Tue | Sep 26, 2023

Marks calls for concessional financing for middle-income countries

Published:Friday | June 10, 2022 | 12:07 AMDerrick Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey P. Marks.
President Joe Biden (centre) and First Lady Jill Biden greet Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica, during the Summit of the Americas on Wednesday, in Los Angeles. AP

Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Audrey P. Marks, has reiterated a call for access to concessional financing for middle-income countries, if Jamaica and other developing countries are to create an enabling environment for investment.

Addressing the First Ministerial Level Implementation Review Group of the Summit of the Americas at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California on Wednesday, Marks noted that “Jamaica and other developing countries understand that investment is an important catalyst for our development, job creation and increased foreign exchange flows.”


She said in light of this, “we are committed to the creation of an enabling investment environment through a series of financial and non-financial policies and the creation of a new economic space”.

However, she said, “In order to do so, our access to concessional financing must be treated with the utmost priority in spite of our classification as upper middle-income countries.”

“The issue of social inclusion and eradication of poverty must be among our top priorities,” she said. “We must continue to advocate for greater involvement of women in all areas of national development. The thrust of the 2030 agenda for global transformation, ensuring no one is left behind, calls for action to enhance the quality of life in all sectors of society, including vulnerable groups like women and girls that are consistently marginalised,” the Jamaican ambassador emphasised.

“We are convinced that providing our people, particularly our youth, with education and skills training to cope with global demands is of vital importance. That is why we are taking important steps to focus on science and technology, digital transformation, environmental protection and greater social inclusion,” she advised.

“Our aim is to transition to low carbon renewable energy without prejudice to our economic development. We are all mindful that one of the deferring challenges of our time is that of the issue of climate change and the global rise in temperatures.

“We are heartened by developments and decisions of the COP26 but much more needs to be done through climate financing to foster greater resilience, particularly to natural disasters,” the Jamaican envoy pointed out.

Marks told the hemispheric summit that, “Our region continues to grapple with transnational organised crime which undermines our development targets. The trafficking and flow in small arms into our hemisphere, human trafficking, illegal migration, increases in crime and gang violence mainly perpetuated by unattached youth continues to be of serious concerns.”

“The peace and security of our hemisphere is the future of our hemisphere. It is therefore imperative that we continue to strengthen our partnerships to collectively develop strategies to address these challenges and mitigate external shocks,” she declared.

Marks pointed out that the region was seeking “to recover from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economies, and more recently, the war in Europe. The pandemic resulted in a severe blow, particularly to our tourism, education and health sectors.

“We are acutely aware that the past several months have seen exponential increases in energy and food prices, disruption in supply chains and a slowdown in economic growth, coupled with a high debt burden, blacklisting and de-risking of some of our CARICOM member states and the persistent existential threat of climate change.”

Marks said that “the strength and success of the Summit of the Americas process rests, in part, on our ability to work together to build consensus around a viable partnership and an effective implementation strategy”.

“We know that the responsibility is great, but as partners we can strengthen our joint action by working together. Our presence here today, therefore, provides us with an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the vision of a stronger hemispheric partnership,” she concluded.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is leading Jamaica’s delegation to the summit and is supported by minister of industry, investment and commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill, and Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks.