The African Union Bureau of Heads of States comprising leaders from South Africa, Egypt, DRC, Kenya and Mali have called on creditor nations and multilateral institutions to immediately suspend interest payments for Africa on its external public and private debt.
This is to enable African countries create fiscal space to respond to the devastating effects on the African economies, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union Emmanuel Mwamba stated that the Communique of the leaders of the African Union Bureau issued after they held the latest tele-conferencing meeting on 3rd April 2020 to discuss Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The communique stated that the leaders have called for a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa and for concrete support as pledged by the G20 and other international partners.
The Communique called upon the World Bank and International Monetary Fund(IMF) to review their current disbursement policies to display flexibility and speed including raising the availability of the IMF special drawing rights(SDR).
In addition, the Communique called for the immediate lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan.
The Communique stated that the Bureau has also created the Ministerial Coordination Committees of the African Union’s Response to COVID-19 on Transport and Finance.
This followed the creation of the ministerial one on Health.
The Communique stated that the Bureau has called for member states to have equal access to COVID-19 ventilators, test kits,masks and personal protective equipment(PPE) and vaccines when available.
The leaders expressed satisfaction that the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund established on March 26th 2020 already had raised seed funds amounting to $17million.
The Comunique stated that the leaders thanked the People’s Republic of China for its support.
The leaders also thanked the Jack Ma Foundation, the World Food Programme(WFP), CDC and Prime Minister Abiy for delivering one million diagnostic test kits,six million masks, and personal protective kits to all African Union member states.
The tele-conferencing meeting was attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa (Chairperson of the African Union),President Abdel Fattah al Sisi(Arab Republic of Egypt), President Ibrahim Keita(Mali), President Uhuru Kenyatta(Kenya) and President Felix Tshisekedi (DRC).
Others included: President Paul Kagame( Rwanda), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed,(Ethiopia), President Macky Sall(Senegal), President Emerson Munangagwa(Zimbabwe) and President Emmanuel Macron(France).
The Comunique stated that the Bureau also received special reports from Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,(Director WHO) and Dr. John Nkengasong(Director- African Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC).