Ethiopia’s Abiy seeks $150bn for African virus response

Ethiopia’s Abiy seeks $150bn for African virus response

After lagging behind the global curve for COVID-19 infections and deaths, Africa has seen the number of cases rise (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi CHIBA)

Addis Ababa (AFP) ( – 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.

After lagging behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, Africa has seen a rise in cases in recent days.

As of Monday night, there were 1,654 reported cases across 43 African countries resulting in 52 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts warn that the coronavirus could quickly overwhelm weak African health systems.

African economies will also be vulnerable in the face of “a dramatic decline in exports, disruption of global chains, and the sudden drying up of travel and tourism,” Abiy’s statement said.

The proposed $150-billion (138-billion-euro) aid package could include budgetary support from the World Bank and crisis financing from the International Monetary Fund, the statement said.

To alleviate African debt burdens, Abiy proposed that interest payments on government loans “should be written off” and that “part of the debt of low-income countries should be written off.”


  1. First and formost, Abiy should unblock Internet and open communication line in Wollega, Gujii and some oromia region. When people in Oromia region don’t have simple preventive information he is begging G20 for $150 billion which he probably use to eliminate 14 million Oromos. He is not asking the fund for all people but only for his cadres and PP members.

  2. What kind of headline is this? Propping up dictator? Who elected Abiy Ahmed to speak on behalf of Africa? The African nations have their own leaders to speak on their behalf, Kenya for example has Kenyatta. What kind of absurdity is to portray this man as mouth piece of Africa. He even doesn’t have mandate to speak on behalf 50 Million Oromos on whose name he assumed power, leave alone African Continent. This is an insult African democracy, such as that of South Africa. The only other dictator that self-aggrandized and made himself look like African leader was none other than the late Mohammed Qaddafi. At least he was not a beggar, he is a generous giver. But, remember how is time on this planet ended.

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