President Paul Kagame has said that for the wold to defeat and recover from COVID-19 pandemic will require increased cooperation and mutual interdependence.
The head of state was speaking 1st Extraordinary Inter-Sessional virtual Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), which discussed responses to the COVID19 pandemic.
The meeting was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
President Kagame observed that the coronavirus pandemic has already taken a severe toll in lives and lost economic activity, adding that it is still impossible to say how long the disruption and hardships will last.
He said that the response capacity of many members of our organisation needs reinforcement.
“In this context, it is important for the African, Caribbean and Pacific States to cooperate closely on measures to end the pandemic and enhance economic resilience. In particular, coordination will be needed to ensure equitable access to treatments, vaccines, and medical supplies,” President Kagame said.
“The effects of COVID-1 9 will persist long after the virus has been defeated and the road to recovery will be long. Increased cooperation and mutual interdependence will be the hallmark of effective international response,” President Kagame said.
The head of state commended the role played by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in building testing capacity around the continent.
As the African Union has done, President Kagame urged OACPS leaders to harmonise and amplify their voices on the continued need for their respective countries to have adequate fiscal space to respond effectively.
“The continued sanctions on two members of our organisation, Sudan and Zimbabwe, should be lifted in order to support their ability to respond to the health crisis in help of their populations,” Kagame noted.
The ACP is an arrangement that has stood the test of time for over forty years. Over that period, the head of state said, much has changed for the better in terms of social and economic development.
The ongoing negotiations to define the next phase of the relationship between the ACP States and the European Union reflect these new realities, and this is very significant, Kagame mentioned.
He added that Covid-19 should not cause additional delays in finalising the post-Cotonou agreement.
President Kagame urged ACP leaders to ensure that the prevention and recovery measures discussed are fully integrated into the final agreement between ACP and the European Union.
“The effects of Covid-1 9 will persist long after the virus has been defeated and the road to recovery will be long. Increased cooperation and mutual interdependence will be the hallmark of effective international response,” President Kagame added.
The head of state also thanked President Kenyatta for convening the extraordinary ACP summit and commended Secretary-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his leadership in spearheading the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.