The Gambian president further informed the meeting that the country has registered over forty confirmed COVID-19 cases so far as he delivered his statement to the meeting themed, “Sharing Solutions in Challenging Times”.
“While most of the infected persons have recovered, unfortunately, two lives have been lost. However, there is a lot more to be done, with a lot of resources still needed to contain the virus,” he said.
He added that the country continues to be vigilant by increasing awareness and observing all relevant guidelines.
President Barrow noted the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19, which he said, brought to the fore the significant importance Commonwealth attaches to trade and investment. He described these as “prerequisites” for economic growth, sustainable development, employment and poverty reduction.
Consequently, he added, implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is immensely vital, just as the enhanced access to all markets for the exports of developing countries.
In recognition of this Commonwealth trade and investment potential, President Barrow used the meeting to sound an advocacy bell on what he called “the intensification of an intra-Commonwealth trade.”
“Commonwealth developing member countries should also be assisted with financial and technical assistance to allow the effective implementation of sound macroeconomic policies. This will lead to equitable distribution of the benefits of sustaining high rates of economic growth for poverty reduction,” he told the meeting.
“Foreign Direct Investment is an essential component of our national development efforts,” the Gambian president added, and further recommends the following:
- Commonwealth developed member countries are encouraged to provide adequate funds to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
- Small and vulnerable states need protection, considering the current challenges they face as nations that depend heavily on tourism and fishing. These industries now face huge challenges resulting from the pandemic.
- Finance for green growth initiatives and green infrastructure should be part of the efforts to create a sustainable future for all. Especially considering the severe, destructive, cumulative effects of climate change impact of natural disasters on vulnerable countries.
President Barrow said this pandemic constitutes the most daunting health and economic challenge ever faced by humankind, and calls for concerted global effort to effectively mitigate its economic and social consequences, especially the unprecedented loss of life.
“Despite our diversity as members of the Commonwealth family, we are all affected by the global pandemic, which has devastated our national economies and increased unemployment,” he maintained.