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The socioeconomic crisis associated with COVID-19 threatens progress toward attaining sustainable development goals. In this regard, global GDP will contract in 2020 by 5.2% against 2.8% in SSA. In addition, as the global recession is imminent, developing countries stand to accommodate about 60 million people into extreme poverty amid rising debt. However, as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, United Nations and African Union resolve to eradicate extreme poverty through aspirations for inclusive growth by 2030 and 2063, respectively. Based on this background, this paper examines the impact of debt and COVID-19 and the effectiveness of growth inclusiveness for sustainable development in SSA. Imperatively, using a panel of 43 countries over the period 2016-2019, it is established that the level of employment increases just as life expectancy improves, in tandem with inclusive growth. Also, the timeline analysis of the COVID-19 period reveals that the unemployment rate and public debt are increasing substantially above the levels before the outbreak, thereby portending a setback on the gains achieved towards sustainable development in the region. As such, total debt cancellation is suggested, along with more financial assistance to economies in the region.