NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, President of Ghana, said that neither his country nor continent wish to be scars on anyone’s consciousness. Long experience has taught Africans that no matter how generous the charity, the people remain poor. Ghana, for its part, has seen an average growth rate of 7 per cent since 2017, which reflects its desire to build a nation beyond aid.
However, the pandemic’s impact on economies and livelihoods has been severe, and predictive models indicate that African economies have yet to return to pre‑pandemic levels, he cautioned. Vaccination is the way forward, but to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population, 900 million Africans need to receive doses. To that end, Africa has secured a $2 billion allocation for vaccines, a milestone in the fight against the pandemic, he reported. Indeed, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team is the single largest trade transaction since the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area in 2021. However, he expressed concern over recent entry measures by European countries regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine and warned that the use of vaccines as an immigration tool will be a regressive step.
The current structure of global economic organizations has proved inadequate for developing counties, he went on to say. Given the incapacity of the global economic system, he called for a constructive review based on equity, sustainability and collective prosperity. If the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Health Organization (WHO) were born today, they would be very different institutions, as African Caribbean nations were not present at their establishment. Strengthened funding is needed for existing world health organizations, as much as an additional 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Across Africa, where revenues have decreased, innovative financing must address structural challenges, he continued. IMF’s $650 billion Standard Gauge Railway allocation offers an opportunity to address the vast and surging inequities on the continent. “Now is the time for an African Marshall plan.” Moreover, proceeds of Standard Gauge Railway projects will help safeguard the stability of the continent. Furthermore, key multilateral institutions must be repositioned to reflect inclusiveness and representative coverage with diverse leaders at the table. Admitting the African Union to an expanded G20 would have a galvanizing affect, he said, emphasizing that an increase in representation would redefine global policy and allow for a more inclusive and sustainable world.
Turning to assaults on democracy, he pointed out that the last two years have seen conflicts across the world. In West Africa, events in Mali and Guinea have undermined the democratic Governments there. In response, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) foundation members have suspended membership for the two countries. However, it is vastly better that a Government with a democratic mandate be in the seat of Government in Mali and Guinea to take on the fight against terrorism in the region.
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