Saudi Arabia is preparing to host next year’s annual G20 Summit. This year’s edition wrapped up recently in the Japanese city of Osaka with the participation of the leaders of 37 countries and a number of global organisations. A declaration was issued in which the assembled leaders, headed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, stressed on the importance of enhancing global economic growth, and to improve opportunities for the G20 and other countries through collective action to foster a suitable environment for economic growth. Meanwhile, the Japanese Prime Minister affirmed the country’s commitment to explore commonalities among state members and focus on all that brings them together.
The latest summit in Osaka was characterised by an atmosphere of harmony and remarkable appeasement by the co-chairs. In the declaration, summit leaders resolved to strive to harness the power of technical innovation and digital technology in particular, for the benefit of all countries, to enhance economic growth and meet the challenges of global demographic change envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The leaders also see the need to adhere to the use of all policy instruments to achieve sustainable, balanced and comprehensive growth, as well as protection against downside risks through increased dialogue and procedures between countries in order to enhance confidence and thus achieve a free, fair, transparent, predictable and stable trading and investment environment, with the need to keep world markets open to promote international trade and investment.
The Osaka G20 Summit reiterated a call for reforming the World Trade Organization and improving its functions by working constructively with members during the period leading up to the Twelfth Ministerial WTO Conference. It also called for achieving a comprehensive, sustainable, secure, reliable and innovative society through digital transformation and enhancing emerging technical applications as well as sharing the concept of future society that focuses on humans, which is promoted by Japan as Society 5.0. This is imperative to the goal of achieving economic aspects of societies, enhancing sociocultural development in countries, tackling global environmental issues and challenges of displacement, migration, environment, energy and global health, empower women, employment, fight against corruption, global finance, quality of infrastructure for investment and innovation, free data flow, trade, investment and the global economy.
Despite efforts exerted to resolve global issues, the meetings were characterised by deep differences among world leaders on the concept of political authority between Russia and the EU in relation to issues of liberal ideals of western democracies, the case of irregular migration, global instability and armed conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The G20 is an economic forum first established in 1999 as a result of the global financial crises during the 1990s. It represents two-thirds of the world’s trade, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the world’s crude output. G20 aims at systematically combining advanced commercial and industrial issues, as well as promoting international financial stability and creating opportunities for dialogue between industrialised countries and emerging countries. The current members of G20 represent about 65 per cent of the world’s population.
This summit coincided with heated global tensions that saw escalation between Washington and Tehran in the Strait of Hormuz and its implications on the global oil market and crude supplies. The trade war between China and the United States was also casting its shadow on the global economy with its negative impacts.
There have been many appeals from the world to G20 leaders, led by Oxfam charity, which called for more action to address social inequality across the world. Today, 1 per cent of the world’s population owns has almost half the of the world’s wealth. This prompted Oxfam to declare that extreme inequality is a breeding ground for violence and dictatorship, while people in some parts of the world continue to suffer from the absence of freedoms, poverty, unemployment and many health and social problems.