China must do more to ease the debt burden on Africa according to Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that China must step up to ease the debt burden on African countries whose economies have been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister

His call is coming even though Africa is currently not the worst hit continent by the pandemic.

However, affected African countries already fear the economic impact of the pandemic putting about 20 million jobs at risk.

“My feeling is that China has to come on stronger,” Mr Ofori-Atta said in a conversation with the president of the Washington-based Center for Global Development Masood Ahmed, that was posted on the think-tank’s website.

“African debt to China is $145 billion or so, over $8 billion of payments is required this year … So that needs to be looked at,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

African governments need about $100 billion in assistance and support for a moratorium on all debt and some debt write-offs.

Mr Ofori-Atta is now the chair of the Development Committee – a ministerial-level forum that advises the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on development issues.

He indicated that African countries were looking for means to raise their Special Drawing Rights (SDR), a form of foreign exchange reserves managed by the IMF, to shield against commercial debt defaults.

“This should not happen. So we should find a way to increase SDRs or for the Europeans to offer their SDRs as a way out,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

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