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Abiy seeks $150bln for virus response

AFP
March 25, 2020

Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.

The pandemic "poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries," Abiy´s office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was "working closely with other African countries" in preparing the aid request.

The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries´ health budgets, the statement said.

"Just as the virus knows no borders, our responses should also know no borders," it said. Saudi Arabia, which currently presides over the G20, last week called for a "virtual" summit to coordinate an international response to the coronavirus crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron´s office said Monday that he had spoken by telephone with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and that the two leaders agreed on the need for emergency talks.