Phillips leads delegation to Ethiopia

Sunday, July 12, 2015

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FINANCE and Planning Minister, Dr Peter Phillip left Jamaica yesterday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, sponsored by the United Nations from July 13 through 16.

The conference is expected to arrive at an agreement in the Addis Ababa Accord, on a range of modalities for financing sustainable development, both domestic and international. In this regard, the conference will address issues relating to the new sustainable development goals to be agreed on in September 2015.

The recent multilateral efforts to promote international development cooperation, the inter-relationship of all sources of development financing, the synergies between financing objectives across the different dimensions of sustainable development, as well as the need to support the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015 are issues on the conference agenda for inclusion in the final Accord.

This high-level UN sponsored consultation will include presentations from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon; President of the UN's General Assembly, Sam Kahamba Kutesa; President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim; Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and Director General of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevêdo among others.

Jamaica's participation in the conference as a small island developing state and as a middle-income country is important to the decision-making that will take place by the international community. The conference provides the country with an opportunity to participate in the dialogue on formulating new initiatives related to the mobilisation of resources for development, as well as to communicate concerns and imperatives relevant to middle income and small island countries like Jamaica.

These imperatives include building resilience as the basis for inclusive growth, middle-income designation and access to development finance, debt and debt sustainability and domestic resource mobilisation within the context of fiscal sustainability.

Jamaica has been asked to use this opportunity to articulate the Caribbean's and Jamaica's position on the need for some unique international response to the debt dilemma within the region due to the vulnerabilities of small island developing states which has led to their economic underperformance. This discussion is of great importance to the region in the context of the designation of middle income status given to Caribbean countries which preclude them from access to debt forgiveness programmes that are accessible to highly indebted poor countries, the Jamaica Government has said.

Jamaica has sought to coordinate its interests with like-minded countries with the context of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC). In addition to delivering Jamaica's statement to the Conference, Dr Phillips has also been invited to co-chair a Commonwealth Secretariat Forum on "Leapfrogging Traditional Capital Markets: Exploring the Development Potential of Crowd-funding" to highlight this new and more broad-based form of raising funds from investors.

Dr Phillips will also join other speakers at an OECD UN-DESA Plenary Session where he will share Jamaica's experience with Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and the way forward. Additionally, the finance minister will be participating in a panel discussion put on by the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to highlight the specific needs of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean regarding closing the financial and resource gaps, with special attention to the issue of debt relief for Caribbean countries.

In addition to his attendance and general participation at the conference, Dr Phillips is also scheduled to have a series of bi-lateral meetings with representative of the US Treasury Department, the IMF, World Bank and other multilateral institutions in attendance on Jamaica's economic reform programme and their continued assistance in the country's growth and development objectives.

Dr Phillips is accompanied by the Director of Social Policy Planning and Research of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Easton Williams, Senior Economist in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Everton McFarlane, Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Sheila Sealy Monteith, Jamaica's Special Envoy to the African Union, Ambassador Carlton Masters, and Technical Advisor to the Minister, Helen McIntosh.

The team will return to Jamaica on Saturday, July 18.

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