G20 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine access for low-income countries

Nellie Chapman
November 21, 2020

In his opening remarks to G20 leaders, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz stressed the need for equitable access to the tools to combat COVID-19, including vaccines.

The two-day meeting will involve brief online sessions in the form of "digital diplomacy".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are among leaders expected to make speeches, the sources said.

"I'm glad to say that FDI, my area of focus, in the first half has been reported to increase by 12% compared to a year ago", Falih, who previously chaired state oil company Saudi Aramco, told a G20 conference.

The nations both face the prospect of a tougher time with the next USA administration of Joe Biden, after enjoying strong backing from Donald Trump during his presidency.

Without an opportunity to take the traditional "family photo", at the gala they projected a group portrait of G20 leaders onto the ruins of the historical town of Diriyah, close to the capital.

The pandemic has had far-reaching economic impact on developing countries, but has also plagued the world's wealthiest nations, with nine G-20 countries ranking highest globally for the most cases of COVID-19 recorded. Erdogan is scheduled to give a briefing later today.

The two-day G20 Leaders' Summit brings together heads of state or government from 19 countries and the European Union, as well as leaders of guest countries and representatives of invited regional and worldwide organizations, to discuss global economic cooperation.

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What's more, Wednesday marked the third straight day California went over the 10,000 daily case threshold. All gatherings must be outdoors and limited to 15 people from no more than three households.

"President Erdogan and King Salman agreed on keeping channels of dialogue open in order for the bilateral relations to be enhanced and for issues to be settled", the presidency said.

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

International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that the global economy faces a hard road back from the Covid-19 downturn even as vaccines are now in sight.

Addressing reporters at the Rose Garden on Friday, Trump said that his administration will not advocate a national lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus despite the alarming resurgence, The Hill news website reported.

Earlier on Saturday, Saudi Arabia's minister of investment, Khalid al-Falih, said this year's crisis had highlighted the importance of multilateral organizations.

The change of USA leadership also raises hopes of a more concerted effort at the G20 level to fight climate change.

The Summit marks the end of the Saudi G20 Presidency that started in December 2019.

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