H.E. Boris Trajkovski
President of the Republic of Macedonia

International Conference on Financing for Development 

Monterrey, Mexico
21 March 2002

Mr. President, Distinguished Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be with you today, sharing the platform with such a group o f distinguished individuals as we work toward developing a new dimension in development and as we pave the path toward the creation of conditions for sustainable development of the global economy, with a special emphasis on least developed and developing countries.

I want to begin my brief remarks by reminding all of us gathered here that the wealth and assets we have, collectively as countries and as individuals, are given to us to manage as responsible stewards, for our time on this earth. Whether we come from rich countries or poor countries, we must remember that our goals should be creating conditions that allow for individuals - our citizens - to reach and achieve their God-given potential. This is one reason why I am pleased that the goals we are working toward achieving these few days are so clearly defined. The "Monterrey Consensus" which will be the final output of this conference reflects the needed activities for the appropriate implementation of the new development agenda and provides for a way for stable financing of the same. In this regard, I congratulate all of those who have worked so hard on this document that is the result of long negotiations and preparation process.

Mr. President,
Recently a representative from an international NGO working in Macedonia told me that one of the beneficiaries they work with stated, "...we are thankful for the blankets, stoves, windows and doors, but what we really need is jobs." This sums up our work here this week - how do we create jobs for individuals in countries such as Macedonia given the new development agenda of the world.

In order to finance development, we need global action first on a local level, then on a national level, then on a regional level and then on a global level in order to improve living standards for all. A global increase in the world economy will eventually provide for a decrease in poverty, a closing of the gap between rich and poor and implementation of the concept of sustainable development in every dimension. The success of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha and the successful outcome of the Monterrey Conference are a good basis for the success of the World Summit for Sustainable Development that will be the culmination of a cycle in determining a new agenda. This new agenda will make the benefits of globalization equally accessible to all states and people of the world.

Mr. President,
As you all know, last year my country was a target of brutal attacks from extremist armed groups whose purpose was to destabilize Macedonia, to disrupt interethnic cohabitation and the development of democratic processes. Thanks to responsible politicians, we have managed to find a political solution to the crisis. However, full stabilization of the country, requires economic recovery. In that respect, the international community last week at the Donors' Conference pledged 307 million euro, which was additional sign of support and recognition to the peace oriented policy of Macedonia.

However, allow me to send you the same message that the British Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, sent at the Summit of the 50th Anniversary of the Multilateral Trading System, to the world leaders after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. I hope that you will all encourage your companies to look at the new opportunities for trade and investment that the Ohrid Agreement is bringing in Macedonia. That you will help us bring economic prosperity needed to underpin peace. These investments and trade will be investment in peace and stability and will help us bring economic prosperity and strengthen democratic processes and the civil character of my country.

Entirely aware of the importance of international support, long term prosperity requires mobilization of domestic financial resources as an important engine of economic development. Unfortunately, negative experiences from the past, including the non-liquidity of banks, had a negative effect on level of the domestic savings which in turn had a negative effect in the lack of domestic capital and addiction to foreign credits and grants. However, despite numerous challenges such as an unstable region and the security crisis in my country, we have been able to succeed in increasing the personal national savings rate. Our ultimate goal continues to be an increase in domestic investments in the economy, especially in small and medium sized enterprises, which are the biggest engine of any economy.

While increasing domestic accumulation is a prime goal of ours, the attracting of foreign direct investments is also a priority. To achieve this, Macedonia is creating a legal framework that is guaranteeing the security of foreign direct investments. In addition, I would like to emphasize the need for a more active role of the international community. The Republic of Macedonia is an example of a country that has all the right conditions for attracting foreign direct investment but which has seen potential investors turn away due to the various conflicts in the region and the country. The international community should apply a so called preventive economy - orienting and guaranteeing potential investors in countries that have come out from a conflict and which need sustainable stability.

The strengthening of international trade is also an important factor in the financing of development. The creation of a liberal multilateral trade system will considerably stimulate development and will produce certain benefits that are available to all countries. As a small country Macedonia can achieve growth only by creating an open market economy. In this context, my country has signed numerous free trade agreements and intends to reach such arrangements with all other countries from the region. Macedonia will fully support the new round of trade negotiations launched at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha and does identify herself with the need of all countries to take measures to strengthen their international trade. The international community should support the process of quick accession to the WTO of all interested countries.

Foreign debt is also an important element that has influence to the development capabilities of the countries. The rising debt crisis in the world has had an extremely bad influence on global economic development. That is why there is a need for action on the part of the international community to alleviate the negative affects of the debt crisis. We support the HIPC initiative and are pleased with the increase in the number of states that are a part of it. It is very important for us, as we stated in the preparatory process, for a mechanism that would provide for the partial pardoning of the debts of medium-developed, medium indebted, and countries in transition.

In this regard, I would like to express my satisfaction with Article 50 of the Monterrey Consensus that deals with this issue. This article will help in searching for proper solutions in negotiations with the clubs of creditors and the Breton-Woods institutions. The Republic of Macedonia is a perfect example of a medium indebted country that, before our recent conflict, had a rising economy.

In order to provide for further implementation of the long-term commitments of this conference, there is a need for improvement in the cooperation between Governments, international organizations and, the NGO sector within the framework of the agenda agreed on the conference. The UN system, and especially ECOSOC has a very important role to play, not least in the monitoring and coordination of the implementation process. Only with an active attitude and complete implementation of the obligations agreed on at this conference by all sides involved, can we create conditions for sustainable and long-term financing of development to the benefit of all of us.

Mr. President,
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that we must do a better job of reaching out to those who fear global economic development. There are many who are afraid of this trend and believe that those who have the resources do not want to share with those do not.

The people of Macedonia, and of the Balkans, are resourceful, creative, hardworking and energetic. We just need that hand up to help us achieve it. And that is why I am excited about our new agenda focusing on sustainable economic development. The responsibility of wealthier nations toward the rest of the world is to be responsible stewards of that wealth. The best way to accomplish that stewardship is through the promotion of sustainable economic development throughout the world and by helping less fortunate countries - but those that are willing to shoulder their share of the burden - to become more prosperous.

Thank you.

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