Tanzania president calls for debt relief to aid coronavirus battle

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Tanzania President John Magufuli has called upon international creditors to write off debts owed by African nations to help them fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tanzanian ruler says debt relief savings could fund response measures to the outbreak and help African nations contain the spread of the virus more effectively. Magufuli called out the World Bank specifically, which has been offering loans to African nations to help them tackle the global health crisis.

Magufuli prefers debt relief over loans

Speaking at a televised meeting of top security organisations on Wednesday, Magufuli highlighted the economic limitations of African countries in the pandemic. “African countries’ economic capacity is not the same as that of developed countries,” he told the assembly.

“Instead of offering more loans to fight corona, they should forgive debts,” the president said, referring to the World Bank offering loans to African nations as part of its coronavirus response.

Tanzania has reported 284 cases of coronavirus cases and the government is urging people to follow personal hygiene guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. The country’s busiest city Dar es Salaam remains open but health experts warn African nations will struggle to cope with a widespread outbreak.

While Europe and the US are currently experiencing the worst of the outbreak, it’s feared that the pandemic will eventually cause the most damage in developing nations, refugee camps and populations already vulnerable to harsh living conditions.

Featured image: By Pharexia (original author); Ratherous, AKS471883 (contributors); authors of File:BlankMap-World.svg (source file) – This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this file:  BlankMap-World.svg.Data derived from Johns Hopkins University CSSE, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York Times, CNBC, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86236603

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.