Nigeria, others need $114bn to combat coronavirus —IMF

Nigeria and other countries in Africa require $114 billion to tackle the coronavirus pandemic successfully, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

A statement released by the IMF Sunday following a meeting of African leaders, multilateral institutions and bilateral partners said the IMF and the World Bank had rallied partners towards the campaign against COVID-19 in Africa.

The document noted that official creditors had raised about $57 billion for the continent in 2020 alone including more than $18 billion from the World Bank and the IMF each.

The money is intended to fund frontline health services, support the poor and the vulnerable, and keep African economies buoyant as they go through the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s.

Private sector support to Africa this year might reach an estimated $13 billion, the document stated.

“This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114bn in 2020 in its fight against COVID-19, leaving a financing gap of around $44bn.”

In attendance at the meeting were Cyril Ramaphosa, African Union Chairman and South Africa’s President; Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation and Moussa Mahamat, Chairperson African Union Commission.

The statement mentioned that bilateral partners at the meeting restated their commitment to a debt standstill starting from 1st May 2020.

The IMF and the World Bank had urged creditors to halt debt repayments in a bid to enable the poorest countries enough fiscal room to fight the pandemic.

Ramaphosa said African nations needed bigger support confront the adversities posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This pandemic has already had a devastating impact on Africa and its effects will deepen as the rate of infection rises.

“It is a setback for the progress we have made to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.”

David Malpass, the World Bank President, said the institution had so far offered emergency support to 30 African nations with more still to come and would continue to campaign for debt relief for countries worst affected by COVID-19.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF chief, stated that the IMF would grant more concessional financing while encouraging others to increase their efforts and do their bit in protecting the people and the economy, and also lay the foundation for strong and sustainable recovery.

The IMF said it was doubling annual access limits for rapid disbursing vehicles to around $100 billion in order to respond to unprecedented requests for emergency financing from over 100 countries.

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