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Africa needs $100 bn economic stimulus amid coronavirus combat - UNECA


<p>Africa is two to three weeks away from the worst of the coronavirus storm and needs an emergency economic stimulus of $100 billion according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, <span class="caps">ECA</span>.</p> <p>This figure will bolster preventative measures and support its fragile healthcare systems. Almost half of the funds could come from waiving interest payments to multilateral institutions according to the organisation. </p> <p>That would give countries the fiscal space needed to impose social-distancing measures, widen social safety nets and equip hospitals ahead of an expected surge in infections.</p> <p>While Africa accounts for 1% of global health expenditure, it carries 23% of the disease burden.</p> <p>A lack of resources and staff means authorities must work fast to limit the spread of the disease on a continent where hospitals have an average of just 1.8 beds per 1,000 people, <span class="caps">UNECA</span> data show.</p> <p>As at March 31, there are more than 5,000 Covid-19 infections in 48 countries across the continent, according to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>