G20 leaders to inject $5 trillion into global economy amid virus outbreak

(Update 1: adds the G20 joint statement)

Riyadh, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- The leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies Thursday said they would inject more than $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of their coordinated response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic,” said the joint statement released by the meeting led by Saudi Arabia.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries will coordinate and work closely with international organizations “to swiftly deliver the appropriate international financial assistance.”

The leaders also agreed to manufacturing capacity to meet the increasing needs for medical supplies and ensure these are made widely available at an affordable price amid the outbreak of the infectious disease.

“We task our Health Ministers to meet as needed to share national best practices and develop a set of G20 urgent actions on jointly combatting the pandemic by their ministerial meeting in April,” added the statement.

In his opening speech,Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz called for a global action to the health crisis.

“This human crisis requires a global response. The world counts on us to come together and cooperate in order to face this challenge,” said the Saudi monarch in his opening speech, according to the state-run news agency SPA.

Salman, who chairs this year’s event, added that the impact of this infectious disease had spread to “reach the global economy, financial markets, trade and global supply chains, hampering growth and development and reversing the gains accomplished in previous years.”

Salman called onthe group to “take firm measures at various levels.”

“The G20 must assume the responsibility of reinforcing cooperation in financing research and development for therapeutics and a vaccine for Covid-19 and ensure availability of the vital medical supplies and equipment,” he said.

“On the economic front, amid the slowdown in global growth and the turmoil in financial markets, the G20 has a pivotal role in countering the economic and social impact of this pandemic,” he added in his remarks.

Salman urged an “effective and coordinated” response to this respiratory illness in order to “restore confidence in the global economy.”

“On the trade front, the G20 must send a strong signal to restore confidence in the global economy by resuming, as soon as possible, the normal flow of goods and services, especially vital medical supplies,” he continued.

The king also stressed on the need to support coronavirus-hit countries.

“It is our responsibility to extend a helping hand to developing countries and least developed countries to enable them to build their capacities and improve their infrastructure to overcome this crisis and its repercussions,” he added.

Leaders of Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland were set to join the summit, as well as the United Nations, World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Monetary Fund.

Among regional organizations joining the meeting are the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the African Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

The G20 comprises 19 leading economic powers and the European Union.EFE-EPA


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