ODM Party leader Raila Odinga has written a long opinion piece for The Continent, calling upon the US government and Europe to step in and help Africa as a continent in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the article published on Saturday, May 16, Odinga noted that Africa needs to rebuild and develop following the effects of the pandemic, but it was encumbered by debts that need to be paid to its creditors.
These monetary issues, Odinga stated, were making it hard for Africa as a continent to develop and recover, and he, therefore, urged the US and Europe to step in and reach an agreement on business transactions going forward.President Uhuru Kenyatta and US President Donald Trump after a meeting at the White House in Washington on August 27, 2018.File
"In other words, Africa is already organizing itself for post-Covid, just like the rest of the world. But Africa has more issues to be put on the table. It’s going to be extremely problematic for Africa to service its debt and finance reconstruction and recovery at the same time.
"There is, therefore, a need for bilateral and multilateral discussions into debt write-offs and rescheduling for Africa. These efforts require financial, political, and diplomatic backing on a global scale.
"More importantly, they need a broad global agreement on how nations are going to relate and transact business post-Covid-19," Odinga wrote.
In the article, Odinga noted that after the second world war, the US played a critical role in ensuring that Europe recovered by providing it with both economic, social and military stimulus.
He urged that the same be extended to African countries who have also been savagely affected by the pandemic, to ensure that recovery efforts are well in line and desirable.
"The US went ahead to provide the money to rebuild Europe and proceeded to craft an alliance (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO) to help defend Europe. America at that stage showed what is possible when nations cooperate in a spirit of enlightened self-interest.
"The US, in tandem with Europe, can once again bring the world to one table and lead it into recovery and reconstruction. Collectively, they have the experience, the technology and the institutions to lead this process: if they can summon the will and a sense of debt to the world," he wrote.From left, Transport CS James Macharia, EAC CS Adan Mohamed, President Uhuru Kenyatta and US president Donald Trump during a meeting in the United States on February 6, 2020.PSCU
Odinga urged the US and Europe not to close their doors and borders to Africa, but to instead rise to the occasion and provide leadership given that they have been in such tough situations before.
He also reminded the economic powerhouses that they were in control of various key institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where they can harness veto power to bring Africa relief.
"With this disease, no nation is safe as long as one nation is under attack. This is more so as we consider reopening our economies, including international travel and commerce.
"Those who have in the past advocated the global system, and those who have benefited from it, must once again champion it, expand its reach and oversee a uniform return to good health for the world," Odinga stated.
According to a report published by The East African in 2018, Kenya’s public debt at the time stood at Ksh5 trillion and was projected to hit Ksh6 trillion by 2020 and Ksh7 trillion in 2022.
In October 2019, the total domestic debt stood at Ksh2.836 trillion while the total external public liability was Ksh3.066 trillion — making a total of Ksh5.902 trillion.
This situation has been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc in all sectors of the economy.
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