Accra, Ghana (PANA) - African leaders have called on the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group to raise $100 billion to countries to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19), the state-run Daily Graphic reported here Tuesday.
The African leaders made the call at the end of a day's IDA20 Replenishment Advocacy Summit of Heads of State and Government of 23 African countries and the World Bank Group in Abidjan.
The conference, organized by the World Bank, was opened by President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
It also aimed at mobilizing African leaders to solicit for higher funding from donors for the IDA20 cycle to support a green and resilient recovery from challenges accentuated by COVID-19.
The concessionary funding is also intended to help African countries transform their economies.
The heads of state "pledged to work to improve their capacity to absorb resources for the diligent execution of projects and programmes and to continue efforts to mobilize tax revenue, and to use transparently and efficiently the mobilized resources, while strengthening governance".
The leaders further resolved to accelerate economic recovery from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, scale up investments in human capital, and increase their job creation efforts.
They, however, called for expanded access to vaccines critical for the rapid recovery of the world economy.
In a speech read on his behalf by a minister of state at the ministry of Finance, Mr. Charles Adu Boahen, who led a four-member team to represent Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said "if the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) governments can borrow more than $18 trillion to respond to the pandemic, donors should be able to find $100 million to replenish IDA20 to fund vital health care, education, social services and welfare protection for the world’s most vulnerable societies”.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented crisis for which all must strive to protect their people and the planet.
He, therefore, called on the developed world to take a critical action to vaccinate the world and find the necessary funds to save lives to allow the reopening of the global economy.
Akufo-Addo noted that, unlike most parts of the world, Africa responded to the COVID-19 crises with swift, prudent innovative policies to safeguard lives and livelihoods.
However, he said, the economic fallout had taken a disproportionate toll on developing countries.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Africa needs $425 billion in medium-term funding to return to the pre-pandemic economic growth status.
African economies contracted by negative 2.1 per cent and the debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has risen to 73.19 per cent and is also likely to achieve only 53 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
While calling on the world to support Africa, President Akufo-Addo also noted that COVID-19 had given African countries a historic opportunity to recreate the continent and a chance to build Africa that was prosperous and not dependent on charity of others
To that end, he said Ghana had launched the 100 billion COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CAREs) Programme to revitalize the economy as well as develop the country into a regional hub for financial services, logistics, tourism and light manufacturing.
The country is also leveraging the location of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat to expand intra-African trade, he stated.
The World Bank Managing Director for Operations, Mr. Axel van Trotsenburg, recognizing the need for Africa to have long-term concessionary and predictable loans, said with increased grant portion, the World Bank had committed about half of its resources to Africa.
He said the IDA20 advocacy conference would provide African countries the platform to develop country driven priority programmes to improve the livelihoods of her citizens.
Participating countries were Ghana, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The rest are Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and Togo.
Also in attendance were the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, the president of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) Commission, the representative of the President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Commission and the World Bank Group.
-0-PANA RA 20July2021.