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Nigeria, others need $114bn to fight COVID

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Nigeria and other African countries need an estimated $114bn to fund the campaign against the outbreak of the coronavirus disease on the continent.

This was disclosed in a statement posted on the website of the International Monetary Fund on Sunday.

The statement was issued after a meeting of African leaders, bilateral partners and multilateral institutions, which was jointly convened by the World Bank and the IMF.

The World Bank and the IMF, in the statement, said they had mobilised partners in the fight against COVID-19 in Africa.

According to the statement, together, official creditors have mobilised up to $57bn for Africa in 2020 alone – including upwards of $18bn from the IMF and the World Bank each.

The fund is meant to provide the front-line health services, support the poor and vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s.

It was also disclosed that private creditor support to the continent in 2020 could amount to an estimated $13bn.

“This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114bn in 2020 in its fight against COVID-19, leaving a financing gap of around $44bn,” the statement added.

The meeting convened by the World Bank and IMF to spur faster action on COVID-19 response in Africa was attended by African Union Chairman and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Mahamat, and officials of individual countries also attended the meeting, where plans were outlined for effective use of resources to curb the spread of the disease.

The statement noted that bilateral partners, at the meeting, reemphasised their commitment to a debt standstill beginning May 1.

The World Bank and the IMF had called on creditors to suspend debt repayments in order to provide much-needed support to the poorest countries.

Ramaphosa, at the meeting, said African countries required greater support to surmount the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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