Published: Mon, November 23, 2020
Economy | By

G20 to back 'equitable' access to coronavirus vaccine

G20 to back 'equitable' access to coronavirus vaccine

India was earlier slated to host the summit in 2022 with the Osaka declaration of the G20 stating a year ago that "we look forward to meeting again in Saudi Arabia in 2020, in Italy in 2021 and in India in 2022".

The pandemic and prospects of an uneven and uncertain economic recovery were at the centre of a two-day summit under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, which will hand the G20 presidency to Italy next month.

"We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance", King Salman said in his opening remarks.

"Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock".

The G20 should enhance data security cooperation, strengthen the digital infrastructure, and level the playing field for high-tech companies from all countries, Xi said.

G20 nations have contributed more than $21 billion to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected $11 trillion to shore up the battered world economy, summit organisers said.

The statement did not commit any specific amount of funding to the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and its vaccine facility, COVAX, which aims to distribute vaccine doses to developing countries.

Guterres called on G-20 nations to join the global initiative to distribute vaccines worldwide, called COVAX.

"Now, more than ever, our global success depends on attaining a better path towards peace, prosperity and sustainability", the statement said.

China, where the pandemic originated a year ago, also offered to cooperate on vaccines.

Xi also said China is ready to aid other countries in need of coronavirus vaccines as the country now has five home-grown candidates in Phase III trials, Reuters reported.

"We will honour our commitment of giving assistance and support to other developing countries, and work to make vaccines a global public good accessible and affordable to people around the world", he said.

The pandemic dampened Saudi Arabia's hopes of using the event as a grand coming-out party on the world stage.

Despite having to abandon much of the usual summit pageantry, Saudi Arabia launched the meeting with an aerial acrobatics display over Riyadh.

Addressing the virtual G20 Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Mr. Xi said China will always be a builder of global peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of worldwide order.

Erdogan and the Saudi king discussed bilateral relations and exchanged views on the G20 summit, the Turkish presidency said late on Friday.

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

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development projects global economic output will contract by 4.5 percent this year.

But the group faces mounting pressure to help stave off possible credit defaults among developing nations, as their debt soars in the economic catastrophe stoked by the virus.

Last week, its finance ministers declared a "common framework" for an extended debt restructuring plan for virus-ravaged countries, but campaigners say the measure is insufficient.

The fact it was held by Saudi Arabia, which is not accustomed to hosting such gatherings, and included what Bernes described as a "lame duck" US president in Donald Trump, also contributed to the summit being what he called a "non-event".

It was unclear whether Trump, who continues to reject his election loss, will speak at the event.

Key among them are the siblings of jailed activist Loujain al Hathloul, on hunger strike for more than 20 days demanding regular family contact.

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