G20 leaders promise united front against coronavirus

Health practitioners screen students at Kigali stadium in Nyamirambo after returning from schools to prevent spread of the coronavirus last week. / Photo: File.

Leaders of the world’s most powerful economies convened virtually on Thursday, committing a united front against the new coronavirus pandemic and particularly promising injecting trillions of dollars into the global economy.

The leaders from the 20 powerful global economies met virtually to coordinate a global response towards coronavirus, which has already devastated economies and left many out of business.

 

President Paul Kagame, who currently chairs the AUDA-NEPAD – the development agency of the African Union – joined the extraordinary summit along with a few African leaders who chair AU specialised agencies.

 

Rwanda has already recorded 50 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday when the meeting took place.

 

Many businesses have temporarily closed down and a series of activities have been shut down, like in many other countries, which has led to loss of jobs and incomes for many.

In unusual video call, G20 leaders agreed to have a united coordinated plan towards addressing the deadly virus.

The meeting also comes amid criticism that the world’s wealthiest countries have not taken enough action to combat the virus or its economic impact globally as people lose their incomes due to closures, curfews and lockdowns.

The Group of 20 nations (G20) vowed to work together and said they are collectively injecting more than $5trillion into the global economy to counteract the social and financial impacts of the 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,” the group said in a final statement.

Leaders said they will continue to conduct bold and large-scale fiscal support and that their collective action will amplify its impact, ensure coherence, and harness synergies.

“The magnitude and scope of this response will get the global economy back on its feet and set a strong basis for the protection of jobs and the recovery of growth,” they said.

They highlighted that the global action, solidarity and international cooperation were needed more than ever.

“The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful reminder of our interconnectedness and vulnerabilities. The virus respects no borders,” the group noted.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva told leaders of G20 that it is important to particularly focus on extending support to households and small businesses.

“Particularly critical is the targeted fiscal support to vulnerable households and to large and small businesses, so they can stay afloat and get quickly back to work,” she said in a statement.

Otherwise, she added, it will take years to overcome the effects of widespread bankruptcies and layoffs.

Georgieva continued to advocate for low income countries and emerging countries which have been hit the most by the impact of the virus.

“Many low income countries step into this crisis under a high burden of debt. We must act at par with the magnitude of the challenge,” she noted, calling on leaders to double the emergency financing capacity.

According to the IMF, there is currently some $1 trillion financing available to support the most hit economies to overcome the brunt of the crisis and help restore growth.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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