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Historic OACPS Inter-Sessional Summit to address risks arising from COVID-19 pandemic and find solutions going forward

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Brussels, 03 June 2020/OACPS: Secretary-General, H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, in a pre-Summit interview today spoke of the importance of the Extraordinary Inter-sessional Summit being convened by the President-in-Office of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. “COVID-19 makes the possibility of a macro-financial crisis in OACPS Members very likely. OACPS countries must find between US $ 50 and 60 billion this year and much more in 2021 to meet their international obligations, in a context of foreign currency shortages. This will reduce their capacity to finance imports and brings the risk of default and lower ratings, which will restrict their access to the international capital markets.”

The Secretary-General went further to deplore the expected loss in revenues and incomes due to the downturns in key industries such as tourism. One of its most important industries, tourism, in Africa contributed 8.5% or US $ 194.2bn of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). A Caribbean-specific report from the Inter-American Development Bank stated that tourism accounts for between 33-38% of total GDP in the Caribbean. In the Pacific region, tourism is a driver of growth. These regions were forced to halt their tourism activities as a result of the lockdowns. This, on top of the diversion of limited government resources to combat the virus after suffering damages caused by climate change-related catastrophes.

President Kenyatta, in recognition of the convergence of multiple economic, environmental, political and humanitarian threats, which pose grave risks to the wellbeing and livelihoods of OACPS members, issued a message last month to his OACPS counterparts. He launched an appeal for solidarity and cooperation to tackle the effects of the Corona Virus pandemic, and called upon the international community to “provide all forms of support to countries, especially developing countries and in particular the most vulnerable, to help mitigate the effects of the Pandemic.”

The OACPS has mobilized over € 200 million from the 11th European Development Fund which is financed by the European Union and co-managed by the OACPS, to aid its Member States to boost health systems and preparedness and assist in the fight against COVID-19. OACPS Secretary-General Chikoti, who took over the leadership of the organisation in March 2020, is looking forward to strengthening partnerships to fortify national health systems and re-boot economies which have been severely damaged by COVID-19: “It is only when we are together in solidarity that we will be stronger and able to protect the dignity and worth of every human being.”

The Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the OACPS with the theme, “Transcending the COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity”, will be held on 3 June 2020.  The virtual Summit, which is hosted by the OACPS, aims to assess the current global COVID-19 situation, and in particular, the effects and consequences to the Members of the OACPS. In addition, Members will identify opportunities for global solidarity, action and mitigation.

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The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), formerly known as the ACP Group of States, is an organisation created by the original Georgetown Agreement in 1975, and subsequently revised in 2019. The OACPS’ main goals centre around the sustainable development of its Members and their gradual integration into the global economy; coordination of OCPS activities in the framework of the implementation of the existing Partnership Agreement with the European Union; consolidation of unity and solidarity among Members of the OACPS; and the establishment and strengthening of peace, security and stability in free and democratic societies.

 

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