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COVID-19: Ramaphosa calls for lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe, Sudan

The president hosted a virtual meeting on Wednesday with captains of business as AU chairperson to engage them on the AU strategy to combat COVID-19 and seek their support.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and Sudan to allow all African countries access to resources in a bid to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The president hosted a virtual meeting on Wednesday with captains of business as African Union (AU) chairperson to engage them on the AU strategy to combat COVID-19 and seek their support.

The meeting was also attended by heads of state and government of the DRC, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

In his virtual address to the G20 and interactions with UN secretary general António Guterres, the World Bank, IMF, and EU Commission – Ramaphosa strongly urged for the immediate lifting of all economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Sudan to allow them to adequately respond to the pandemic and save lives.

In addition, he said the AU Bureau agreed on the need for G20 countries to provide a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred payments and the immediate suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external public and private debt to create fiscal space for COVID-19 response measures.

Ramaphosa also appealed to business leaders on the continent to consider shifting manufacturing infrastructure towards the production of essential medical goods.