U.K. to continue its support: High Commissioner

The British High Commissioner to Samoa David Ward says the United Kingdom will continue to support Samoa throughout the pandemic era.

The High Commissioner told the Samoa Observer on Thursday that his country's support is channeled through international organisations such as the World Health Organisation.

He said recently the U.K. gave the W.H.O. Pacific Office £1.9 million which would equate to about WST$6 million for the COVID-19 response appeal.

"But also we have been the largest funder until now of the international C.O.V.A.X. facility," he said in an interview.

"We gave about US$750 million so I think that's about WST$1.5 billion to ensure that facility can provide vaccines against COVID to the 20 per cent, the most vulnerable 20 per cent of the population of every one of 92 developing countries in the world including Samoa."

Mr Ward said they expect the first of those vaccines to arrive in Samoa this month, with more probably by the end of May in the second quarter of the year.

"So the Government of Samoa and the Ministry of Health is responsible for organising the vaccine programme but we have given them the vaccines so that they will be able to do that," he added.

"And we will continue to look for ways over the coming years as the impact of the COVID crisis both economically and on health becomes clearer.

"We think we can see light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine programme as it is rolled out so we have seen increasing focus not just ensuring that the vaccine programme is successful but also on how we can address the economic impact long terms."

The Government launched its Samoa 2040 Plan last Wednesday which it says is a 20-year roadmap to stimulate economic growth, create employment and generate new sources of public income.

Mr. Ward made reference to the plan during the interview, saying they will look into how they can offer support.

"Now that the government has published its Plan 2040 for Samoa and set out its own growth priorities, we will be looking at how we can support that both bilaterally and through our multilateral support."


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