G20 leaders meet to discuss aid to poorest countries in post-Covid world, Trump plays golf

BEIJING / DUBAI, November 21 – Leaders of the 20 largest economies are debating this weekend how to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world so that poorest countries are not left out as nations seek ways to manage a post-coronavirus recovery.

Leaders are holding a two-day virtual meeting via video conference due to the pandemic, chaired 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 before an expected economic rebound in 2021, is high on the agenda.

“We must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all people,” Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his opening speech.

G20 leaders fear the pandemic will further widen the global divisions between rich and poor.

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

To do this, the European Union urged G20 leaders to quickly invest more money in a global project of vaccines, tests and treatments called Covid-19 Tool 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 purchase and delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere.” , European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.

“We must show global solidarity,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to provide Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow is also preparing a second and third vaccine.

China, where the pandemic originated a year ago, has also offered to cooperate on vaccines. China has five local candidates for a vaccine in its final phase of testing.

“China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries in research and development, production and distribution of vaccines,” Xi said at the G20 summit.

“We will (…) offer aid and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens in all countries can use and afford,” a- he declared.

PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE

To prepare for future epidemics, the EU will propose a pandemic treaty. “An international treaty would help us to react more quickly and in a more coordinated way”, declared the president of the European leaders Charles Michel at the G20.

As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum slows in countries where infection rates resurface, recovery is patchy and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, said the International Monetary Fund in a report for the G20 summit.

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

To remedy this, the G20 will approve a plan to extend the moratorium on debt service for developing countries by six months until mid-2021, with a possibility of further extension, according to a draft G20 press release. by Reuters.

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

The G20 debt relief initiative has helped 44 countries defer some $ 5 billion in debt service payments, but that’s a far cry from the 73 countries that were eligible, and promised savings of around $ 5 billion. $ 12 billion. Extending temporary debt relief could encourage some additional countries to seek forbearance, experts say, but private sector creditors must also agree to participate.

Africa’s debt relief will be an important theme of Italy’s G20 presidency in 2021.

President Donald Trump, who was scheduled to participate in the virtual meetings on the two weekend days, also visited its golf course in Sterling, Va. late Saturday morning. He did not attend a White House Coronavirus Working Group Meeting since April or May and has no plans to attend in the coming weeks, according to an administration official.

“President Trump has 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 White House statement said, adding that “he spoke of the aggressive actions and security measures the United States has taken to protect revolutionary and vulnerable treatments and develop vaccines and therapies at record speed, which will save millions of lives. “

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