The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved immediate debt service relief for 19 African countries for an initial period of six months.
This relief is to enable them to channel financial resources towards dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Burkina Faso, Chad, Central African Republic and Mozambique are among the countries that will benefit from this relief.
Others are Benin, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Togo.
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Debt cancellation and relief for African countries are among measures that have been called for by advocacy groups to enable some of the most vulnerable countries in the region to cope with the worsening pandemic.
This comes shortly after the World Bank predicted that Sub-Saharan Africa will this year suffer its first recession for 25 years as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.
In a grim assessment, the bank says that the region’s economy could shrink by as much as 5.1%.
It points to the impact that the virus will have on Africa’s key trading partners as well as a fall in commodity prices as the main causes.
Several African countries are using lockdowns to control the virus’ spread.
These will also negatively affect economic growth on a continent, which has had some of the world’s fastest growing economies in recent years.
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