By Omar Bah
While addressing the 75th annual UN General meeting last Thursday, President Adama Barrow has appealed to UN and the international community to relieve or cancel debts owed by developing countries like The Gambia.
“We reiterate the strong call by the African Union for debt relief or debt cancellation, enhanced access to global finance, reduction of transaction costs on remittances and increased global solidarity and partnership,” Barrow told fellow leaders through a Zoom Meeting from the State House.
Barrow said developing countries, such as Gambia, will continue to require bailouts from the UN and international partners in order to curb the ongoing economic decline.
“The implementation of our National Development Plan, 2018-2021 has been hampered by the pandemic. We hope that the unique circumstances and challenges of the Least Developed Countries, especially countries in transition like ours, will be accorded special and speedy consideration,” he said.
He also appealed for relief package from the international community for the LDCs to curb the economic effects of Covid-19.
The Gambian leader added: “Small and developing nations have been struggling to manage their debt burdens, while trying to develop their economies. The outbreak of the pandemic has reversed our gains, with low revenue earnings and high public expenditure becoming the norm.”
He resolved that The Gambia’s economy has dwindled to 2% of GDP.
“…and it continues to contract as tourism sector, which is a major employer and foreign exchange earner, is devastated, and unemployment is increasing rapidly,” he said.
He appealed to the international community to take into account the Arab Peace Initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying peaceful and genuine dialogue on a two-state solution would be crucial.
Turning to the recent sanction by the US on the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Barrow urged the United States government to revoke the sanctions as he renewed Gambia’s interest in the case filed at the International Court of Justice on the plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
“In this endeavor, we count on the support and efforts of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and all genuine partners to ensure that justice is served in Myanmar.”
President Barrow also called for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the US.
He also reignited calls for Africa’s representation in the UN Security Council, arguing “it is a paradox that Africa is still negotiating for representation on the Security Council.”