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G20, under Saudi Arabia’s presidency, is working towards a more resilient world

With Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency, we are at the cusp of another transformation in our strategic cooperation, one that will reap benefits for the global community.

Relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of India are rooted in history, mutual trust and bilateral cooperation that has withstood the test of time. Our two nations have shared trade and cultural links dating back to the third millennium BCE. Today, these foundations remain as strong as ever. These historic bonds were further reinforced during HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first state visit to New Delhi in February 2019. The visit paved the way for unparalleled decisions, heralding a new dawn for the ties between our two formidable economies. With Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency, we are at the cusp of another transformation in our strategic cooperation, one that will reap benefits for the global community.

Mutual respect and continued international cooperation are values at the heart of the Saudi G20 presidency — a presidency that has coincided with a delicate global period and that is determined to lead global actions to address the common global challenges. Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought innumerable challenges to families and communities. It has plunged the global economy into one of the worst recessions in decades, exacerbating existing gaps.

As major global economies, the G20 member countries have a responsibility to lead collective action for a coordinated global response to the ongoing crisis. Saudi Arabia’s presidency is up to this task. Having proved its mettle in dealing with social and economic hurdles back home through its transformative Vision 2030, the Kingdom now has an opportunity to replicate this forward-looking approach on a global scale. Not only has Saudi Arabia been ranked the top reformed and top improver among 190 countries by the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, it is also the most improved country in the world for doing business, having implemented a record number of reforms.

It is with this intent of all-inclusive prosperity that the Saudi G20 Presidency is seeking to deepen global cooperation with the theme of “Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”. The Presidency is working with G20 members on three essential pillars which are vital to the world’s progress: Empowering people with a focus on youth and women, and tackling inequalities; safeguarding the planet by fostering collective efforts to protect our natural resources and putting sustainability at the heart of the agenda; and, finally, shaping new frontiers by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement to build a resilient future for the world.

The Saudi G20 Presidency believes that everyone, especially women, should have the required access and tools to take advantages of the opportunities ahead of us. The Private Sector Alliance for the Empowerment and Progression of Women’s Economic Representation (EMPOWER), a forum constituted by G20, is developing an action plan to identify key focus areas and conduct global research to advocate for the advancement of women in leadership positions in the private sector.

The use of innovation and technological advancements to shape new frontiers, such as deploying artificial intelligence to improve health outcomes and the education system, has been at the forefront of discussions and has found unequivocal relevance as the world grapples with an unforeseen pandemic.

Under Saudi Arabia’s presidency, G20 has been resilient and spearheaded global action needed to deal with the pandemic. The G20 Leaders’ Summit held in March was instrumental in developing a consensus among G20 countries to contain the spread of the pandemic and laid a foundation to the subsequent G20 ministerial meetings. A landmark outcome of these deliberations was the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreeing to the historic Debt Suspension Service Initiative for the world’s poorest countries. This benefitted 46 countries, providing an estimated $14 billion of immediate liquidity relief by the bilateral official creditor in 2020. The G20 is also working with international organisations to complement these efforts, including multilateral development banks, who are planning to commit $75 billion for DSSI-eligible countries between April-December 2020, part of their $230 billion commitment for emerging and low-income countries as a response to the pandemic. Together, G20 countries have contributed over $21 billion to support health systems and the hunt for a vaccine and injected an unprecedented $11 trillion to safeguard the global economy.

We see India as an important partner in this journey to ensure a better tomorrow for all. India is carrying out ambitious reforms to modernise the country. As leading economies, Saudi Arabia and India can leave a mark on the global community through synergies and contribute to the roadmap for a prosperous future for all.

Hosting the Presidency of G20 this year marks a historic step for Saudi Arabia. Many more battles and uncharted paths lie in front of us and we are determined to work closely with the government and people of India, who share the same sense of responsibility towards the global community. As India prepares to hold the Presidency in 2022, we are certain that this mutual counsel will help us realise opportunities of the 21st century for all.

This article first appeared in the print edition on October 24, 2020 under the title ‘A leader for difficult times’. The writer is the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to India.

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