Business leaders call for reforms as global economy faces ‘worst state of the century’

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A ‘Store Closed’ sign is displayed in the window of a store in the Elephant And Castle shopping center in London, UK, September 24, 2020. The shopping center is being closed to make way for a business to Qatari Diar real estate investment to build nearly 1,000 homes, a new university campus and stores.Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Top business leaders say the global economy is facing its worst crisis in 100 years and “downside risks remain high” unless urgent reforms are passed at the G-20 summit hosted by the ‘Saudi Arabia in November.“The global economy is in its worst shape in a century,” warned Yousef Al-Benyan, chairman of Business Twenty (B20), a group made up of top CEOs from around the world. “The difficult opportunity is to rebuild better, with real urgency on the part of policy makers and business leaders,” he added.

The B20 is an engagement group that seeks to represent the voice of the global business community in all member states and economic sectors of the Group of 20.

As the economic recovery evolves over the next two years, downside risks remain high.

Yousef Al-Benyan

President, Business Twenty

The group urges G-20 leaders to take “bold and broad” political action to put the post-pandemic economic recovery on a stronger and more stable growth path. He said trade tensions, political uncertainty, geopolitical tensions and heightened financial vulnerabilities were key risks to the outlook, as companies and economies weather the crippling impact of the coronavirus.

“As the economic recovery evolves over the next two years, downside risks remain high,” Al-Benyan said, raising concerns about low productivity growth and rising inequality.

“Businesses have their share of responsibilities to honor and an important role to play in rebuilding a socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable economy,” he added.

Saudi Arabia will be the first country in the Middle East and North Africa region to host a G-20 summit. The event brings together leaders from the world’s largest economies to address financial and socio-economic issues.

B20 warns of trade crisis exacerbated by Covid-19

On Monday, the B20 leadership made 25 policy recommendations for the G-20 group. Each recommendation fell into three key areas: empowering people, saving the planet and creating new frontiers.

1. Empower people

In the area of ​​people’s empowerment, the B20 made 10 recommendations to accelerate efforts to empower women and youth and build a workforce resilient to technological, health and economic risks. He also called for increased funding for sustainable development and economic diversification, including in job-creating sectors such as sustainable tourism.

The group also called for substantial progress in trade cooperation.

Specifically, the B20 called on the G-20 to strengthen the multilateral trade and investment system by rolling back protectionism, supporting open markets and> through institutions such as the World Organization. trade (WTO).

“The business community strongly supports a robust multilateral trading system anchored in the WTO,” the group said. “But the system faces a crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The recommendation comes as trade and technology tensions continue to drive a wedge between the United States and China, and concerns about the Trump administration’s efforts to use sanctions as a leveraged foreign policy tool to resolve conflicts. reciprocity issues in its key business relationships.

2. Save the planet

The B20 made three recommendations to “promote growth within the limits of the planet”. Specifically, he recommended that G-20 leaders commit to carbon neutrality in the second half of the century, preferably by 2050, and accelerate the implementation of policies towards this goal.

“Our planet is under greater pressure than at any time in human history,” the group said.

3. Shaping new frontiers

In the area of ​​defining new frontiers, the B20 made 12 other recommendations, focused on improving the fintech environment and harnessing technology to manage corruption and fraud risks.

He recommends investing in digital infrastructure such as the next generation of wireless technology systems known as 5G, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things – which refers to devices connected to the Internet like home appliances. and cars which can be controlled via apps.

More specifically, it recommends a “comprehensive, balanced and high-level WTO agreement” to foster the growth of electronic commerce.

Reform program could boost long-term growth

Policy recommendations will be formally presented to the G-20 at the B20 Virtual Summit on October 26-27, this year’s theme being “Transforming for Inclusive Growth”.

The group said that implementing the policy recommendations “would preserve stability in the short term and could increase the level of G20 GDP by more than four percent in the long term.”

He also said that each of the policy recommendations contributes to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – which, if also achieved, could create market opportunities worth $ 12 trillion and create 380 million new jobs.

– Correction: This article has been updated to accurately reflect that the B20 leadership made 25 policy recommendations for the G-20 on Monday, and 12 recommendations were made in the area of ​​defining new boundaries.

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