The Chairperson of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a former Nigerian minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala one of the Special Envoys of the African Union tasked with mobilizing international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges African countries will face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President of South Africa also appointed Dr Donald Kaberuka, Mr Tidjane Thiam and Mr Trevor Manuel as Special Envoys, where they are tasked with soliciting rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the European Union and other international financial institutions.
President Ramaphosa says: “In the light of the devastating socio-economic and political impact of the pandemic on African countries these institutions need to support African economies that are facing serious economic challenges with a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred debt and interest payments.
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been global in both scale and reach, and this necessitates coordinated international action to capacitate all countries to respond effectively, but most particularly developing countries that continue to shoulder a historical burden of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment,” President Ramaphosa said.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is an internationally respected economist and development expert and served two terms as Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She has also served as Managing Director of the World Bank.
he AU Chair said the appointment of the special envoys would expedite the process of securing economic support to enable countries on the continent to respond swiftly to this grave public health emergency. President Ramaphosa said the envoys brought with them a wealth of experience and enjoyed longstanding relationships in the international financial community.
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