The 2020 G-20 Leaders’ Summit will now be held virtually on November 21 – 22 and will be chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the G20 presidency said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) Monday. The summit will be focused on protecting lives and restoring growth by tackling vulnerabilities uncovered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The kingdom had originally planned to host world leaders for the G-20 summit in Riyadh before the pandemic, offering Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the chance to share handshakes and wide smiles with presidents and prime ministers, such as Donald Trump, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, India’s Narendra Modi, and China’s Xi Jinping. However, considering the COVID situation, Riyadh finally decided to hold the summit virtually.
The meeting will be chaired by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the focus will be on “protecting lives and restoring growth, by addressing vulnerabilities uncovered during the pandemic and by laying down the foundations for a better future.” “The G20 has contributed over $21 billion to support the production, distribution, and access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines,” the statement read.
In a bid to safeguard the global economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the G20 countries have also injected $11 trillion (€9.5 trillion). The group has launched a debt suspension initiative for the least developed countries “that would allow beneficiary countries to defer $14 billion in debt payments due this year and use these amounts instead for financing their health systems and social programs,” the statement said.
Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the G-20 is set to expire at the end of November. Italy will take over the secretariat on December 1 and responsibility for hosting next year’s gathering of world leaders, if the pandemic allows. India is set to take over as the G20 chair in 2022.