The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr.Mamadou Tangara, on 4th May 2020 addressed Non-Aligned Movement member states during a virtual summit. The special online summit of the heads of state and government of Non-Aligned Movement member states was convened at the initiative of His Excellency Mr. llham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan.
Dr. Tangara who was part of 45 speakers who made statements at the summit called for concerted efforts in the fight against COVID-19. He maintains that: “No one is safe until when everyone is safe. We are in this together. Viruses have no respect for borders.”
Foreign Minister Tangara used the opportunity to inform the summit that The Gambia currently registered seventeen (17) cases, one death and nine treated and discharged. He revealed to the summit that The Gambia has taken the following measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic:
· Upgrading the health care services, provision of social support and security enforcement.
· Assessment of COVID-19 holding centres across the country completed with one thousand hospital beds being prepared in case of mass escalation of infections.
· Food stock available for public consumption and distributed to the vulnerable members of the population.
· Significant numbers of prisoners were pardoned in the spirit of decongesting the prison and social distancing to avoid infections.
· Massive testing campaign being conducted in the country.
Dr. Tangara said in light of COVID-19, The Gambia continues to struggle with high debt burden, drastic reduction of tourism and remittances and also anticipating potential decline in agricultural activity. He said the current plight prepares ground for food insecurity adding that recovery process could be slow, painful and hard.
He used the summit to call for debt relief which according to him is one of the major avenues to enable developing countries cope with the burden of COVID-19. He further extended gratitude and appreciation for the steps taken by IMF, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank, G7, G20 and the European Union towards debt cancellation.
He said beside the adverse socio-economic impact COVID-19 would have on societies, he thus called for the strengthening of global health systems and multilateral institutions.
At the conclusion of the summit, Non-Aligned Movement member states adopted a declaration amongst which is the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement Taskforce.
The said Taskforce which will be tasked to workout a database that will include the basic humanitarian, medical needs and requirements of NAM member states, which will be submitted by the Chairman to all donor countries, international humanitarian organisations, transnational private entities implementing social responsibility projects and others for possible support and assistance.
Issued by the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad