Covid-19: G20 finance ministers push for joint action plan by April 15

The finance ministers of G20 states on Tuesday directed various working groups to deliver by April 15 a roadmap for a joint action plan to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and to provide financial aid to developing countries affected by the crisis.

The finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20, which includes 19 of the world’s largest economies and the European Union, met virtually to coordinate efforts in response to the pandemic and to work on a roadmap to implement commitments made at the virtual G20 leaders’ summit on March 26.

“The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors tasked the relevant working groups to deliver on the roadmap by their virtual meeting on 15 April 2020. They agreed to continue to discuss and take urgent actions needed to address the global challenge presented by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement issued by the G20.

During the March 26 meeting, G20 leaders had agreed to inject more than $5 trillion into the global economy to counter the social and economic impacts of the pandemic and to safeguard jobs and revive growth.

They had also agreed to frame a joint action plan that would “outline the individual and collective actions that G20 has taken and will be taking” to respond to the pandemic and highlight the “needed medium-term measures to support the global economy during and after this phase”.

The leaders had also committed themselves to addressing the “risk of debt vulnerabilities in low-income countries” to allow them to focus their efforts on fighting the pandemic, working with global organisations to swiftly deliver appropriate international financial assistance to emerging markets and developing countries, and working with the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to coordinate regulatory and supervisory measures taken by countries in response to the pandemic.

The virtual meeting of G20 finance ministers also discussed the role of the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions to deploy all available resources and explore additional measures to support emerging markets and developing economies.

They welcomed the Word Bank’s “readiness to deploy as much as $160 billion over the next 15 months to support its member countries”.

The meeting of the G20 finance ministers was preceded by a meeting of trade and investment ministers on Monday, which called on the world community to step up cooperation and coordination to protect lives and lay the foundations for a strong economic recovery and sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

“We are actively working to ensure the continued flow of vital medical supplies and equipment, critical agricultural products, and other essential goods and services across borders, for supporting the health of our citizens,” said a statement issued after the meeting of the trade ministers.

The trade ministers agreed on immediate measures to facilitate trade in essential goods, including the accessibility of essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals at affordable prices where they are most needed. They said emergency measures to tackle Covid-19 should not “create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains”.

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