been grossly inaccurate. Nonetheless, Africa’s economy has suffered a huge dent due to the pandemic. There has been a dramatic increment in the inflation rates across African states resulting in a higher poverty index across the world. In Sub-Saharan Africa, inflation rose from 8.45% in 2019 to 10.62% due to the pandemic. A report from Trading Economics showed that in
According to the latest figures from the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) as regards the COVID-19, some 4,429,822 infections had been recorded in Africa, with a death toll of 117,913 and 3,113,643 recoveries The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes the hike in the infection and death rates to laxity in adherence to COVID-19 containment measures as well as the rush by governments to reopen their countries. Many countries on the continent are battling a third wave of the pandemic, one described by experts as more deadly that the initial two. Although many African countries have been vaccinating their populations against