- COVID19: Africa Needs $100bn Stimulus Says African Finance Ministers
African finance ministers announced the continent needs at least $100 billion to contain the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the continent.
The finance ministers, who met virtually on March 19 and released a statement through the group media, said all interest payments, estimated at $44 billion for the year, should be waived and calls for a possible extension of the waivers to the medium-term to create fiscal space for governments to respond to COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, the finance ministers agreed that the interest payment waivers should include interest payments on sovereign bonds.
Accordingly, they discussed the need to consider waivers for principal and interest payments and encourage the use of existing facilities in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and other regional institutions for their states.
They emphasised the need to support the private sector and protect jobs across the continent, particularly in the tourism and airline sectors. They estimated that at least 30 million direct and indirect jobs are at risk across the African continent.
In sectors like the agriculture, imports and exports, pharmaceuticals and banking, the ministers agreed that all interest on outstanding debt and principal payments, leases, extended credit facilities, refinancing schemes and guarantee facilities should be used to waive, restructure and support with additional liquidity in 2020.
According to them, “these measures must accompany a policy of opening borders for trade and that Europe and the United States, in particular, could build this in as part of their stimulus to their private and financial systems”