Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at the Summit on Financing African Economies

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U.S. Department of the Treasury

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Press Release:             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

   May 18, 2021


Contact:                      Alexandra LaManna;



Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at the Summit on Financing African Economies

As prepared for delivery

It is a pleasure to join you today on behalf of President Biden.

The United States is committed to supporting African countries to recover from this pandemic. This includes helping to mobilize the financing needed to pay for vaccines, meet debt obligations, and support economic development.

We have made progress already, but we must do more together to ensure a durable economic recovery in Africa.

Our highest priority must be ending the pandemic. We must partner to provide vaccines, financing, and therapeutics as widely as possible. The United States has committed $4 billion to the COVAX Facility to finance vaccine access globally, and we urge other countries to increase their support.

The high and growing debt burden in some African economies further limits their ability to respond to the crisis. The G20 Common Framework can be a helpful tool for those countries with severe debt challenges. Its success requires full and transparent implementation by all creditors, as well as IMF and World Bank coordination.

In addition, we must support African investments for a sustainable and green recovery. We should use this opportunity to facilitate structural transformations, helping to make African economies more inclusive and resilient to future shocks, including those related to climate change. We are also working to bolster the ability of the IMF, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank to increase support to the poorest economies.

A new allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) can be an important part of this broader package of international support.

An allocation should come alongside enhanced transparency and accountability around the use of SDRs, as well as clear advice from the IMF as countries decide how to best use their SDRs to combat the crisis and restore economic stability.

We strongly support exploring how major economies can channel SDRs to amplify support for low-income countries, including by lending SDRs to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and other vehicles that could provide low-cost health financing and promote a green recovery.

Finally, African countries will also have to focus on domestic resource mobilization, private finance, and investment climate reform to help build back more sustainably.

Achieving our shared goals for a resilient and prosperous Africa requires strong global cooperation and a shared sense of commitment. I look forward to working together with our African, G20 and other international partners to advance our joint priorities.