The economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic will probably make many African countries seek debt restructuring from G-20 countries, according to the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, (UNECA) Vera Songwe.
Last month, Chad became the first country in the African continent to request relief under a Group of 20 initiative to help African countries cope with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Days later, Ethiopia applied, followed by Zambia, which last year became the first African country to default on its debt since the beginning of the pandemic.
Songwe said with government revenue taking strain because of the slowdown in economic growth, some countries are less equipped to meet the demands of their citizens.
She further said: “African countries don’t have the resilience buffers that we had in 2020.” “There probably will be more countries that will opt for the G-20 debt framework, because they need additional fiscal space to purchase vaccines.”
Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are particularly vulnerable to distress because they have high debt levels, severe economic declines and borrowed significant amounts from China using resource-backed loans, Verisk Maplecroft said in a research note last week.
The G-20 framework aims to bring creditors including China into an agreement to rework the debt of countries in danger of defaulting. China is Ethiopia’s biggest bilateral creditor, accounting for 23% of its total public debt burden of $27.8 billion, according to World Bank data.
Under the G-20 program, debtors are committed to seek similar terms of the resulting bilateral restructuring with private creditors. It’s unclear what that will mean for Eurobond-holders, said Songwe, who spent more than a decade at the World Bank before being appointed head of the UN body in 2017.
Last year, Ecuador restructured its debt with bondholders and China after updating its International Monetary Fund loan program.
Months After Protest, Lagos Panel Awards Victims Of Police Brutality
In Nigeria where youths trooped out to the streets more than four months ago to protest against Police brutality, benefits of the calls for change are gradually being noticed.
Thousands of Nigerian youths across the country embarked on peaceful protests in October 2020 against a rogue (now disbanded) section of the Police called SARS. The protests were one of the most historic moments in Nigeria’s modern history.
On Friday, February 19th, two victims of Police brutality were awarded the sum of N10m each by the Lagos Judicial Panel for the troubles they faced in the hands of the security agents.
Adebiyi Abayomi – son of one of the victims, Kudirat, received the cheque from the panel on behalf of his mother who was killed by the Police.
The second person was Hannah Olugbodi who also got compensated for the misconduct Police meted out on her. Olugbodi was hit by a stray bullet as she walked to the market. She had narrated her ordeals to the panel in November and explained how she was left to walk with crutches.
Abayomi, in his own narration on the 2nd of December 2020 said the DPO told him that he has given out money for embalming at the mortuary and that the next day, they should come back for further hearing.
He said on getting to the station the next day, he visited the IDH mortuary, and met his mother’s body on the floor, swollen and unkempt.
Olugbodi was given N10m to cover for her medical expenses while Abayomi was awarded N10m for the education of Kudirat’s children.
Ghana Owes Bretton Wood Institutions, Others $7.9bn
The debt spiked up in the full year of 2020 due to the covid-19 impact on the economy, which resulted in increased borrowing from the Bretton Wood Institutions, as well as the African Development Fund.
The Bank of Ghana has released a data which showed that the country’s multilateral debt component owed to Bretton Woods Institutions of the external debt stood at $7.9 billion as at the end of September 2020.
This is an addition of $117.31 million (1.5%), compared to the level of $7.81 billion recorded at the end of the second quarter of 2020. The debt spiked up in the full year of 2020 due to the covid-19 impact on the economy, which resulted in increased borrowing from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as the African Development Fund.
According to data from the Bank of Ghana, the multilateral debt accounted for 32.7% of the total debt stock at the end of the third quarter of 2020.
Debts owed the International Capital Market however stood at $10. 2 billion, representing the highest percentage share of 42.1% of the total external debt stock as of September 2020.
This is compared to 37.9% for the same period in 2019. The stock position showed a marginal decline of $15.99 million (0.2%) compared to the level of $10.2 billion registered at the end of the previous month.
The bilateral component of external debt stock for the third quarter of 2020 was $1.23 billion and represented a share of 5.1 per cent of the total external debt stock, compared with 5.9% for the same period in 2019.
On the other hand, commercial debts at the end of September 2020 totaled $2.2 billion, and constituted 9.4 percent of the total external debt stock.
This was $57.87 million, which is 2.6% higher than the level of $2.2 billion recorded in the second quarter.
Other concessional debts totaled $1.62 billion at end of the third quarter and constituted 6.7% of the external debt stock.
This indicated a decline of $26.69 million (1.6%) compared with the previous quarter’s position of US$1.65 billion.
According to the data, the external component of the debt stood at ¢139.6 billion ($24.4 billion), about 36.2% of GDP.
Egypt is Ready to Walk With Libya Back to the Right Path – Sisi
Libya’s Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Dbeibeh has chosen Cairo as the destination of his second visit abroad amid reports that his first took him to Turkey.
In Cairo, he met with President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in a meeting attended by Prime Minister Mustapha Madbouli and intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.
Dbeibeh expressed his appreciation to Egypt’s sincere and effective efforts on all levels in resolving the Libyan crisis, leading to rapprochement between the warring parties.
He also highlighted Egypt’s role in supporting Libyan institutions combat terrorism and extremist groups.
Sisi commended the Libyans for electing a new interim government and presidential council, saying it is the first step towards establishing a new phase in their country where national interests are prioritized above all else.
Egypt pledges to continue to support the Libyan people in their efforts to restore state authority, peace and stability.
Talks between Sisi and Dbeibeh focused on Libyan efforts to lead the transitional phase and cooperation between Libya and Egypt. Both sides agreed to hold further talks, especially over restoring services and security, as well as boosting economic cooperation.
Meanwhile, local media said Dbeibeh paid a secret visit to Turkey on February 10, soon after he was appointed to office, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Meanwhile, the new presidential council convened for the first time in Tripoli on Wednesday. Talks focused on government formation efforts and the parliamentary elections, set for December 24.
Head of the council, Mohammed al-Menfi, later met with his deputies. A statement after their meeting said the council urges Dbeibeh to complete the government formation within the set deadline and in line with the agreements reached at the Geneva talks last year.
The United Nations mission in Libya strongly condemned the attack, calling on authorities “to ensure an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into this heinous attack on civilians” and calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice.
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