The Paris summit on the financing of African economies which ended yesterday and the discussion that ensued on the cancellation or renegotiation of the debt is an initiative “that goes in the right direction but which must be followed up with numbers that represent the political ambition of the ‘initiative”. With these words Roberto Ridolfi, president of Link2007 , an NGO that brings together the main Italian non-governmental organizations in the field of development cooperation, wanted to show cautious optimism on the effects of the Paris summit.
“The Paris summit is a positive sign ,” Ridolfi told Africa Rivista / InfoAfrica , despite repeating proposals already made in recent years. For Ridolfi there are several points to highlight: “the first is that not all the African countries took part in the summit and not all the G20 countries took part : we are talking about a significant but not massive participation. However, it has produced several important messages: the special drawing rights” which are like zero-interest loans from the International Monetary Fund. Which, however, are not enough: “We are talking about 33 billion for all of Africa out of a requested total of 650”.
The second point concerns the vulnerability of African countries : “This requires a different attitude of development banks, more prone to risk. Development banks must be able to take this risk”. Then there is the suspension of debt payments: “It is not enough, we at Link2007 have said it several times and this is what we are pursuing with our proposal Release G20, which the G20 working and development group seems to me to be considering: canceling where possible but largely reconverting debt payment into an investment action towards sustainable development goals”. Word, sustainability, little mentioned in the Paris summit. “Then mention is made of an alliance with the private sector, which must be nurtured and for this I return to the debt conversion fund, which can be set up at a national level and become an SDGS fund to nurture and protect private investments”.
The vaccine issue also emerged at the summit , another battle by Link2007 : “We welcome this opening with great favor, which must now be promoted within the G20 because this opening of credit towards Africa makes no sense if the intellectual rights on anti-covid vaccines, if technologies and licenses are not transferred to African pharmaceutical industries”.
A step forward, perhaps a little short but certainly encouraging.