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The Team Charged with Negotiating a Lesser Debt for Africa

The African Union has appointed a team of special envoys to try to mobilise international support to help the continent respond to the coronavirus pandemic. AU chairman Cyril Ramaphosa insisted it was time to marshal resources to ensure the pandemic did not cause the collapse of the continent’s faltering economies. “These institutions need to support African economies that are facing serious economic challenges with a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred debt and interest payments,” Mr Ramaphosa is reported to have said. The team includes Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former chief executive of Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam, Trevor Manuel, a former finance minister in South Africa, and Rwandan former head of the African Development Bank, economist Donald Kaberuka. New analysis released on Sunday by the Jubilee Debt Campaign shows that 64 lower income governments spend more on external debt payments than they spend on healthcare. Countries with the widest disparities between debt payments and health spending include Gambia, Ghana, Zambia, Laos, Lebanon and Pakistan.