Saudi to host online G20 summit amid pandemic, recession

Saudi to host online G20 summit amid pandemic, recession

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Riyadh: Saudi Arabia hosted the G20 summit for the Arab countries for the first time on Saturday, but the reduced virtual format may limit the debate about the resurgence and severe economic crisis.

The two-day conference of the world’s richest nations was held on the occasion of the fierce US presidential election by US President Donald Trump. The worst economic recession in decades has been under-reacted.

This summit is usually an opportunity for one-on-one contacts between world leaders. This summit is usually held in the shadow of the pandemic and has now been reduced to a short online meeting to discuss looming global issues -From climate change to rising inequality.

A source close to the Saudi organizer told AFP that the discussion is expected to be led by “the impact of the pandemic” and “steps to recover the global economy.”

The new vaccine breakthrough brings hope to contain the virus, which has infected 55 million people worldwide and caused 1.3 million deaths.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts that global economic output will shrink by 4.5% this year.

Organizers said that the Group of Twenty (G20) countries have made more than 21 billion U.S. dollars in donations to fight this pandemic, including the production and distribution of vaccines, and injected 11 trillion U.S. dollars to “protect” the virus-hit world economy.

But the organization is facing increasing pressure to help them avoid possible credit defaults among developing countries.

Last week, G20 finance ministers declared a “common framework” for an extended debt restructuring plan for virus-ravaged countries, but campaign group Action Aid described the measure as “woefully inadequate”.

Mistrust between member states has hampered coordination, with a US Treasury official accusing China — a top creditor to poor countries — of a “lack of full participation” and transparency.

“We are facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and women in developing countries are bearing the worst impacts of the health and economic fallout,” said Action Aid’s Katherine Tu.

“Yet the G20 has its head in the sand and is failing to respond to the urgency of the situation.”

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