How COVID-19 compels Africa to find stringent measures

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The globe is at a stand-still position and Africa is hurting and expected to also sustain serious repercussions from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has already claimed nearly 2,000 lives, infected over 60,000 people and around 21,000 managed to recover According to the latest data by the John Hopkins University and Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa.

The pandemic has brought rather crucial ideas from South Africa’s President and African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa on Africa requesting a two-year debt standstill to provide governments with the fiscal space to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

As the world strives to attain a balance between staying safe and breathing life back to the economy, Africa is taking the entire perspective of the pandemic on its axis, while other nations move around several measures, some African nations have managed to somewhat contain the virus to a certain extent.

The current progress

In battling the virus, African finance ministers are discussing debt-relief proposals, including a special-purpose vehicle to exchange their sovereign debt for the new concessional paper to avoid having to use funds needed to battle the virus to pay private creditors, according to information from Bloomberg News.

The Africa leaders took the continent’s funding heap and landed it to some of Africa’s biggest lenders, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, whereby their request for assistance brought forth, officials of individual countries who outlined their policy plans for effective use of resources, multilateral organizations including the United Nations pledged their continued support, and bilateral partners reemphasized their commitment to a debt standstill beginning May 1, 2020, according to information from IMF.

The South African president has been a constant alarm to the rest of the world when it comes to virus fight parameters.

“This pandemic has already had a devastating impact on Africa and its effects will deepen as the rate of infection rises. It is a setback for the progress we have made to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment,” Ramaphosa said.

It is a fact that African health systems require a substantial boost, not only to save the population succumbing to the virus but eliminating the possibility of the virus to outweigh the region’s development efforts.

“While recent announcements from international partners are very welcome, large financing gaps remain and greater support is needed to ensure that African countries can respond effectively to the health crisis and address economic challenges” Ramaphosa argues.

According to information from World Bank, official creditors have mobilized up to $57 billion for Africa in 2020 alone—including upwards of $18 billion from the IMF and the World Bank each—to provide front-line health services, support the poor and vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s.

Hence, private creditor supports this year could amount to an estimated $13 billion.

Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria and Rwanda are some of the African nations who have acquired funding to fight off the virus, and yet the lender has already disbursed over $10 billion across Africa to help fight the pandemic.

The virus could persist in South Africa

As South Africa’s implements one the strictest lockdowns in the region, still the second-largest economy in Africa leader remains warry of the pandemic, that is sucking the life out the nation’s economy.

The nation has recorded over 10,000 cases and nearly 200 deaths.

According to information from Bloomberg News, on Monday Ramaphosa warned in a statement that the coronavirus will be present in the country for at least a year and that infections will rise as lockdown restrictions are eased.

As South Africa roves in its second recession in two years, Ramaphosa’s administration is still confident in navigating through the pandemic, as the government anticipates to step up efforts on screening, testing and case management to help contain the virus.

Also, the country looks forward to making contact tracing more effective, while workplaces and public transport will be sanitized.

However, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the continent needs an immediate emergency economic stimulus of $100 billion to combat the impact of the disease and almost half of that could come from waiving interest payments.

READ:Covid-19 silver lining for Africa’s universal access to clean water

Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Tanzania. . He is passionate about helping communities be aware of critical issues cutting across, environmental economics and natural resources management. He holds a bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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