The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has called for the cancellation of the total debts for African countries to enable the continent survive after the coronavirus pandemic.
The chairman of the ECOWAS and President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, made the call on Thursday while speaking during an extraordinary teleconference summit of the Heads of State and Government of the sub-regional body.
The Nigerian president, who spoke in French language, hailed the World Bank and Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for their contributions so far towards fighting the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Issoufou, however, implored the two financial institutions to do more for the African continent so as to save more lives.
While raising alarm over the devastating effects of the deadly virus on humans and economies of the member-states, he advocated collaborative efforts among the member-states to combat the pandemic
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (SRSG), also backed the Nigerien President by calling for debt cancellation for African countries as part of palliatives to cushion the effects of the virus on their various economies.
The president of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, had earlier in April in a statement announced financial donations and equipment to its member states in support of their fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Kassi Brou restated the commission’s solidarity with member states as they battle to contain the COVID-19 scourge.
About 13 ECOWAS leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, are participating in the teleconference as of the time of filing this report.