Leaders of the 19 most industrialized countries (G20) have announced they will inject at least USD 5 trillion into the global economy to counteract the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They will also expand manufacturing capacity to meet the huge and increasing demand for medical supplies, which will be made available at an affordable price and in the shortest possible time, the leading economic powers pledged in a virtual summit held last night.
It is not yet clear who exactly will receive money, but the leaders said the money will be part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.
The G20 countries include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, UK, USA, and South Korea. They said they were concerned with the serious risks posed to all countries, particularly developing and least developed countries.
These include in Africa and small island states, where health systems and economies are less able to cope with the challenge.
In the communique last night, the leaders said “we consider that consolidating Africa’s health defence is key to the resilience of global health.” This means part of that money pledged will be spent in poorer countries to strengthen capacity to deal with the virus.
The communique committed to ensuring cross-border flow of vital medical supplies, agricultural products and other goods and services. Some countries have been withholding export permits of medicines or masks.
The G20, however, was mute on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund request that they consider suspending debt repayments by poorer nations. This would give countries like Uganda more resources to deal with the pandemic.