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Ethiopia calls on G20 meeting to implement three-point plan to help Africa

In the lead up to a meeting on Thursday which was called as an extraordinary session to counter the coronavirus pandemic, the G20 must adopt certain measures to support Africa’s struggle against the virus, Ethiopia says.

“A dramatic decline in exports, disruption of global chains, and the sudden drying up of travel tourism – and, in the case of Ethiopia, the impact on Ethiopian Airlines, which accounts for two-thirds of the country’s revenues from services exports – are sure to wreak havoc to our economies,” read a letter from the prime minister’s office.

It added: “Africa’s ability to take even modest measures to inject liquidity and cushion its companies and workers from the impact of this calamity are further constrained by the heavy debt burden, the servicing of which alone costs many of them significantly more than their annual health budgets.”

“These challenges cannot be adequately addressed by policies and measures taken individually by any one country or group of countries; they require a globally coordinated response. Just as the virus knows no borders, our responses should also know no borders.”

One suggested measure is to arrange a $150bn emergency financing package through G2O facilities such as the World Bank, International Finance Corporation and the International Monetary Fund.

Another is to increase support for Africa’s health institutions including WHO-Africa and the AfricaCDC.

Lastly, Ethiopia has proposed a debt resolution and restructuring package which proposes to write-off all interest payments on government loans.

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