G20 Heeds Tanzania’s Call for Debt Cancellation in Battling Covid-19

By TZ Business News Staff.

The group of rich nations called G20 has endorsed Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli’s call for cancellation of poor African nations’ debts to international financial institutions to help the countries cope with the Covid 19 pandemic.

This was revealed by India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi  through  a phone call to President Magufuli on Friday, June 12, 2020.

In the wake of the outbreak of the lung disease caused by the corona virus (Covid 19) in Tanzania in March 2020, President Magufuli refused to copy the developed nations’ model of dealing with the pandemic by ordering people to stay home in the so-called lockdown. 

As some African nations copied the developed nations’ lockdown model, asking people to stay home and rushing to seek loans for dealing with Covid 19, the Tanzania President took a different route; he called on international lenders to cancel debts to poor African nations as the best way to help them deal with the pandemic. He asked citizens to maintain hygiene but to keep working.

President Magufuli said African countries’ economic capacity was  not the same as that of developed countries. As such, the President said during a meeting with  the country’s  top  defense and security organs, instead of offering more loans to poor countries to fight  the Covid 19 pandemic, lenders should forgive debts.

India’s Prime Minister Modi called President Magufuli on Friday to brief him on what transpired at the recent G20 summit. India is a member of the G20. Modi  told the Tanzania President this group of rich nations  had resolved that international lender institutions  should cancel debts to poor and developing nations  being ravaged by Covid 19. Tanzania is also a victim of the pandemic.

India’s Prime Minister Modi (L) with President Magufuli in 2016 (File Photo)

President  Magufuli  had called on the international creditors to cancel debts owed by African nations to enable them use the savings to battle the coronavirus, especially singling out the World Bank.

A statement from State House said other bilateral issues were also touched upon during the telephone conversation.

The President thanked Modi for his country’s continued support to Tanzania through cheap loans used in development projects such as the Tsh. 2.2 trillion used in construction of water supply systems in the country.

 The President also thanked India for its support in training Tanzanians in the areas of health, engineering and information technology.

A statement from the Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi warmly recalled his July 2016 visit to Dar-es-Salaam and stressed on the importance that India attaches to its traditionally friendly ties with Tanzania.

Modi reiterated India’s commitment to partnering Tanzania in its development journey, as per the aspirations and needs of the Tanzanian government and people.

The Prime Minister thanked President Dr. Magufuli for the assistance provided by the Tanzanian authorities for evacuation of Indian citizens from Tanzania in the wake of COVID-19.

The leaders reviewed the overall bilateral relationship. They expressed satisfaction at the growing development partnership, educational linkages, and trade and investment flows between India and Tanzania, and discussed possibilities of further accelerating these trends.