President Cyril Ramaphosa believes that the principle of “nothing about us without us” should be applied as Africa seeks funding to deal with the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his weekly Monday newsletter, Ramaphosa said that last week he joined other African leaders in attending a summit French President Emmanuel Macron hosted in Paris to discuss the financing of African economies in the post-Covid-19 era.
He said that South Africa reiterated its support for a comprehensive and robust economic stimulus package for Africa to aid the recovery provided that it was not a substitute for official development aid.
“We welcomed the steps taken by financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support low and middle-income countries, and called for further measures to support vulnerable countries. This would include an allocation by the IMF of what are known as Special Drawing Rights, where on the basis of membership quotas, around $33 billion (R462.2 billion) will be released to increase the reserves of African countries,” Ramaphosa said.
“African leaders have however argued that an amount of $33 billion, while welcomed, is not sufficient to meet the challenges that the continent faces. As the more developed economies are set to receive much of the $650 billion (about R9 trillion) of Special Drawing Rights to be issued, we believe that 25 %, which equates to $162.5 billion (R2.2 trillion) should be made available to African countries,” he added.
Ramaphosa said that it was important that Africa affirmed its sovereignty as free and independent states. The international experience with Covid-19, he said, had been a lesson in the importance of collaboration between African countries and with international partners.
“As African countries, we want to help ourselves and not be told what is good for us. The principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ should be applied,” Ramaphosa said.
He said that while countries had immediate financing needs, a sustainable economic recovery can only be assured if levels of investment on the continent were increased - to contribute into making Africa the next champion of global growth.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area will play a key role in the continental recovery. We also envisage a greater role for the continental network of African public development banks to mobilise funding to support key projects in health, education, infrastructure, green growth and other sectors,” Ramaphosa said.
He said that African leaders acknowledged the centrality of good governance, public debt management, financial integrity and creating a more favourable climate for private sector investment in their economies.
“As we observe Africa Day (on 25 May), let us deepen our efforts to achieve a sustainable and lasting social and economic recovery for the citizens of Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
He added Africa must become a continent that is thriving and prosperous, not one from which its people are dying in an attempt to leave. Ramaphosa said that over the years we have become accustomed to seeing images of African men, women and children crammed into boats and makeshift rafts trying to reach Europe.
According to relief organisations more than 20 000 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2014 to seek greener pastures in Europe.
“As a country, we are part of Africa and Africa is part of us. What happens in one part of our continent affects us all, and so we must work together to recover from this crisis, and to ensure that our continent grows and thrives,” Ramaphosa said.
Meanwhile, speaking at the 74th World Health Assembly on Monday, Ramaphosa reiterated his position, telling delegates about the urgent need for more equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.
“Let it be the beginning of a journey towards a fairer and safer existence for all,” he said, adding that “this requires that we attend, with some urgency and purpose, to the huge divide in the provision of Covid-19 vaccines to the peoples of the world”.
Citizens in wealthier nations are being vaccinated at a much faster rate than the billions in poorer countries.
In South Africa, new Covid-19 cases surpassed 4000 on Saturday for the first time since February 3 2021. The country recorded 4236 new Coronavirus infections and 53 Covid-19 related deaths.
On Sunday, the new Covid-19 cases recorded dropped slightly to 2894 new cases, with a further 30 new deaths. Gauteng is the biggest contributor to the latest figures.
The uptick in Covid-19 cases is driven by a sharp rise in Gauteng. The inland province has 11 144 active Covid-19 cases as at Sunday, followed by the Northern Cape with 7579 and the Free State with 7093.
SA is in week two of Phase 2 of its vaccination programme. During the first week of Phase 2, an average of 23 902 were vaccinated.
May 17 + 18: 39 371
May 19: 38 134
May 20: 39 236
May 21: 44 976
May 22: 564
May 23: 5037
Total: 167 318