COVID Vaccines, debt relief key to Africa’s recovery—AfDB President Adesina
The President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, has called for fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for Africans and said debt relief would help African economies recover faster and better from the pandemic.
Speaking on 8 February at a virtual event held in his honour as the outgoing African of the Year of African Leadership Magazine, the Bank President warned that so long as the coronavirus was unchecked in any part of the world, no one would be safe.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel – it just happens to be a very long tunnel. I am very positive that African economies will bounce back over the next two years, but the speed of recovery will depend on ensuring that Africa gets enough vaccines for its population,” Adesina said.
“The world must not short-change Africa on access to vaccines,” he added.
He also said significant debt relief would be key to accelerating African economies’ recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
“To recover faster, Africa will need significant debt forgiveness from bilateral and official creditors,” he said during the virtual event attended by Douye Diri, the Governor of the Nigerian state of Bayelsa, and Benoy Berry, Chairman of Contec Global Worldwide.
Adesina added: “While developed countries have been spending trillions of dollars for fiscal stimulus, Africa does not have such resources. The payment for vaccines is already adding to the already high debt burden.”
A highlight of the conversation was Adesina’s induction into the magazine’s African Leadership Hall of Fame for “raising the performance bar” in Africa.