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2+ Months Into the COVID-19 Economic Crisis in Africa and Still No Word on Debt Relief

Residents of the Olievenhoutbosch township in Centurion, queue on May 2, 2020 during a food distributions organised by the South African non profit charity Mahlasedi Foundation. 30 000 households in the township have been provided with 2200 tons of dry food, sanitisers and masks. MARCO LONGARI / AFP

It’s been more than two months since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned in a letter to G20 leaders that African countries face an “existential threat” from the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since that initial call on March 24, there’ve been a lot of discussions, a lot of promises, a lot of suggestions but surprisingly little substantive action. Resolving the debt issue, especially given how complicated most African countries’ loan portfolios are today, was never going to be easy.

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