Ken Ofori-Atta calls for African secretariat to push for reforms at World Bank,IMF

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has called for the establishment of an African secretariat to advocate debt restructuring as covid-19 pandemic ravages the continent.

The outgoing chair of the IMF/World Bank Development Committee said despite debt relief packages announced by the World Bank, African economies are still struggling because of “fundamental inequities in the global financial system.”

For example, loans to Africans are more expensive because risk premium of between 600-800 basis points are factored in the cost of borrowing and insurance, he said.

“This is not justified by Africa’s modest record of default”, he pointed out and said western investors illicitly siphon more than $50bn from the continent annually.

Kenneth Ofori-Atta , Finance Minister of Ghana and Second Vice-Chair... News Photo - Getty Images

He pointed out western countries are helping themselves with $10tn in financial packages to revitalise their post-covid-19 economies but Africans are still pleading for a package of assistance including $300bn in soft loans.

“A drop in the bucket,” he contrasted.

“Africa’s request is less than 3 per cent of what OECD countries have spent so far to safeguard their own economies from the pandemic.”

Prodding the conscience of western leaders, the finance minister pointed to the biblical parable of the good Samaritan and challenged rich countries to ask themselves

“If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

But Africa countries must not wait for developed countries to come to the realisation of how unfair policies hurt their people, he said.

The covid-19 pandemic, he said, has presented an opportunity to push for the restructuring of the global financial system. He described this need as a “fierce urgency.”

On the continent, leaders must come together to form a secretariat to “to co-ordinate” African interests. This body, he said, must work with the G20, World Bank, IMF and UN to “, to make it fit for purpose for Africa and other developing countries”

Ken who has long been advocating for changes at these institutions said the reforms at these bodies should be “ambitious” and “tetonic.”

Read full article here:  Africa deserves more covid help

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