17:11 GMT02 December 2020
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    Due to the Covid-19 outbreak a traditional in-person meeting of the major international economies, the G20, has gone online. The group inis seeking to solve the burning economic and political issues triggered by the pandemic and Saudi economic observers have lifted the curtain on the summit's agenda.

    On 26 March, the leaders of the G20 economies are holding an emergency virtual summit to work out a solution to a coronavirus crisis that threatens to drag the world into a deep recession.

    Though the first ever online summit, chaired this year by Saudi Arabia's King Salman, will be inaccessible to the press, Saudi  experts have shed light on the issues in focus.

    A Roadmap to Prevent Global Economic Crisis

    According to Abdallah al-Maghluth, a member of the Saudi Economic Association, the G20 emergency summit's number one priority to stop the virus spread.

    "First of all, during the upcoming summit they will consider the issue of taking the necessary measures to protect the economies: both the world and national economies of the G20", he says. "These actions are urgently needed to avoid the global economic crisis. I think the leaders will be able to work out a necessary roadmap".

    Majid bin Ahmad al-Sweigh, a Saudi financial, banking and economic expert, says that the G20 will consider throwing its weight behind the pharmaceutical industry and providing financial assistance to the healthcare sector.

    "G20 leaders will make a whole range of decisions aimed at countering the pandemic", the economist presumes. "Most of them will be associated with the prevention and treatment of the disease, as well as the provision of economic support to this field. In my opinion, the most important decision will be the allocation of additional funds for pharmaceutical companies, as well as enterprises that produce medical equipment and assistive devices. At the same time, I believe that a decision will be made on transferring of a surplus of [medical supplies] to those countries which don't have enough medicines, tools or equipment to effectively fight the virus".

    Al-Sweigh points out that Saudi Arabia has provided financial support to the World Health Organisation for the development of new drugs and vaccines against the novel coronavirus from the very beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. "It is very important to not stop but step up this support", the economist insists.

    Concerted Approach is the Key

    To improve the efficiency of anti-coronavirus efforts the countries need to coordinate their activities aimed at preventing the Covid-19 spread, otherwise the disease may return to those countries where its peak has already passed, argues Atallah al-Shammari, an expert specialising in Saudi Arabia's economy.

    "As the chair of G20 this year, Saudi Arabia should encourage everyone to take concerted measures. It should become a model for those fighting against the virus and its consequences in all aspects of human life", al-Shammari underscores.

    The economic specialist highlights that Riyadh has already suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina and introduced a number of other quarantine measures. "The time has come to put these actions forward at the global level", al-Shammari observes.

    The expert draws attention to the fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has an experience of opposing the spread of coronavirus, referring to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that engulfed the region a few years ago. "The kingdom can bring its expertise to the table", he points out.

    Economic analyst Ahmad Yasin agrees that the KSA's best practices in containing the pandemic may come in handy. Still, Yasin continues, one should bear in mind that there is a country that has already taken the Covid-19 outbreak under control, and this is China.

    "As we know, the People's Republic of China has taken effective measures to combat the virus, since they endured the first wave of the epidemic. This also applies to economic measures. It is important to take into account the considerations of those countries which are successfully implementing quarantine measures: for example, Russia. I think the decision will be made", he says.

    According to Riyadh's announcement concerning the summit, the G20 will work with international organisations to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For their part, G20 leaders will pursue a coordinated policy to reduce its effect on the global and national economies. As Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Thursday, oil issues are outwith the scope of the online G20 summit.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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