South Africa: COVID-19 Should Inspire African Leaders to Make Just Choices and Adopt the Right Priorities

A resident of Mamelodi in South Africa during the COVID-19 lockdown.

As fresh and massive funding is being injected into African economies to fight Covid-19, African leaders should seriously rethink their choices and put the interests of its people at the heart of its response strategies.

According to Paul Kagame, Africa needs $100-billion or more to recover from the economic crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Without that urgent assistance, Rwanda's president fears that the continent could take "a generation or more" to recover. The World Bank has predicted that Africa will face its first recession in 25 years due to Covid-19, pushing 23 million sub-Saharan Africans into extreme poverty.

In the past few days, Africa has seen an unprecedented wave of "solidarity" from the world's largest economies and global financial institutions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and avoid a catastrophic depression. The G20 has approved a debt moratorium that began on 1 May for the 76 poorest countries in the world, including 40 from Africa.

With the suspension of debt service, at least $44-billion will be available for these countries to effectively fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to that, the DRC and Rwanda have received $365-million and $109.4-million respectively from the IMF to help contain and mitigate...

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