Several African states have seen their debt levels spike during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa, while still AU Chairperson, appointed special envoys to secure debt relief for Africa.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, says the devastating impact of the debt burden on the economies and sovereignties of several African states is hard to ignore.
Dr Pandor was responding to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Thembi Msane, who wanted details on the AU’s interventions to prevent African countries from losing their sovereignty to other nations through debts and loans.
Dr Pandor said, while AU member states determined their domestic priorities, the continental body continued its work with international lending institutions.
“Nevertheless, and to the extent to which the debt becomes a burden to AU member states, the AU has and continues to advocate for the easing of the debt burden owed by African countries, especially the less developed countries and highly indebted poor countries, with the majority coming from the continent,” she said.
She added that the devastating impact of the debt burden on the economies and sovereignties of many countries on the continent was hard to ignore.
“It is for this reason that the AU has and continues to use multiple approaches to urge the developed countries, including international financial institutions, to ease the debt burden owed by African countries.”
Furthermore, Minister Pandor said AU ministers of finance and trade used the annual special technical committee of the AU to urge G7 countries, China and international financial institutions to ease the debt burden owed by African countries.