Editorial: UAE’s Steadfast Support for Countries Impacted by Pandemic

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on societies and economies worldwide, the UAE has vowed to remain an unwavering source of support for nations in need. The country has stepped up its medical and food aid supplies, and has supported developing countries by postponing the payment of debts maturing this year. It has also taken every opportunity, at the international level, to stress the need for greater global solidarity with countries worst impacted by the pandemic.

At the G20 Finance Ministers and Deputies Meeting, held remotely from July 16 to 17, the UAE reiterated its calls for coordination and collaboration between governments to address the implications of the pandemic. Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Finance, highlighted a range of priorities including: “The importance of global coordination to support countries in creating the necessary fiscal space to respond to local spending needs, and the need to provide an integrated program to monitor infrastructure financing, and bring in effective solutions to address the emergency financing needs, particularly for developing countries.”

The recent announcement from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), suspending debt service repayments in 2020 for eligible countries and businesses in the developing world, underlines the UAE’s commitment to helping developing countries weather the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ADFD stated that the initiative will benefit countries and businesses facing cash-flow crises, in line with the UAE Government’s support of the G20 Action Plan. Supported by the World Bank, the plan aims to suspend the repayments of debts owed by developing countries, to help them meet their financing needs and alleviate debt burdens so they can effectively address the impact of the health and economic crises.

These measures are the latest in a historic legacy of UAE humanitarian support and foreign aid. Even before the pandemic, the UAE’s wise leadership has encouraged national authorities and UAE society to embrace solidarity and partnership in tackling the most pressing issues facing global society. The latest UNHCR annual Global Trends report, released for World Refugee Day on June 20 each year, shows that the global fundraising campaign Every Gift Counts has received contributions from more than 10,000 donors in the Middle East and North Africa. The UAE featured prominently among the donations, specifically to provide clean water and medication for refugees and displaced families in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as providing assistance to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Malian refugees in Mauritania.

Moreover, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has confirmed that a total of 73 countries are benefiting from humanitarian aid provided by the UAE to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The UAE has also provided 1,087 tons of medical aid for one million health workers worldwide.

Since the UAE was established under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul in peace), it has adopted a bold vision to help countries achieve sustainable economic development and overcome the negative effects of crises and catastrophes. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE (may God protect him), continues this legacy by providing consistent support for countries to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across all sectors. The most important of these sectors are: health, education, food security, energy, transport, housing, agriculture and industry. These efforts enhance the financial stability of countries, mitigating the fiscal pressure on their national economies to help speed up recovery. The measures also enhance the ability of countries to overcome the impact of the pandemic with flexibility and resilience.