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Al-Falih stresses on empowerment in delivering King's speech
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 10 - 2020

Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, who received the final communiqué of B20 Summit on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, stressed that most of the B20 priorities are similar to the current transformations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
"For Vision 2030 represents our road map for the future of our country. Your Engagement Group has emphasized on the aim of empowerment, and one aspect of that is represented in the Kingdom's focus on the digital economy," he said while reading out King Salman's speech.
Al-Falih, at the outset, said he would like to thank the B20 engagement group's chair and all of its partners from around the globe for their efforts in this exceptional time.
"We were looking forward to welcoming you and hosting you here in the Kingdom, so you could get the chance to enjoy our heritage and our rich and diverse culture, and to witness the historic economic and social transformation that the kingdom is currently undergoing. However, this pandemic did not allow it.
"During this year, the Saudi G20 Presidency was keen to listen to your recommendations through the Ministerial, Sherpa, and Working Group meetings of which you were invited.
"The theme of the Saudi G20 Presidency is to "Realizing Opportunities of the 21st century for all." The presidency has focused on three main aims, namely: Empowering people through creating conditions that enable them — especially women and youth — to live decently, work, and prosper, and Safeguarding the Planet by promoting joint efforts to protect global resources, as well as shaping new frontiers by adopting bold and long-term strategies to utilize the benefits of innovation and technological advancement.
"During its presidency of the G20 this year, the Kingdom focused on discussing the human, social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, by uniting international efforts to save lives, secure health systems' responses, and protect the economy.
"To achieve these aims, the G20 has committed to close the immediate financing gap in global health by pledging $21 billion to support the production and distribution of diagnostics, treatments, therapeutics and vaccines for all. The G20 has also committed to strengthening coordination to combat the pandemic at the international level, including the protection of health workers on the front lines, and the delivery of food and medical supplies.
"It also injected around $11 trillion to protect the global economy, with a clear commitment and determination to do "whatever is necessary" to overcome the effects of this pandemic.
"The G20 has given a priority to the poorest countries through the historic Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) totaling $14 billion, which provides exemptions to 73 eligible countries.
"Honored guests, as for the structural issues facing our economies, we cannot talk about "shaping new frontiers" in the G20 without discussing innovative solutions that contribute to developing the financial infrastructure, improving of the global trade systems, protecting of the private sector, restoring capital flows to emerging markets, and harnessing the digital economy tools that help us reach the desired financial inclusion during various circumstances.
"The G20 was also keen to step up the efforts that would enable us to cope with the changing nature of education and work, provide opportunities for young people to build a promising and robust economic future, and strengthen social protection systems.
"From the perspective of investment, business, and trade, this pandemic has caused severe disruptions in the supply chains and almost a complete shutdown in various sectors such as tourism. It has also led to widespread disruption in global markets.
"Accordingly, the G20 was keen to discuss the best practices to support the recovery of international trade, stimulate economic diversification, and promote international investment, in addition to supporting the international competitiveness of MSMEs.
"The G20 has also undertaken important steps to support the reforms of the World Trade Organization, for which the Saudi Presidency of the G20 has built consensus on ‘The Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO.'
"Furthermore, The G20 has paid special attention to discussing policies concerned with developing the highest standards of transparency and integrity among all sectors, where several initiatives were agreed upon in the Anti-Corruption Ministerial Communiqué, which are: "Riyadh Initiative on Enhancing International Cooperation", "G20 Good Practices Compendium on Combating Corruption in the Response to COVID-19".
"Distinguished guests, allow me also to emphasize that most B20 priorities are similar to the current transformations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For Vision 2030 represents our roadmap for the future of our country.
"Your Engagement Group has emphasized on the aim of empowerment, and one aspect of that is represented in the Kingdom's focus on the digital economy. Under the current global shift to remote work and education and even remote healthcare, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was a pioneer in this field.
"Domestically, we acknowledged that the "economic empowerment of youth and women", which is one of the G20 priorities, is pivotal to realizing the optimal capabilities of our national economy. We have also implemented a wide-range of reforms for women empowerment at home and work, including entrepreneurship programs and incubators; specifically, preventing gender discrimination in access to financial services, which makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia one of the only 3 countries in the world to achieve this.
"Further, as ‘Safeguarding the planet' is among the G20 priorities, and a critical goal in which we should invest in the future, It is also a goal that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been working on to achieve through initiating programs and projects that aim to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency, such as the Circular Carbon Economy approach and "Green Hydrogen" in NEOM, as well as projects that considers environmental protection and sustainability measures utilized by the Red Sea Development Company, to name a few.
"Although we have faced extraordinary challenges, the pandemic demonstrated the resilience and strength of the Saudi economy and we are committed to increasing growth and prosperity levels through empowerment and investments in new sectors; especially the sectors that will lead the global recovery and protect countries from future pandemics.
"I would like to congratulate the leadership of the B20 and its members, especially for your proactive recommendations in light of the expectations of a second wave of the pandemic and the attention you have paid in the most pressing issues in the global economy.
"In conclusion, I look forward to receiving the B20 Communiqué and recommendations and we look forward to continuing our joint efforts to realize the opportunities of the 21st century for all." — SPA

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