He was speaking via Zoom at the opening of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA’s) 53rd Session of the Commission and 2021 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
“Ghana is going to the market in 10 days or quicker,” he said, and raised questions about debt sustainability.
“How do you support debt sustainability? You have tension between the multilaterals that seem to push us to go to the market trying to pull us back,” he said.
The government has stated in the 2021 Budget that the Ministry of Finance will facilitate the issuance of $3 -$5 billion Eurobond within the first quarter of 2021, this will bring the total Eurobonds raised by the current government to some $11 billion.
Commenting on vaccines in Africa, Mr. Ofori-Atta who spent five weeks in a hospital in the US following post-COVID-19 complications – he got infected on November 23,2020, said 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the vaccine.
“Africa needs to vaccinate over 700 million of its population to achieve the 60 per cent herd immunity recommended by WHO. Deliveries of vaccine supplies under the COVAX programme started in February 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) backed programme aims to supply 600 million doses to vaccinate at least 20 per cent of the population. So far, the COVAX initiative has delivered more than 16 million vaccine doses to 27 African countries. Ghana became the first country in the World to receive its first batch of 600,000 doses through the COVAX initiative,” he said.
He also indicated that, Africa has secured less than 50 per cent of vaccines required to achieve herd immunity.
“As of March 21, 2021, Africa’s vaccination per 100 people is 0.6 compared to 3.6 for Asia, 6.4 for South America, 13 for Europe and 23 for North America. The WHO projects only 20 per cent of the continent can expect to be vaccinated in 2021. A considerable vaccine gap exists partly due to limited access to supply. Western countries are oversubscribing to outright banning the export of vaccines, in what is now known as Vaccine Nationalism. Hoarding vaccines isn’t just morally indefensible —its medically self-defeating,” he said.
He added that 2020 witnessed unprecedented expansionary fiscal policies in most countries to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
“Going forward, the challenge for policymakers will be to balance fiscal discipline while stimulating critical sectors needed to revitalize the economy,” he said.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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