One can fully support Prime Minister Abiy's call for global solidarity and for an SDR issue, but let's realize that in this pandemic the United States has cut off funding for the World Health Organization, while in the early stages stricken Italy got more immediate aid from Cuba than from Germany. Under these conditions, it would be realistic for all African countries to suspend all debt payments until the end of the pandemic. There is no need to wait for approval, and those funds would be immediately available. African countries can then concentrate all internal resources and efforts on the public health mobilization required to defeat this pandemic, while still requesting and accepting material, technical and financial assistance from the rest of the world.
James K. Galbraith
James K. Galbraith, Professor of Government and Chair in Government/Business Relations at the University of Texas at Austin, is a former staff economist for the House Banking Committee and a former executive director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. From 1993-97, he served as chief technical adviser for macroeconomic reform to China’s State Planning Commission. He is the author of Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2016) and Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe (Yale University Press, 2016).