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Leaders want debt waiver for poor states

By James Wanzala | April 12th 2020

A 165-strong group made up of 92 former presidents, prime ministers and current economic and health leaders wants a multi-billion-dollar fund to fight coronavirus.

In an open letter to G20 leaders, the lobby is also pushing for debt relief for poor countries.

“The economic emergency will not be resolved until the health emergency is addressed: the health emergency will not end simply by conquering the disease in one country alone but by ensuring recovery from Covid-19 in all countries,” said the group.

Among the proponents are ex-presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Frederik Willem de Klerk of South Africa, Joyce Banda of Malawi and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

They want $8 billion (Sh848 billion) to rapidly hasten the global effort for vaccines, cure and treatment and $35 billion (Sh3.7 trillion) to support health systems, from ventilators to test kits and protective equipment for health workers.

The group wants another $150 billion for developing countries to fight the medical and economic crisis, prevent a second wave of the disease flowing back into countries as they come out of the first wave.

This means “waiving debt interest payments for the poorest countries, including $44 billion due this year from Africa. A $500-$600 billion issue of additional resources by the IMF in the form of special drawing rights is proposed,” says the group.

“The long term solution is a radical rethink of global public health and a refashioning – together with proper resourcing – of the entwined global health and financial architecture.”

Covid 19 Time Series


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