6 December 2021 - Almost two years since the COVID 19 pandemic was declared, prospects for developing countries remain highly uncertain. Low vaccination rates and limited fiscal resources, amid the emergence of new variants and growing indebtedness, are hampering the efforts of policy makers to spur an economic recovery.
Ministers and high-level representatives from 55 developed and developing countries called for greater international support for developing countries on the occasion of the Seventh High-level Meeting of the OECD Development Centre, under the heading “Accelerating a just recovery for all” today. A New Deal for Development, based on solidarity and shared responsibility, could improve access to vaccines and mobilise international and domestic resources at a much larger scale. It would also ensure the crisis becomes an opportunity to reorient development models towards greater resilience, inclusion, equity and environmental sustainability.
OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann welcomed officials from the OECD Development Centre’s 55 member countries, international organisations and civil society representatives. The meeting was co-chaired by Costa Rica and Togo. “We often hear that ‘we are all in it together’ but we are not really together in dealing with the pandemic. As of today, only 7.3% of the African population is fully-vaccinated and the cost of accessing much-needed financial resources remains too high,” said Victoire Dogbe, Prime Minister of Togo. Andres Valenciano, Minister of Commerce of Costa Rica, emphasised the importance of trade, industry and innovation to overcome the pandemic, saying “We need well-functioning supply-chains and to refrain from export bans”. Beyond the immediate response, he added, “More needs to be done to invest and support research and industrial development in developing countries.”
Urgent global action is needed to increase vaccination rates, especially in developing countries. Ministers commended multilateral efforts to distribute vaccines, particularly the work of COVAX, and welcomed the aspiration of countries donating one dose of vaccine for every dose administered at home (“one to one, everyone”). However, with supply pressures now easing, the meeting also underlined the importance of overcoming barriers to administering vaccines, including logistical challenges and vaccine hesitancy. Ministers also stressed the need to start preparing collectively for future pandemics.
Many developing countries could not respond to the pandemic on the same scale as advanced economies due to stagnating public revenues, growing debt levels and higher costs of borrowing. They are struggling to meet the ongoing costs of the pandemic, let alone invest in a recovery. Ministers welcomed the historic general allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDR), equivalent to USD 650 billion, to boost global liquidity. They also encouraged countries with strong external positions to channel a share of their SDRs to help low-income and vulnerable middle-income countries finance the recovery.
Ministers and high-level officials called for those challenges to be addressed in a sustainable manner through:
In support of these objectives, Ministers welcomed the Centre’s work and partnerships with institutions in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In particular, they encouraged the Centre to:
Finally, as the Development Centre approaches its 60th anniversary, the 55 member countries confirmed the relevance and value-added of the Centre and the original vision of its founding father, US President John F. Kennedy. Members established a Group of Eminent Personalities to reflect on pressing development challenges.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Bochra Kriout (+33 145 24 82 96) at the OECD Development Centre Press Office.
Learn more about the OECD Development Centre: www.oecd.org/dev.