G20 envoys laud Saudi presidency

Time: 23 November 2020

This handout photo provided by G20 Riyadh Summit, shows Saudi King Salman, center, and the rest of world leaders during a virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia and held over video conference amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP)
  • Ambassadors approve of proposal that the G20 hold two summits each year

RIYADH: The ambassadors from the G20 states on Monday praised the Saudi presidency for undertaking such a huge task under extraordinary circumstances and providing a clear direction for tackling the coronavirus crisis.

After the Riyadh Summit concluded on Sunday, King Salman formally handed over the rotating presidency to Italy, which will hold the 2021 summit.

Speaking ahead of the closing remarks Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recommended holding two G20 summits — a virtual event in the middle of the year and a physical summit later.

Italian ambassador Roberto Cantone told Arab News: “The Kingdom has given proof of excellent organization. The Saudi presidency has worked since the beginning to adapt the original program to the challenges of the reality.”

“The Saudi president managed to catalyze G20 action to tackle one of the most pressing global emergencies of our time. This has been done in a very comprehensive manner, focusing both on the health emergency and on the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic,” he said.

He said the incoming Italian presidency will build on the legacy that Saudi Arabia has left.

South Korean ambassador Jo Byung-wook said: “The G20 Summit this year once again proved itself to be the premier forum for international economic cooperation. It would not have been possible without Saudi Arabia’s tremendous efforts leading all G20 member countries to invest their resources in responding to the global crisis.”

The Kingdom has given proof of excellent organization.

Roberto Cantone, Italian ambassador

“Saudi Arabia demonstrated its leadership and competence to the world by successfully hosting two summits this year,” he added. “In this respect, as suggested by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, holding two G20 summits annually would actively utilize this global forum with proven effectiveness.”

Japanese ambassador Tsukasa Uemura told Arab News: “The summit successfully provided a clear direction for the international community in the midst of the crisis, which is significantly meaningful in such a difficult year.”

“Saudi Arabia has demonstrated tremendous leadership in delivering clear and vital messages to the international community that the G20 would take the lead in creating an international order for the post-corona world,” he added.

EU ambassador Patrick Simonnet said: “We have very much appreciated the Saudi presidency for holding the Extraordinary Summit in March, where G20 leaders discussed the most urgent consequences of the pandemic on all aspects of our lives.”

Praising the Kingdom for the G20 Summit’s success Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing tweeted: “A friend sent me a message from China that amid the uncrecedented pandemic Saudi Arabia has achieved exceptional success in chairing the G20 over virtual conferences, and he was very impressed. I agree, as the Kingdom has won the respect and appreciation of the world.”

Mexican ambassador Anibal Gomez-Toledo noted: “The crown prince’s proposal to hold two G20 annual summits could have potential and should be further discussed by the group’s members.”

Indonesian ambassador Agus Maftuh Abegebriel told Arab News: “We acknowledge the recommendation made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on holding two summits. It would surely be beneficial to the economic recovery.

He said the Saudi presidency has proven that the G20 Summit can also be held virtually and prove effective.

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King Salman’s G20 speech a roadmap for economic sustainability


King Salman’s speech at the G20 was a global document of reassurance. His speech ended with a sentence restoring hope to all people of the world. This came amid the fragile global economic situation and health crises that need reassurance.

King Salman affirmed a commitment to work with the rest of the world to confront the pandemic, ensure economic recovery, and take proactive measures to face any such emergency in the future. In other words, the speech was a roadmap for Saudi Arabia and all its global allies. It has set the tone for the next G20 Summit in Italy in 2021, and the one in India scheduled for 2022.

The Saudi king stressed the need to take measures to ensure a sustainable economy and promote a circular carbon economy, which is one of the Kingdom’s many goals to ensure cleaner, sustainable and affordable energy. Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest levels of carbon emissions, and it has put forward a vision of a low-carbon economy to become a global model in this regard.

The Kingdom adopted the concept of a circular carbon economy and presented it at the G20 Summit with a holistic and realistic approach to achieve more sustainability in the economic system. To achieve this goal, Saudi Arabia is taking measures to reduce carbon emissions in all sectors.

It is the opposite of the linear carbon economy that currently prevails, in which carbon resources are burned so that energy is produced in all its forms. This is a waste of valuable carbon resources that can be used chemically as raw materials to produce other commodities with added value. There are several sectors — such as chemicals, waste management and housing — that must cooperate with the global energy sector to contribute to the transformation from a linear economy to a successful circular carbon one.

The Kingdom is investing heavily in new energy solutions and efficiency for the benefit of the world. In fact, it is reforming its entire energy system. It has the largest plant in the world for carbon capture, storage and use, and it converts half-a-million tons of carbon dioxide annually into useful products such as fertilizers and methanol.

The Kingdom also has the region’s most advanced plants for enhanced oil extraction using carbon dioxide, and it separates and stores 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. This is in addition to other plans to create more infrastructure facilities for carbon capture in all Saudi regions.

• Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

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Saudi crown prince suggests two G20 extraordinary leaders’ meetings to take place yearly


A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on November 22, 2020, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman addressing a remote press conference at the G20 summit, in the capital Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia will continue to answer the global call to address modern challenges, together with G20 members, says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
  • Under Saudi Arabia’s presidency, the G20 held an extraordinary G20 summit last March to tackle the COVID-20 crisis
  • Saudi Arabia then hosted the G20 Leaders’ Summit virtually on Nov. 21-22, 2020

RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recommended that going forward, the Group of Twenty (G20) organization should hold two annual summits, a virtual one in the middle of the year, and a physical summit at the end.

Minutes before the closing remarks of the Kingdom’s G20 presidency, the crown prince said: “I would like to thank all of our ministers and officials for their active participation during many meetings, and the succession of this year’s programs despite the difficult circumstances.”

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) represented an unprecedented global threat, prompting the Kingdom to hold two summits during its presidential year, which has not happened in any previous presidency since the group’s founding in 1999.

The crown prince said that based on the success of the Saudi experience in holding an extraordinary G20 summit last March, and the success of the Riyadh summit, he proposed that going forward, two annual summits be held instead.

“We hope that Italy will crystallize this idea with the aim of supporting joint international coordination and intensifying the role, to come up with policies and initiatives to meet any challenges and determine the economic and well-being of our peoples,” he said.

As this year is an extraordinary year for the whole world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia was honored to host the G20 Leaders’ Summit virtually over two days, on Nov. 21-22, 2020.

After King Salman’s closing remarks and the handing over of the presidency to Italy, Crown Prince Mohammed ended the summit by highlighting the G20’s achievements since its foundation.

“(The G20) has been an essential link among our countries. It has demonstrated the vitality of its role, over the years, to deal with economic, financial, social, and environmental issues,” he said.

The crown prince emphasized the importance of cooperation in light of the outbreak of COVID-19 , and its health, economic, and social repercussions.

“Together we have addressed this challenge with seriousness necessitated by the responsibility to preserve human life, protect livelihoods, mitigate the ensuing damage of this pandemic, and raise readiness to face any future crises, God forbid,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20 was exceptional in that it adopted the slogan of “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All” to empower people, safeguard the planet and shape new frontiers, and to address the professional interaction led by the Kingdom to unite efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We stand today at the end of an exceptional year in which we had the privilege and responsibility of the G20 presidency,” he said. “This year, the G20 adopted priorities that we worked on together to implement, top of which is addressing the health care, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic.”

He mentioned that the G20 had demonstrated that “together, our strength lies in our unity. This is exactly what the G20 was created for — to bring countries from every continent together to address collectively the greatest challenges of the day and implement joint and effective solutions.

“We fully realize the importance of better protection from future pandemics, and we must draw lessons from this crisis. To ensure that, the Saudi G20 presidency proposed an initiative to enhance access to pandemic tools.”

He said that this initiative would work to achieve three goals: First, to promote research and development, and distribution of diagnostic tools, therapeutics, and vaccines for all infectious diseases. Second, to encourage and facilitate international funding for global pandemic preparedness, and third, to support the training of epidemiologists all over the world.

Throughout its presidency of the G20, the Kingdom has dedicated its efforts to building a stronger and more sustainable world, in parallel with its significant economic and social transformation based on Vision 2030.

“We conclude this summit determined to take action and to continue working together until we overcome the pandemic, giving hope and reassurance to our nations and to the world. We are proud of what we have accomplished this year, and we know that plenty still needs to be done,” the crown prince said,

“Saudi Arabia will continue to support the international efforts related to providing equitable and affordable COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines for all, once they become available. I know many join us in this commitment.

“We will work together with our international partners and the Italian G20 presidency next year to achieve this. The Kingdom will continue to answer the global call to address the challenges of the 21st century, together with the G20 members. We wish all the best for Italy,” he concluded.

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Saudi G20 presidency empowered civil societies, Secretariat member says


G20 Saudi Secretariat member Reem Al-Faryan speaks at a media briefing on November 20,2020. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)

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Women, youth major beneficiaries of Saudi G20 leadership: Experts

Time: 17 November 2020

Saudi women, wearing protective face masks, walk into the Taiba gold market in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
  • Summit a chance to reiterate why KSA has been the West’s most enduring regional partner: Ex-US diplomat
  • Pandemic means Nov. 21-22 meeting, meant to take place in Riyadh, will instead be online

LONDON: Saudi women and youth have been heavily involved in the lead up to their country’s G20 Summit, and have thus been major beneficiaries of the chance for open dialogue and inclusive policymaking, according to experts.

The annual summit gives the Kingdom a chance to reaffirm the ties that have made it the West’s key partner in the Middle East for 75 years, experts said at an online event on Tuesday hosted by British think tank Chatham House and attended by Arab News.

Saudi leadership of the G20 has had a major impact on the Kingdom’s civil society, said Dr. Hanaa Almoaibed, research fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.

Despite the challenges of holding the summit online, the G20 is “definitely a capacity-building process for a lot of young Saudis,” she added.

“Being involved in the political process, in the policymaking process for the first time for a lot of young professionals, is a huge insight into the way international relations works.”

In addition to the flagship summit of world leaders, Saudi Arabia has also hosted over 100 smaller meetings and events addressing a range of topics including the coronavirus pandemic, digital access in the workplace and climate change.

One of the major areas that the Saudi G20 secretariat has focused on, Almoaibed said, is women’s empowerment and providing a space for Saudi women and others to voice their hopes for their country’s future.

Instrumental in this was the W20, a specific group of the G20 focused on fostering gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

“The W20 was exciting because it really involved women from all over the country,” said Almoaibed. “It was led by a local organization that was able to bring women from all over the country to open a national dialogue, discussing the things they’d faced that had prevented them from achieving what they wanted to achieve or their own personal goals.”

The value here, she said, is that “there was a lot of trust in that format — they were able to develop an action plan for women in the country based on the challenges they face.”

The G20 has also given Saudi Arabia a platform to reiterate why it has been the West’s key regional partner for 75 years, said David Rundell, former chief of mission at the US Embassy in Riyadh.

He added that in the face of hostility from some American politicians, the Kingdom can use the G20 Summit as an opportunity to refocus global attention on what has made the US-Saudi partnership so enduring.

“Saudi Arabia has been a strong partner of both Britain and the US for 75 years. In counterterrorism cooperation, Saudi Arabia has saved American lives. In global energy markets, Saudi Arabia has frequently stabilized supply and demand when political or natural disasters disrupt things.” Rundell said.

“I think it’s fair to say in the recent past Saudi Arabia has promoted a moderate form of Islam. But most importantly for Britain and the US is that Saudi Arabia remains a power that values and promotes regional stability. Those are reasons for continued engagement.”

The flagship G20 Summit, hosted by King Salman, will take place online on Nov. 21-22.

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India and Saudi Arabia ‘partners in post-pandemic world,’ says envoy to Riyadh

Time: 11 November 2020

Royal cenotaphs in Jaipur, India. (Shutterstock)
  • Kingdom’s ‘shining example’ shows people’s welfare is top priority, Indian envoy says

RIYADH: With the G20 2020 presidency Saudi Arabia has demonstrated that the health and welfare of the people is a top priority, and has undertaken all necessary steps to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to Indian Ambassador to the Kingdom Ausaf Sayeed.

In an interview with Arab News the envoy said: “The conduct of a very successful Hajj under extraordinary circumstances, bearing in mind all the health protocols, was a shining example of this.”

On managing the G20 amid the pandemic, he said: “The swift decision to organise a virtual summit in March 2020, when the dangers of the pandemic were just beginning to emerge globally, is evidence of the fact that the Kingdom handled the situation admirably.

“While the world would have hoped for a summit which would have brought all the leaders together in one place and experience the generous hospitality of the Kingdom, the decision to hold the summit virtually, bearing in mind the dangers of the pandemic that continue to linger, is well appreciated,” Sayeed added.

On shouldering the responsibility to help the world move forward and the importance of the summit in Riyadh, the Indian envoy said: “Given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the role of the G20 has increased manifold.

The health, economic and social impact globally of COVID-19 needs coordinated efforts towards solutions that a platform like the G20, which includes two-thirds of the world’s population and 85 percent of the global economy, is well suited to deliver.”

The economic impact of the pandemic on all affected countries has exposed the challenges that we continue to face in terms of poverty and inequality, he said. As we have seen, the pandemic knows no national boundaries, and has affected the poorest the most. Apart from the tragic loss of lives, there has been an economic slowdown that has severely affected the livelihoods of the most vulnerable.

The expectation from the Riyadh G20 presidency, held under the theme “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All,” is that a consensus will be built around the steps that the world, led by the G20 countries, will take to transition towards economic recovery that will help people regain lost livelihoods and provide the healing touch to those most severely affected by the pandemic, he explained.

It can also build systems and strategies that will better prepare the world for the challenges of the future.

On the hosting of the G20 Summit in Riyadh — the first time by an Arab country — the envoy said: “Saudi Arabia being the largest economy in one of the most important geopolitical regions of the world, it is only fitting
that the G20 Summit is being hosted by the Kingdom at this critical moment.”

Apart from being one of the world’s foremost producers and exporters of energy, Saudi Arabia is transforming rapidly under the Vision 2030 through diversification of its economy and development of a vibrant society under the wise and able leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Sayeed.

“The G20 presidency during these challenging times is yet another testimony to the significant leadership role that the Kingdom has played and will continue to play in dealing with the most pressing issues that matter to the entire world,” the envoy said.

He went on to say that India shares an excellent history of relations with Saudi Arabia, and the two countries have seen many high-level visits in recent years that have progressively transformed the bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership.

On the economic front, Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth-largest trading partner and supplies around 18 percent of India’s crude oil requirement and 30 percent of its LPG needs, he said.

There is even greater scope to increase trade and investments between the two countries, he added. There are several sectors in which India and Saudi Arabia can work closely in the post-pandemic world.

In the virtual summit in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi elaborated on India’s role in forging a collaborated response against COVID-19, he added.

Thanks to its leadership in medical research and pharmaceuticals, India is playing its part in the global fight against the pandemic, as a “pharmacy to the world,” delivering medicines and equipment to countries that need them the most. It is also at the forefront of vaccine development, he added.

As an important member of the G20 and as a developing country with one-sixth of the global population, India’s focus is on ensuring growth through the development of fair and equitable systems and frameworks.

Sayeed said: “The G20 provides an important platform for both India and Saudi Arabia to work even more closely on various issues, with particular focus on those that concern developing countries the most.”

“This is particularly significant as India is set to assume the G20 presidency in 2022, the 75th year of its independence, and continue to take forward the agenda of global cooperation,” he added.

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Australian envoy to Saudi Arabia hails successful presidency of G20 amid pandemic


Australia’s battle with the coronavirus pandemic took a step closer to ending after the New South Wales state relaxed health restrictions. (AFP)

Balancing health measures and economic growth will be focus of November’s Riyadh Summit
LONDON: Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ridwaan Jadwat congratulated Saudi Arabia on its presidency of the G20 during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a very difficult year for everybody. We congratulate not only the authorities but all the frontline health care workers who have been doing their very best to keep people safe,” Jadwat told Arab News.

Jadwat remarked on how the meetings scheduled between working groups, engagement groups and ministers hardly skipped a beat this year and praised the decision of the Saudi presidency to continue the G20 meetings virtually.

“The decision for leaders to meet virtually in November was appropriate, given the logistical and health challenges in the current context,” he said. “We hope that the leaders will have another opportunity in the future to visit the Kingdom.

“The G20 is an institution that comes into its own when most needed; it is more a rough-weather friend than a fair-weather one.”

Under the Saudi Arabian presidency, the G20 is bringing members together to address response and recovery measures to COVID-19. “Leaders met earlier this year in March to discuss the crisis at the extraordinary G20 leaders’ summit … and COVID-19 continues to be the key focus leading into the summit in November.”

Jadwat stressed the importance of strong multilateral institutions, such as the G20, in a time of unprecedented global challenges.

“They’re vital to international stability. It is more important now than ever for leaders to have open lines of communication. And this is doubly true for the G20, which brings together the world’s biggest economies, given the significant economic impact of the pandemic.”

Jadwat said that the G20 has a key role in creating the conditions for future prosperity.

“Australia is focused on job creation through supply-side reforms and on restoring demand and enabling a private sector-led recovery, which is very important. The G20 has a key role in promoting the importance of the multilateral trading system and in providing political guidance and support for World Trade Organization reform.”

In commenting on the summit’s theme for this year, “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century For All,” the ambassador said that it has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic.

“Saving lives has to be our top priority. Australia is committed to equitable access to a vaccine once it’s developed and is actively engaged in international efforts to this end, through the Gavi-led COVAX facility. We need to support the health capacity of all vulnerable and low-income countries across regions, including the small states in our region closer to Australia,” he said.

Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ridwaan Jadwat. (Supplied)

Jadwat emphasized prioritizing economic growth as part of the G20 agenda while also ensuring that the global financial safety net is adequate, well-resourced, and responsive, adding that women’s participation will be vital to an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.

“This is a key priority for Australia across the G20. We want to hold the pandemic-induced backsliding and resume progress toward the Brisbane 25 by 25 goal,” he said, referring to the 2014 G20 initiative to reduce the gender gap in labor force participation by 25 percent by 2025.

Jadwat applauded the Women 20 (W20) engagement group for hosting a successful summit, which he said will feed strong outcomes into the leaders’ meeting.

“I had the great pleasure of meeting with W20 Sherpa Salma Al-Rashid and Chair Dr. Thoraya Obaid. We are very happy with the work they have been doing over the course of this year, including working with W20 representatives from Australia.”

Since Jadwat first assumed his position as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, strengthening relations between Australia and the Kingdom has been a priority.


Australia’s consumer price index for 2020 rose 1.6% this quarter.

“It’s been an important mission for me to help build bridges between our two peoples. Australia’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been consistently friendly and constructive, but we can do even more together.”

Jadwat said that although the two countries are relatively far away from each other geographically, both economies have strong complementarities. With similarly sized populations, large desert areas, and abundant natural resources, Jadwat pointed out that the cornerstone of Australia’s relations with Saudi Arabia is strong trade-economic ties.

“We have natural strengths in the energy sector, but we are not competitors. We both value technology and finding innovative ways to solve problems. We have much to offer Saudi Arabia in education mining, agriculture and tourism, especially as it diversifies its economy.”

Jadwat highlighted that a goal of Vision 2030 is to develop the tourism sector and that Australia has much experience in managing sustainable, environmentally friendly tourism projects, like in the Great Barrier Reef and other places throughout the country.

“I think we have a lot to offer in terms of our expertise in tourism and environmental management. Australia is a mining superpower that has helped make us the 13th largest economy in the world. I know there are a lot of unexplored natural resources in Saudi Arabia. So in terms of engineering and mineral exploration, Australia has a lot to offer.

“One of the things that I’m most proud of is the education relationship and the number of alumni from Australian universities who are here in Saudi Arabia. We also have thousands of Saudi students who continue to study every year in Australia. I think that’s a testament to the relationship between the two societies. I feel that those Saudi students who come back to the Kingdom become ambassadors for Australia as well,” he said.

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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


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.”

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


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.

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