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COVID-19: AU appoints Okonjo-Iweala, others as special envoys to help fix Africa’s faltering economies

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The African Union (AU), led by its chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa, has appointed ex-Nigerian Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Mr. Tidjane Thiam and Mr. Trevor Manuel as Special Envoys of AU.

Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, while announcing the appointments on Sunday said that one of the objectives of the team of special envoys was to try to mobilise international support to help the continent respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the AU chairman, it was time to marshal resources to ensure the pandemic did not cause the collapse of the continent’s faltering economies.

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“These institutions need to support African economies that are facing serious economic challenges with a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred debt and interest payments,” Mr Ramaphosa is reported to have said.

The AU chairman added that: “The sentiment expressed in two recent letters written to the G20 by a group of world leaders and a team of esteemed economists underscore the importance of bolstering health systems in poorer countries; this can only be done with the support of the international community.”

The AU also noted that the special envoys will be tasked with “soliciting rapid and concrete support” pledged by the G20, the European Union and other financial institutions.

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