Saudi Arabia hosts virtual G20 talks amid COVID-19

With an aim to discuss measures to safeguard the global economy that have witnessed a dwindling effect as a result of coronavirus-triggered recession, and to take a note of the growing calls to widen debt relief for crisis-hit poor countries, the G20 Finance Ministers and central bankers are set to hold talks on July 18.

Pertaining to travel restrictions put at place in order to stem the spread of the virus, the talks to be hosted by Saudi Arabia, will be held virtually. The talks will be chaired by Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Central Bank Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey.

In an official statement, the G20 organisers in Riyadh said that the Ministers and bankers will “discuss (the) global economic outlook and coordinate collective action for a robust and sustained global economic recovery”.

The talks come as the surging pandemic continues to batter the global economy and campaigners warn of a looming debt crisis across poverty-wracked developing nations.

Kristalina Georgieva, the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, has warned that despite some signs of recovery, the global economy faces sustained headwinds, including the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19.

In a message to G20 Finance Ministers, Kristalina Georgieva warned that the pandemic was likely to increase poverty and inequality.

The $11 trillion in stimulus offered by G20 nations has helped to prevent a worse outcome, but “these safety nets must be maintained as needed and, in some cases, expanded,” Kristalina Georgieva said.

Kristalina Georgieva said, “We are not out of the woods yet.”

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