Coronavirus: Ethiopia seeks debt relief for Africa

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Ethiopia is seeking debt relief and emergency budgetary support for African countries to boost their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In its three-point submission to the G20 group of countries, the Horn of Africa nation proposes a $150bn (£130bn) emergency health financing and budgetary support from the World Bank.

Ethiopia is also looking for support to the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen public health delivery and emergency preparedness in Africa.

The G20 is an annual forum of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies, whose members account for85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population. The G20 leaders are expected to meet in a virtual summit later this week.

In seeking debt relief, Ethiopia says Africa’s ability to cushion its firms and workers from the impact of the pandemic is contrained by its debt burden.

“Ethiopia proposes all interest payment to government loans should be written off. In addition, Ethiopia proposes part of the debt of low-income countries should be written off,” says the statement from the government.

The office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tweeted the statement:

Main image copyright: Getty Images

First published 24.03.20: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-africa-47639452?

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