G20 Summit Reaction

Published: 22nd November 2020

Contact information

Matt Grainger, +44-7730680837, matt.grainger@oxfam.org

Responding to the G20 Heads of State Summit, Rebecca Gowland, Head of Inequality, Campaigns and Policy, said 

In 2020 the richest economies bolstered their resilience to Covid-19 with a $10 trillion injection while providing 2,000 times less than that – $5 billion – in debt relief to the poorest countries. In the direst global health and socio-economic crises for 100 years the G20 has failed to adequately support the poorest people in the world.

While it is welcome news to hear the G20 continues to collaborate on access to a vaccine, the commitment is far from adequate. Finance alone is not enough. The quickest way to expedite the global response is for pharmaceutical corporations to openly share their research and transfer their technology via the WHO Covid-19 Technology Pool (C-TAP). The G20 missed a golden opportunity to make this happen. 

The G20 has all the power to decide on a universal debt cancellation for DSSI countries and has taken some positive steps, but it is only drop by drop. The economic relief of debt suspension averages out at 4 per cent of GDP for those same countries who are losing revenue to the tune of 3.8 per cent. This $5 billion debt relief is simply insufficient for those countries to invest in health or recovery without cutting their public spending further – the exact opposite of what the IMF is preaching.

The approved common framework for debt relief puts some soft pressure on private creditors but the G20 seems uncomfortable in telling rich banks and investment funds that they need to stop collecting money from the poorest. Middle income countries under severe debt distress or facing upcoming solvency problems urgently need to be included under the DSSI and “common framework” umbrella for debt relief.

G20 Italia with a new US administration must focus on debt cancellation beyond the DSSI and common framework and ensure that special drawing rights are realized in order to offer financial support to all countries around the world.”