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COVID-19 – AFRICA IN A PRECARIOUS SITUATION- UN Economic Commission for Africa Warns; NIGERIA GETS DEBT RELIEF; – As Lady Gaga leads a concert for global funding assistance

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Nigerian and other countries will be getting debt relief form China and G-20 countries as disclosed at the April 2020 virtual spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The countries to benefit from this are those who are classified as IDA countries with per capita income below an established threshold of $1,175. David Malpass, the World Bank president, who spoke at the meeting said: “I take note that in the G-20 meetings, China is supporting the international agreement to allowing moratorium of debt repayments by IDA countries if they ask for forbearance. “IDA countries will have bilateral debt relief beginning May 1. That way, they can concentrate their resources on fighting the pandemic and its economic and social consequences.”

  • At least $100bn (£80bn) is needed immediately as resource for  health and social safety net response – UNECA
  • ”UN welcomes G20’s the suspension of debt service payments for all International Development Association nations.
  • UN experts warn that Africa may be in its first recession in 25 years, while Latin America and the Caribbean is facing the worst recession in its history. Similar decelerations are being seen in Asia and the Arab Region.
  • Announces Three-phase plan to tackle debt
  • Economists and finance experts are warning that countries with “high” or “distressed” public debt levels are at risk of severe economic shocks amid the COVID-19 pandemic and calling for restructuring plans based on the principle of solidarity.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has warned that at least 300,000 people in Africa are likely to die from coronavirus, even in a best-case scenario, and 29 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty,  Although Africa has reported fewer than 20,000 coronavirus cases so far, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned the continent could see as many as 10 million cases in three to six months – a number which would severely overwhelm health services. In a statement published by the Independent Newspaper of London, at least $100bn (£80bn) is needed immediately resource as health and social safety net response,” to protect and build towards our shared prosperity, says UNECA.  The agency found that in the total absence of interventions to slow the spread of the virus more than 1.2 billion Africans would be infected and 3.3 million people would die this year.

Most African governments have already introduced some social distancing measures, ranging from curfews and travel guidelines in some countries to full lockdowns in others. However, even in a best-case scenario, in which governments introduce strict social distancing once a threshold of 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people per week is reached, Africa would still see about 123 million infections, 2.3 million hospitalisations and 300,000 deaths from Covid-19. Efforts to control the coronavirus, which has already put major strain on well-funded healthcare systems in Europe, will be complicated because 36 per cent of Africans have no access to household washing facilities. The continent also has just 1.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people, compared to 5.98 beds per 1,000 people in France. Although Africa’s young demographic could provide some relief, as Covid-19 has been found to be less severe for young people in general, many people in the continent are also vulnerable to the disease due to HIV/Aidstuberculosis and malnutrition. In addition, 56 per cent of the urban population is concentrated in overcrowded slums, where the virus could spread easily.

Coronavirus economics: Debt-laden countries at risk, as financial markets screech to a halt – UN NEWS

  • UN welcomes G20’s the suspension of debt service payments for all International Development Association nations. 
  • UN experts warn that Africa may be in its first recession in 25 years, while Latin America and the Caribbean is facing the worst recession in its history. Similar decelerations are being seen in Asia and the Arab Region.
  • Announces Three-phase plan to tackle debt
  • Economists and finance experts are warning that countries with “high” or “distressed” public debt levels are at risk of severe economic shocks amid the COVID-19 pandemic and calling for restructuring plans based on the principle of solidarity.

At a joint high-level meeting of the IMF and the World Bank on Mobilizing with Africa, UN Secretary-General António Guterres commended the bodies’ swift actions to support member countries, while emphasizing that more work will be needed. “We know this virus will spread like wildfire and there are no firewalls,” he said.  “Alleviating crushing debt is absolutely crucial.” The UN chief noted that in Africa, households and businesses were suffering liquidity challenges even before the virus gained a toehold on the continent.  As countries work to prevent millions from plunging into poverty, already unacceptable levels of inequalities are growing, fragility is increasing and commodity prices are declining.

Debt and pandemic: a ‘perfect storm’: The current health and economic emergencies sparked by COVID-19 have emerged against the backdrop of high indebtedness for many developing nations – including middle-income countries – around the globe. Since the 2008 financial crisis, public external debt in many developing countries has spiked. Low interest rates and high liquidity boosted many countries’ access to commercial lending. By January 2020, the debt of 44 per cent of least developed and other low-income developing countries was already considered at high risk or in distress.  The COVID-19-induced contraction is having disastrous consequences. Global financial markets are coming to a standstill as investors race to pull funds out of emerging-markets and other high-risk sec­tors.  The pandemic is straining national budgets as countries struggle to meet health needs, respond to rising unemployment and support their economies. UN experts warn that Africa may be in its first recession in 25 years, while Latin America and the Caribbean is facing the worst recession in its history. Similar decelerations are being seen in Asia and the Arab Region.

Shaping proactive responses: Against that backdrop, the UN is advocating for a comprehensive COVID-19 response package amounting to a double-digit percentage of global GDP. It is also urging international financial institutions to do everything possible to prevent a devastating debt crisis with disorderly defaults, stressing that debt relief must play a central role in the global response to the pandemic. Speaking at the joint IMF/World Bank meeting,  the Secretary-General welcomed initial steps by the G20, including the suspension of debt service payments for all International Development Association nations.   He also called for more resources for the IMF – including through the issuance of special drawing rights – as well as enhanced support for the World Bank and other global financial institutions and bilateral mechanisms.

Three-phase plan to tackle debt: The Organization has put forward a three-step strategy aimed at preventing heavily indebted countries from suffering the worst impacts of the COVID-19 emergency.  First, it calls for an across-the-board “debt standstill” for developing countries with no access to financial markets.  Second, it requests more comprehensive options for debt sustainability with instruments, such as debt swaps, and a debt mechanism for the Sustainable Development Goals. Third, the plan calls for tackling structural issues in the international debt architecture, to prevent defaults. The framework is built on a foundation of shared responsibility among debtors and creditors, as well as the understanding that debt restructuring should be timely, orderly, effective, fair and negotiated in good faith.  “In all our efforts, we must focus on the most vulnerable and ensuring that the rights of all people are protected,” the UN Chief said.

One World: Together at Home COVID-19 Solidarity Concert WHO and Global Citizen Hold: ‘One World: Together at home’ Global Special to support healthcare workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

Joint campaign by international advocacy organization Global Citizen and WHO, with global music stars joining voices to entertain people at home, promote public health advice and raise donations for COVID-19 Solidarity Fund.

14:00 EDT (New York Time) Solidarity concert programming kicks off in Geneva (20:00 CEST Geneva time) on YouTube 20:00 EDT (New York Time) The live, televised event is kicked off by U.S. late night hosts Stephan Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and J (Sunday 02:00 CEST Geneva time)

THE GLOBAL CONCERT IN AID OF THE FIGHT AGAINSCORONAVIRUS: The much-publicized international advocacy organization – Global Citizen and the World Health Organization organized concert ‘One World: Together At Home’ holds tomorrow.  It is planned as a globally televised and streamed special in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. One World: Together At Home will be broadcast live on Saturday, 18 April 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time/8:00 p.m. Eastern Time/12:00 a.m. GMT. It will be aired on ABC,NBC, Viacom, CBS Networks, iHeartMedia,  and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada.

Internationally, BBC One will run the program on Sunday 19 April 2020. Additional international broadcasters include beIN Media Group, Multi-Choice Group and RTE. The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines. One World: Together At Home’ global special to air is in celebration and support of healthcare workers, broadcast to feature real experiences from doctors, nurses and families around the world.

SIGNIFICANCE: It is powered by commitments from supporters and corporate partners in benefit of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund Broadcast special to also benefit local and regional charities that provide food, shelter and healthcare to those that need help most. The Historic broadcast to be hosted by Jimmy Fallon of ‘The Tonight Show,’  Jimmy Kimmel of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ and Stephen Colbert of ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’ Friends from Sesame Street Also on hand to help unify and inspire people around the world to take meaningful actions that increase support for the global COVID-19 response.

One World: Together At Home will also be a multi-hour digital broadcast streaming online on multiple global platforms, including: Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube. This digital special will include additional artists and performances from all over the globe as well as unique stories from the world’s healthcare heroes. For information about how to tune in and take action, visit  www.globalcitizen.org/togetherathome.

Curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, broadcast to include Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas,  Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder. Hugh Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Citizen, said “As we honor and support the heroic efforts of community health workers, ‘One World: Together At Home’ aims to serve as a source of unity and encouragement in the global fight to end COVID-19. Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO had at a joint media conference with Lady Gaga last week stated that ’The World Health Organization’’ is committed to defeating the coronavirus pandemic with science and public health measures, and supporting the health workers who are on the frontlines of the response;  “We may have to be apart physically for a while, but we can still come together virtually to enjoy great music. The ‘One World: Together At Home’ concert represents a powerful show of solidarity against a common threat.”

United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres also stated that ‘’The United Nations system is fully mobilized: supporting country responses, placing our supply chains at the world’s disposal and advocating for a global cease-fire. We are proud to join forces with ‘One World: Together At Home’ to help suppress the transmission of the virus, minimize social-economic impacts on the global community and work together now to advance Global Goals for the future.  António Guterres, added that “There is no greater case for collective action than our joint response to COVID-19 – we are in this together and we will get through this together.”

Last month in response to the global pandemic, Global Citizen launched an urgent campaign in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the UN Foundation. Calling on individuals to take action, and asking world leaders and corporations to support the response with sufficient resources, Global Citizens from over 130 countries around the world have taken tens of thousands of actions in support of the response fund. At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.

Commitments from supporters and corporate partners will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO to support and equip frontline healthcare workers around the world, with masks, gowns and other vital equipment, and to local charities that provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those that need it most. These local groups have been verified to ensure that they are helping communities impacted by COVID-19. This event and the brains behind staging the relief concert for the whole world has an important significance on what youths could do to enhance global development and the goals of the UN, particularly the SDGs-2030.

LESSONS FOR THE YOUNG ONES/YOUTHS/LEADERS OF TOMORROW — LADY GAGA – HAS RAISED $35 million dollars: The involvement of these two young personalities prove conclusively that age is no barrier to huge success. Young ones require positive thinking, innovation and the discovery and use of their talents to be successful in life. One of the principal figures, Lady Gaga is only 34 years old. She sent in her an initial amount of thirty-five million United States dollars (US $35 million) she raised in aid of combating Coronavirus. Lady Gaga has helped raise $35 million to help fight the coronavirus and will launch a TV special featuring fellow mega-artists Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish and more to support pandemic relief. Lady Gaga, (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) an American singer, songwriter, and actress known for reinventing herself throughout her career and for her versatility in numerous areas of the entertainment industry has helped raise US $35 million to help fight coronavirus. Lady Gaga appeared at the news briefing today in company with the WHO Director-General. She is launching a TV special featuring fellow mega-artists Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish and more to support pandemic relief.

Hugh Evans, another principal figure of the show is only 37 years old.  At that age, Evans has made much impact as a global figure. That is a great lesson for youths who are angling to take over power that politics is not the only vocation that brings wealth. It is not regarded as a vocation for wealth-seekers in foremost democracies but here in Nigeria. Evans, described as a humanitarian was born 4 March 1983 in Melbourne, Victoria, an Australian city drives Global Citizen – the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030. With over 10 million monthly advocates, their voices have the power to drive lasting change around sustainability, equality, and humanity. Evans is also the co-founder of both ‘The Oaktree Foundation and Global Citizen, a Global Poverty Project’ Those organizations have engaged in high-level advocacy efforts and work with partners, that have resulted in commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $48 billion, affecting the lives of more than 2.25 billion people by 2030. Going through the website of the organization reveals that Hugh Evans went into the venture at the age of only 29 years. Just read one of those issues highlighted on the website and see how positive thoughts could assist us to develop our societies:

Did you know?

  • Tonight, more than 820 million people will go to bed hungry, lacking regular access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food.
  • Climate change and conflict are making it harder to get good food to all people. In 2018, conflict and insecurity were major drivers of food crises in 21 countries.
  • To reduce the number of hungry people in the world, we need more than $10 billion in new commitments from governments that will ensure good, nutritious food for children in the poorest countries.

Here’s What We Can Do

  • Tell the world’s wealthiest countries: Every child should know where their next meal will come from!
  • Call on world leaders to invest more in agriculture so farmers can grow more food, weather any storm, and end hunger in their communities.
  • Ask government leaders in Africa to step up their budgets to support farmers and ensure every child has the food they need to survive and thrive. (GLOBAL CITIZENS) These are young ones from other nations thinking for Africa. We must develop the right culture of governance and the right attitudes and values.
  • May the Good Lord help Africa

THE HELP AFRICA INITIATIVE: From tomorrow Saturday April 18, 2020, Terrific Headlines will commence a series of advocacy compilations for the world to see the urgency in the need to help Africa as already canvassed by the United Nations and some of its key agencies. Last week, the United Nations put the urgent IMMEDIATE requirement of African nations at Two Hundred Billion Dollars (US $200 billion) to successfully combat Coronavirus.