‘We cannot forget developing countries’ amid COVID-19, Saudi G20 Sherpa warns

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Saudi Arabia’s G20 Sherpa and Minister of State Dr Fahad al-Mubarak called for support for the world’s developing, most vulnerable countries as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world.

COVID-19 has already infected over 46 million people globally, with developing nations most at risk as healthcare investment remains lower than in more developed countries, meaning that outcomes from catching the disease could be more serious.

“No one is safe unless everyone is safe so we cannot forget developing countries that have less resources than developed countries,” al-Mubarak said on Sunday.

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Al-Mubarak was speaking during the second day of the T20 Summit, a virtual event convened by Saudi Arabia, which holds the presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) for this year. Think20 (T20) is the G20’s research and policy advice network, serving as a place to generate ideas that the G20 can then implement.

“The T20 did a remarkable job of bringing together policymakers, researchers and more with the purpose of knowledge sharing and intellectual collaboration,” al-Mubarak said.

“The pandemic reminds us of interconnectedness and the importance and need of multilateral cooperation,” he added.

In April, the G20 agreed to temporarily halt debt payments for the world’s poorest nations as part of a suite of measures that the world’s biggest countries have taken to support the global economy amid the unprecedented economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the G20 extended this initiative by a further six months, until June 2021.

So far, G20 members have also injected over $11 trillion into the global economy, and pledged over $21 billion to provide short-term financing in the global healthcare battle against COVDI-19.

“These great decisions that were made collectively by [G20] leaders have definitely mitigated and reduced the risks that the pandemic has caused to us,” al-Mubarak added.

The two-day T20 Summit is the capstone event to the T20 summit season. The Summit will conclude on Monday with T20 presenting its communique to representatives of the G20. The document comprises of 32 policy proposals across seven categories for consideration by G20 leaders at the G20 Virtual Leaders’ Summit next month.

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