Africa is on Wednesday celebrating Africa Day, with the African Union chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall calling for the creation of a Pan-African credit agency to serve the continent much better than the current case with Western ratings agencies.
Sall added his voice to that of the AU Council of Ministers meeting in Dakar, Senegal, where they requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give African countries more time to repay their loans, and to also suspend the debt of others.
The ministers also asked the IMF to consider making new lending facilities available for Africa.
According to Sall, the current international credit ratings were proving unjust to African countries and their economies.
Sall said the continent was seeking new and urgent sources of financing as the impact of the Ukraine conflict threatened to worsen an already dire economic situation caused by Covid-19.
Some African countries were failing to recover economically because low credit ratings “are discouraging international trade and investment,” the AU chairperson said.
“The ratings pose a problem in terms of the perception of the risk which is greater in terms of what is real – and this makes credits more expensive and thereby undermining our competitiveness,” he said.
Sall said Africa must review its relationship with international financial institutions which he described as imposing “arbitrary conditions on Africa.”
“We are not really talking about aid. We are talking about partnerships for Africa, at least to improve those conditions for loan access and credit market access at the same conditions that are being reserved for the developed countries.”
Africa Day commemorates 25 May as the day the continent’s leaders gathered in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to attend the first meeting of the Organisation of African Unity – a forerunner of the AU.