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, ECA.
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.
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.
While Africa accounts for 1% of global health expenditure, it carries 23% of the disease burden.
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, UNECA data show.
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.