G20 leadership should set 'ambitious goals' for global economic recovery, UAE Minister of State says

The world economy needs multilateral cooperation to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 06 November 2018. The IIF MENA Summit held at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Opening day, session one. H.E. Ahmed Al Sayegh addresses the summit. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Dania Al Saadi. Section: Business.
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Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies should set ambitious goals for a global economic recovery at the Riyadh Summit this week and lay out an agenda for international cooperation, the UAE's Minister of State Ahmed Al Sayegh said.

The world economy, which has so far seen an uneven recovery, requires multilateral efforts to overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Al Sayegh, who is the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the UAE’s Sherpa for G20, told a virtual media briefing on Thursday.

The most important task of G20 leaders is to set ambitious goals that help the world economy rebound in an equal and sustainable manner, he said.

The G20 forum needs to “set the tone for the rest of the world”, he added. G20 leaders are meeting virtually on November 21 and 22 for their annual summit held under the presidency of Saudi Arabia this year. The group accounts for about 85 per cent of the world’s economic output and is leading efforts to help the global economy recover from the worst pandemic in more than a century.

Since March, G20 countries rolled out nearly $12 trillion in fiscal stimulus to cushion the impact of the pandemic that has tipped the global economy into its deepest recession since the 1930s. That has been supported by about $7.5tn in monetary actions by central banks globally.

Last month, the IMF said it expects global output to shrink 4.4 per cent in 2020 and expand 5.2 per cent next year.

There is no “blueprint of how this recovery must occur”, however, the G20 should push for the world to follow a “multilateral approach” that should be underpinned by international cooperation and adherence to global regulations.

“In order for us to build better and grow, we will need to see more respect for international cooperation" and coordination with multilateral organisations, he said.

Nations, he said, will not be able to recover from the pandemic-driven challenges in isolation.

Mr Al Sayegh’s thoughts echo the IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva's call on Thursday for multilateral support and strengthening rules-based trade, an international system of taxation.

“Without these, the global economy will face a much more challenging road ahead,” she said in a blog post ahead of the G20 summit.

The UAE, the second-biggest Arab economy, was invited by the Saudi Arabia to attend this year’s G20 summit, in the UAE’s capacity as the chair of the six-member economic bloc of the GCC. This is only the second time the UAE is attending the summit. In 2011, it was invited by France.

“From our side, we have found participation in the G20 process extremely valuable, in terms of knowledge and experience sharing, as well as strengthening bilateral relationships,” Mr Al Sayegh said.

The UAE has identified a number of priority areas during its engagement with G20 leadership. They include: the global health agenda; sustainability and climate change; food and water security; quality education and financial inclusion.

“From the beginning of the year, we worked closely with our bilateral and regional partners to identify priority issues that the UAE would champion during its engagement at the G20,” he said.

These issues “matter to the UAE, the GCC and many smaller countries who are often not represented at [a forum] like the G20”.