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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia to host G20 virtual meeting to address global challenges

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Saudi Arabia will host a virtual G20 meeting on Wednesday with global finance ministers and central bank governors to address the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a post on Twitter.

The meeting comes a day after the Group of Seven (G7) nations met to express support for the world’s poorest economies amid the coronavirus pandemic, officially known as COVID-19. Support was raised for a temporary halt to all debt payments, but it contingent on G20 agreement.

Ministers and bankers from 20 most advanced economies had pledged in their previous meeting last month to address the debt burden of low-income countries and deliver aid to emerging markets hit hard by the pandemic.

G20 working groups are expected to outline details of the plan in the meeting on Wednesday.

“Only a global victory that fully includes Africa can bring this pandemic to an end,” the leaders - from France and Italy to Ethiopia and Kenya - wrote in a joint letter published in London’s Financial Times on Tuesday.

“We must instate an immediate moratorium on all bilateral and multilateral debt payments, both public and private, until the pandemic has passed.”

The IMF warned Tuesday that global economy is set to see its biggest recession in nearly a century due to the impact of lockdown measures that have been put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus.

“It is very likely that this year the global economy will experience its worst recession since the Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago. The Great Lockdown, as one might call it, is projected to shrink global growth dramatically,” IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has announced that G20 nations and the Paris Club of wealthy nation creditors have agreed to a one-year moratorium on debt payments for poor nations.

He said G20 and Paris Club nations, which includes all G7 members, had agreed on the moratorium for 76 nations, including 40 in sub-Saharan Africa.

Le Maire said the agreement so far includes the postponement of $20 billion in payments to bilateral and private creditors.

Another $20 billion in payments to multilateral institutions, mostly to the World Bank, is still awaiting a decision.

With AFP.

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