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The Message From the Global Financial System to Africans Seeking Debt Relief Is Clear: You’re on Your Own

A woman wears a blanket printed with the South African national flag as she queues at the Kwa Mai Mai market in the Johannesburg CBD, on April 13, 2020 during food distribution. MARCO LONGARI / AFP

Ghana’s increasingly outspoken finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta is giving voice to the growing frustration across Africa that calls for urgent debt relief have largely failed. In an interview this week with Bloomberg, Minister Ofori-Atta said the global financial system is failing Africa and places an unfair risk premium on African borrowers.

While the latest $1+ trillion financial relief package makes its way through the U.S. Congress, African requests for a mere $100 billion of assistance, a relatively small amount in the current environment, have so far gone unheeded. 

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