Irem GÖL -TDO- Government ministers across Africa have called for the suspension of debt interest payments as the Covid-19 crisis deepens. The number of cases being reported in Africa are still behind Europe and the US but rises are being confirmed in South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Algeria and Burkina Faso, among others, and there is fear of what economic consequences the pandemic might wreak.
On Monday, the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund expressed support for debt relief to help countries to strengthen their health systems in readiness. During a conference call for G20 ministers on Monday, the IMF’s leader Kristalina Georgieva, pointed to the replenishing of funds used in a debt relief and aid mechanism during 2014 Ebola epidemic that struck three African countries.
The ministers also requested that principal payments – the actual debt payment, as opposed to interest charges – be waived for fragile states, where people are deeply vulnerable to a pandemic. The G7 has also pledged “whatever is necessary” as the global economy heads towards recession.