African countries ask for help against pandemic ‘apocalypse’ – Observer

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Several African leaders called on Thursday, the third day of the annual meeting of United Nations leaders, to help their economies survive the covid-19 pandemic, which a head of state has dubbed the “fifth horseman of the world. ‘apocalypse’.

During their interventions, African heads of state stressed the need to free up resources – especially debt cancellation – to fight the disease and the coronavirus that causes it (SARS-CoV-2), as well as as its effects in affected countries. endemic conditions such as malaria and HIV.

African countries estimate they will need $ 100 billion (85.65 billion euros) per year over the next three years and point out that this figure is only a fraction of the billions of dollars that some countries are using to recover their funds. savings.

“It is enough simply to cancel these debts”, declared the president of Niger, Issoufou Mahamadou, quoted by the Associated Press (AP).

The president of Côte d’Ivoire, a country that had one of the highest economic growth rates in the world before the pandemic, called for an extension of debt moratoria, as well as the issue of drawing rights specials with the International Monetary Fund.

“I call on all partners in Africa to take bolder measures,” said Ouattara, stressing that the fight against covid-19 and its economic effects represents 5% of his country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the AP, an official from the World Health Organization today pointed out that only 51% of health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have basic services in terms of access to water.

In their speeches to leaders around the world, African heads of state highlighted what Ouattara called “extraordinary resilience” to the virus, but championed the need for help.

The president of Côte d’Ivoire has assured that his country will invest three billion dollars (2.57 billion euros) in health services between 2021 and 2025.

The presence and effects of covid-19 in Africa, with a population of 1.3 billion people, have been less severe than expected, with the continent recording more than 1.4 million cases.

Among the possible factors of incidence are the low average age, the late arrival of the virus on the continent and the heavy containment measures applied by governments, which have had strong economic consequences.

The President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, recalled the speech of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, who warned at the beginning of the year against the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”, which included the tensions geopolitics and climate change.

“Unfortunately, (…) less than two months later, a fifth horseman of the apocalypse, the coronavirus, has appeared,” said the president of Burkina Faso.

In Africa, there are 34,839 confirmed deaths among more than 1.4 million people infected in 55 countries, according to the most recent statistics on the continent’s pandemic.

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