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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is urging the international community to support an initiative aimed at providing access to development assistance for highly indebted middle-income countries (HIMIC).
  • He noted that while some developing states are able to tap into ongoing official development assistance and concessional financing, the classification of countries on the basis of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita precludes HIMIC countries from accessing such resources.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is urging the international community to support an initiative aimed at providing access to development assistance for highly indebted middle-income countries (HIMIC).

In proposing the HIMIC Initiative during the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, Mr. Holness said countries could receive assistance in the form of investment, favourable trade, technology transfer, security and energy.

He noted that while some developing states are able to tap into ongoing official development assistance and concessional financing, the classification of countries on the basis of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita precludes HIMIC countries from accessing such resources.

As such, the Prime Minister called for a review of the broad categorisation of countries based solely on GDP per capita, as he believes this measure fails to fully and accurately account for added vulnerabilities and levels of indebtedness.

“The problem is that while GDP per capita gives an indication of average incomes, it says nothing about the stock of wealth a country possesses nor does it take into account the vulnerability a country faces,” Mr. Holness argued.

The Prime Minister noted further that while countries such as Jamaica have made structural and fiscal reforms, this does not immediately redound to growth.

He said to qualify for inclusion in the HIMIC initiative, a country should be a highly indebted middle-income country; have undiversifiable structural vulnerabilities; and have demonstrated a track record of commitment to economic reform under loans supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

“The collective size of the problem is such that an HIMIC Initiative would not burden the international system.  However, the potential impact of assisting these countries would put more countries in a position to make greater contributions to the international system in the near future,” Mr. Holness contended.

The General Assembly of the United Nations opened its 71st session on September 13.

The Assembly’s annual general debate, where Heads of States and Governments, and other senior national representatives gather to present views about global issues, opened on September 20 and will run until Monday, September 26.