G20 foreign ministers’ commitment to inclusion of women in finance welcomed

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Updated 27 February 2020

G20 foreign ministers’ commitment to inclusion of women in finance welcomed

  • This approach should be applied to infrastructure projects, which are recognized as a driver of economic growth

RIYADH: The G20 finance ministers’ and central bank governors’ meeting in Riyadh recently concluded with a communique that sets an optimistic tone for international action in 2020 for women’s economic empowerment.

The ministerial group, Women 20 (W20), advocates that the inclusion of women in finance is essential for sound and effective economic policies. The group recognizes that gender is a consideration for economic policymaking, stating: “An inclusive approach to growth can better harness untapped economic potential, help address inequality and empower all segments of society, especially women and youth. Therefore, we agree to develop a menu of policy options that countries can draw from to enhance access to opportunities for all.”

This approach should also be applied to infrastructure projects, which are recognized as a driver of economic growth, it said. W20 welcomed this approach, and urged the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and others to build on previous work to apply a gender lens to infrastructure projects and programs in their reports for the G20.

W20 chair, Dr. Thoraya Obaid, said: “The G20 meetings, including the symposium on international taxation which W20 attended this weekend, are an opportunity to ensure that gender considerations are mainstreamed into G20 discussions, because the inclusion of women across the G20 States is smart economics and sound financial policy, resulting in concrete economic gains for all.”

The communique anticipates new reports this year looking at the procurement processes, and the advance of the Infrastructure Technology (InfraTech) agenda. The W20 is committed to providing inputs into these reports, including through the expertise of delegates in these fields, especially as W20 advocates for public procurement contracts that promote women-owned and women-led business, and to promote the involvement of women in the research, design and development of InfraTech.  

W20 also called for this focus to include care infrastructure as an instrument for women’s economic empowerment. Investment in care infrastructure would boost employment and gender equality by enabling more women to join their national labor markets.

Obaid said: “This is a positive start to the G20 ministerial discussion, with a concrete commitment to develop new policy guidelines on digital financial inclusion for women. Technology offers us a way to close the gender gap and ensure that women can exercise their digital rights, both as users and as producers of digital technology.”

The Kingdom launched its G20 presidency last December. It is the first Arab nation to hold the position and the summit will be held in the capital in November.

Saudi forces intercept ballistic missiles over Riyadh and Jazan

Updated 29 March 2020

Saudi forces intercept ballistic missiles over Riyadh and Jazan

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces shot down ballistic missiles toward Riyadh and the southern city of Jazan late on Saturday.

Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition helping Yemen's legitimate government, said the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed at 11:23 p.m. on Saturday two ballistic missiles over Riyadh.

At least one missile has also been intercepted over the southern city of Jazan, according to Al Arabiya sources.

Al-Maliki said the missiles were fired by the "Houthi terrorist militia" from Sanaa and Saada in Yemen toward civilian objects and civilians in the Kingdom.

Lt. Col. Mohammed Al Hammadi, media spokesperson for the Civil Defense in the Riyadh region, said two civilians from separate neighborhoods in the capital were injured by falling debris from the intercepted missiles as they exploded in mid-air.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi terrorists have previously targeted Riyadh and other Saudi cities with missiles, rockets and drones.

Three explosions were heard in the curfew-locked capital before midnight amid efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic, residents said on social media.

It was the first major assault on Saudi Arabia since the Houthis offered last September to halt attacks on the Kingdom after devastating twin strikes on Saudi oil installations.