The 2020 G20 Riyadh summit will kick off on Saturday, bringing together the leaders of the world’s top economies. Saudi Arabia is hosting the event amid anticipation of its recommendations that should push forward the global recovery as the world grapples with the unprecedented novel coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the most challenging circumstances witnessed by any G20 summit, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz will inaugurate the two-day event, which will be held virtually due to the pandemic. He will deliver an opening speech before world leaders and organizations on Saturday.
This year’s summit carries more significance as the world is looking to the G20’s efforts in protecting lives and livelihoods and helping with the recovery after the pandemic. The G20 leaders will also address issues to pave the way to a more inclusive, more sustainable and more resilient economic recovery and laying the foundations for a better future. The aims of the Saudi G20 Presidency focus on Empowering People, Safeguarding the Planet and Shaping New Frontiers.
The Saudi G20 Presidency spared no effort in cultivating collective efforts during the challenging situation of 2020, read a G20 statement. “As a G20 member and the Chair of the 2020 G20, hosting this high-level meeting is historic for Saudi Arabia, showcasing the results of the ongoing transformational Saudi Vision 2030 reflected in its Presidency.”
Throughout the past 14 summits, the G20 has never encountered such exceptional and extraordinary circumstances that have been imposed by the pandemic and its impact on the global economy.
The crisis has put the Kingdom before a test that a G20 member state has never had to endure. Saudi Arabia succeeded in employing all of its political, economic and intellectual tools in confronting the pandemic and its repercussions on the world, especially in helping poor countries and coordinating fully with other G20 members.
King Salman had stressed that the group’s top priority was fighting the pandemic and its health, social and economic impacts. Protecting lives, jobs and livelihoods was at the top of the G20’s concerns.
These efforts should culminate in finding a vaccine for the coronavirus and ensuring that it is fairly distributed to everyone, he stressed, while underlining the needs of the world’s poorest countries.
When the pandemic first began, Saudi Arabia held a meeting for G20 health ministers back in April with the participation of the World Health Organization. The Kingdom kicked off its efforts to unite the global fight against the disease by calling for an extraordinary G20 summit in March.
Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million to support global efforts to combat the pandemic. It said then it would allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and $200 million to other health organizations and programs.
The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the global economy and oil market. Tourism was the first sector to be struck down.
Saudi Arabia was quick to take action to curb the impact of the crisis. On April 8, it held an extraordinary virtual meeting for G20 energy ministers to achieve stability in the energy markets. The ministers announced that they were determined to take the necessary measures to achieve this balance.
In January, OPEC, Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, implemented a deal to cut output by 1.7 million bpd to support the market.