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39million Africans Risk Extreme Poverty In 2021-AfDB

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President of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwunmi Adesina has said that as COVID – 19 related spending has swollen and many countries borrowing without more aid, 39 million Africans stand the risk of falling into extreme poverty this year.

According to him, more than 30 million Africans were already in the extreme poverty bracket.

He said the African Development Bank is to support African countries to produce required vaccines within the continent, in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on Africa’s Debt and Growth in an interview with CNN ahead of the launch of AfDB’s African Economic Outlook 2021 launch yesterday, Dr. Adesina said, “For us at AfDB, we are looking beyond the current situation. We are looking at medium and also long term. I can’t accept that 1.4 billion people have to be running from pillar to post looking for vaccines.

“We at AfDB have therefore decided that we are going to support Africa to have quality healthcare infrastructure and also make sure that it develops its own pharmaceutical capacity and also produce vaccines in Africa; not running from pillar to post.”

The AfDB president noted that the issue of vaccine was a big problem and that the Africa has so far received a mere 1 per cent of the continent’s needs.

“You know so far 40.6 million vaccines have been delivered in Africa and people can’t even get a shot in the arm. That 40.6 million is only 1 per cent of what we need; talk less of having 60 per cent of herd immunity. So we are way off the mark on that,” he said.

He emphasised the importance of Africa to have access to the vaccines and the need to have vaccine solidarity, pointing out that although those concerned are doing a great job, “the amounts are still in miniscule as far as we are concerned. We need to actually have global solidarity on this; but beyond that, there must also have vaccine justice, making sure that everybody has the vaccine.

“So everything comes back to making sure that we support Africa, the global community rallies round Africa to meet the fiscal deficit that it has. We were looking for $154 billion last year – that was all. Developed countries were spending over $9 trillion, the G20; but Africa couldn’t just get $154 billion. There needs to be a total change in that, to make sure that Africa gets the resources to expand its fiscal space; and in particular the issue of debt, because you can’t really run up the hill with a backpack that is full of sand.”

The AfDB boss also urged creditors to extend the period of debt repayment and forgiveness in such a way that the period of deferment continues to be helpful to African countries.

 

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