Hon. Famara L. Jatta
Secretary of State
for Finance and Economic Affairs
on Financing for Development
22 March 2002
On behalf of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of The Gambia,
Dr. Alhaji Yaya A.J.J Jammeh and my delegation, I should like to express
our appreciation to the Government of Mexico for hosting this historic
conference and for the warm reception extended to me, and my delegation
since our arrival in this beautiful city of Monterrey. We also commend
the United Nations Secretariat, the World Bank, IMF and WTO, for their
role in the preparation of this conference and for their continued support
to LDCs in our bid to meet the myriad challenges of globalization.
The declining level of ODA is a matter of grave concern to developing
Countries, especially the LDCs. Even though ODA is critical for meeting
our many investment requirements and for eradicating poverty in the LDCs,
most of our development partners have not fulfilled their commitments to
its substantial increase. On the part of the LDCs, it is imperative to
improve the utilization and effectiveness of ODA, so as to reduce and eventually
phase out our aid dependency. We are concerned about the persistent decline
of aid flows and believe that ODA must be increased to the agreed annual
equivalent of 0.7 percent of the GNP of developed countries. This need
becomes urgent against the backdrop of the well
known difficulties faced by the LDCs in generating sufficient resources
domestically, for their development requirements.
External debt is a serious challenge to almost all developing countries
and there is need for appropriate strategies compatible with a range of
situations. We should, together, agree on practical, realistic and comprehensive
solutions to the problems of external debt of developing countries. Debt
relief, including debt cancellation, should be provided expeditiously for
highly indebted poor countries. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
initiative should be fully financed through additional resources and not
from resources hived off from outlays already made for our development
The HIPC Ministers, meeting on Financing Poverty Reduction Beyond HIPC
II reiterated their commitment to mobilizing external and national resources
for poverty reduction, in ways that would ensure genuine long-term debt
sustainability and financial market development. They also committed themselves
to utilize debt relief proceeds productively and transparently on poverty
reduction programmes, among other things. We will obviously not be able
to do all of this by ourselves. We shall require commitment from, and partnership
with the international community. Above all, we shall need substantial
new external financing in support of our efforts.
In The Gambia, we have been making serious efforts to create an enabling
environment to expand the domestic resource base, and strengthen mechanisms
and Institutions to generate more resources and utilize them more efficiently,
and to improve the trade and investment climate. Our efforts have led to
dramatic improvements in recent years as a result of our implementation
of comprehensive structural and institutional reform measures, which emphasize
greater reliance on market-based mechanisms for the allocation of resources.
These reforms include the liberalization of trading and payment arrangements,
in furtherance of Government's objective to reduce the size and role of
the public sector and correspondingly, make the private sector the economy's
main engine of growth.
We have however, come to the realization that, in spite of our own individual
efforts, the most important determinant of success on a sustained basis,
is a supportive and conducive International environment.
This conference would therefore have succeeded to the extent that it
proves able to lay the foundation of a new International financial system
that would be responsive to the priorities of growth, development and economic
and social equity in the developing countries.
Although globalization has helped increase growth and wealth in certain
countries in recent years, it has not done so for the LDC's. A worsening
of the imbalances has impeded development and aggravated poverty in the
LDC's. And while we welcome the opportunities globalization could offer
for socio-economic progress, we fear that as pursued at present, it is
threatening to further marginalise the poor in many of our countries.
Trade is a most important mechanism for mobilizing and expanding the
resource base for financing development. In my view, an open, rules-based,
transparent and nondiscriminatory and predictable multilateral trading
system, is essential for a healthy global economic system and would contribute
significantly to world economic growth and the smooth integration of the
economies of developing countries into the global economy. The multilateral
trading system under the WTO must therefore be sensitive to the particular
needs of LDCs.
The initiative by President Bush to increase the share of grants (as
opposed to loans) in IDA, the concessional lending window of the World
Bank, is a step in the right direction. We fully support the idea of increasing
the grant element to IDA only countries to 50% in a bid to improve the
effectiveness of development assistance and to increase per capita incomes
in the poorest countries. However, most donors have been reluctant to come
along with the U.S. on this issue. I am kindly appealing to the donor community
to support the U.S. in this positive and laudable initiative in our fight
against poverty. In the same vein we welcome the decisions to increase
ODA by President Bush and the European Union.
We wish to express our faith and confidence in the millennium development
goals, which although ambitious but are indeed achievable with the concerted
and sustained action by LDCs and their development partners. Developed
Countries must unlock the financial resources needed for the development
of LDCs, and for the attainment of the Millennium development goals. An
effective follow-up and monitoring mechanism should be established for
this Conference with a time bound action program to ensure that aid is
delivered to the poor, and on time.
The task ahead may be daunting, but my delegation is confident that
the collective wisdom of this Conference will provide a framework for a
strong global partnership based on shared responsibility to promote economic
growth and development in the LDCs. In this, all countries have a role
to play and none ought, for whatever reason, be left out, least of all,
those countries that have shown goodwill and a willingness to contribute
significantly to world trade, employment creation and poverty alleviation.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) has done much to contribute to these global
responsibilities; and their presence here, as a major trading nation and
a not-insignificant generator of income earnings for many around the world,
would have, no doubt, enriched our deliberations.
My Government pledges its full support to the process that is unfolding
at this Conference, and looks forward to the early implementation of the
many commitments made by developed and developing countries alike, at this
historic meeting in Monterrey.
I thank you for your attention.
Statements at the Conference