By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Union (AU) has disclosed that it is considering a complete cancellation of African public debt and restructuring of private debt as part of its declarative stance on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
This followed recommendations made by the President of Senegal, Mr Macky Sall, after a closed-session video conference meeting with other heads of state on the continent.
Mr Sall announced that the Addis Ababa based organisation will be integrating his proposal for African debt relief into the AU
According to the Senegalese president, the organisation was interested at looking at the possibility of cancelling public debt and go as further to restructure private debt on the continent.
It was disclosed that this will be reflected in the AU’s statement on the impact of the disease.
According to economic experts, COVID-19 is expected to have a long-term negative economic impact on the continent, as many countries have placed restrictions on travel and commerce to help slow the spread of the disease and this will affect many African countries.
The recommendation made by President Macky Sall follows proactive measures that Senegal made in its response to the pandemic. The country has committed to a series of decisive actions to help limit the spread the disease and support at risk communities.
Following the outbreak in the West African nation, the country declared a state of emergency, limited movement for the entire country and also suspended flights.
The country also fast-track research for low-cost rapid-result tests following a collaboration between a Senegalese and a British pharmaceutical company.
Other measures include – supporting the ramping up the manufacture of promising drugs like chloroquine by a manufacturer partially owned by the state for potential treatment.
On the economic front, Senegal was the first country in the West African region to set up an economic and social impact fund aimed at mitigating the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable households as well as small businesses.
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