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Debt renegotiation, vaccine equity in focus as Africa Economic Conference begins

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Debt renegotiation, vaccine equity in focus as Africa Economic Conference begins

The participants of the African Economic Conference that opens on Thursday in Cape Verde have called for the renegotiation and even the total forgiveness of the debts owed.

According to the participants, the call arises from the need to help the African continent recover from the devastating effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Participants who traversed the United Nations (UN), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and heads of government also highlighted the need for equity in vaccines and fictional alternative sources.

They also said that curbing illicit flows would go a long way toward finding solutions to the economic problems afflicting African economies.

The conference, which has as its theme: ‘Ficing the Development of Africa Post-COVID-19’, is the seventeenth edition of the series and is co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and AfDB.

In declaring the 3-day conference open, Cape Verdean President José Maria Neves highlighted the need for vaccines to be more accessible and noted that Africa should be able to produce its own vaccines.

He said that Africa had been negatively affected by the consequences of the pandemic in all fields of human activity.

Neves said the pandemic only compounded existing challenges in Africa.

Neves, who said solutions must transcend immediate challenges, called for an end to illicit flows.

“African countries must ensure that the efforts made go beyond the immediate challenges: poverty, social inequality, lack of clean water, shelter and sanitation, and food insecurity.

“Africa does not have sufficient means to apply the recovery measures from the economic crises caused, it is necessary to guarantee the complementary fiction through other sources.

“These sources include foreign or foreign investment, international cooperation, fictitious foreign aid and debt renegotiation.

“We understand that it is necessary to extend the time of the moratorium.

“But on the other hand, there is a need to renegotiate debts and in several cases partial forgiveness by lenders in exchange for strong commitments to make sustainable investments in social programs, capacity building, education and health as well as development infrastructure ”, he said.

The Cape Verdean leader noted that despite the accompanying shocks, the pandemic had presented an opportunity for change in Africa.

For her part, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the challenges facing Africa cannot be addressed.

He appealed to the Western world to help shape Africa’s development and free it from the burden of debt.

He said Africa could have more than enough to meet its challenges if it did not lose $ 90 billion to illicit flows and corruption.

“Before the pandemic, Africa enjoyed sustained economic growth for more than a decade, but Africa cannot recover from COVID-19 alone.

“We need global solidarity, demonstrated by deep debt relief and concessional rate hikes.

“African countries themselves must maximize resource mobilization to allow investments in social protection, infrastructure and technology.

“They must also end the illegal outflow of nearly $ 90 billion annually through bad contracts and corruption.

“We need concerted efforts to reduce borrowing costs for African countries and to engage with non-traditional sources of development, including the private sector,” he said.

For his part, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner urged African countries to make smarter and bolder decisions on how to recover well from COVID-19.

“We must guarantee the equity of vaccines, which is the fastest way to end this pandemic.

“Second, we are seeing worrying signs of an uneven global economic recovery. African countries need new access to fiscal and debt relief measures, as well as fictional innovative solutions.

“Third, African countries need more personalized support for the transition to a green economy, and finally, Africa has the potential to harness digital technology to address serious development challenges,” he said.

Delivering a welcoming speech, Dr. Rui Soares, Cape Verde’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed the hope that the conference proposal would translate into concrete actions to mitigate the economic crisis.

According to him, Africa is among the most vulnerable and deserves special attention in terms of supporting its development through fiction so that it is not left behind.

“We have an urgent obligation to protect our citizens, especially against the new variant,” he said.

The foreign minister also spoke of the need to ease the debt burden for many African countries, noting that debts must be renegotiated.

“We are all aware of the effects of the pandemic with the increase in public spending against public debts.

“Then it is necessary to negotiate the debts,” he added.

Source: NAN

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