August 23, 2021

Washington, DC – On Monday the Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), along with a coalition of over 50 organizations, issued the joint statement “Groups Urge US Senate to Authorize Additional Relief to Combat the COVID-19 Crisis” regarding the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) release of 450 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). These funds did not require United States Congressional approval and are insufficient to address the needs of the nations suffering under heavy debt burdens exacerbated by the pandemic. AFJN is calling on all members of Congress, particularly the United States Senators to move quickly and pass legislation that would increase the amount of SDRs to 2 trillion dollars.  

Jacques Bahati, Policy Analyst at AFJN who has been one of the key advocates for the release of SDRs for African nations and a strong voice for the need for a global response to the COVID-19 Pandemic said the following:  

  • “Imagine the burden on African governments whose countries’ financial stability were already heavily burdened by debt payments and interest. The SDRs are essential to saving lives now.
  • “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is not close to over and we are seeing the extent of the financial burden here in the US, where we have state-of-the-art medical facilities and materials.
  • “We are happy that the US House of Representatives has voted in support of the use of the IMF’s SRDs.  It is now up to the US Senate to ensure that less advantaged countries, including African nations, will have access to additional needed funding to protect their populations from the threat of COVID-19 to their lives and livelihoods especially on the vulnerable and those living in poverty.
  • “The Senate, following the House’ example, should approve a bill in support of SDRs and AFJN is calling on the Senate to increase it to 2 trillion dollars – better meeting the growing needs of the global economy. 
  • “The IMF’s historic distribution today of 450 billion SDRs is a signal to all stakeholders, especially the US, that this is the way forward to help countries most in need.”

Read the joint statement “Groups Urge US Senate to Authorize Additional Relief to Combat the COVID-19 Crisis”  


The Africa Faith and Justice Network is a faith-based, non-partisan coalition of 28 US-based religious communities of men and women. Inspired by the Gospel and informed by Catholic Social Teaching, AFJN seeks to educate and advocate for just relations with Africa and to work in partnership with African peoples as they engage in the struggle for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.