Last week, several African governments,and multilateral institutions announced measures to mitigate the economic effects of the global pandemic on their economies.
Among the measures taken by multilateral organisations:
The Bureau of the Assembly of the Union- Agreed to establish a continental anti-COVID-19 Fund to which member states of the Bureau agreed to immediately contribute US $12, 5 million as seed funding. Member States, the international community and philanthropic entities are urged to contribute to this fund and to allocate $4.5 million to boost the capacity of the Africa CDC.
· Called on the international community to encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies.
· Urged the G20 to immediately provide African countries with medical equipment, testing kits, protective gear to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and an effective economic stimulus package that includes relief and deferred payments.
· Called for the waiver of all interest payments on bilateral and multilateral debt, and the possible extension of the waiver to the medium term, in order to provide immediate fiscal space and liquidity to governments.
· Urged the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and other regional institutions to use all the instruments available in their arsenal to help mitigate against the scourge and provide relief to vital sectors of African economies and communities.
African Ministers of Finance:
Statement co-signed by numerous African finance ministers announced that the continent needs US$100bn to defend healthcare systems and counter the economic shock caused by the disease.
The African Development Bank AfDB has raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year bond to help alleviate the economic and social impact the Covid-19 pandemic will have on livelihoods and Africa’s economies. The Fight Covid-19 Social bond, with a three-year maturity, garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries, and asset managers including Socially Responsible Investors, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
Afreximbank has announced a US$3bn facility to help its member countries weather the economic and health impacts of Covid-19. As part of its new Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA), Afreximbank will provide financial support to more than 50 nations through direct funding, lines of credit, guarantees, cross-currency swaps and other similar instruments.
Economic and Monetary Commission of Central African States (CEMAC). The finance ministers have taken the following measures:
·“Regarding monetary policy and the financial system, it was decided to approve the use of the envelope of $152.345m made available to the Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC) by the Central Bank of African States (BEAC), for the financing of public projects relating to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and strengthening national health systems. ”
· They also recommended to the States to negotiate collectively and to obtain the cancellation of all their external debts to give them budgetary margins allowing them to face at the same time the pandemic of the coronavirus and the revival of their savings on a healthy basis.
Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)
The first three (out of 8) measures taken by the BCEAO include:
· Increase of countries Central Banks weekly allocation from $680million to $9bn to ensure continued financing of businesses in the Member States;
· Inclusion of a of list 1,700 private companies whose effects were not previously accepted in its portfolio. This action will allow banks to access additional resources of $2bn
· Allocation of $50 million to the subsidy fund of the West African Development Bank (BOAD) to allow it to grant an interest rate subsidy and increase the amount of concessional loans it will grant to governments to finance expenditure investments and equipment in the fight against the pandemic