President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa supports extending the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for African countries and, in some instances, considering the cancelling of debt.

He was speaking during a High Level United Nations Meeting on financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.

The meeting is considering a menu of policy options to support member states respond and recover from the pandemic.

Ramaphosa warned that the coronavirus had set back progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and would require additional resources.

“As agreed by African Finance Ministers on 19 March 2020, Africa needs immediate emergency financing… which would provide fiscal space and liquidity to governments. Our view is that the Debt Service Suspension Initiative in its current form does not go far enough. South Africa supports extending the initiative and, in certain instances, considering the cancellation of debt. We further welcome the focused attention that is being given to illicit financial flows, which pose a serious threat to the development trajectory and economic stability of many African countries.”

Ramaphosa also called for richer countries not to renege on their commitments to support developing economies like South Africa.

“Developed economies must not renege on their commitments to support developing economies in the climate change adaptation and mitigation effort. Means of implementation support must be dramatically scale up to countries in need to enable them to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement. The pandemic has vastly reduced the fiscal space of countries to meet their commitments to support development. But policy options going forward should not replace agreed multilateral outcomes as reflected in, among others, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development.”

In the video below, Ramaphosa addresses the 75th UNSG: