Saudi Arabia “didn’t allow COVID-19 to hold us back,” said Fahad al-Mubarak, Saudi Minister of State and Saudi Arabia’s G20 Sherpa, on Monday at a media briefing ahead of the summit, titled “Welcome to Riyadh.”
“We were able to execute our full agenda,” he added.
“We are honored to hold the [G20] presidency for this year. We had a very busy year, we held over a hundred meetings of deputies and ministers throughout the year,” al-Mubarak said.
The upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit will begin on Saturday, November 21, as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz will virtually welcome leaders of the world to the summit, according to a press release.
“2020 is an exceptional year. COVID-19 has taken the world off guard, and the whole world economy went into a real pause. However, Saudi Arabia has done a great job in steering its direction of the G20," said Dr. Majid al-Qasabi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment.
“We hoped people could attend the G20 physically, so that they can be introduced to Saudi Arabia. Hopefully, this can happen in coming years,” al-Qasabi added, pointing out that the Kingdom is the first Arab country to host the G20.
Earlier in September, the Kingdom announced it will hold the G20 summit virtually in November, instead of having leaders of the world’s richest nations converge in Riyadh as planned before the coronavirus forced plans to change.
According to a statement, the Saudi G20 Presidency says it seeks “to deepen global cooperation around the theme of ‘Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.’”
The summit will focus on three essential pillars which it says are “vital to the world’s success.” Main topics include:
• Empowering people by creating the conditions in which all people – especially women and youth – can live, work, and thrive.
• Safeguarding the planet by fostering collective efforts to protect our natural resources.
• Shaping new frontiers by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement.
Last month, Saudi Arabia issued a new 20-riyal banknote to mark the occasion of the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20 Summit this year, according to an announcement by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).