International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, has predicted that African countries will experience a financing gap to the tune of $345 billion through 2023. According to her, this finance gap is largely attributable to the economic impact of the pandemic on vulnerable African economies.
In a concerted effort to avert this threat, Kristalina called on developed countries and institutions to assist African states in weathering the global pandemic and its associated economic impact. She made the call in a conference on Friday. Driving home her point, Kristalina said, “The pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere … All of us, countries and institutions, must do more to support Africa to cope with the next phase of this crisis.”
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She further asserted that African states had spent an additional 2.5% of gross domestic product on average to help their populations, and institutions like the IMF had also stepped up, but more aid was needed. Private lending also remained subdued, she added.
Commenting on how she arrived at the projected figure, Kristalina said, “Despite sizeable domestic adjustments, African states still need $1.2 trillion in financing through 2023, implying that some heavily indebted countries were being forced to choose between debt service and additional health and social spending.”
She further said, “Current commitments from international lenders and official bilateral creditors would cover less than a quarter of the projected needs, and private lending remained limited, leaving the projected $345 billion funding gap.“
Why this matters
According to World Bank estimates, the pandemic, in addition to a collapse in commodity prices and a plague of locusts, has adversely affected African economies, putting additional 43 million people at risk of extreme poverty. African countries have reported more than 1 million coronavirus cases and some 23,000 deaths.
In view of the details implying a potential threat to African economies and the world at large, IMF needs to seize the opportunity to call on members to make new pledges, so that the Fund can increase its concessional lending capacity, and loan its Special Drawing Rights —the IMF’s currency—to poorer countries.
It also backs an extension of the Group of 20’s moratorium in official bilateral debt payments beyond the end of 2020, and supports steps to strengthen the architecture for debt restructuring.
Buhari in crucial meeting with Obasanjo, other former heads of state
President Buhari is presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
Although the agenda of the meeting is not made public, issues bothering on the current security situation in the country are believed to top the agenda. This follows the outbreak of violence across the country during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of public assets and private properties.
According to media reports, the meeting which is coordinated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in virtual attendance General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of interim national government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Others who are physically present at the council chambers are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai, among others are attending with the President.
This meeting is coming a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the security situation in the country calling for an end to the #EndSARS protests as their voices have been loudly heard.
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Senatorial, State House of Assembly bye-elections postponed – INEC
Senatorial and State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states have been postponed by INEC.
The 6 Senatorial and 9 State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states of the Federation has been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The vacancies were as a result of death and resignation of previous members.
According to the statement issued by its National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq., INEC said the decision was taken after meeting with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) October 22, 2020
Though the commission did not categorically state the reason for the postponement, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the raging #EndSARS protests across the nation.
Some Nigerians mistook promptness of FG response as sign of weakness – Buhari
President Buhari has said that FG’s promptness to consent to the demands of the protesters was taken as a sign of weakness.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pointed out that the promptness with which the Federal Government acted in meeting the demands of the #EndSARS protesters seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
This was disclosed by the president in his national broadcast on Thursday, October 22, 2020, on the current widespread violence which has engulfed the country following the protest against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The president said that the government listened to the protesters and after evaluating their five-point demands, they were accepted and some of them implemented, which includes the disbandment of SARS.
In his address to Nigerians, President Buhari said, “As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
“On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
“Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
The president said the actions of these elements has caused serious violence which has led to the loss of human lives, attack on correctional facilities, destruction and vandalization of public and private properties, attack on the palace of Oba of Lagos, invasion of International Airport and so on.
While acknowledging that the choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of every citizen as enshrined in the constitution, the president pointed out that this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens and the necessity to operate within the law.