By Asmau Ahmad

The African Health Budget Network, (AHBN) has advocated for prudent utilization of the International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), in Africa. AHBN’s Health Economist/Monitoring, and Evaluation Specialist, Mrs Maimuna Abdullahi made the call on Friday in Abuja, at the AHBN, Regional Meeting for Advocacy Dialogue with African Civil Society Organizations, (ACSOs), Media and Advocates on COVID-19, with panellists from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

The AHBN has previously analysed the global SDRs commitments from the IMF and developed a spotlight that is focused on Africa.

IMF is a global organization of 190 member countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the globe.

Provides loans including emergency loans to member countries experiencing actual or potential balance of payments problem.

It also monitors the international monetary system and global economic developments to identify risks and recommend policies for growth and financial stability, as well as, provide technical assistance and training to governments, including central banks, finance ministries, revenue administrations, and financial sector supervisory agencies.

Mrs Abdullahi disclosed that the SDRs were being distributed to all 190 IMF member countries in proportion to their quota shares in the IMF. She added to maximize the benefits of this allocation, the IMF is encouraging voluntary channelling of some SDRs from countries with strong external positions to countries that were most in need.

The expert noted that though the decision on how best to use SDR rests with member countries, the SDRs deployed must be for maximum benefit and the global economy, hence the need for the decisions to be prudent and well-informed.

“The IMF is also engaging with its member countries on the possibility of a new Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which could use channelled SDRs to help the most vulnerable countries with structural transformation, including confronting climate-related challenges

“Engage in-country key government officials including ministry of Finance and central bank meaningfully and actively to promote prudent utilization of SDRs allocated to your country.

“Support your country and provide vigorous advocacy for the use of some of the allocation on COVID-19 vaccine equitable distribution and access,” she explained.

According to her, this is a call to action to all ACSOs and the media to engaged in advocacy and accountability in-country that promotes long-term country needs that foster the resilience and stability of the country’s Advocacy to regional financial institutions, and also conduct regional and country webinars in 2022.

She disclosed that AHBN had also commenced reaching out to high income countries including – USA, France, Canada, Norway, Germany, Netherlands to invest their SDRs in African countries.