Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi urged the international community to provide necessary support to African states on Tuesday, amid considerations over equity in facing the coronavirus pandemic.
In a speech during the Paris-hosted Summit on the Financing of African Economies, El-Sisi said that African states saw an unprecedented acceleration in economic growth prior to the pandemic, making them a hub for cross-border investments.
He said that the financial support provided to Africa was lower than required, adding that poor access to coronavirus vaccines by African citizens is exacerbating economic and social problems incurred during the pandemic.
El-Sisi said that economic development achieved by Africa in recent years is being threatened by the repercussions of the pandemic, which has slashed its source of foreign currency and led to enormous pressures on liquidity to Africa.
He praised international initiatives intended to aid affected economies, including the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI), debt rescheduling and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) special drawing rights.
El-Sisi joined a call by African states to reallocate some of these IMF rights that are currently unused in order to identify funding mechanisms that would help low and middle-income African states to provide vaccines and restore growth rates.
He said that Egypt has been obliged to deal with financial difficulties incurred during the pandemic at a time when it has been working on its own economic reform program, which includes restraining public expenditure and controlling the budget deficit.
He said the early implementation of the program with the IMF has helped bolster the flexibility of the economy and allowed the government to take effective measures, including expansionary financial policies amid the pandemic’s repercussions.
“However, Egypt continues to face renewed challenges imposed by the pandemic, like other African states. Therefore, international cooperation to provide necessary mechanisms and instruments to support African states in the current critical situation is the optimal way to overcome the adversity and return to economic development,” he said.
The summit, which included two sessions with a focus on external financing, loans and the development of the private sector, and reforms and infrastructure, was attended by some 30 heads-of-state and leaders of international organizations.
Participants during the summit agreed on the importance of developing a shared vision to support Africa during the pandemic, including utilizing resources from the private sector and initiatives on maximizing confessional financing to the continent through international development institutions and donors.
They also agreed on the urgency of manufacturing medical technologies related to the pandemic, including vaccines and tests, as well as their fair distribution in Africa.