Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has called on international creditors to cancel debts owed by African nations to enable them to use the savings to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“African countries’ economic capacity is not the same as that of developed countries,” Magufuli told a televised meeting of top security organs on Wednesday.
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He singled out the World Bank, which has been offering new lending to nations on the continent to help them tackle the health crisis.
“Instead of offering more loans to fight corona, they should forgive debts,” the president said.
Tanzania has so far reported 284 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Authorities have been urging people to observe personal hygiene to slow its spread, but Magufuli has so far rejected calls to lock down the main city, Dar es Salaam.
On Wednesday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged member states to help struggling Muslim states combat the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in Africa.
“No country alone can deal with the damage and multiple challenges presented by the novel coronavirus,” said a statement. “We call on all member countries and organisations to show their solidarity with African member states.”
Later on Wednesday, the World Health Organization director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said there were troubling upward trends in Africa and the Americas.
“Most of the epidemics in western Europe appear to be stable or declining,” Tedros told a virtual press conference in Geneva.
“Although numbers are low, we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central and South America, and eastern Europe.”