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Covid-19 pandemic makes Africans “more vulnerable” – Ramaphosa

South African President Ramaphosa on Monday said the coronavirus pandemic has made Africans “already suffering from the effects of conflicts,…

South African President Ramaphosa on Monday said the coronavirus pandemic has made Africans “already suffering from the effects of conflicts, underdevelopment and poverty even more vulnerable.”Ramaphosa, speaking in his weekly message to the nation, said the fight against the pandemic had taken away financial resources Africans needed to fight poverty and underdevelopment, thereby severely diminishing these efforts in order to contain it.

“African economies have been severely damaged and growth prospects are greatly diminished,” Ramaphosa said on the eve of Africa Day on Tuesday.

He added: “Many of the continent’s developmental gains may be reversed as the fight against the pandemic takes precedence over other national priorities like poverty eradication.”

He noted that although low-income countries are especially vulnerable, “middle income countries like our own have also been severely hit.”

However, to support the continent’s economic recovery from Covid-19, African governments have been working through the African Union to mobilise significant financing to meet their developmental goals, he noted.

He said his country supported a comprehensive and robust economic stimulus package for Africa to aid the continent’s recovery following last week’s Europe-Africa summit held in Paris which Ramaphosa and other African leaders attended.

But the summit’s discussions to source funds for Africa should not be a substitute for official development aid for the continent, he said.

He urged the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to support low- and middle-income countries with further measures to support vulnerable African countries.

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