VP’s Remarks At The Virtual Opening Session Of The Paris Peace Forum

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REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE PARIS PEACE FORUM ON THE 12TH OF NOVEMBER, 2020

 

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

 

The sheer scale of disruptions to our lives and livelihoods caused by COVID 19 certainly caught us all by surprise. But we must commend leaders and especially the people of our various countries for the remarkable speed of response and cooperation that staved off the worst of the pandemic.

 

The priorities of Nigeria in the post COVID-19 era include improved healthcare and the economy. First, we need to keep the virus under control. While our guards are still firmly in place, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of utmost concern.

 

On this, we are encouraged by the efforts of the World Health Organisation and other international agencies working to ensure that vaccine delivery will be equitable across all countries, regardless of the priority of orders and ability to pay.

 

Meanwhile, we are encouraging private investment to upscale our health sector, with emphasis on improved facilities and affordable universal healthcare.

 

Digital Infrastructure was vital for communications and commerce during the lockdown, we are therefore prioritizing nationwide broadband coverage by 2023.

 

The pandemic underscores the need for adequate financial buffers to cope with ‘black swan’ events.  For many developing countries, the debt burden makes this all but impossible. Therefore, we call for debt relief for these countries, and the extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) at least until the end of 2021 as well as commercial debt relief where needed.

 

Nigeria stands with all countries of the world in the effort to eradicate this virus, and leverage our experiences for a healthier and more prosperous world.

 

Thank you for listening.