SADC PF renews calls for debt relief

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Harare (New Ziana) – The Southern African Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) on Monday renewed calls for global lenders to consider total debt relief for African countries whose debt situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November last year, Zambia became the first African country to default on its debt in the COVID-19 era after failing to pay its Eurobond liabilities.

SADC PF secretary general Boemo Sekgoma said Africa’s debt burden was a huge concern.

“The frequency of discussing the subject of public debt at various public forums reveals the magnitude of the debt burden in Africa in general and in the SADC region in particular,” she said during a webinar on “IMF Special Drawing Rights, a sustainable option for financing the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery in Africa.”

“During the 48th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, a motion was adopted exhorting the regional body to support an initiative by Speakers and Heads of African national Parliaments to call for total cancellation of the continent’s foreign debt. This is because many African countries are heavily indebted to industrialized countries and multinational bodies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.”

Sekgoma said SADC PF also supported calls for the International Monetary Fund to release a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights.

“During the meeting convened by the Economic Commission for Africa and the International Monetary Fund on 5th February, 2021, African Ministers of Finance were unanimous in their call for additional liquidity, $500 billion in Special Drawing Rights and more concessional resources and an extension in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, among others, given the prolonged nature of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

“In the likely event that Special Drawing Rights are issued by the International Monetary Fund, your oversight role is of great importance particularly in holding the Executive accountable in the use of these resources, including calling for transparency in the disbursement and utilization of these resources.”

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