Saudi Arabia reports 9 new COVID-19 deaths

An aerial view shows King Abdullah Finance City and the northern ring road which remains empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on May 24, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 26 May 2020

Saudi Arabia reports 9 new COVID-19 deaths

  • The Kingdom also reported 2,235 new COVID-19 cases

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded nine new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, the health ministry said.
The total death toll in Saudi Arabia since the pandemic began is now 399.
The ministry also said 2,235 new cases have been discovered, bringing the total number of cases to 74,795.
The cities that saw the most cases were Riyadh with 765, then Makkah with 416, and Jeddah with 350.
The health ministry also said that 2,148 cases have recovered, bringing the total number of patients who have recovered to 45,668.
More than five million people have been infected with the virus globally and almost 350,000 have died.

Saudi candidate through to next round of WTO race

Updated 21 min 16 sec ago

Saudi candidate through to next round of WTO race

  • Tuwaijri is among three women and one other man bidding to become the next director-general of the WTO
  • The other remaining candidates are from Kenya, Nigeria, South Korea, and the UK

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s candidate Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri has advanced to the second round of the leadership selection process, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Friday.
Tuwaijri is among three women and one other man bidding to become the next director-general of the WTO.

The remaining candidates are Kenyan minister, Amina Mohamed, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and British ex-minister, Liam Fox.

Kusay Alkhunaizi, a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) expert, said that the contest for the next phase of the WTO presidency process would be limited to candidates from Britain, South Korea, Kenya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Candidates from Mexico, Egypt, and Moldova stepped out of the race at the end of the first voting round.

The second-round results will depend largely on the lobbying efforts of the candidates and on the proposed program as voters weigh the plans of each contender during this critical period for WTO due to the COVID-19 crisis and trade tensions between the US and China.

Alkhunaizi said that Al-Tuwaijri has moved to the second stage along with four other candidates.

Al-Tuwaijri worked in the private sector as a distinguished international banker, in the public sector as the minister of economy and planning, and at the Royal Court. He was engaged in the nationwide economic transformation (Vision 2030) for the Saudi economy, the largest in the Middle East.

Alkhunaizi said that the challenges faced by candidates were huge and this round of elections was the most sensitive in the life of the WTO. Aside from COVID-19 and trade tensions, technology taxation and equity of trade between nations were some of the bigger challenges.

When Al-Tuwaijri gave his initial candidate press conference in July, there was a telling moment when he described the need to stabilize the WTO. As he spoke, he gripped his hands together as if pulling back on a joystick.

Al-Tuwaijri never directly referred to his early career as a fighter pilot, but it was clear from the language that he used and the analogies he drew that it was a formative experience and has informed his thinking in his subsequent career in business and government.

He sees the current crisis in global trade and within the WTO itself as an opportunity for reform. Similarly the backdrop of a global economy desperately trying to right itself in the wake of the coronavirus is a chance to provide the motivation to get things done.

The former fighter pilot, banker and minister of economy and planning sees the current shortcomings of the organization and the rise of global trade disputes as largely a failure of process.

For the 25-year-old body to be effective, Al-Tuwaijri believes that it must deliver on its trade negotiation mandate so that countries do not circumvent it and opt for more belligerent ways of settling disputes.

Al-Tuwaijri highlighted the dangers this trend represents to the world order in his vision for the WTO. He sees growing inequality within and between nations as spurring the rise of nationalism worldwide.