A New Deal for Africa and by Africa
French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a summit on May 18, 2021, intending to financially prop up the African continent that has been adversely impacted by the ramifications of COVID-19 and extend vaccine support.
The Summit, which has brought together African leaders and global financial institutions, came amid bleak statistics on the adverse impact of the pandemic on Africa.
A new dynamic
Speaking at the summit, the host, President Macron, said the moment should be seized to respond to broader, long-standing- and, so far, unaddressed-challenges facing Africa. However, he cautioned that an economic and strategic new deal with Africa would not happen overnight, but the talks had triggered a new dynamic.
The adverse impact of the pandemic on Africa
Though Africa is considered the least affected continent by COVID-19, the repercussions of the pandemic have been badly felt across the Continent. The pandemic has affected key sectors of the continent’s economy, including tourism and other ventures. Africa’s economy is expected to grow by just over 3% this year. It faces nearly a $300 billion spending shortfall over the next few years, raising fears that more million Africa might plunge into poverty and hamper development efforts.
Among the key goals of the summit are:
- Doubling COVID-19 vaccination targets for Africa by the end of 2021 under the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme
- Encouraging leading financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reallocate special drawing rights monetary reserves for Africa to $100 billion.
- Giving Africa the ability to produce and distribute COVID-19 jabs at home.
Meanwhile, the Heads of State admitted that there was also significant inequality in limited African access to coronavirus vaccines and therefore sought the vaccination of 40 percent of people in Africa by the end of 2021.
Wait and see
Promises have been made. Concrete actions are now expected.