ADDIS ABABA, March 24 (Xinhua) — African leaders and finance ministers have called on global leaders and financial institutions to support the continent’s recovery measures from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They made the urgent call during the Conference of African Finance Ministers (COM), which was hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the ministerial gathering that Africa demonstrated that it is not only capable of facing the crisis in the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also ready to formulate and implement solutions.
Ahmed, however, stressed that African countries must focus on digital transformation, climate-smart economy and the institutional framework for implementation and accountability as the continent responds and races to recover from the pandemic.
He called on global leaders and institutions to support measures to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Africa’s citizens and economies.
Ahmed urged African countries to invest more in the digital economy, a source of growth and a key competitive enabler of other productive sectors.
The ministerial conference was held in a hybrid format, under the theme “Africa’s Sustainable Industrialization and Diversification in the Digital Era in the Context of COVID-19.”
UNECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, on her part, said there has been a decoupling of the world’s response between the advanced and developing countries, as advanced economies reacted swiftly to shore up their economies, providing trillion of dollars in liquidity.
Africa is not out of the response phase yet, as the continent needs liquidity to move from response to recovery and an extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to the end of the year, she said.
“As the developed world transitions from response to recovery, Africa should not be left behind,” Songwe stressed, noting that the continent’s recovery must be focused on job creation and green jobs.
Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta told the conference that Africa more than ever needs to prioritize building resilience, finding new financing models to support sustained recovery, stimulating domestic manufacturing capabilities to create jobs and mitigate the risks of the global supply chain.
He emphasized the need to leverage Africa’s integration and regional value chains to fast track the continental recovery measures.
“Our approach to beating this pandemic will make the difference between a lost decade and a rapid recovery that puts us on a sustainable growth trajectory,” Ofori-Atta said. Enditem