The Gambian president Adama Barrow has appealed for support package from the United Nations and the International community for the least developed countries amid the disruption of weak economies by the COVID-19 pandemic. He was addressing the 75th annual United Nations General (UNGA) meeting on Thursday from State House in Banjul.
“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 said.
He claims that The Gambia’s economy has shrunk 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.
“Developing countries, such as The Gambia, will continue to require support packages or bailouts from the United Nations and the international community in order to survive the ongoing economic decline. In this light, The Gambia reiterates 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 said 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 The Gambia, will be accorded special and speedy consideration.“
Beyond the borders, the Gambian leader appealed to the international community to take into account the Arab Peace Initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, urging for undertaking peaceful and genuine dialogue on a two-state solution.
He also asked the United States government to revoke sanctions in puts on the officials of the International Criminal Court.
Barrow also 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.”
Meanwhile, the president also calls for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States. “In the same vein, we fully endorse the one-China policy, and look forward to stronger, mutually beneficial international cooperation with the Peoples’ Republic of China.”
Gambian president has reechoed the need for Africa’s representation in the UN Security Council. “As we celebrate seventy-five years of the existence of this democratic Organisation, it is a paradox that Africa is still negotiating for representation on the Security Council. Yet, much of its agenda affect the African continent. Certainly, Africa’s voice on the Council will build confidence and reinforce the legitimacy of its decisions.”