Buhari seeks debt relief for African countries

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Paris, France, called on European countries and global financial institutions to consider debt relief for African countries.

He said this would assist in reducing the devastating effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the countries.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke at the Financing Africa Summit held at Grande Palais Ephemere with the theme: “External Financing and debt Treatment.”

The statement was titled ‘President Buhari seeks debt relief for African countries, says PPP will reduce corruption, speed growth.’

Shehu quoted Buhari as saying that the fall in commodity prices as COVID-19 took a toll on the global economy further slowed growth in some countries and strained health facilities.

The President said, “It is in this vein that we solicit the support of the French government with its influence in the European Union to lend its voice to the efforts being made to mobilise additional resources for developing economies most especially Africa in order to strengthen the quantum of investments to our economies.

“This financial support should also be extended to the private sector.”

Buhari said the European Union should encourage fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in less developed countries, and promote the establishment of manufacturing facilities.

According to him, many African countries were already experiencing debt distress and the Debt Service Suspension by France and G-20 does not go far enough, adding that there was a need for more sustainable and affordable financing solutions, including debt relief and further debt restructuring.

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On the Paris Agreement for Climate Change, President Buhari noted that African countries would need financial support for green energy investment and COP-26.

He said Nigeria will refocus on gas while adopting a Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative.

On the theme of “Africa Private Sector – Reforms – Infrastructure’’, President said Public Private Partnership will be fully explored to ensure more precision in development, cutting down waste and reducing chances of corruption.

“The government intends to leverage on Public Private Partnership to bolster its job creation and anti-corruption drive. In terms of job creation, Nigeria has an abundant labour force since 30.5 per cent of its population is between the ages of 25 and 54,” he added.

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