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G20 leaders meet to discuss aid to poorest nations in post-Covid world, Trump golfers

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BEKIN / DUBAI, Nov 21 Leaders of the 20 largest economies are debating this weekend how to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, medicines and tests around the world so that poor countries are not left out as nations look for ways to manage a cure after coronavirus.

The leaders are holding a two-day virtual meeting via video conference due to the pandemic, led by Saudi Arabia, which holds the rotating G20 presidency until the end of November.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which will plunge the global economy into a deep recession this year ahead of an economic response expected in 2021, is at the top of the agenda.

“We must work to create conditions for affordable and equal access to these means for all peoples,” Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his opening remarks.

G20 leaders are concerned that the pandemic could further deepen global divisions between rich and poor.

“We must at all costs avoid a two-speed world scenario where only the richest can protect themselves from the virus and resume normal life,” French President Emmanuel Macron said at the meeting.

To do this, the European Union called on G20 leaders to quickly put more money into a global project on vaccines, tests and therapies called the Covid-19 Access Accelerator (ACT).

“At the G20 Summit I called for $ 4.5 billion to be invested in ACT Accelerator by the end of 2020, for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter. .

“We have to show global solidarity,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to provide the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow was also preparing a second and third vaccine.

China, from where the pandemic started a year ago, also offered to cooperate on vaccines. China has five home-grown candidates for a vaccine undergoing the final phase of testing.

“China is ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research and development, production and distribution of vaccines,” Xi told the G20 Summit.

“We will … provide assistance and support to other developing countries and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and afford,” he said.

Preparing for the future

To prepare for future outbreaks, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics. “An international treaty will help us react faster and in a more coordinated way,” EU leader Charles Michel told the G20.

As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is slowing in countries with recurring infection rates, the recovery is uneven and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, the International Monetary Fund said in a report on G20 Summit.

Particularly vulnerable are poor and highly indebted countries, which are “on the brink of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday.

To address this, the G20 will adopt a plan to extend a debt service moratorium for developing countries by six months by mid-2021, with the possibility of a further extension, said a draft G20 communiqué seen by Reuters.

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World Bank President David Malpass warned the G20 that failure to provide more permanent debt relief for some countries could now lead to rising poverty and a repeat of the first erratic defaults seen in the 1980s.

The G20 Debt Relief Initiative has helped 44 countries push back about $ 5 billion in debt service payments, but that is far from the 73 countries that were eligible, and promised savings of about $ 12 billion. Extending temporary debt relief may encourage some additional countries to seek patience, experts say, but private sector creditors must also agree to participate.

Debt relief for Africa will be an important topic of the Italian G20 presidency in 2021.

President Donald Trump, who was scheduled to attend the two-day virtual meetings, also went to his golf course in Sterling, Virginia, later Saturday morning. He has not attended a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force since April or May and has no plans to attend any in the coming weeks, according to an administration official.

“President Trump discussed with other world leaders the need to work together to restore strong economic growth and jobs as we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.” A statement from the White House said, “He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer.” people live “

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