The 13 West African leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday called for the cancellation of the region’s debts to enable the member countries of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.The extraordinary teleconference Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS reviewed the effect of the pandemic on their economies.
The Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Niger Republic, Alhaji Mahamadou Issoufou, highlighted the devastating effects of the virus on human and economies of the member states.
A statement by the ECOWAS Secretariat on Thursday in Abuja said that Issoufou called for collaborative efforts among the member-states to combat the pandemic, which he observed, had already claimed many lives in the region and beyond.
The ECOWAS Chairman pleaded for total debt cancellation for African countries to enable the continent to survive the post-coronavirus era.
He commended the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for their contributions so far towards the fight against coronavirus.
Issoufou urged the two financial institutions to do more for the African continent so as to save more lives.
In his remarks, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel (SRSG), Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, reiterated the determination of the UN to continue to partner with the African Union and the ECOWAS in fighting the virus.
He also called for debt cancellation for African countries as part of palliatives to cushion the effects of the virus on their various economies.