Nigeria and other African countries need an estimated $114 billion this year in their fight against COVID-19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

This is to provide health services, support the poor and vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of the “worst global economic downturn since the 1930s,” the IMF said.

The fund disclosed this in a statement published on its website after a meeting with African leaders, bilateral partners, and multilateral institutions to spur faster action on COVID-19 response in African countries.

The meeting was jointly convened by the World Bank Group and IMF.

At the meeting, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Director-General of the WHO Tedros Ghebreyesus, Africa Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Mahamat, and officials of individual countries outlined their policy plans for effective use of resources,

According to the fund, official creditors have mobilised up to $57 billion for Africa in 2020 alone— including upwards of $18 billion each from the IMF and the World Bank.

It also said private creditor support to the continent this year could amount to an estimated $13 billion

“This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114 billion in 2020 in its fight against COVID-19, leaving a financing gap of around $44 billion,” it said.

As part of the pandemic response, the World Bank Group and the IMF suggested further financing from official and private sector creditors.

This it said many African countries are looking to implement as they plan for the medium and long-term impacts of the crisis.

“The World Bank Group is putting its full capacity to work for people across Africa as they fight this pandemic,”

“The world has rarely seen a crisis of this magnitude, and no one can stand on the sidelines; we cannot leave any country behind in our response. We have provided emergency support to 30 countries across Africa so far, with more to come, and will continue to advocate for debt relief and increased resources, especially for those countries hardest hit by COVID-19.” World Bank Group President David Malpass said.

Our message is clear: We stand with Africa: Through our commitments today we are ‘Mobilising with Africa’ to help soften the blow of COVID-19 on the continent,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said.

Ms Georgieva said the pandemic is having a monumental impact across Africa and the IMF is leaning forward with many other partners to leverage their resources and to help save lives and livelihoods.

“The IMF will provide more concessional financing and we count on others to step up and do their part, to shield the economy and the people, and provide the foundations for a strong and sustainable recovery”.

The African Union Chairperson and President of South Africa, Mr Ramaphosa, said the pandemic has already had a devastating impact on Africa and its effects will deepen as the rate of infection rises.

“It is a setback for the progress we have made to eradicate poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.

“While recent announcements from international partners are very welcome, large financing gaps remain and greater support is needed to ensure that African countries are able to respond effectively to the health crisis and address economic challenges,” he said.

The World Bank Group and IMF leaders also applauded the groundbreaking accord among G20 countries to temporarily suspend debt payments to IDA and least developed countries beginning May 1.

The World Bank Group is deploying up to $160 billion in financial support, $55 billion of which will be for Africa, over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

Also, the IMF is leveraging its $1 trillion lending capacity; doubling annual access limits for its rapid disbursing vehicles to about $100 billion to respond to unprecedented calls for emergency financing from more than 100 countries.

It also said it has revamped its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to help 29 of our poorest and most vulnerable members through rapid debt service relief, 23 of which are in Africa.

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