French President Emmanuel Macron announced the resolutions of the Paris on Africa Summit that includes a push to get rich nations reallocate $100 billion by October towards the IMF’s special drawing rights reserved for African states.
The summit, held on May 18th, reiterated that poor African countries should not be left behind during the post-pandemic economic recovery where a substantial part of the financial package required will go towards economic stimulus. Meanwhile, there was impetus for the speedy rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the creation of fiscal room for African nations facing a $285 billion shortfall in spending over the next two years.
A two-pronged approach was agreed upon which first addressed the need to support a sustainable green recovery that underpins growth in the private sector. A fiscal breathing room will also be created for African countries faced with a spending shortfall of upto $285 billion within the next two years. The commitments agreed upon were mostly lightly worded.
Félix Tshisekedi, who is the current President of the Africa Union was to head out and convince the masses while countering any efforts aimed at demonizing vaccination. He admitted to the presence of “concern” that the mobilisation of the African peoples is “not enough.” He attributed this partly to the fact that the “vaccines come from elsewhere” only the more supporting a need for “vaccine production in Africa”.
Macky Sall, the President of Senegal stated that the campaigns running in industrialized countries does not guarantee “health security” further warning of the risk of the possibility of “extremely resistant variants” developing. He went further to caution industrialized nations over the current vaccination progress where Africans seem content at the current 2% vaccination level. A continuation of this will only result in extremely resistant variants mushrooming across the continent.
The French president revealed that participants had agreed to “massively produce vaccines in Africa” facilitated by funding from the World Bank. However, with the time needed to roll out these productions, participants at the summit will support the Covax initiative to move from the current 20% to 40% of vaccinated Africans.
Covax is the WHO endorsed facility that distributes vaccines to poor countries.Within the conference were 30 African and European leaders, alongside major international financial players.
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It is worth pointing out the AfDB estimates where 39 million Africans are poised to fall into poverty in 2021 due to the adverse economic effects of the pandemic. A good number of African countries are already on the verge of debt distress. Nevertheless, Africa’s economy is projected to grow by slightly over 3% this year - just half of the global average. Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF Chief pointed out that the continent's economic crisis cannot be tackled without equally beating the health crisis. Ramping the vaccination drive will bring about trillions of dollars worth of output that will benefit Africa and other richer economies.