Earl Coetzee
Premium News Editor
3 minute read
6 Feb 2021
4:17 pm

Ramaphosa says Africa needs more favourable loans, as he bows out as AU Chair

Earl Coetzee

In Ramaphosa's final address as African Unions Chair, he told the virtual summit that despite the financial resources already deployed by the IMF and WB, more needs to be done to combat the impact of Covid-19 on Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa believes that more favourable loan terms are crucial if Africa hopes to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and more needs to be done to inject fresh resources by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB).

In Ramaphosa’s final address as African Unions Chair, during the organisation’s virtual 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly and Heads of States on Saturday, he told the virtual summit that despite the financial resources already deployed by the IMF and WB, more needs to be done.

“Access to concessional finance will remain crucial as countries rebuild their economies,” he said, referring to loans which offer more favourable repayment terms than those available under normal circumstances.

“An injection of fresh resources by the IMF through reallocating and issuing new special drawing rights, with bias to the developing world, will correct the glaring inequality in fiscal stimulus measures between advanced economies and the rest of the world.”

Ramaphosa commended the AU’s response to the fight against Covid-19, and said the disease had not only become a health emergency, but also an economic and social crisis.

He lamented the deepening of global inequality it had caused, saying it threatened to set back the continent’s progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite this though, he said Africa had exceeded the world’s expectations in dealing with the disease.

“Despite the upheaval caused by this disease, our response as a continent has been about partnership, resilience, innovation and the sharing of strategies and resources. The people of this continent have shown themselves to be resourceful and agile,” he said.

“Significantly, this pandemic has demonstrated the importance and the value of our continental body, the African Union. It is through the structures of the AU that we have been able to drive a collective response to this crisis, marshalling resources for the benefit of all, and striving to ensure that no country is left behind.

“As we prepare for the massive task of vaccinating our populations against COVID-19, we are looking to the AU and its partners to provide the assistance and support we need.”

Despite the virus, the continent also managed to achieve several goals during the past year, chief among these, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

“We know that COVID-19 is not yet defeated, and that there will be difficult times ahead, but we draw encouragement from the great opportunities that the ACFTA presents for the growth, development and prosperity of our continent,” he said.

“We also draw encouragement from the progress we have made in bringing peace and stability to parts of the continent that have long been plagued by conflict. We know that there is still a long road to travel to silence the guns in Africa, but we have shown that we are both determined and capable of achieving that goal.”

Ramaphosa handed over the AU chairmanship to DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, while the theme for the upcoming year at the organisation is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.”

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