President Muhammadu Buhari has urged European countries and international financial institutions to consider reforming debt portfolios and provide full debt relief in order to mitigate the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on African economies.
The president made the statement at the Financing Africa Summit, which took place on Tuesday at the Grande Palais Ephemere in Paris, France, and focused on “External Financing and Debt Treatment.”
He pointed out that many African countries were still in debt distress, and that France and the G-20’s debt service suspension was insufficient.
Buhari went on to say that more viable and affordable funding options, such as debt relief and debt restructuring, were required.
He also demanded that vaccines be released to Africa, which he said had fallen behind in protecting the majority of its people.
The drop in commodity prices as COVID-19 took its toll on the global economy, according to the Nigerian chief, has slowed growth in some countries and put a strain on health facilities.
“It is in this vein that we solicit the support of the French government, with its influence in the European Union, to lend its voice to the efforts being made to mobilize additional resources for developing economies most especially in Africa, in order to strengthen the quantum of investments to our economies.
”This financial support should also be extended to the private sector,” he said.
The European Union should facilitate equal and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, as well as the establishment of manufacturing facilities, according to the president.
In regards to the Paris Climate Agreement, Buhari said that African countries will need financial assistance for green energy investment and COP-26.
Nigeria, he said, was refocusing on gas and implementing a Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative.
On the topic of “Africa Private Sector — Reforms – Infrastructure,” the president stated that Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) will be thoroughly investigated in order to ensure greater precision in production, reduce waste, and reduce the risk of corruption.
“The government intends to leverage on Public-Private-Partnerships to bolster its job creation and anti-corruption drive.
”In terms of job creation, Nigeria has an abundant labour force since 30.5 percent of its population is between the ages of 25 and 54.’’
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN