Monday 26 October, 2020

COVID-19: PM makes digital technology, vaccine appeal to world leaders

Andrew Holness

Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday called on world leaders to help developing nations improve digital capabilities.

Addressing a virtual high-level meeting on ‘Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the era of COVID-19 and Beyond’, Holness said the recovery of developing nations from the coronavirus pandemic hinges on digital technology.

“The increasing use of virtual platforms as an alternative to customary physical engagement, for human development and business continuity processes make it imperative for all countries to have access to digital technology and reliable connectivity," Holness said, adding that “This therefore must be a priority area for support for developing countries."

 Holness also appealed for COVID-19 vaccines to be made accessible to all countries when they become available.

"Also, a priority concern is a critical need to ensure that vaccines will be accessible to all countries on an equitable basis,” he said.

The meeting was convened by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, together with Holness and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. It highlighted work done over the last five months by finance ministries, the UN and other international organisations and some of the world’s leading economists to find the policy options and solutions that can advance comprehensive multilateral response to the devastating social and economic impacts of COVID-19.

According to Holness, COVID-19 has been a health and economic crisis with devastating consequences, impacting the overburdened health system, weak infrastructure and inadequate fiscal resources of developing countries.

He said developing countries are having a hard time responding to the social and economic consequences of COVID-19, particularly highlighting the Caribbean region’s dependency on tourism, which has been severely impacted.

Holness said that although governments of developing countries have implemented measures to deal with COVID-19, the fallout from the virus is still affecting the vulnerable members of society. 

“Multilateral financial institutions, notably the World Bank, the IMF and regional banks, have started to mobilise support. However, as public finances around the world come under pressure, attracting and leveraging private capital is a critical part of the recovery. Much more will be required of all of us and without delay.

“The scope of this pervasive pandemic clearly demands an extraordinary, inclusive and sustainable global management of the recovery process. We must seize the opportunity to make the global recovery plan sustainable for our climate and environment.” Holness said.

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