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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson, says he will continue to advocate Jamaica’s position for the rethinking of the treatment of middle income countries, in the international fora.

Under proposed reforms, middle income countries face the dilemma of being classified out of access to development financing.

Speaking during the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on March 22, Senator Nicholson said this reclassification will have a serious effect on the sustainable development of many small island states, including Jamaica.

“Jamaica is also likely to be ‘graduated’ from receiving grant funding from the World Global Fund and other funding agencies. With this level of uncertainty surrounding development financing, the Government of Jamaica is concerned that gains made to combat HIV/AIDS and in treating chronic non-communicable diseases, are at risk,” the Minister said.

He said it is on this basis that the Ministry will continue to vocalise Jamaica’s position on the matter, particularly as it relates to the reform of the international financial institutions and their treatment of highly indebted and vulnerable countries.

The Minister pointed out that a country’s development progress should not be threatened by the abrupt and precipitous withdrawal of financial assistance due to its classification.

“We are strongly advocating that special consideration be given to countries like Jamaica, which face special developmental challenges due to their vulnerabilities occasioned by small size, the openness of their economies and limited capacity to respond to natural disasters and other external shocks,” he said.

Under the Official Development Agency (ODA), developing countries are provided with the necessary support which, due to the historical path of global development, have been disadvantaged and as a result, have been denied equal terms for economic growth and equitable trade.

“In other words, the ODA provides a ‘ladder’ or one means, among many others, by which developing countries can promote their sustainable development,” the Minister said.

He argued that it is therefore disheartening when this ladder keeps moving, as can be seen with the decision by the European Community to graduate a number of small middle income countries out of development assistance.

By Althaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter