Wealthy countries failing Africa during pandemic, presidents say

Wealthy countries are failing Africa, with pledges of financial support and debt relief falling well short of the continent’s needs as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic, several African presidents have said. 

Developed economies have channelled trillions of dollars into health initiatives and economic stimulus at home. But the presidents – from Kenya, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Niger – said they could not afford such measures in their own countries.

“We’re not in a position to protect companies, to preserve jobs. There’s an injustice that is again being exposed by COVID-19,” Senegal’s President Macky Sall said during a virtual roundtable organised by the New York Forum Institute think-tank.

While Africa, with a limited capacity to test, has recorded just a fraction of the world’s coronavirus cases, it has been hit hard by the economic fallout from global trade disruptions, falling oil and commodities prices and the lockdowns deployed to fight the disease’s spread.

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