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ACET, world leaders call for relief to COVID-19 affected countries

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THE African Center for Economic Transformation has joined a group of former world leaders and institutions to reiterate the urgency of delivering immediate relief to countries facing the effects of “an unprecedented global crisis” – failure of which, they warn, will bring consequences that will be felt for rest of the decade.

  A joint letter from 225 past and present world leaders, economists and health experts including ex-prime ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major, is calling for an urgent G20 summit on coronavirus to be convened and a £2 trillion plan to support the fight against Covid-19 and stimulate the global economy. ACET President K.Y. Amoako signed the letter on ACET’s behalf.

  “[W]e cannot bring the health emergency to an end in any of our countries until we end it in all countries,” the letter states.

  The G20, a forum for nations and the EU to discuss economic matters, is not currently due to meet until November. However, the signatories urge quicker action by the G20 to prevent an even deeper worldwide recession and health crisis, including:

  The immediate payment, and full monitoring and reporting, of the $8 billion pledged on May 4 for vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutic development;

  Global coordination of the development, mass manufacturing and distribution of vaccines to ensure they are universally and freely available; and G20 support, in full,

  Closer cross-border collaboration to increase global supply of vital medical equipment and support for developing countries to build up health systems and capacities.

  The letter also urges G20 nations to support the UN’s appeal for support for refugees, and displaced persons.

  To address the economic challenges, the signatories call on the G20 to provide the $2.5 trillion level of support that the IMF has projected is needed by emerging markets and developing countries to overcome the crisis. This, they note, will require the IMF, World Bank and regional development banks to raise their lending and grant ceilings and multilateral development banks increasing their outstanding loan portfolios from the current $500 billion to between $650 and $700 billion over the next 18 months.

  “Representing, as it does, 85 per cent of the world’s nominal GDP, the G20 has the capacity to lead the mobilisation of resources on the scale required. We urge leaders to do so immediately,” the letter states.

  The signatories also call for a new binding approach for private creditors to demonstrate that they are providing net new lending in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and for debt relief for the 76 International Development Association countries to be “radically” scaled up to include relief by bilateral, multilateral and private creditors until the end of 2021 and urgently operationalized.

  The letter was written by Erik Berglöf, Director of LSE’s Institute of Global Affairs, Gordon Brown; United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former British Prime Minister;  Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and UNDP Administrator; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

  Several former and sitting African leaders signed, including Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister of Ghana and Chair of the World Bank Development Committee; HE Benjamin Mkapa, President of Tanzania (1995-2005);  Graça Machel, Education & Culture     Minister of Mozambique (1975-1986); Deputy Chair of The Elders, HE John Kufuor, President of Ghana (2001-2009); HE Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania (2005-2015); HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia (2006-2018); and member of the global organization The Elders, among others.

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