President Muhammadu Buhari has called on developed and developing nations to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from the world’s 46 least-developed countries to ensure their integration in regional and global value chains.
Speaking in Doha, the capital of the State of Qatar, at the UN Conference of Least Developed Countries, the President strongly criticized the current structure of the global financial system which placed an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.
He warned that such debt burdens would make it extremely difficult for LDCs to meet the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
The President in a statement by one of his spokesmen, Mallam Garba Shehu, was quoted as saying: ‘‘In 2015, the world came together to endorse the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. There was no doubt that it was highly ambitious and would require leaders around the world to be fully committed for the SDGs to be achieved within the projected timeframe.
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‘‘Eight years on, the possibility of achieving the SDGs remains bleak for many countries, particularly, the Least Developed Countries. The difficulties in achieving the SDGs are numerous and were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued threat of Climate Change, and recently the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
‘‘The Least Developed Countries are often faced with developmental vulnerabilities and challenges that are not always of their making. These pose huge obstacles to their development efforts, hence the need for urgent and robust assistance to help unlock their potentials and build socio-economic resilience.
‘‘This assistance can be provided within the framework of the Doha Programme of Action which is designed to help Least Developed Countries exit their current classification.”
The Nigerian leader challenged developed countries, civil society actors, the private sector, and the business community to partner with the LDCs to provide necessary resources and capacity to deliver development outcomes in the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the 2030 Agenda.
He listed some measures that will help LDCs recover from COVID-19, achieve SDGs, develop and prosper over the long term.
‘‘As a matter of urgency, there are a number of priorities we have to focus on to help achieve the SDGs in these countries and ensure their prosperity. First, COVID-19 has taught us that we must all work together to ensure that diseases do not thrive in the LDCs, due to their overall negative impact on productivity and economic growth and development.
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‘‘Accordingly, policy and budgetary provisions must be made to ensure equal access to medicare and vaccines, for both the poor and the rich alike. We must also work with manufacturers of medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies to provide adequate equipment, test-kits, vaccines and treatments for diseases,’’ he said.