South Sudan seeks US$250 million loan to help cushion COVID-19 impacts

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A physiotherapist sits at a workstation in an Intensive Care ward treating COVID-19 patients at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, Britain, May 22, 2020. Picture taken May 22, 2020. Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS
A physiotherapist sits at a workstation in an Intensive Care ward treating COVID-19 patients at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, Britain, May 22, 2020. Picture taken May 22, 2020. Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS

South Sudan said it’s seeking 250 million U. S. dollars from African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) to cushion the economy from disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lily Albino Akol, deputy minister of agriculture and food security, said the loan facility will be used to finance government priorities including mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the economic sector.

Speaking on state-owned radio South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) on Monday evening, Akol said the government is in the final stages of securing a deal with the bank, noting that the loan will be used to bridge the deficit in the country’s revenues created by COVID-19 impact on the economy.

“The economic cluster listened to the presentation presented by the minister of finance, and it was a presentation of an emergency loan from African Export and Import Bank. The total amount is 250 million U.S. dollars,” Akol said in Juba after a presentation made by the finance minister during the economic cluster meeting.

She added that the Afreximbank in principle agreed to continue with the process of finalizing the loan, but urged the government to adhere to the right measures.

The official said the key areas to be funded through the loan include peace implementation, mitigation of the economy, especially after the low economic growth imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Akol further reiterated that the government would use the loan to procure necessary supplies to help fund some important infrastructural projects which will provide job opportunities to the country’s young people.

“We will look at the implementation of the peace agreement, the fight against COVID-19 and food security in terms of availability of necessary commodities in the market as well as agricultural production,” said Akol.

The move comes barely a week after the central bank announced that it has run out of foreign exchange reserves and could not stop the pound’s depreciation in the country.

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