OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue today to make the case for a co-ordinated global response to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s poorest countries.
He’ll be among the leaders and heads of state to deliver remarks during a virtual summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).
Among other things, he is expected to promise that Canada will partner with developing countries, which stand to be the hardest hit by the pandemic, and help to rally the world behind measures like debt relief to help them survive the crisis.
That is similar to the message Trudeau delivered last week while co-hosting a major United Nations summit, alongside UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Without a global co-ordinated recovery plan, the UN estimates the pandemic could slash nearly US$8.5 trillion from the world economy over the next two years, forcing 34.3 million people into extreme poverty this year and potentially 130 million more over the course of the decade.
While no country has escaped the economic ravages of the deadly novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, developing countries, already in debt distress before the pandemic, cannot afford the kinds of emergency benefits and economic stimulus measures undertaken in wealthy, industrialized countries like Canada.
Prior to the UN summit, Trudeau argued that ensuring poorer countries survive the crisis is not just the right thing to do, it’s in Canada’s own self-interest.
“Canadian jobs and businesses depend on stable and productive economies in other countries, so it matters to us how everyone weathers this storm,” he said last week.
Today’s summit is to be chaired by Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta. OACPS is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states, many leaders of which are expected to take part.
Trudeau is positioning Canada as a leader in the push for a global recovery plan just as the country is competing for one of two coveted, non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council later this month against Norway and Ireland.
Canada is running on a platform of trying to help rebuild the post-pandemic world.