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The Pandemic has Driven the IMF and African Governments into a New Embrace

Member states of the IMF are set to approve a $650bn issue of its Special Drawing Rights reserve currency. That alone will strengthen African treasuries far more than the combined weight of the G20’s over-cautious debt-relief plan and emergency funding from the international system. IMF management is prioritising the fight against inequality and the climate crisis, advocating carbon taxes and a massive social investment programme in health and education. Important policy differences persist between Washington and Africa, but the IMF is seen more as an ally than an adversary in the region’s negotiations over debt relief and infrastructure finance. When the IMF calculates that the global economy would get a $9trn boost from a comprehensive international vaccination programme, it puts into perspective Africa’s struggle to raise $100bn for its continental vaccination programme.