President Cyril Ramaphosa participating in the first session on Overcoming the Pandemic and Restoring Growth and Jobs at the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa participating in the first session on Overcoming the Pandemic and Restoring Growth and Jobs at the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Ramaphosa pushes for inclusive economic recovery at G20 summit

By Vernon Pillay Time of article published Nov 21, 2020

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Cape Town - The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on human health, on societies and on economies, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the opening session of the G20 summit on Saturday.

“In the middle of the pandemic – even as we battle rising global infections – we must look towards an inclusive economic recovery, where no country is left behind”, Ramaphosa said during the virtual meeting which is being hosted by Saudi Arabia.

"It was at the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit in March this year that members committed to strengthening national, regional and global capacities to respond effectively to future pandemics.

"As the African continent, we are playing our part, including through the establishment of a Covid-19 Response Fund to mobilise resources for a continental response and to support recovery. We also launched the African Medical Supplies Platform to ensure equitable access to medical equipment and supplies.

"We have been involved in the formation of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, a global network to ensure access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for all those who need it. We are pleased that there appears to be consensus in the G20 that access to an effective Covid-19 vaccine should be universal, fair and equitable," RAmaphosa said.

A commitment by G20 leaders to invest substantially in the ACT-Accelerator’s immediate funding gap of $4.5 billion (R692bn) will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass provision of Covid-19 tools around the world, and provide a way out of this global economic and human crisis, the president said.

"We look to the G20, international partners and the international financial institutions to work with African countries to rebuild their economies."

Ramaphosa told the summit that the AU has proposed several measures, including debt relief in the form of interest-payment waivers and deferred payments. He urged leaders to invest in funding and research in order to prepare for a post Covid-19 future.

"We must bolster health infrastructure and health systems. We are encouraged by the continued commitment of the G20 to financing universal health coverage in developing countries. We must accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to strengthen the capacity of all countries to better withstand the impact of future crises," Ramaphosa said.

"This pandemic has demonstrated the interconnectedness of our world. It is only through co-operation and solidarity that we will ensure the future health and welfare of our global community."

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