By ZBC Reporter
AFRICAN Union has called for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe as a way of allowing government to respond adequately to coronavirus which has negatively affected global economies.
In his address at the 75th United Nations General Assembly Debate, African Union Chair who is also the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa told world leaders that economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe must be lifted unconditionally.
“To ensure that no country is left behind we reiterate our position as the African Union that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan should be lifted to allow their governments to respond adequately to the pandemic.
“We also call for the suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debt.
“As the African Union we are encouraged by the collaboration of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank and the UN towards finding solutions to debt sustainability in developing countries,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said the pandemic has cost nearly a million lives while deepening human suffering and uprooted communities, destroyed livelihoods and plunged economies into turmoil.
“But just as the founders of the UN once stood united for the greater good, so too do we stand together to confront this grave threat.
“In this crisis, people across the world have extended the hand of solidarity to people in other nations.
“From the North to the South, humanity has been galvanised into action.
“We have formed international partnerships to ensure there is equitable access to medical equipment and supplies,” he said..
He also highlighted that countries have set up extensive social support systems to protect citizens whose jobs, businesses and livelihoods have been threatened.
“Our response to the COVID pandemic has demonstrated the heights that can be attained when we work in the spirit of friendship and solidarity.
“If we are to build a common and inclusive future in the aftermath of COVID-19, it is this solidarity that must endure,” he said.
The African continent’s response to coronavirus has been swift and effective said Ramaphosa.
“We have a continental strategy to fight the pandemic being driven by the regional economic communities.
“The African Union has established a COVID-19 Response Fund and launched a ground-breaking African Medical Supplies Platform to ensure all countries have access to the necessary equipment and supplies.
“Nonetheless, the pandemic will inevitably set back our developmental aspirations.
“The resources we have had to redirect to fighting the pandemic has set back our efforts to provide housing, health care, water and sanitation and education to our people,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been under illegal economic sanctions for almost two decades and this has hindered economic growth as the country is not accessing lines of credit to boost productivity.