ISSN 2330-717X

The G20 Extraordinary Summit – OpEd


By Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini*

Unlike World War I and World War II, where allied armies were fighting against different enemies, World War III has allied armies against a single microscopic enemy that is killing thousands of humans across the globe. The whole world is on the same side, fighting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

During their special video conference called on Thursday to discuss the crisis the leaders of the G20 major economies committed to funding all necessary measures to stop the virus’s spread. Since the inception of G20 summit, which was triggered by the 2008 crisis, this is the most united summit to date.

King Salman chaired the meeting, telling his fellow leaders that they have a pivotal role in countering the pandemic’s economic and social impact. In his opening remarks, he said: “The impact of this pandemic has spread to reach the global economy, financial markets, trade, and global supply chains, hampering growth and development and reversing the gains accomplished in the previous years.”

The leaders pledged to inject more than $5 trillion into the global economy to limit job and income losses from the coronavirus and “do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”

A few days before the summit, finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 economies had an emergency virtual meeting to discuss the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and to work toward a joint response. The objective of the meeting was to consolidate efforts to support the containment of the virus, the maintenance of medical systems and the development of drugs and vaccines.

The impact of the outbreak on supply chains and consumer demand will likely push the global economy into recession this year. Governments across the world have taken multiple actions to slow the spread of the pandemic, including strict nationwide lockdowns.

In my opinion, this virtual summit was a timely move. King Salman is the chairman of the G20 for this year, and virtual meetings are taking place with other G20 world leaders to tackle this common health threat to their peoples and to find speedy economic solutions.

*Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

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Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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