Sat, 31 Oct 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa said Africa needs financing of $100 billion for "fiscal space and liquidity" for the continent's governments amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been described as the worst shock to the global economy since World War II.

Ramaphosa addressed the UN's high-level meeting on financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the era of Covid-19 and beyond on Tuesday via a video message.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described breaching the millionth Covid-19 death as a "tragic milestone".

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"The economic and social consequences are as bad as we feared, and in some cases, worse. We are suffering the largest economic contraction since the Second World War," he said.

"Unless we take action now, we face a global recession that could wipe out decades of development and put the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development completely out of reach."

He said:"The economic and social consequences are as bad as we feared, and in some cases, worse. We are suffering the largest economic contraction since the Second World War."

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva also described the pandemic as the biggest shock since World War II.

"The situation is particularly grave for low-income countries," she said.

Hard

The president of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, said the pandemic was hitting developing countries especially hard.

"Our data shows that over 100 million people could fall into extreme poverty this year with an additional increase in 2021, potentially bringing the number of additional people living in extreme poverty to 150 million."

He added the negative impact on health and education might last decades.

"Our data shows that over 100 million people could fall into extreme poverty this year with an additional increase in 2021, potentially bringing the number of additional people living in extreme poverty to 150 million."

It was against this grim backdrop that Ramaphosa delivered his remarks.

"As we begin the task of reconstruction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, financing for development becomes all the more critical."

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He added the overarching principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was that no country was left behind.

"The pandemic has set back the SDG process, and we now require additional financial resources to enable developing economies to respond effectively not just to the pandemic, but to recover and rebuild."

Compounded

Ramaphosa said the challenges facing developing economies have been compounded by weak public health systems, limited social safety nets, high levels of inequality, high debt burdens, reduced tax revenues, capital outflows and lack of adequate and sufficient access to financial markets.

"For Africa, financing remains crucial. As agreed by African finance ministers on 19 March 2020, Africa needs immediate emergency financing to the tune of $100 billion, which would provide fiscal space and liquidity to governments."

He added South Africa supported extending the debt service suspension and considering the cancellation of debt in certain cases.

"We further welcome the focused attention that is being given to illicit financial flows, which pose a serious threat to the development trajectory and economic stability of many African countries."

"The pandemic has vastly reduced the fiscal space of countries to meet their commitments to support development."

Ramaphosa called on developed countries not to renege on their commitments to support developing economies in the climate change adaptation and mitigation effort.

"The pandemic has vastly reduced the fiscal space of countries to meet their commitments to support development.

"Working together, it is within our means to eradicate poverty and inequality, achieve greater economic and social justice and conserve our natural world for future generations," he added.

Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - targets to be achieved by 2030.

The SDGs are:

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