COVID-19: Ezekwesili asks China to cancel Africa’s $140bn debt

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili

Former minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili,  has called on China to write off debts owed it by African countries to help the continent recover from  loses it will record due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ezekwesili a former Vice President at the World Bank argued in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, that China was not transparent with facts and figures on the disease which broke out in the country.

 

According to her, China should lead the way for rich countries that contribute to Africa’s stunted growth through its mistakes and lack of transparency, such as witnessed in the Asian country’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

China’s President Xi Jinping

Ezekwesili who is the co-coverner of the Bring Back Our Girls group asked for China to forgive debts totalling $140 billion owed it by African countries.

She opined that if this isn’t done countries on the continent would continue to struggle with high illiteracy rates, maternal and infant morality and multi-dimensional poverty.

“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 that the coronavirus is already having on their economies and people”, she wrote.

“China should demonstrate world leadership by acknowledging its failure to be transparent on covid-19. Beijing’s leadership should then 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 Africa Union and countries to design a reparations mechanism”,  she added in the article.

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