WITH the slogan “The summit of hope”, King Salman bin Abdulaziz called upon the leaders of the G20 Summit, which was held virtually in the Saudi capital Riyadh, to rise to the challenge of facing the COVID-19 pandemic, something that the world did not encounter in the last century and cost it trillions of dollars.
In his speech, King Salman described the current year as exceptional due to the unprecedented shock caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. He urged governments to cooperate in order to overcome this crisis.
In this way, King Salman is drawing the exit path from the tunnel of this pandemic, rendering the fund of $11 trillion, which various countries have allocated for stimulating their economies, to become an important factor in looking at the glass half full, which is reassurance over the return of economies back to their normal course because this money will benefit the global output with its returns.
Based on this fact, the pessimistic view currently prevailing is not realistic if the fact that stagnation means death and movement is the source of life is taken into account. Therefore the global stimulus plan, especially the plan of the G20 countries, constitute the natural path for setting realistic programs to get out of the crisis.
There is an Arab adage which loosely translates to, “When there is much talk about scarcity of water, thirst begins to spread among people through psychological factors which plays a big role in this regard. Therefore, it is necessary to strive to find water instead of just waiting for the rain”.
Today there is a need to support the poor countries – This was the bold remark made by the Saudi monarch in his speech at the opening of the summit that ended yesterday. It is a point of consensus among the leaders to help these people so that they do not turn into a source of instability in various continents, but on condition that the hand of the corrupt is cut.
Extending the global social protection network requires an end to the systematic waste and looting practiced by officials in the poor countries, because these constitute an obstacle in the face of recovery programs, and cause the aid provided by the rich countries to go to the pockets of the corrupt instead of those who deserve the aid.
Therefore, emergency support will be provided to developing countries, including the G20 initiative to suspend debt service payments to low-income countries, as corrupt people in those countries have used them in their own interests.
There is no doubt that natural resources in the world are sufficient if governments utilize them efficiently and properly to benefit the planet’s population. For this, the current stalemate is due to the dramatic conditions that the world is going through.
Nonetheless, the extraordinary summit held last March pledged to allocate more than $21 billion to support global efforts to address this pandemic. Despite the small amount, it was meant to be a catalyst to launch a scientific workshop to devise effective methods of dealing with the crisis and finding vaccines, because that is the core point through which the world will come out of this dark tunnel of crisis.
Therefore, it is important to act upon what King Salman bin Abdulaziz said, which is, “We reassure our people and give them hope by adopting policies to confront this crisis.”
At this summit, Saudi Arabia represented the voice of the Arabs and its faithful representative in the largest global economic club. Such a presence is a call to an Arab movement for the advancement of development with the participation of the 20 largest economies in the world.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times