Africa needs support from the rest of the world in order to rebuild “our shattered economies” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the meeting of the UN’s General Assembly.
Mr Ramaphosa, who was also speaking in his role as the chair of the African Union, said the continent needs help with a “comprehensive stimulus package”.
He also called for the suspension of interest payments on government debt and said sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe should be dropped, to help those two countries recover. The sanctions against Zimbabwe have been in existence for the past two decades following the historic land reform process embarked upon at the turn of the millennium. The US sanctions were imposed through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001 while the EU introduced its own measures in 2002, although most of the embargoes have been lifted since 2004.
President Ramaphosa also told the General Assembly that Africa responded swiftly to the Covid19 pandemic but said the resources diverted to fight the pandemic had set back the continent’s ability to provide safe water, health, housing and education.
Yesterday, a number of leaders addressed the General Assembly. These include Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, the US’ Donald Trump, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, China’s Xi Jinping, Chile’s Sebastian Pinera among others. Addressing the meeting from South Africa he turned his attention to racism in light of the Black Lives matter protests. “As a country that has known too well the anguish of institutionalised racism, South Africa supports the demands for swift action against racism, whether committed by individuals, companies, officials or a state.” he said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean President is scheduled to address the same UN Assembly and it is expected that he will touch on the same Sanctions subject.
By Eric Knight