Johannesburg: The International Monetary Fund has approved a USD 4.3 billion emergency loan to South Africa as it reels under the coronavirus pandemic.
The country has the world's fifth largest virus caseload, and confirmed cases are approaching half a million.
The fact that Africa's most developed country for the first time approached the IMF for a loan is the latest sign of pain. Unemployment is above 30 per cent and rising, and major state-owned enterprises were already in poor shape.
The IMF says South Africa is seeing a “sharp economic contraction,” though authorities responded swiftly to this latest crisis. The government weeks ago announced a historic USD 26 billion economic relief package.
Other African nations are watching how the country of 57 million responds to the pandemic as cases begin to climb in many parts of the continent.