OACPS First Extra-ordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of Heads of State and Government - Remarks by President Danny Faure - Wednesday 3rd June 2020
04 June 2020 | Foreign Affairs
Your Excellency, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and President in Office of the Summit of OACPS,
Your Excellency, Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary General of the OACPS,
All Protocols observed,
As leaders we must be bold, be the agents of change as we face the unknown. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the shortcomings in every country, and global cooperation and solidarity is what will help us address them.
The East African region which Seychelles represents on the ACP bureau has the highest number of SIDS in Africa. I am therefore obliged to speak on the behalf of SIDS in the region. The well-documented vulnerabilities of SIDS have become evident during and in the immediate aftermath of the first phases of this crisis. It is apparent that the crisis is likely to have a lasting negative economic impact on our countries. This could further lead to serious negative impacts on social indicators if governments cannot fund a decisive multi-sector response in the next 12 to 18 months.
Because of generally high GDP per capita, SIDS cannot access international development aid, including loans at preferential rates to fund their post-COVID-19 recovery and adaptation efforts. Because of the high dependence of SIDS on tourism, the impact of the crisis will induce a significant decline in our economies in 2020 with a substantial increase in unemployment and a drastic drop in the value of their currency. In the face of this global crisis, can the high GDP per capita measure be a reliable indicator for countries with tiny populations? You have me before.
Some SIDS like Seychelles may have recorded high level of development indicators, but faced with this sudden and unprecedented global crisis, accompanied by an economic shock, our vulnerabilities have aggravated to the level where the support of the international community is needed. SIDS appreciate the support rendered by the United Nations in the initial response to the health crisis. Seychelles, along with many other small island states, however also requires specific support to whether the crisis and strengthen its capabilities to recover and rebound. SIDS are in dire need of fiscal space to support the recovery efforts.
SIDS need to ensure that they can reopen their economy whilst preventing the spread of the virus, safeguarding food security, averting an economic crisis and resuming their progress towards achieving the SDGs. The SIDS community is therefore calling for an urgent and strong sense of solidarity amongst development partners and stakeholders in finding innovative approaches for helping small island states overcome the crisis. Together we can use the recovery as a way to shape a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient path to development.
Now is the time for us to step up on our South-South and triangular cooperation. No one will help us if we do not help ourselves, but working together in cooperation, in the spirit of solidarity, this is the message that our development partner has spoken today. So I thank you.
Going forward, I would like to call upon the OACPS Secretariat to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the main sectors of our respective economies and propose concrete solutions on how to build resilience so that we look to the future with more vigor, optimism and better preparedness.
For instance, the OACPS can opt for raising OACPS bonds internationally, call upon key players in the finance sectors and prominent business companies in the private sector to contribute towards the ACP Endowment and Trust Fund as it becomes operational, to assist the OACPS group in meeting their mandate.
Mr President, we have a special relationship with the EU, one that has strengthened over the years. We appreciate the willingness of the EU to consider ways and means of assisting our countries to fight this pandemic and to accompany us in our economic recovery.
However, I would like to echo my concern on the EU report on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing which has branded a set of OACPS and African States as High Risk Third Countries. Such a unilateral action pursued without consultation with the targeted States will adversely affect those States’ economic recovery during such a challenging time. It also erodes the principle of consultation which should characterize our partnership. I would like to appeal that the EU withholds the publication of its report and accords a moratorium for those targeted States to align their rules and regulations with international norms.
I have always valued the strong friendship between our nations, based on a profound understanding and appreciation of each other’s concerns. These are extraordinary times, and the need for solidarity has never been more urgent. I count on your support.
I thank you Mr Chairman.