Joint statement of the Ninth African Budget Forum of the European Commissioner for International Partnerships and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund


Joint statement of the Ninth African Budget Forum of the European Commissioner for International Partnerships and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

March 2, 2021

Washington DC:
Ms Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, and Ms Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, today convened the ninth African Budget Forum entitled ‘Time for courageous policies‘. Delegates to the Forum, which runs virtually from March 2-3, 2021, include African finance ministers, policy makers and representatives of bilateral partners, multilateral institutions and civil society.

Ms Urpilainen and Ms Georgieva made the following statement at the start of the Forum:

“Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continues to face an unprecedented health, social and economic crisis. The pandemic has put years of hard-earned development gains at risk and disrupted the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Our common goal is to continue to work closely with countries to support ongoing efforts in the fight against this pandemic, including ensuring fair and equitable access to safe COVID-19 vaccines for all. The insufficient and delayed supply of SSA vaccines will undermine not only regional but global efforts to end the pandemic, with significant negative spillover effects on health, growth and trade to the rest of the world.

“The fiscal policy response has been swift, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, especially those entering the crisis with good fundamentals, have adopted comprehensive measures to contain the pandemic and mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable. These efforts were supported by rapid emergency financing, debt relief and budget support from the EC. The IMF and other institutions also provided advice on policy and capacity development. However, funding constraints, debt vulnerability and limited fiscal space have prevented – and continue to prevent – many countries from implementing a more robust response. Since the start of the pandemic, IMF financial assistance to countries in sub-Saharan Africa has totaled more than $ 17.5 billion. Team Europe has contributed 6.2 billion euros to the external response to COVID-19. More than € 1 billion has been provided through European Union budget support to create fiscal space for COVID-19 response efforts.

“Despite these concerted efforts, 2021 will likely be another very difficult year for the region. Even as vaccines become widely available, significant development challenges remain. If left unaddressed, extreme poverty and inequality will inevitably continue to increase, and educational outcomes will be held back, with critical implications for social stability and security, especially in the most fragile environments.

“As the international community faces a moral and economic imperative to help all countries, especially the less privileged, fight the pandemic and make better progress, African policymakers will play a central role, as the crisis offers the ‘opportunity to shape recovery by adopting’ BRAVE’ fiscal policies:

  • Bold in their goals of building a greener, smarter (more digitally connected) and fairer world (with opportunities for all);
  • Income-based to increase domestic resources essential to expanding the fiscal space essential for development spending;
  • Embedded in medium-term frameworks to address and resolve debt vulnerabilities in a sustainable manner, while allowing room for recovery;
  • Compatible with vaccines so that every country can have adequate and timely access to vaccines; and,
  • Equitable, working first and foremost for the people, and with the people, by investing in human capital and strengthening social protection systems. Investing in people makes economic and social sense, as human capital will determine the region’s ability to create enough jobs, reduce informality, move up the income ladder and put poverty back on a downward trend. the decline.

“For our part, we are committed to continuing our partnership with sub-Saharan Africa to promote catalytic financing and the implementation of its reform agenda. ”

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