Although 29 sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, have already received International Monetary Fund (IMF) disbursements totalling about $10.1 billion in emergency facilities, the region still needs over $110 billion in additional funding this year to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Fund has said.
The IMF, which stated this in a regional economic outlook update released yesterday, disclosed that of this amount, $44 billion has not been financed yet.
According to the lender, the funding needs persist despite its approving debtservice relief for 21 sub- Saharan African countries for an initial six-month phase ending mid-October and a Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) by the Group of 20 leading economies that waived up to $14 billion in payments for the world’s poorest countries – most of them in Africa – until December.
The Fund said that while it has temporarily doubled access limits to the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of the country’s IMF quota per year, thus allowing it to meet the expected global financing demand of about $100 billion, more international support is urgently required for the region to overcome the crisis and return to sustainable growth. In a statement released with the outlook, the Director of the IMF’s African Department, Abebe Aemro Selassie, said: “This crisis is unprecedented.
Our efforts today will have significant consequences down the road, not only in helping our members offset the immediate tragedy of the crisis, but also in ensuring that people’s lives and livelihoods are not destroyed forever.”
The IMF said it is now expecting Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy to contract by 3.2 per cent in 2020; double the contraction expected in April. It has also revised growth projections for the region to 3.4 per cent in 2021, which is 0.6 percentage points below its April 2020 projection.
According to the Fund, sub Saharan Africa will recover only gradually if the pandemic abates and lockdowns ease further in the second half of 2020.
“The recovery projected for 2021 is shallower than the expected world growth rate because the policy packages deployed by sub- Saharan African countries to facilitate the recovery are considerably smaller than those implemented in adthat