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Africa Needs Debt Relief to Fight COVID-19

Combating COVID-19 is more challenging in Africa than in other parts of the world. But a two-year moratorium on all external-debt repayments would at least give governments there the fiscal space they need to respond to the pandemic.

WASHINGTON, DC – After a slow start, COVID-19 has spread increasingly rapidly throughout Africa, with more than 7,000 confirmed cases and 294 deaths across 45 countries and two territories as of April 7. Unless the continent urgently receives more assistance, the virus will continue to cut a deadly and remorseless path across it, with ever grimmer health and economic consequences. As an essential first step, therefore, we call for immediate debt relief for African countries in order to create the fiscal space governments need to respond to the pandemic.