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Protect jobs across Africa, G20 urged

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa (UNEC) has called on the G20 leaders to implement emergency measures to protect 30 million jobs at risk across the continent, particularly in the tourism and airline sectors.
UNEC said the G20 leaders should take measures to support agricultural imports and exports, the pharmaceutical sector and the banking sector.
The commission explained that an extended credit facility, refinancing schemes and guarantee facilities should be used to waive, restructure and provide additional liquidity in 2020.
“G20 leaders should support a liquidity line available to the private sector operating in Africa to ensure essential purchases can continue and all SMEs dependent on trade can continue to function,” UNEC said in a statement.
G20 leaders, UNEC said, should ensure that national and regional stimulus packages covering private and financial systems included measures to support African businesses through allowing for the suspension of leasing, debt and other repayments to global businesses.
UNEC said G20 leaders should support a waiver on principal and interest for African Fragile States such as the Sahel, Central African Republic and others who are already struggling with the burden of debt and have limited fiscal space.
“G20 leaders should endorse for enhanced predictability, transparency and accountability of financial flows so finance ministers can plan effectively and civil society stakeholders can help track flows to ensure reach those most in need,” UNEC said.
Additionally, UNEC said, G20 leaders should encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies, as well as support for the upgrade of health infrastructure and provide direct support to existing facilities.
UNEC said this will enable countries to focus on prevention as much as possible and start building curative facilities.
“G20 leaders should announce a US$100 billion (in addition to the $50bn already committed) to fund the immediate health response, social safety nets for the most vulnerable, feeding for out of school children, and to protect jobs.
“As a proportion of GDP this is consistent with measures taken in other regions. To ensure immediate fiscal space and liquidity, this package should include a waiver of all interest payments, estimated at US$44 billion for 2020,” UNEC said.

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