I wish to start by thanking President Kenyatta for convening this extraordinary summit. I thank Dr Tedros for his presentation, and we fully support the World Health Organisation and its leadership in spearheading this global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
I also applaud the rich set of ideas and proposals which Your Excellencies have put forward today. It is a demonstration of the relevance of this newly-transformed organisation. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of cooperation among our three regions.
The coronavirus pandemic has already taken a severe toll in lives and lost economic activity. It is still impossible to say how long the disruption and hardships will last. And 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.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has also played a key role in building testing capacity around our continent.
As the African Union has done, we may also work to harmonise and amplify our voices on the continued need for our 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.
The ACP is an arrangement that has stood the test of time for over forty years. Over that period, 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. Covid-19 should not cause additional delays in finalising the post-Cotonou agreement.
At the same time, we should seize this opportunity to ensure that the prevention and recovery measures under discussion here are fully integrated into the final agreement. Europe will remain an important partner for our regions, just as we are important partners for Europe.
The effects of Covid-19 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.
I thank you for your kind attention, Heads of State and Government, and thank you President Kenyatta for inviting us to participate in this.