Covid-19: Uhuru to hold virtual meeting with global leaders
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Wednesday hold a virtual meeting with leaders from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions.
The meeting will discuss how to revive economies, and find alternative sources of funds in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The meeting seeks to “assess the current global situation of Covid-19”, according to a dispatch circulated last week by the organisers.
Collectively known as the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the leaders will be holding an online meeting for the first time.
The meeting is officially known as Intersessional Summit on Transcending Covid-19 Pandemic.
While the pandemic has reached nearly every country, organisers say the effects on OACPS members will form the main discussions, including impacts beyond health.
President Kenyatta is the OACPS’s President-in-Office, a title given to hosts of the organisation’s previous Summit to lead the implementation of outcomes of those meetings.
Kenya hosted the 9th Summit in December last year where leaders agreed to strengthen good governance, peace and security, environmental sustainability and climate change, as well as socio-economic development.
With more than 101, 400 infections and 2739 reported deaths among its members, organisers say the meeting should reflect on whether those goals can be achieved.
“A coordinated approach is required in efforts to control and manage the multiplicity of threats, including economic and humanitarian challenges posed by the pandemic,” a statement said.
OACPS has about 30 small island nations as members and officials say they could be most affected by the pandemic, especially since they already face problems from climate change. Most of those island nations, as well as some countries in mainland Africa are also considered least developed and rely on aid from richer countries.
“Climate change, food insecurity, disruption of supply chains, reduced trade flows, suppressed tourism, reduced remittances, reduced government revenues and high debt levels are key challenges that the OACPS Members States will need to address during and after the pandemic,” a statement from organisers said.
Traditionally, the OACPS (formed in 1975 as ACP Group of States) had an arrangement with the European Union through the Cotonou Agreement, where poorer countries in the OACPS get favoured treatment to help elevate their economies through less restricted exports to the EU markets, as well as significant aid into their territories.
With the pandemic weakening economies of these donors, it means economies of the OACPS could take a beating as there are little exports.
Wednesday’s meeting, themed “Transcending the COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity”, will see President Kenyatta lead talks on keeping economies running and “rebooting for a strong recovery, and boosting global solidarity and deepening partnerships.”
Last week, State House indicated the meeting “makes specific pronouncements on intended collective and collaborative approaches that will ensure that the effects of the pandemic have minimal disruptions to our economic and social activities and especially our productive sectors.”
Ahead of the Summit, Angolan diplomat Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, the Secretary-General of OACPS said member states will discuss solutions on how to protect weaker states.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to ravage – in some cases – already vulnerable member states of the OACPS,” he said in a statement.
“Crises like these can have a disproportionate effect on OACPS countries and we are committed to seeing how best we can support our members to contain this fallout and secure the well-being of their citizens.”