Africa is suffering a severe shortage of vaccines that resulted in only 0.6 percent of its adult population being vaccinated so far, according to Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva.
Georgieva made her comments during her speech in the annual meeting of the African Development Bank on Wednesday.
“The warning signs are clear: a two-track pandemic is leading to a two-track recovery. Africa is already falling behind in terms of growth prospects. This year, we project the global economy to grow by 6 percent, but only half that — 3.2 percent — in Africa,” Georgieva explained.
Georgieva said that the situation in Africa needs international cooperation on multilateral fronts, including providing vaccination financing, helping the country deal with the elevated debt and its burdens and boosting the continent’s efforts to recover and build a resilient economy.
Africa’s debt levels were already elevated before the pandemic, and they have increased sharply due to the pandemic, as the continent’s public debt in sub-Saharan Africa jumped by more than 6 percent to 58 percent of GDP in 2020, the highest level in almost two decades, according to Georgieva.
She added that interest payments in Africa reached 20 percent of tax revenue in 2020 for the region as a whole and exceeded one-third of revenue in some countries.
Similarly, public debt in North Africa rose by about 12 percent to an average of 88 percent of GDP in 2020, according to Georgieva.
“To help safeguard debt sustainability, the world has stepped up. The IMF has provided debt service relief to its poorest members. And together with the World Bank, we advocated for the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, as well as for the Common Framework for Debt Resolution, designed to provide deeper debt relief to countries with higher debt vulnerabilities,” Georgieva illustrated.
For Africa’s recovery, Georgieva said that global development financing institutions and multilateral partners announced their intention, during the G7 summit, to invest at least $80 billion into the private sector in Africa over the next five years.
She also noted that the G20 Compact with Africa remains a key framework to enhance the business environment in Africa, adding that now is the time to expand and strengthen this initiative.