President Cyril Ramaphosa has pressed the summit of the world wealthiest countries tonsure an inclusive economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.
Speaking to the virtual meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia, Ramaphosa said the coronavirus pandemic has had a unprecedented impact on health, societies and economic around the world.
“In the middle of the pandemic – even as we battle rising global infections – we must look to an inclusive economic recovery where no country is left behind,” he said as Zambia last week found itself unable to meet interest payments on Eurobonds loans.
Africa has been hit less badly by infections than was initially feared. However African economies have borne the heaviest economic impact from the lockdown
“It was at the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit in March this year that members committed to strengthening national, regional and global capacities to respond effectively to future pandemics,” Ramaphosa said
“As the African continent, we are playing our part, including through the establishment of a Covid-19 Response Fund to mobilise resources for a continental response and to support recovery. We also launched the African Medical Supplies Platform to ensure equitable access to medical equipment and supplies.
“We have been involved in the formation of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a global network to ensure access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for all those who need it. We are pleased that there appears to be consensus in the G20 that access to an effective Covid-19 vaccine should be universal, fair and equitable”
Ramaphosa believes a commitment by G20 leaders to invest substantially in the ACT-Accelerator’s immediate funding gap of $4.5 billion (R692bn) will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass provision of Covid-19 tools around the world, and provide a way out of this global economic and human crisis, the president said.
“We look to the G20, international partners and the international financial institutions to work with African countries to rebuild their economies.”
He says the AU has proposed several measures, including debt relief in the form of interest-payment waivers and deferred payments. He urged leaders to invest in funding and research in order to prepare for a post Covid-19 future.
“We must bolster health infrastructure and health systems. We are encouraged by the continued commitment of the G20 to financing universal health coverage in developing countries. We must accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to strengthen the capacity of all countries to better withstand the impact of future crises.
“This pandemic has demonstrated the interconnectedness of our world. It is only through co-operation and solidarity that we will ensure the future health and welfare of our global community.”