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Ethiopia's prime minister says debts owed by poorest nations should be suspended until the pandemic ends

AP , Thursday 30 Apr 2020
Abiy Ahmed
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019. REUTERS
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Ethiopia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister says debt repayments by the world's lowest-income countries should be suspended until well after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

In a New York Times opinion piece, Abiy Ahmed says such relief should include unconditional debt cancellation, allowing countries to focus on fighting the pandemic.

He says 64 countries, almost half in sub-Saharan Africa, spent more on servicing external debt last year than on health. He expects Ethiopia to spend an extra $3 billion this year on the pandemic's consequences.

The International Monetary Fund last year said sub-Saharan Africa had all five of the world's fastest-growing economies.

Now the World Bank says the region faces its first recession in a quarter-century.

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