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China must pay Africa for its COVID-19 Mistakes – Ezekwesili

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Former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has said that Africa must be accorded compensation from China, following the Asian country’s failure to transparently and effectively manage the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has become a global catastrophe.

The co-convener of Nigeria’s #BringBackOurGirls movement stated yesterday that the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow on Africa’s development prospects and worsened the conditions of its poor and vulnerable.

She added that the continent’s economic gains had been eroded since the global crisis.

The former Vice President for the Africa Region at the World Bank noted that although there were calls for voluntary international aid to support the continent, “this is far from the best solution.”

According to her, it is time to make offending rich countries pay the poor ones a global risk burden tax for delaying their rise out of poverty.

She said, “Today, Africa is home to more than 70 per cent of the world’s poorest people, with more than 400 million living below the poverty line. It is no surprise that it is disproportionately vulnerable to this crisis. It should not suffer even more because yet another powerful country failed to act responsibly.

“China should immediately announce a complete write-off of the more than $140 billion that its government, banks and contractors extended to countries in Africa between 2000 and 2017. This would provide partial compensation to African countries for the impact the coronavirus is already having on their economies and people.”

The analysis of the balance of compensation due to Africa can follow from discussions with the Africa Union (AU) and its member countries, alongside global and regional organisations, including the United Nations UN), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union (EU), the #BBOG leader stated.

“Our world is long overdue for a change of approach in the way it manages global risks that leave the poor worse off due to failures of the rich and powerful. The current model of development assistance is broken and can never deliver any real change of fortune for the most vulnerable. We need a new model that strengthens people to engage in the design of their pathway out of poverty and builds economic resilience,” Ezekwesili added.

She called on China to demonstrate world leadership by acknowledging its failure to be transparent on COVID-19, saying, “Beijing’s leadership should commit to an independent expert panel evaluation of its pandemic response. China and the rest of the Group of 20 countries should engage with the AU and countries to design a reparations mechanism.”


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