Nov. 10, 2020


Fahad Almubarak

Saudi Arabia

Fahad Almubarak

Saudi G20 Sherpa, Saudi Arabia

“With the support of our G20 partners, we have a unique opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and collectively address the world’s most pressing challenges.”

BIO

Fahad Almubarak is a State Minister and Member of Saudi Council of Ministers since 2019. He is also the Saudi G20 Sherpa since September 2018. Before that, he served as an Advisor to the Saudi Royal Court and he was the Secretary-General of G20 Saudi Secretariat from 2017. He has held several executive positions in the past 38 years in both government and private sectors. He was the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA)from 2011 to 2016, Member of the Shoura Council, Chairman and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2011, and he was the first Chairman of Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). He started his career as Assistant Professor at King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals. He also served as chairman and member in many private and public companies' board of directors in several industries such as telecommunications, banking, investment, insurance, commerce, and industry.


What lessons have been learned from Saudi Arabia's COVID-19 response, and how has the country taken the lead internationally at this time of crisis?

The G20 Presidency is a great responsibility that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken with pride, humility, and a strong determination to achieve lasting results. The unprecedented health and economic impacts of COVID-19 have made the task of leading the G20 this year even more challenging. However, we are confident we will collectively deliver positive outcomes that will restore hope and give reassurance to people around the world in these challenging times. As the G20 President, Saudi Arabia has spared no time reacting quickly to fight this pandemic. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz convened an Extraordinary Leaders' Summit on March 26, where leaders agreed on an immediate response that was unprecedented in its scope and ambition, demonstrating that the G20 leads the international community in taking decisive actions. Such actions included injecting over USD11 trillion into the global economy, pledging over USD21 billion to support the international fight against the pandemic, including the hunt for a vaccine, extending debt relief to the poorest countries through the Debt Service Suspension Initiative that would allow 73 eligible low-income countries to reallocate USD20 billion toward their imminent health and financial needs, and committing to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies and critical agricultural products across borders. Along with its G20 partners, Saudi Arabia will continue to actively drive the responses to the pandemic and to advance the policies that will lay the foundations for a strong and sustainable recovery.

Massive government stimulus has been a consistent feature of the government response across the G20 nations. What will be required in terms of fiscal and monetary policy in this new phase?

Our immediate aim was to stabilize the global economy and protect jobs and livelihoods through the unprecedented stimulus package. G20 countries have implemented a large-scale, coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus to support households and firms during the lockdown, finance the health system, and provide a social safety net to the most vulnerable groups.

What pieces of the G20's agenda are important to focus on despite the crisis?

We started our presidency in 2020 under the forward-looking theme of Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All, with the three ambitious aims of empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers. Our overarching theme and associated aims remained essential to overcome this unprecedented global challenge and shape a better future for the world. But the priorities and the means have changed to fit the exigencies of the new reality imposed by COVID-19. Empowering people is at the heart of G20 action through fostering resilience in health care provision, renewing the focus on education, and protecting labor markets, while also prioritizing women and youth empowerment. Safeguarding the planet is a priority as we make growth stronger and more sustainable while conserving our natural resources. Furthermore, we will shape new frontiers by harnessing the benefits of digital technologies, boosting the opportunities for all, and ensuring a better-connected world. The Saudi Presidency has worked to adapt its priorities under its ambitious aims and put forward several important initiatives to ensure that recovery efforts are at the heart of global discussions. In health, our goal is to put in place a global health system that reflects the lessons we have learned and allows us to better deal with future crises. We have advanced the concept of circular carbon economy as a sustainable, pragmatic and cost-effective approach for achieving ambitious climate goals and for ensuring cleaner, more sustainable and affordable energy systems. Nature-based solutions have great potential to help solve the environmental challenges: reducing land degradation and conserving coral reefs are key areas that we are addressing this year in the G20. Saudi Arabia is also advancing important initiatives on both fronts. We adopted the Riyadh Initiative on the future of the WTO reform, which shares a set of common principles to guide the reform process, with the aim of better equipping the rules-based multilateral trading system for the challenges of the present and of the future. We will strive to overcome the pandemic and pave the way for an inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and long-lasting recovery that lays the foundations for a better future that realizes the opportunities of the 21st century for all.

Sharing the benefits of technology and innovation is a key focus this year. Which key trends in this area have accelerated this year, and what opportunities lie in the near term as a result?

The pandemic has cast light on the vital role that technology plays in our lives. Digital technology has allowed the global economy to continue to function, even partially, during the quarantine and lockdown periods—at the G20, we have shifted to virtual meetings due to travel difficulties. Governments will leverage digital technologies and adopt policies to enable individuals and firms to continue to participate effectively in the economy. Unfortunately, there persists a significant digital divide between genders, regions, and countries. Countries will need to invest in their digital infrastructure and invest in digital skills and continuing education of their people to close the digital skills gap. A key priority will be broadening the access of low-income households and small businesses to financial products—what is known as the digital financial inclusion.

Saudi Arabia hosts this year's G20. How do you see the Kingdom on the world stage?

With the support of our G20 partners, we have a unique opportunity to make a difference in people's lives and collectively address the world's most pressing challenges. The Riyadh Summit will have a strong overarching focus on protecting lives and livelihoods and recovering stronger. In particular, rising to the challenge together and taking immediate actions such as ensuring universal and equitable access to vaccines; empowering people by ensuring an inclusive recovery that tackles inequalities through fostering resilience and recovery in healthcare provision, renewing the focus on education, social protection and jobs, while also prioritizing women and youth; safeguarding our planet and ensuring sustainability is at the heart of recovery; and building a resilient and long-lasting recovery, ensuring strong foundations for the future by harnessing the benefits of digital technologies, sustaining trade cooperation, and ensuring a better-connected world. We are proud to host G20 Leaders and showcase our determination in building a brighter and better sustainable future for generations to come.

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