NEW YORK: The world must commit to reform of the international financial structure to enable developing nations to grow and reach development goals, Djibouti’s foreign minister told the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
Mahmoud Ali Youssouf criticized what analysts sometimes call “minilateralism” — the tendency of countries to group together in clubs — saying it erodes inclusive multilateralism.
He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to intergovernmental negotiations for the Summit of the Future, which aims to reinvigorate multilateralism, boost implementation of national commitments, and restore trust among UN member states. The summit will be held in late September next year in New York.
Youssouf called for reform of the international financial structure, saying high costs of loans and falling public revenues prevent developing nations from investing in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and increases the likelihood that they will default on their debt payments.
Djibouti is one of the 22 African nations that the World Bank has labeled as “in financial distress,” and the country suspended its payments on nearly $1.4 billion in debt to China early this year.
“Despite the deterioration of the world economic situation, Djibouti has worked unwaveringly to achieve the SDGs, and has made notable progress in a number of areas such as reducing malnutrition and undernutrition, and has effectively managed the pandemic,” Youssouf said.
“Djibouti integrated the SDGs in our national development plans and in our strategies, such as the 2035 Djibouti Vision.”
The country’s long-term strategic vision aims to strengthen peace and national unity, diversify the economy, consolidate human capital, and encourage regional integration and international cooperation.
Djibouti has also prioritized poverty reduction, access to potable water and sustainable economic growth, Youssouf said.
He referenced the Ghoubet Wind Power Station, the country’s first-ever grid-ready renewable energy power station, which was commissioned in mid-September.
The project, which will produce roughly 60 megawatts of electricity, will be the first international investment project in the energy sector in Djibouti, “and will serve as a model for future private investment,” Youssouf said.
He also urged countries to achieve the goals laid out by the Paris Climate Agreement, and called for the full operation of the Loss and Damage Fund, which was agreed upon in the COP27 conference in Egypt last year, and aims to provide financial assistance to countries impacted by the effects of climate change.
Youssouf stressed the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Sudan, which he called “a sister nation with whom we share political, historical and cultural close ties.”
He also called for a peaceful resolution to his country’s dispute with Eritrea over the Doumeira Islands.
In 2008, clashes in the small border region on the Red Sea coast led to the deaths of dozens of Eritrean and Djiboutian soldiers.
Djibouti has accused Eritrea of occupying the region since the withdrawal of Qatari peacekeepers six years ago.