DUBAI (Reuters) – The leaders of the 20 largest economies on Sunday vowed to spare no effort to supply COVID-19 medicines, tests and vaccines in an affordable and fair way to “all people”, reflecting concerns that the pandemic could deepen global divisions between rich and poor.
The coronavirus pandemic and the prospects of an unequal and uncertain economic recovery have been at the center of a two-day summit chaired by Saudi Arabia, which will hand over the G20 presidency to Italy next month.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, and its unprecedented impact on lost lives, livelihoods and affected economies, is an unprecedented shock that has revealed weaknesses in our preparedness and response and underscores our common challenges,” it said. final communiqué.
The G20 nations will work to “protect lives, provide support with a particular focus on the most vulnerable, and put our economies back on a path to restoring growth, and protecting and creating jobs.” for all”.
Regarding vaccines, tests and treatments, the leaders said: “We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equal access for all people.”
The world economy has experienced a sharp contraction this year as measures to curb the spread of the virus have curbed transport, trade and demand across the planet.
G20 leaders said global economic activity has grown in part thanks to the gradual reopening of some economies, but the recovery is uneven, highly uncertain and subject to risks of weakening.
They reaffirmed their commitment to use “all available policy tools for as long as required” to protect people’s lives, jobs and incomes.
The G20 has approved a plan to extend a freeze on debt service payments from the poorest countries until mid-2021 and a common approach to tackling debt problems beyond that, according to the statement.
They also said they strongly encouraged private creditors to participate in the initiative on comparable terms when required by eligible countries.
The G20 Debt Relief Initiative has helped 46 countries defer $ 5.7 billion in 2020 debt service payments, in addition to the 73 countries that were eligible, and promised savings of about $ 12 billion.
Debt relief for Africa will be an important topic of the Italian G20 presidency in 2021.
The communiqué also stressed the importance of multilateral institutions and called on the International Monetary Fund to continue exploring additional tools that can help the needs of its members as the crisis unfolds.
(Report by Davide Barbuscia, Maha El Dahan in Dubai; Raya Jalabi in Beirut; Andrea Shalal in Washington, Edited by William Maclean)
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