Togo, Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire have not quickly run to the IMF for financial assistance to fight the coronavirus pandemic – John Mahama
The IMF is providing financial assistance to countries to help address the economic impact of COVID-19. The countries mentioned by John Mahama, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Rwanda, have all applied to and have been given financial assistance from the Fund.
#JohnMahamaLied is being pushed on Twitter by users. The hashtag is accompanied by a clip of the former president’s John Mahama’s Live question and answer session, dubbed “A Digital Conversation with John Mahama on Health Care & Infrastructure”, which held on April 30.
The former President, during the live session which was viewed on his social media accounts and on TV, suggested that some African countries, specifically Togo, Rwanda and Ivory Coast have not ‘run’ to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance to deal with the COVID-19.
Between 51:08 minutes to 53:15minutes of the live feed, Mr Mahama responded to a viewer’s question on a statement he had previously made concerning the economy where he had said the country’s economy is in intensive care unit (ICU).
“The NPP has not taken kindly to your statement that the Ghanaian economy is in ICU. They claim that you should know better that it is not only the Ghanaian economy that has taken a hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but that is the world over” the viewer commented.
In response to this, Mr Mahama said,
“Well, we have other African countries to learn from. We said our economy was so robust and was the fastest growing in Africa and all that. Ask yourself, how many African countries have run quickly to the IMF to go and look for relief? You know, we have next door, our neighbours Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and so many other African countries. If we had one of the best economies, why, within only three weeks, you know our economy was almost on the verge of going on its knees and we had eaten kenkey and celebrated leaving the IMF. We quickly run back to the IMF, you know… I don’t know whether we will eat kenkey and celebrate going back to the IMF to go and seek relief.”
The IMF is providing emergency financial assistance and debt relief to member countries whose economies have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund is deploying USD 1 Trillion to member countries. With over 102 countries calling on the fund for emergency financing, the asks by some 21 Sub-Saharan African countries have been approved. Among these 20 countries are Ghana and the other three countries mentioned by the former president — Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Togo. It is important to note that these countries applied for different forms of financial aid from the IMF.
Rwanda was the first African country to secure an emergency coronavirus funding from the IMF. The IMF announced on April 2 that its executive board had approved the disbursement of US$109.4 million to be drawn under the Rapid Credit Facility to the country to address COVID-19 impact. Rwanda was the first sub-Saharan African country to enforce total lockdown after it recorded its index case on March 8.
Togo has also received support from the IMF to address the impact of coronavirus on its economy. The executive board of the IMF on April 3 allowed the immediate disbursement of US$131.3 million to Togo to help address the economic and human implications posed by the pandemic. Togo was the eighth African country to record the coronavirus disease with its first case registered on March 6.
Côte d’Ivoire confirmed and announced its first case of the coronavirus on March 11 after many suspected cases between January and March. The country was the eighth in Sub-Saharan Africa to confirm the coronavirus. On April 17, Côte d’Ivoire was approved for a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and a Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to the tune of USD 295.4 million and USD 590.8 million respectively.
Ghana also received approval for a Rapid Credit Facility to the tune of USD 1 billion on April 13.
Many countries have sought financial assistance from the IMF in their bid to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Contrary to Mr Mahama’s claim, Togo, Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire have received financial assistance from the IMF to address the impact of COVID-19 on their economies.