He was speaking during the 1st virtual extraordinary inter-sessional summit of heads of state and government of the organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) under the theme “Transcending the Covid-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity”. President Barrow said the pandemic has impacted severely both the formal and informal sectors of our economy. He added that the need to pay due attention to both sectors is urgent, noting that our informal sector contributes crucially towards sustaining livelihoods and to GDP.
“Undoubtedly, the containment measures will have multiple effects in both urban and rural settings. Economically, women and the youth are the most vulnerable groups, as their income generating activities centre heavily on the Tourism, Fisheries and Artisanal Industries.”
He called on development partners to collaborate with them to respond effectively to the economic challenges posed by Covid-19, with respect to SDG 11, on sustaining urban settlements.
He added that countries must outline strategies and action points to minimise disruption to the food and agriculture systems, while adequately supporting the livelihoods of all vulnerable groups.
President Barrow further indicated that sustaining Agricultural production and strengthening food systems need to be intensified urgently for Member States whose economies rest heavily on commodity exports and food imports.
“Financing Development should be central to discussions on building resilient economies and advancing social inclusion and development. Thus, addressing the debt burden on developing countries, expanding fiscal space and fostering domestic resource mobilisation are essential to strengthen our socio-economic systems.”
He reiterated that they have noted with grave concern the recent unilateral publication of the EU list of High Risk Third Countries on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, effective 1 October 2020.
He continued that such blacklisting will adversely affect the economic recovery strategies of many of the member countries in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and, further, impact investments, financial aid and cross border financial transactions within the Organisation.
He called on the EU and other development partners to cooperate with the member countries, especially in these difficult times.
“The Gambia welcomes global efforts to strengthen our health systems for universal health coverage and to boost our emergency preparedness capacity beyond Covid-19.”