From left, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, President Joko Widodo, and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati join the G20 virtual meeting at the Bogor Palace on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Press Bureau)

G20 to Raise $4b for Covid-19 Vaccine Development

BY :NUR YASMIN

MARCH 27, 2020

Jakarta. Countries of the G20 have agreed to raise at least $4 billion in the concerted efforts to accelerate development of the Covid-19 vaccine as over 27,000 people worldwide have died since the outbreak began in the beginning of the year.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati attended the extraordinary G20 High-Level Meeting on Thursday to discuss global response to the pandemic. 

The meeting, which was held through video conference amid the global call for physical distancing to prevent the spread of the disease, was also attended by representatives from the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

“All countries will collaborate with the WHO and the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) to develop the vaccine. Leaders of the G20 countries have pledged to allocate $4 billion collectively for vaccine research. The finance ministers are currently discussing this matter,” Sri Mulyani said on Friday.

“Leaders are focusing to save human lives because what started as a medical issue has now degenerated into a global humanitarian crisis. All countries are struggling to contain the spread of the disease as the outbreak has its impacts on many aspects," she said.

G20 countries are also committed to increasing medical supplies, including antibody testing kits and hand sanitizers for countries affected by Covid-19.

"Countries are deprived of these supplies, especially personal protective equipment and ventilators. The IMF and the World Bank will prioritize [financing] for companies that produce them so the supplies can be increased. Indonesia for its part can supply hand sanitizers, among other equipment," Sri Mulyani said.

The former World Bank managing director added that the IMF will give a direct swap line -- reciprocal agreements on currencies -- for countries affected by the pandemic, especially low-income countries, as discussed at the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on Tuesday.

“The IMF will give direct swap line to all countries experiencing capital flight. This is an unprecedented decision never taken before, but is necessary for countries at risks of liquidity problems,” Sri Mulyani.
 

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