President Muhammadu Buhari thursday told a virtual forum of world leaders backed by the United Nations (UN) that only debt cancellations can give developing countries reliefs from the devastation caused by COVID-19, Tagged “High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond,’’ the forum was convened by Canada, Jamaica and the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Gutteres, and attended by over 50 world leaders.
At the meeting, Buhari who said the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic had altered global events, renewed the appeal for debt cancellation for African countries, insisting that the only hope of reprieve for humanity is global solidarity.
According to him, this global solidarity can only be demonstrated through debt forgivenesses by developed countries and international financial institutions to “needy countries’’ especially in Africa.
This is coming as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government was expanding access to water, sanitisation and hygiene facilities as Nigeria’s most effective weapons against the spread of the pandemic.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari told the forum that such magnanimity by developed countries would assist African countries in reversing the devastations caused COVID-19 to the human race.
Adesina said Buhari also appealed to advanced nations to come up with free additional resources through an international consensus to aid the fight against pandemic by poor countries.
He said the president also advised advanced nations against adopting what he described as a ‘’me first’’ and ‘’every man for himself’’ approach, warning that consequences of such attitudes would be detrimental to the wellbeing of all nations in the 21st century.
“The world has changed through COVID-19 and so must the global financing architecture for development financing and the response to the current pandemic. There is an urgent need for weak and needy countries especially those of Africa, to receive a fresh reprieve.
‘’This is a historic plague affecting every corner of the globe. In the circumstances, the response needed must be global, unconditionally, comprehensive, and rapid. Debts must be forgiven and cancelled. Free additional resources are needed urgently through an international consensus to enable poor countries work to reverse the devastations of COVID-19 to the human race.
‘’Rising now and standing together in true global solidarity to my mind is the only hope for humanity, the best approach to safeguarding the 2030 SDGs and the only way we can build back for more resilient economies and societies,” he was quoted as saying.
According to the statement, the president used the forum to intimate the international community with the devastating impact of the pandemic on Nigerian economy, the country’s health sector and the efforts being made by the government to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.