G20 leaders seek measures for youth, women

President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde arrives for a Welcome Dinner at the Murabba Palace in Riyadh on February 22, 2020 during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting. (AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

G20 leaders seek measures for youth, women

  • The Kingdom’s finance minister joined calls to enhance access to opportunities for all

RIYADH: G20 finance ministers and central bank governors have agreed to encourage the use of digital financial services in order to boost inclusion for under-served groups, especially women, youth, and small and medium enterprises.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said: “The global economy has not been delivering for all, as we can see from the persistence of income inequality as well as gender and age gaps and employment. Ministers and governors discussed the potential policies to enhance access to opportunities for all.”

The ministers underscored the need of an inclusive approach to growth, and to tap economic potential to help address inequality and help all segments of society, especially women and youth. 

“Therefore, the ministers and the governors agreed to develop new policy options that countries can draw to enhance access to opportunities for all, for empowering people,” said the minister.

“This topic is highly relevant for the MENA region and we are looking forward to actions that will lead us toward more inclusion in the region and beyond,” added Al -Jadaan. 

“One of our presidency’s priorities is to mobilize the necessary financing for developing and low income countries. The G20 leaders committed in 2018 to reach a global consensus-based solution that addresses the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy,” he added.

They stressed the importance of an all-OECD inclusive framework to reach an agreement on key policy features at their next meeting in July. “We recognize that businesses would face a significant increase in its compliance burden and tax uncertainty if no agreement is reached within the timeline,” he said.

On taxation he said: “We welcome recent progress made on the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy.” 

On harmonizing the Saudi tax regime according to global norms Al-Jadaan said: “I assure you that we are within the global norm. Saudi Arabia is part of the globe and we obviously look forward to ensuring that our tax regime is business friendly.

“The tax regime generally in the context of the G20 is a really important one and one of the topics that we have discussed today is ensuring that not only developed but also no devoting nation is left behind,” he said.

Al-Jadaan commented on Lebanon, saying that it “is an Arab country, and we care for what happens there.”

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said: “We met at a time of particular uncertainty. The projected recovery is fragile and predicated on a return to normal conditions in previously stressed or under-performing economies.”

Investors, scientists urge IEA to take bolder climate stance

Updated 32 min 51 sec ago

Investors, scientists urge IEA to take bolder climate stance

  • The energy agency’s head is under pressure to align its policies with the 2015 Paris accord goals

LONDON: Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), faced renewed calls to take a bolder stance on climate change on Friday from investors concerned the organization’s reports enable damaging levels of investment in fossil fuels.

In an open letter, investor groups said an IEA report on options for green economic recoveries from the coronavirus pandemic, due out in June, should be aligned with the 2015 Paris accord goal of capping the rise in global temperatures at 1.5C.

The more than 60 signatories included the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, whose members have €30 trillion ($33.42 trillion) of assets under management, scientists and advocacy group Oil Change International.

“Bold, not incremental, action is required,” the letter said.

The Paris-based IEA said it appreciated feedback and would bear the letter’s suggestions in mind. It also said it had been recognized for leading calls on governments to put clean energy at the heart of their economic stimulus packages.

“We have backed up that call with a wide range of analysis, policy recommendations and high-level events with government ministers, CEOs, leading investors and thought leaders,” the IEA said.

Birol has faced mounting pressure in the past year from critics who say oil, gas and coal companies use the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook (WEO) annual report to justify further investment — undermining the Paris goals.

Birol has dismissed the criticism, saying the WEO helps governments understand the potential climate implications of their energy policies, and downplaying its influence on investment decisions.



The 2015 Paris accord aims to cap the rise in global temperatures at 1.5C.

But campaigners want Birol to overhaul the WEO to chart a more reliable 1.5C path. The world is on track for more than double that level of heating, which would render the planet increasingly uninhabitable, scientists say.

The joint letter followed similar demands last year, and was published by Mission 2020, an initiative backed by former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.