Countries that form the Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States on Wednesday called on developed countries to lift sanctions on its members and provide more debt relief to enhance fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his capacity as the organization’s President-in-Office, cited the growing debt burden and existing economic sanctions among its members as challenges that are aggravating the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The debt of many member states continues to rise. Forty four percent of low income and least developed countries (LDCs) are in debt distress or assessed as being at high risk of external debt distress,” Kenyatta said in a statement issued in Nairobi after holding a virtual summit of Heads of State and Government.
Kenyatta noted that the debt of many OACP countries continues to rise saying close to half of the low income and least developed countries have hit debt crisis levels.
“COVID-19 and related global economic shocks will exacerbate this problem,” he said during the meeting which leaders welcomed the various debt relief measures being rolled out by global lenders but called for more interventions including debt cancelation.
The meeting, also attended by OACPS development partners led by France, Norway and Canada, expressed dissatisfaction at the recent decision by the EU to list some of its members as high-risk nations for money laundering and terrorism financing.
The leaders said the international community needs to lift the sanctions so as to enable the African nations to apply their resources in mitigating their populations from the adverse socio-economic effects of the current health crisis.
They urged for the lifting of economic sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe and called for global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. They also voiced their support for the World Health Organization.
During the meeting, the leaders resolved to deepen cooperation through South-South, North-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Kenyatta said diversified partnerships established through these new avenues will help alleviate the health and socioeconomic disruptions caused by COVID-19.
“At the national level, COVID-19 has led to a shrinking of fiscal space while at the international level, the pandemic has weakened the pipeline of resources dedicated to development programs,” he said.
The leaders agreed to broaden sources of financing COVID-19 response and recovery interventions through public-private partnerships as well as through increased access to concessional financing.