President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the European countries and global financial institutions to consider reducing the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria and other African economies by restructuring debt portfolios and providing complete debt relief.
Mr Buhari made the call at the Financing Africa Summit held at the Grande Palais Ephemere in Paris, France, on Tuesday, with the theme ‘External Financing and debt Treatment.’
He observed that many African countries were already experiencing debt distress, and the debt service suspension by France and the G-20 was not far-reaching enough.
Mr Buhari added that there was a need for more sustainable and affordable financing solutions, including debt relief and further debt restructuring.
He also called for the release of vaccines to Nigeria and other African nations, which, he asserted, had been left behind in protecting the majority of its citizens.
Mr Buhari said the fall in commodity prices as COVID-19 took a toll on the global economy had further slowed growth in some countries and strained health facilities.
“It is in this vein that we solicit the support of the French government, with its influence in the European Union, to lend its voice to the efforts being made to mobilise additional resources for developing economies, most especially in Africa, in order to strengthen the quantum of investments to our economies.
“This financial support should also be extended to the private sector,” he said.
Mr Buhari added that the EU should encourage fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to less developed countries and promote the establishment of manufacturing facilities.
As for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Mr Buhari noted that African countries would need financial support for green energy investment and COP-26.
He said Nigeria was refocusing on gas while adopting a Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative.
On the theme of ‘Africa Private Sector — Reforms – Infrastructure,’ Mr Buhari said public-private partnerships would be fully explored to ensure more precision in development, cutting down waste, and reducing chances of corruption.
“The government intends to leverage on public-private partnerships to bolster its job creation and anti-corruption drive,” explained Mr Buhari. “In terms of job creation, Nigeria has an abundant labour force since 30.5 percent of its population is between the ages of 25 and 54.”