Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pleaded with Group of 20 (G20) leaders to ensure an inclusive global economic recovery when speaking at the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit on Saturday.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic hit Africa hard. “Economic activity on the continent is expected to contract by 3.2 percent in 2020, with the region falling into a recession for the first time in 25 years.”

“In the middle of the pandemic — even as we battle rising global infections — we must look towards an inclusive economic recovery, where no country is left behind,” the president said.

“We call on the G20 member states to use all of their persuasive powers, individually and collectively, to convince all creditor countries, the multilateral development banks, the credit rating agencies and the private sector to continue to work with us to address the problem of burgeoning and unsustainable developing country debt,” he added.

Ramaphosa, current chairperson of the African Union (AU), said the organization has proposed several measures to ease Africa’s debt problem, which include debt relief in the form of interest-payment waivers and deferred payments.

“In addition to the suspension of debt service payments, large financing needs remain necessary to both stave off a deep humanitarian crisis and stimulate economic rebirth.

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) should urgently consider the issuance of additional special drawing rights and for the allocation of these to member countries that need the resources most,” he added.

Ramaphosa also said all countries should have access to the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available. “Another immediate task is to ensure that there is equitable and affordable access for all countries to the COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed,” he said.

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