Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, has reiterated his calls to the international community to show solidarity with Africa after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More than ever, the international community is called upon to show solidarity in supporting national recovery strategies, particularly those of African countries,” Bourita said.
“The urgency to save lives is still there, but it is now combined with a necessity for economic recovery,” he added.
The Moroccan top diplomat made the statement in a pre-recorded video broadcasted to the UN General Assembly in New York. The organization held a special session dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, December 4.
Bourita urged the international community to move on from the “old recipes” of economic recovery and to develop innovative approaches based on the lessons learned from the pandemic.
“It would be beneficial to rely on a renewed multilateralism that is adapted to these times,” the foreign minister said.
“What we really need is a multilateralism of responsibility, which can nourish the actions of the UN through concrete result-oriented initiatives,” he continued.
Commenting on the current situation in Africa, Bourita deplored that Africa is “paying a heavy price” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Should we recall the unsustainable levels of external debt, which exceed 100% of the GDP in some African countries?” he asked.
The Moroccan diplomat asked global powers, notably the G20 group, to work on restructuring African public debt. He stressed the need for developing a comprehensive approach to debt in order to avoid compromising the efforts of African countries.
As of December 5, Africa has recorded nearly 2.25 million COVID-19 cases and over 53,000 deaths. While the numbers are among the world’s lowest — only Oceania has had fewer COVID-19 cases than Africa — the socio-economic impact of the crisis is significant.
According to Oxfam, the COVID-19 crisis could push the economy in Africa back 30 years. A report from the organization said coronavirus-induced lockdowns in African states could lead to a 20% drop in average income and push 548 million people below the poverty threshold.
The alarming numbers justify Morocco’s worries about the situation in Africa. Meanwhile, Bourita’s calls during the UN General Assembly are yet another illustration of Morocco’s Pan-African spirit.