Access to concessional loans key to Africa’s recovery: Ramaphosa

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Outgoing chair of the African Union (AU) President Cyril Ramaphosa says access to loans on favourable terms will be crucial to Africa’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramaphosa handed over the AU chairmanship to DRC President Felix Tshisekedi during the organisation’s virtual 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly and Heads of States.

Ramaphosa told the bloc’s summit that even though the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have deployed significant financial resources for the coronavirus outbreak response, more needed to be done.

“Assess to concessional finance will remain crucial as countries rebuild their economies,” Ramaphosa told the summit.

“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.”

Concessional loans generally offer terms that are more favourable to those available on the open market.

The precarious debt burdens of a number of African nations have worsened due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among a population of 1.3 billion, Africa has so far reported more than 3.6 million coronavirus infections and over 94 000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. South Africa has recorded the most infections of any African nation.

While wealthier nations push ahead with mass vaccination drives, only a few African countries have started vaccinations. The 55-member African Union hopes to see 60% of the continent’s population immunised in the next three years.

Ramaphosa said on Monday the AU has so far secured 1 billion vaccines, of which 700 million will come from the global COVAX facility, co-led by the World Health Organization, and 300 million had been facilitated by the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).