President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed a high-level meeting of the UN via a video message on financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the COVID era.
António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General said reaching the 1-million mark for COVID-19 related deaths is a “tragic milestone”.“The economic and social consequences are as bad as we feared, and in some cases, worse. We are suffering the largest economic contraction since the Second World War.
Unless we take action now, we face a global recession that could wipe out decades of development and put the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development completely out of reach.”
Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund also emphasized the seriousness of the economic situation saying: “The situation is particularly grave for low-income countries.” President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, said the pandemic was impacting developing countries most severely: “Our data shows that over 100 million people could fall into extreme poverty this year with an additional increase in 2021, potentially bringing the number of additional people living in extreme poverty to 150 million.”
In his message, Ramaphosa said that Africa needed $100 billion dollars for “fiscal space and liquidity” for the continent’s governments following the fallout of the global pandemic.
Ramaphosa added that the overarching principle of the SDG’s was that no country was left behind. “The pandemic has set back the SDG process, and we now require additional financial resources to enable developing economies to respond effectively not just to the pandemic, but to recover and rebuild.” Ramaphosa said that weak public health systems compounded the challenges faced by developing economies. Limited social safety nets, high levels of inequality, high debt burdens, reduced tax revenues, capital outflows and lack of adequate and sufficient access to financial markets also added to the challenges.
Ramaphosa called on developed countries not to renege on commitments to support developing countries in the climate change adaptation and mitigation effort. “The pandemic has vastly reduced the fiscal space of countries to meet their commitments to support development. Working together, it is in within our means to eradicate poverty and inequality, achieve greater economic and social justice and conserve our natural world for future generations,” the president added.