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Africa must be paid damages, liability compensation from China— Ezekwesili

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THE  former minister  of Education and Activist Oby Ezekwesili has called on relevant authorities to demand a compensation from China to Africa for the damages of the Covid19 pandemic to the continent.

Oby in an opinion article published on Washington stated that the continent must be accorded damages and liability compensation from China, the rich and powerful country that failed to transparently and effectively manage this global catastrophe.

Africa’s economic gains since the last global crisis have been eroded. It is time to make offending rich countries pay the poor ones a global risk burden tax for delaying their rise out of poverty.

“The covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe injury to Africa’s development prospects and worsened the conditions of its poor and vulnerable. Although there are calls for voluntary international aid to support the continent during this difficult time, this is far from the best solution,” Oby stated.

Oby explained in her interview that Africa already is  home to more than 70 percent of the world’s poorest people, with more than 400 million living below the poverty line  and it is also no surprise that it is disproportionately vulnerable to this crisis.

“It should not suffer even more because yet another powerful country failed to act responsibly,” She added.

Oby Ezekwesili further added  that China should immediately announce a complete write-off of the more than $140 billion that its government, banks and contractors extended to countries in Africa between 2000 and 2017 as a means to provide partial compensation to African countries for the impact that the coronavirus is already having on their economies and people.

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The analysis of the balance of compensation due to Africa can then follow from discussions with the Africa Union and its member countries, alongside global and regional organizations including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and the European Union.

According to Oby, the economic shock caused by the coronavirus has badly reduced the opportunity Africa would otherwise have had to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty.

The African Union Commission estimates that Africa’s gross domestic product will shrink by as much as 4.5 percent, resulting in 20 million job losses.

This pandemic, she said, has dangerously hampered the possibility that Africa can generate jobs for young people and women, or increase literacy levels by reducing the number of out-of-school children with access to quality learning opportunities.

It will result in lessened ability to reduce maternal and child mortality, improve nutrition and food security, make reliable energy available and accessible, improve the availability of quality roads, water, sanitation, and other infrastructure, and such other investments in public goods.

China, a country that only within the past four decades has managed to lift more than 850 million people out of poverty, would understand how critical it is for African countries to accelerate inclusive growth.

While economies in Asia, Europe and the Americas have announced hefty emergency stimulus packages for their people and businesses, countries in Africa struggle to meet short-term food needs.

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