A statement issued on the eve of Africa Union Day 2020, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the relief would enable countries to focus on protecting vulnerable populations, preserve jobs and ultimately, avert consequential political and social instability.
It said the pandemic and its economic fallout highlight the longer-term efforts needed to strengthen the health systems, diversify economies and broaden domestic revenue sources of African countries.
The statement said the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for a collective and coordinated global response to assist the world’s most vulnerable countries to mitigate the harsh economic and financial effects of the pandemic.
It said the novel viral disease has devastated the world’s most robust economies and heightened uncertainty amongst the investor community.
“Despite the relatively lower morbidity among Africa’s victims, our economies, still very reliant on foreign aid and in-flows have taken a disproportionate hit,” it said.
“Thus, the impact of the disease on African economies have been very disruptive. Several countries in Africa – Ghana inclusive – have had their economic targets and ratings revised. This bleak outlook notwithstanding, Africa is optimistic of riding the storm and coming out successfully from the pandemic, with as minimal damage as possible”.
It said prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, African leaders were deploying targeted efforts to put the continent on an enviable pedestal of economic growth and prosperity.
The statement cited The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as one of such efforts by African leaders, which seeks to enhance trade relations and growth estimated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa by 52 per cent.
Such a tremendous growth in economic activity, it said if fairly distributed across the continent, would boost employment and commercial opportunities, pool idle youthful hands available to disgruntled and belligerent warlords for conflict for productive ventures.
The statement said the move to leapfrog Africa onto a deserving path to Silence the Guns has regrettably been impacted by the emergence of the incapacitating COVID 19 pandemic.
It recalled that the African Union commenced the year with an ambitious theme: “Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development” and has maintained it for the past three years.
The statement said it reflected determination of African leaders to end all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence and prevent genocide in the continent by the end of 2020.
It said at the dawn of this millennium and in the wake of post-Cold War geo-political realities, Africa has survived the unbearable proxy wars of major global powers which has made African conflicts much more lethal due to the arms and ammunitions dumped on the continent.
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