Windhoek – A lobby by SADC member states to secure debt relief from multilateral lenders, and to access Special Drawing Rights from the IMF, got the backing of the European Union during an annual summit of African and European leaders.
At the summit, the EU said it was supportive of debt relief and restructuring, as seen by its support for the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the new Common Framework on Debt Treatment. The EU also said it had contributed €183 million (US$215 million) to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust for debt relief in low-income countries.
The IMF has in principle agreed to issue Special Drawing Rights worth US$650 billion to help countries deal with the economic crisis spawned by COVID-19, though more than half of this money will be directed to rich countries.
In a communiqué after their virtual summit, African and EU leaders said, “Both sides agreed that the support provided through the 11th European Development Fund Support to Peace and Security in the SADC Region (SPSS) remains relevant in facilitating regional peace and security solutions, and agreed on the importance of further collaboration in this area in the future.
“Furthermore, both sides reiterated the importance of collaborating on the continued promotion and silencing guns initiative of the African Union, of women’s economic empowerment in the SADC Region, primarily through the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the Regional Strategy on Women, Peace and Security (2018-2022),” the two parties said in a communique.
Africa and Europe made firm commitments to sustainable economic growth, job creation, peace promotion and governance strengthening; while also tackling and migration and mobility and addressing emerging priorities such as health, the green transition and digital transformation.
The communiqué recalled a joint commitment to strengthening the AU-EU partnership based on shared values and mutual interests.
“The two sides noted the devastating socio-economic impact of COVID-19, including loss of lives and livelihoods and disruptions in the implementation of regional and continental integration agendas. Notwithstanding the gravity and severity of the pandemic, both sides commended their member states on the swift response measures undertaken to curb the infection and transmission of the deadly virus.”
On governance, the blocs expressed concern on the situation in the DRC and Mozambique, where strife has stalled development and triggered humanitarian crises.
They called for responsible management of natural resources and “maximising the benefits of their sustainable use to citizens”.