On Wednesday, 25th November, 2020 Her Excellency Mrs. Lumka Yengeni, High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to Antigua and Barbuda paid a virtual courtesy call on the Honourable E.P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade.
They both engaged in discussion surrounding the impact of the Covid-19 Global Health Pandemic on the economies of their respective countries.
During the call, Mrs. Yengeni revealed that the pandemic has adversely affected the South African economy and illustrated the challenges faced in managing the spread of the outbreak. She also declared that the Government of South Africa remains committed to fighting the coronavirus disease and to help rebuild the country’s economy.
Minister Greene, in his remarks, thanked the High Commissioner for her concerns during these unprecedented times and also shared that Antigua and Barbuda’s Economy has been dealt a significant blow by the pandemic. He stressed that Tourism, Antigua’s main industry, has been adversely affected by the outbreak due to the travel restrictions implemented by many countries. This, consequently, forced many hotels on island to close and further resulted in high levels of unemployment among the adult population.
Minister Greene also acknowledged that “by large, Covid-19 cases were being handled very well” and that Antigua and Barbuda continues to follow the guidelines of the World Health Organization and PAHO.
Minister Greene also shared some of the measures being taken by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to recover its losses from the pandemic in an effort to rebuild a more resilient economy. These include: the establishment of an economic recovery committee to help develop programs for the revitalization of critical sectors; greater collaboration with hoteliers to develop bio-security and; the implementation of Nomad Digital Residence Programme.
The call concluded with both Minister Greene and High Commissioner Yengeni committing to working together to confront the challenges of the current pandemic and the further strengthening of both countries partnership. They also expressed hope for a safe vaccine to be equally distributed in an effort to return to some level of normalcy.