SAO PAULO: The meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors that took place in Brazil on Feb. 28-29 could not be concluded with a joint statement as there was no consensus over the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.
But many of the leaders who attended shared similar concerns regarding the topics suggested as priorities by Brazil, which is the current president of the forum, especially reducing inequality and building multilateral cooperation to address the most pressing global issues such as sustainable development and financial stability.
Three Arab nations took part in the meeting. Besides Saudi Arabia, which is the only Arab member of the G20, Egypt and the UAE attended as guests. They manifested concurrent views regarding the central themes of the forum.
Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who headed the Saudi delegation along with Saudi Central Bank Gov. Ayman Al-Sayari, affirmed during one of the event’s sessions that “addressing debt vulnerabilities in low-income countries cannot happen without multilateral cooperation from all stakeholders, including creditors, debtors, international financial institutions, and the private sector,” the ministry’s media center reported.
Al-Jadaan added that fair trade practices must be promoted “in order to enhance economic opportunities for developing countries.”
Regarding low-income nations’ debt, he said implementation of the G20 Common Framework, an initiative launched a few years ago to support poor countries with unsustainable debt, must go on.
Mohamed Hadi Al-Hussaini, the UAE’s minister for financial affairs, expressed his country’s commitment to reducing inequalities through financial inclusion, Emirates News Agency reported.
He cited the Financial Infrastructure Transformation Programme, launched in 2023 with the goal of speeding up the digital transition in the financial sector.
The initiative shares the same principles as the G20-supported Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.
Al-Hussaini said innovative instruments may have a relevant role in promoting development, mentioning green bonds and sukuk, a Shariah-compliant bond used in Islamic finance.
He also addressed the UAE’s efforts regarding energy transition and combating climate change.
The Emirati government has been helping vulnerable nations enhance their climate resilience. The UAE pledged $200 million to the Resilience Sustainability Trust in December 2023.
Al-Hussaini said the UAE decided to prioritize multilateral cooperation during the 13th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, which was held in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 26-29 and discussed new models for global trade.
Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait emphasized in his speech that developing nations have been impacted by challenging situations in recent months, something that affects their budgets and their ability to meet their citizens’ needs amid growing inflation crises, Ahram Online reported.
He said international cooperation is fundamental to support countries that are struggling to maintain their efforts for social protection.
He added that Egypt gained great experience in relief programs in recent years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the country increased its support programs in order to assist vulnerable social segments at a time of economic hardship and high inflation. Any reform needs social programs if the goal is to obtain success, he stressed.
Al-Jadaan had bilateral meetings with Maait, Ilan Goldfajn, who heads the Inter American Development Bank, the French delegation and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Al-Sayari met with his Turkish counterpart.
According to a statement released by the US Treasury Department, Al-Jadaan and Yellen discussed the Saudi economy, “the progress of its reform program” and the need to “work together effectively in both bilateral and multilateral settings.”
Al-Hussaini met with the finance ministers of South Africa and Germany, as well as the executive president of the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean.