Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness told world leaders that in order for the world to emerge from the coronavirus crisis, there needs to be “an extraordinary inclusive and sustainable global management and recovery process”.
He made the comment yesterday while offering opening remarks at the Second High-Level Meeting Meeting of Heads of State and Government: ‘Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond’.
A joint effort of Holness and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, the virtual meeting, broadcast live on social media platforms, also saw the Kristalina Georgieva and David Malpass, presidents of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, respectively, making statements.
“Much more will be required of all of us, and without delay… The world needs a global plan as innovative, ambitious and impactful as the Marshall Plan was to Europe’s recovery after the devastation of World War II. We must seize the opportunity this time around to make the Global recovery plan sustainable to our climate and environment, empowering and uplifting of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised in our societies, and supportive of democratic and transparent governance,” Prime Minister Holness pointed out.
He prefaced this comment by highlighting that at the first meeting, on May 28 this year, the “devastating” impact of the coronavirus was already evident, presenting both as a health and economic crisis.
The prime minister added that developing countries stand to suffer most from the pandemic given that they have “overburdened health systems, weak infrastructure and inadequate fiscal resources to respond effectively to the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.
“Caribbean islands, with heavy dependence on service industries, particularly tourism have been among the most severely impacted. The poor, the vulnerable, and our women have been primary victims,” Holness added.
Notwithstanding, he acknowledged that both governments and international agencies have sought to remedy the economic conditions of the pandemic.
“We must seize the opportunity this time around to make the Global recovery plan sustainable to our climate and environment, empowering and uplifting of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised in our societies, and supportive of democratic and transparent governance,”— Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica
“Governments have started to implement fiscal and other measures to address the most urgent consequences. Multilateral financing institutions, notably the World Bank, the IMF and regional banks, have mobilised support,” Holness stated.
He added further: “We are grateful to our ministers of finance and other contributors for putting forward a rich slate of policy options to increase resource availability, address debt and liquidity concerns, and respond to the short-, medium- and long-term needs of developing countries in particular.”
These efforts, he said, will allow the government to focus on addressing the immediate crisis response to the pandemic while increasing resilience in the recovery process.
However, as government finances across the globe come under pressure, the imperative is to solicit and leverage private capital to boost post-COVID-19 recovery efforts, Holness reasoned.
With the coronavirus limiting physical engagement, thus driving more people to use virtual platforms to communicate, Holness believes that a priority for world leaders should be equitable “access to digital technology and reliable connectivity”, especially for developing countries.
Among the other priorities Holness proposed were accessibility to vaccines and concessional financing mechanisms for developing countries with high debt burdens.