The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for debt relief to assist many African countries reset their economies following the devastating effects of the raging Coronavirus pandemic.
In an exclusive interview on CNN’s First Move with Julia Chatterley, the AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, warned that without more aid, over 39 million Africans are at risk of falling into extreme poverty this year and called for debt relief to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the continent.
“Africa is not looking for a free pass. We’re just looking for a way in which Africa’s fiscal space gets dealt with. The GDP of Africa went down by $175 billion last year, we had 30 million people went into extreme poverty, this year if that trend continues we’ll have 39 million people going into extreme poverty, hunger and all of that.” He said.
Adesina, however, noted that the economic outlook for Africa was not all bad news, but that the positives would depend on two things, one is access to vaccines, secondly the issue of debt. “We project that Africa will grow back, we project 3.4% grow back this year, but all of that is conditional on two things, one is access to vaccines, secondly the issue of debt.” He continued, “I think that’s important to improve access of Africa to vaccines, we need to have vaccine solidarity, COVAX is doing a great job but the amounts are still minuscule as far as we are concerned.”
AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina
Adesina also stressed the need for global cooperation to end the pandemic, “If we deal with this pandemic in one part of the world, and we don’t deal with other parts of the world, we’re all going back to square one.” He told Chatterley.