Africa needs an estimated $114bn to better fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandmic, according to the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Their remarks came on the sidelines of the “Mobilization with Africa” virtual conference as part of the two financial organisations’ 2020 Spring Meetings. These have taken place online between 14 and 17 April, which were attended by Egypt`s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
In a joint press statement, the IMF and the WBG said that official creditors have mobilised up to $57bn for Africa in 2020 alone. The sum includes $18bn from the IMF and the World Bank each dedicated to frontline health services. The finance will also go towards supporting the poor and vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s. The press statement added that private creditor support this year could amount to an estimated $13bn.
“This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114bn in 2020 in its fight against the coronavirus, leaving a financing gap of around $44bn,” the IMF and the WBG mentioned.
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that Africa needs more than $200bn to tackle the ongoing pandemic and mitigate its economic consequences.
Guterres presented a three-stage framework for debt relief and ensuring financial sustainability in Africa. As part of this, efforts to combat the outbreak of the new coronavirus should not lead to the UN’s sustainable development goals being neglected.
The joint statement added that the WBG and the IMF suggested a range of financing options and policy tools as part of the pandemic response. African countries are looking to implement any of these as they plan for the medium- and long-term impacts of the crisis. These include further financing from official and private sector creditors.
“The World Bank Group is putting its full capacity to work for people across Africa as they fight this pandemic,” said WBG President David Malpass.
“Our message is clear. We stand with Africa, through our commitments today we are ‘Mobilizing with Africa’ to help soften the blow of the coronavirus on the continent,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.