G20 employment, anti-corruption bodies meet for first time under Saudi Arabia’s presidency

Time: 06 February, 2020

Elsewhere on Thursday, the G20’s group for anti-corruption met in the capital of Riyadh to assess the challenges in reducing the impact of corruption on global gross domestic product. (Supplied)
  • Discussions will continue at the next meeting in April ahead of the Employment Ministers’ Meeting in September 2020
  • NAZAHA president Mazen Al-Kahmous said the Kingdom has held many discussions on anti-corruption

JEDDAH: The G20’s Employment Working Group (EWG) met for the first time under Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20.

Building on its target of reducing youth unemployment by 15 percent by 2025, the group of representatives from the G20 member countries discussed youth unemployment and data-driven policymaking.

In 2020, the EWG will focus on three key priorities: Youth unemployment, transitional social protection and behavioral insights for a transitioning labor market, it was announced by the Saudi chair Ahmed Alzahrani during Thursday’s meeting.

Discussions will continue at the next meeting in April ahead of the Employment Ministers’ Meeting in September 2020.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the G20’s group for anti-corruption met in the capital of Riyadh to assess the challenges in reducing the impact of corruption on global gross domestic product.

The Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG)’s chair, Dr. Nassar Abaalkhail, highlighted the importance of continuing to address corruption and promoting integrity and accountability in order to foster growth.

He also asserted that the ACWG will continue to pursue international cooperation on many global anti-corruption challenges including asset recovery, foreign bribery, and beneficial ownership transparency.

The G20 agreed on the Anti-Corruption 2019-2021 Action Plan in Buenos Aires in 2018. In the framework of this plan, G20 members will also look forward to developing targeted actions where the G20 can best add value in promoting international efforts in the fight against corruption.

Saudi Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (NAZAHA) president Mazen Al-Kahmous said the Kingdom has held many discussions on anti-corruption, with the participation of international experts from the public and private sectors and civil society institutions, to enrich knowledge on these issues, in preparation for setting higher principles to be approved by the ministers concerned with fighting corruption in the G20.

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Continuity key for Saudi Arabia as it prepares for G20 summit: T20 chair

20/01/20

Naoyuki Yoshino. (Photo/Ahmed Fathi)
  • “It’s very important for Saudi Arabia to be part of the G20, in a sense that you are showing Saudi Arabia to the whole world”

RIYADH: Continuity is important for Saudi Arabia as it prepares for the G20 summit, the dean of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
The Kingdom last December assumed the presidency of the 2020 G20 summit, making it the first Arab nation to do so, and the summit will be held in Riyadh in November.
Naoyuki Yoshino, from the ADB, chairs the G20’s “ideas bank” Think20 (T20) and spoke about the transfer of knowledge to Saudi Arabia as it prepares for the world’s leading international economic forum.
Each host country selects task forces for the T20 to ensure continuity on policy recommendations.
“It’s important for Saudi Arabia to choose the topics which Saudi Arabia is facing and coordinate with other nations,” he told Arab News. “After we met in November of last year, I reiterated the importance of new topics and the succeeding of topics to ensure continuity. The co-chair of each task force is also very important as they can summarize each topic. We cannot exclude various topics but rather include them selectively, that will be the key for the success of the co-chairs. The Saudis have been preparing their task forces since our November 2019 meeting. They’ve selected the right people who will be engaged with the right topic. An example would be we in Japan have added the ‘Aging Population and its Economic Impact’ task forces as it is a topic of concern to us and many Asian countries. It’s a lesson for the next chair to learn from, as your country is young and with the change in demographic, the task force is a good topic to look into from both sides.”
He said it was important for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to use technology, for startups to have proper funding and for innovators to be drivers of the economy.
“Expanding sales networking is difficult but with the use of technology, internet advertisement is key to helping distribute products.”  He recommended that Saudis set up internet companies, meet with innovators and provide a financial plan in order to get proper funding to diversify the economy.
There was a lot of room for growth because of the Kingdom’s young population. “It’s very important for Saudi Arabia to be part of the G20, in a sense that you are showing Saudi Arabia to the whole world. The success of the G20 is very important and the choice of topics is too. They have to set up very attractive topics that the whole world is going to be interested in.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki Al-Faisal: Multilateralism can encourage dialogue, genuine collaboration if given the chance

20/01/20

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), mentioned that multilateralism is under pressure.  (File photo: AP)
  • “Multilateralism can encourage dialogue and genuine collaboration if given the chance”, the prince said

RIYADH: Multilateralism and global governance, a central principle to solving international issues, is under threat and its decline was the main topic of discussion at the Think 20 (T20) inception conference, an intellectual backbone for the G20.

At the opening keynote address, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS),  told the attendees, “multilateralism can encourage dialogue and genuine collaboration if given the chance. Presumably alliances and teamwork are good things and that corporation under a role base system.”

During the T20 conference, the research and policy advice network for the G20, held at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh on Sunday, Al- Faisal mentioned that multilateralism is under pressure.

“Fear takes over many developed societies, high popular expectations, mistrusting, national and international systems and institutions and various political and economic concepts are the only ingredients that are promoting extreme nationalism and isolations, which is ironic since most of those societies have benefited from multilateral initiatives and are likely to continue to prosper a union rather than an isolation,” Prince Turki said.

During the “Multilateralism for a Prosperous World” session, Prince Turki mentioned the issue of where international interests lies.

“I think we are facing a potential for divisions continued rather than being removed from the world stage whether it is on trade as we see the various issues that have come up in the world. These are all challenges that the world faces and I hope that through events like G20, specifically that T20, it should provide the research and the policy recommendations and find solutions,” he added.

Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim, vice minister of economy and planning, said in the aftermath WWII, organizations such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank were seen as instrumental institutions in which multilateral cooperation occurred. He also mentioned that one of the major challenges of the 21st century was trying to update current multilateral institutions to the rise of emerging nations.

Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed, deputy minister of finance, pointed out that the main challenges that multilateral organizations are facing is that “they have delivered in terms efficiency but I think that they failed in terms of distribution.”

Al-Rasheed mentioned that Saudi Arabia’s G20 theme is to realize the opportunities of the 21st century, “multilateralism organizations and platforms have to deliver for all and not for the few,” he said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi-hosted G20 to prioritize women’s empowerment

Time: 17 January, 2020 

Saudi Arabia is preparing to host the 15th G20 Summit this year. As the Kingdom is a member of the G20 and of its Troika — a three-member committee comprising the current, previous and next host countries — this will enable Saudi Arabia to fully engage in shaping policies to overcome the challenges confronting the global economy.

During last year’s G20 Summit in Japan, Saudi Arabia joined an initiative on women’s empowerment. It also signed a pledge to promote women’s participation in the workforce, enhance their education and economic opportunities, support their involvement in small and medium-sized enterprises, and overcome gender inequalities to enhance their skills in the digital age.

Saudi Arabia has declared women’s empowerment to be at the forefront of its G20 agenda, as it is crucial for achieving inclusive, sustainable development goals. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 states that women are a great asset that should be utilized.

Under the reform plan, by 2030 women’s participation in the workforce is anticipated to increase from 22 percent to 30 percent, and the overall unemployment rate is expected to fall from 12.7 percent to 7 percent. To achieve these goals, policies and legislation should be in place to encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors to create new economic opportunities for women.

As such, the focus of the Saudi-hosted G20 Summit, and the Kingdom’s goals and policies regarding women’s empowerment, are steps in the right direction. These steps are important in terms of turning rhetoric into reality.

• Eaman Aman  is a freelance writer and researcher in Energy Affairs. She is also an advocate for sustainable solutions to tackle global challenges. #climate_change

Twitter: @aman_eamanii

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As FII finishes, preparations begin for G20 and women’s empowerment

Time: November 01, 2019 

Top finance moguls and political leaders attended the three-day Davos-style Saudi investment summit, which concluded on Oct. 31, 2019. (AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE)
  • The final “deal value” of FII — the amount of money invested by Saudi Arabian and foreign companies during the week — reached $20 billion

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh closed with a total of $20 billion in financial deals signed and a commitment that Saudi Arabia would address the issues of social empowerment and sustainability when it hosts the G20 gathering of heads of state a year from now.

Saudi Minister of State Ibrahim Al-Assaf told a crowded closing plenary session that the Kingdom had been preparing for the G20 for some time, with a formal handover from Japan expected later in November.

“We have had high-level meetings headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and also other committees preparing for that. On the agenda obviously are the outstanding issues — like dealing with the microeconomic challenges, dealing with financial regulatory issues, and dealing with structural reforms.

Al-Assaf added: “Each presidency there will be a specific area where the interests of the host will be focussed on. In the case of Saudi Arabia, I believe that one of the most important issues will be empowering women and youth. This is very important and although we have little experience, we have been successful in that. This is where the growth will be coming from.”

The final “deal value” of FII — the amount of money invested by Saudi Arabian and foreign companies during the week — reached $20 billion with the signing of a $5 billion investment agreement between Al-Akaria, the Saudi real estate developer, and Triple Five group of Canada, to develop the Arabian Dream project, a world-class international tourist destination.

SAGIA, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, said the project would ultimately attract 70 million visitors and employ 25,000 nationals.

Al-Assaf joked: “Last year it (FII) was called ‘Davos in the Desert,’ and I believe in the future we should call the other one FII in the Snow.”

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Saudi crown prince joins world leaders in Japan for G20 summit

Time: June 28, 2019  

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is attending the G20 Summit in Osaka. (Reuters)
  • June 28-29 conference to focus on trade, demographics, environment, digital economy

OSAKA: Leaders of the most powerful nations on earth arrived in the Japanese city of Osaka amid storms and downpours — with the possibility of further disturbances ahead when they meet formally for the first time today to begin the two-day G20 summit.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among those who arrived on Thursday ahead of a gathering that will focus on trade, demographics, the environment and the digital economy.

US President Donald Trump arrival was accompanied by a flurry of Twitter comments by him about some of the other heads of state attending this 14th meeting of world leaders. It comes at a time when tensions between the United States and its international rivals are running higher than they have for years.

Trump is expected to confront the biggest issue looming over Osaka — the escalating trade war with China — during a one-to-one meeting with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. The US leader is also at odds with the EU and India over trade and other geopolitical issues. He has also criticized his host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, over his posture on defense.

The large Saudi delegation led by the crown prince touched down in the city ahead of today’s “family portrait” the leaders that traditionally marks the start of the summit. The leaders will then meet to discuss the digital economy and global trade and investment, before heading off for a cultural program and dinner at Osaka’s Geihinkan castle.

The culmination of the gathering is the publication of a joint communique at the end of the summit, in which the world leaders traditionally attempt to display a united front in tackling pressing global issues such as climate change, trade and the economy.

The event is taking place amid tight security in the city, which is 500 km from the capital Tokyo, as Japanese authorities fear protests by environmental activists and others. Travel and transport are severely restricted on the route from the airport in Osaka Bay to the International Exhibition Center, or Intex, where the summit is taking place.

Next year, Saudi Arabia will become the first Middle Eastern country to host the event, in Riyadh.

Saudi Ambassador to Japan Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi said: “The recent reforms in the Kingdom, especially economic ones, have contributed to strengthening the image of the Kingdom globally and raising its level of influence in international forums.”

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Crown Prince arrives in Osaka ahead of G20 summit

Time: June 27, 2019

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is greeted by Japanese officials upon his arrival in Osaka, Japan for the G20 summit. (SPA)
  • The summit will be held at the International Exhibition Center in Osaka
  • Leaders of the world’s biggest economies are expected to focus their discussions on global economy, trade and investment as well as innovation

DUBAI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Osaka, Japan on Thursday amid a stormy weather, ahead of this year’s G20 summit that will take place in the city.

The summit will take place at the International Exhibition Center in Osaka between June 28 and June 29. Leaders of the world’s biggest economies are expected to focus their discussions on global economy, trade and investment as well as innovation.

Air Force One likewise touched down after the Crown Prince’s arrival, with US President Donald Trump and his entourage aboard for the G20 meeting.

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There have been reports that the US and China have agreed to a tentative truce in their trade dispute, ahead of a supposd meeting between leaders of the two nations at the G20 summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping has already arrived in Osaka.

Trump on May 10 slapped higher tariffs of up to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods and then took steps to levy duties on all remaining $300 billion Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with tariff hikes on US goods.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi delegation in Seoul for bilaterals talks, arrived earlier Thursday.

Other world leaders including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,  British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have also flown in for the two-day event.

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Saudi Arabia joins the G20 Troika as it prepares to host summit in 2020

Time: December 02, 2018  

Saudi Arabia will play host to the G20 summit meetings in 2020 after Japan next year. (Supplied)

Saudi Arabia joined on Saturday the G20 Troika, a three-member country committee chaired by current summit presidency, the 2019 presidency of Japan and Saudi Arabia, the future summit Presidency when it hosts the meetings in 2020.

The press release added that the Troika was established to ensure that previous, current and subsequent G20 presidencies work hand-in-hand to achieve consistency and continuity of the group’s agenda.

It noted “As we leave Buenos Aires today, we look back on the Argentine Presidency with much appreciation for its significant progress on the core issues spanning the future of work, infrastructure for development, and sustainable food future, with special emphasis on women empowerment and digital economy. At the same time, the Kingdom looks forward to working with Japan, G20 Presidency in 2019, to further advance the G20 goals of addressing global economic challenges and promoting sustainable, inclusive and balanced world growth.”

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is welcomed by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires. (Reuters)

The G20 press release said “Since the announcement of the 2020 G20 Saudi Presidency at the 2017 G20 Hamburg Summit, the Kingdom commenced a whole of government approach for its Presidency’s preparation. The G20 Saudi Secretariat was established to coordinate efforts, with the aim of pursuing a progressive agenda that advances the Group’s accomplishments and priorities across global economic and developmental fronts. Going forward, Saudi Arabia will capitalize on its regional and international roles to engage with G20 members, invited countries, civil societies, and international and regional organizations to incorporate diverse viewpoints that reach policy recommendations addressing current and emerging global challenges impacting societies and economies throughout the world.”

The press release said that the “G20 Saudi Arabia Presidency will include a multitude of meetings, throughout the year of its Presidency, for ministers, deputies, working groups and other stakeholders with the aim of building broad consensus on policy proposals that address G20 topics. These meetings will be crowned by the G20 Leaders’ Summit.”

It concluded that “Saudi Arabia is undergoing major economic and social transformation guided by its Vision 2030, which is closely aligned with core G20 objectives of achieving macroeconomic stability, sustainable development, women empowerment, enhanced human capital, and increased flow of trade and investment.

Working in close cooperation with G20 members and other relevant stakeholders, Saudi Arabia said it looks forward to a successful Presidency where it will play a leading and constructive role in contributing to a positive and sustainable impact in our region and the world at large.”

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Saudi Crown Prince meets with French President Macron at G20 Summit

Time: 30 November 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday at the G20 Summit. (Supplied)

World leaders welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday at the G20 Summit convening at Costa Salguero in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

Earlier to the start of G20 Summit with leaders of the world’s top economies gathered, Saudi Crown Prince met French President Emmanuel Macron and was seen enjoying a chat.

According to the Elysee Palace, Macron discussed oil prices and the role Saudi Arabia can play.

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Saudi Crown Prince meets with South Korea President at G20

Time: 30 November 2018 

Saudi Crown Prince talks to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. (Supplied)

World leaders welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday at the G20 summit convening at Costa Salguero in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires.

Prior to the start of G20 Summit with leaders of the world’s top economies gathered, Saudi Crown Prince met with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

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