Covid-19: call for a “New Deal” to revive the African economy

Dakar, June 7 (APS) – Thirty world leaders pleaded, in a forum, for a “New Deal” in favor of Africa in order to allow the continent to overcome the Covid-19 crisis which has heavily impacted its economic and social development.

The presidents of France, Emmanuel Macron, of Senegal, Macky Sall, of Rwanda, Paul Kagamé, of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the president of the Côte d ‘ Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, are among the signatories of this document relayed by the President of Senegal via his LinkedIn page.

This text is also co-signed by the Prime Ministers of Portugal, António Costa, of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, of Belgium, Alexander De Croo and by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the heir princes of Arabia Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Ben Salman and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Ben Zayed.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us to no longer take lightly the crises that erupt far from us. Any event, wherever it occurs, can affect the entire world population, ” observed these leaders who stress the imperative of “to tackle the repercussions and the legacy that the pandemic leaves in Africa”.

For these heads of state and government, “if the health shock is to date better controlled in Africa than elsewhere, it could however be more lasting, deep and destabilizing for the entire planet”.

In one year, “the pandemic interrupted a growth dynamic that had been established for twenty-five years, disorganized value chains and caused an unprecedented increase in inequalities and poverty,” they lamented.

According to them, if we are not careful, “it is not only the African continent which risks being deprived of access to emergence, it is the whole world which could lose one of the future engines of global growth “.

“Africa has all the assets to overcome the shock of the pandemic and pull with it the whole world towards a new cycle of sustainable growth”, with, the most enterprising and the most innovative youth in the world, natural resources which can feed a local industrial base, a particularly ambitious continental integration project, ”they argued.

However, they are of the opinion that the African continent “does not have the instruments to recover from a shock as massive as it was unforeseen”, pointing out the current limits of international solidarity and the non-existence of anti-vaccine production. -Covid on site.

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Limits of solidarity

“While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that African countries will need $ 285 billion [environ 234 milliards d’euros] additional funding by 2025, there is neither a stimulus plan nor a monetary creation mechanism in force to mobilize such resources “, we read in the Tribune published by President Macky Sall.

For the signatories, at a time when “other regions foresee a rapid recovery of their economies”, “Africa for its part, is not fighting on an equal footing in the face of the pandemic”. Thus, she runs “the risk” of facing an “economic and social crisis” which does not allow her to “offer her young people the opportunities they are entitled to expect”.

According to them, “international solidarity was present and bore fruit from the start of the pandemic”, notably through “the immediate suspension of debt service by the G20 for the poorest countries”, and also, by “exceptional financial aid implemented by the IMF, the World Bank and other donors, including European ones”.

“But the mechanisms on which we have based this solidarity for several decades are now finding their limits. They are weakened in the short term by the vaccine emergency and the risk of massive inequality in access to the vaccine. They are weakened. by the risk of a great economic divergence that no emergency mechanism seems able to stop “, they recognized.

Bolstered by this observation, they are therefore of the opinion that “the time has come to project oneself into a new framework, the ambition and daring of which must be comparable to those of a + New Deal +”.

“The first case of application of this approach is access to vaccines”, they indicated, stressing that “thanks to the Covax and Avatt mechanisms (…), hundreds of millions of doses will be delivered without delay in Africa in the months. But that’s not enough, “they said.

Production partnerships

The signatories of this forum also let it be known that “the vaccination policy is the most important economic policy at the moment”, with benefits amounting to trillions of dollars, and a cost in the billions, that is, the “investment with the highest yield that can be achieved in the short term “.

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“We must therefore mobilize innovative instruments to strengthen the financing of the ACT-A initiative, a device launched a year ago to help poor States lacking funding, in particular to enable the African continent to reach the rate. vaccine coverage defined by the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), between 60% and 70% of the population “, they recommended.

In this perspective, they asked the IMF to “assess the use of special drawing rights (SDRs) to finance this plan to fight the pandemic”.

The Rome Declaration of the World Summit held on May 21 confirms that the key element in combating future pandemics is to transfer not only the licenses, but also the level of expertise to vaccine producers in developing countries , they added.

“Pending the conclusion of an intellectual property agreement currently being negotiated at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Africa must be able to produce vaccines using messenger RNA technology and conclude an agreement within the WTO on aspects of intellectual property rights which affect trade (TRIPS) “, they argued.

According to them, “thanks to the impetus of the Paris summit for African, European and financial leaders, which was held on May 18, production partnerships of this kind will be financed and will gain momentum in the months to come “.

Health, education and climate change

“The second part of this overhaul is a massive investment in health, education and the fight against climate change,” argued these world leaders.

It is a question of “allowing Africa to secure these expenses without jeopardizing security spending and the financing of infrastructure, and without falling back into a new cycle of over-indebtedness”.

“In the short term, despite the brilliant successes of some African countries in their borrowing capacities, the resource will not come only from the private financial markets”, they observe, stressing the need to “provoke a debt shock. confidence for the benefit of the African continent “.

The Paris summit has already made it possible to “consolidate an agreement for a new issue of special drawing rights to the tune of 650 billion dollars (32 thousand 500 billion FCFA), of which 33 billion (16 thousand 500 billion FCFA) ) will benefit African countries, ”they said.

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“We now wish to go further, through a double voluntary commitment (…), first that of mobilizing for Africa part of the SDRs of the other beneficiary countries, then that of allowing African institutions to be parties. stakeholders in how to mobilize these SDRs and thus pave the way for a pan-African response to support economic recovery and progress towards the SDGs2030 “, pleaded the signatories.

This reallocation, via international financial institutions, should make it possible to reach, as a first step, a first threshold of 100 billion dollars for the benefit of the African continent and other vulnerable countries, while innovation will pave the way for an overhaul. of our international financial architecture, making more room for African institutions, they explained.

Financing entrepreneurship

In this forum, the signatories made a strong plea for the benefit of the financing of entrepreneurship in Africa considered as “the main lever to give a future to the women and the African youth of the continent, but, prisoner of an informal economy and underfunding “, calling on” all members of the international community to join this double commitment “.

“This is why, on the basis of the commitments made at the Paris summit, it is now necessary to prioritize access to financing for African entrepreneurship, specifically targeting the most crucial phases such as those of the initiation of projects” , supported these world leaders.

They also recalled that the aim of the Paris Summit was to reach an agreement on four objectives: universal access to vaccines against Covid-19, in particular through their production in Africa, the strengthening of pan-African institutions and postal services. within a new international financial architecture, a revival of public and private investments, and support for large-scale financing of the African private sector.

“Our task in the coming months will consist in advancing these objectives in international forums, as well as in the framework of France’s next six-month term as President of the Council of the European Union,” they said. declared.

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