The City of London financial district can be seen, whilst British stocks tumble as investors fear that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the global economy, in London, Britain, March 9 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

The global community needs sustainable, balanced and inclusive measures to reinstate and enrich economic growth, and it is practical for countries to learn from each other to overcome the challenge, a Saudi Arabian economist said.

As many aspects of the world’s economic and social environment have been hit by COVID-19,Fahad Alturki, from KAPSARC in Riyadh, said major economies, such as those in the G20, must strengthen unity and cooperation as that could release powerful signals of joint response to support both developing economies and the least-developed countries.

The International Monetary Fund forecast late last month that the global economy will contract by 4.9 percent this year-1.9 percentage points worse than its forecast in April-citing “worse than anticipated outcomes” amid the pandemic.

“The recovery of the global economy requires global multilateral cooperation to mitigate the impact generated by the crises,”Alturki said. “We have not only seen the dropping volume and value of the world’s oil production and consumption, but also seen the decline of global investment activities in many parts of the world, especially in the area of tourism and service, which have been hit hard.”

Eager to restore the country’s development impetus, the Saudi government has introduced a slew of policies, including tax cuts and offering financial assistance, to help small and medium-sized enterprises and vulnerable groups through the tough times.

Alturki, who previously worked as an economist at the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said effective measures proposed by various governments would prove instructive for other countries. Policymakers should help people in need, and put economic growth and the functioning of society on the right track.

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Under such circumstances, the government’s fiscal deployment needs to be forward-looking, and it needs to enhance social and economic resilience to deal with future crises, he added.

Alturki said that at this critical moment, G20 economies should put aside their differences, coordinate action and demonstrate international cooperation to fight COVID-19, because such actions would provide confidence and hope for the global response.

To assist Saudi Arabia’s battle against the contagion, KAPSARC has collected and compiled over 50,000 data records from daily reports by its Ministry of Health on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Facing the same challenge, Alturki said China and Saudi Arabia, which share common interests and responsibilities, have shown with actions that joint efforts to fight the pandemic are the only right choice, and solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful tools.

At the critical moment when China was fighting the pandemic, the Saudi government and companies provided emergency supplies to the country, China’s Ministry of Commerce said.

When Saudi Arabia was hit, the Chinese government sent medical experts to the kingdom and Chinese companies helped boost the country’s COVID-19 detection capacity, it said.

China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner and Saudi Arabia is China’s largest trading partner in West Asia.

The two countries are close partners in the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative, said Ma Yu, a senior researcher at the Beijing-based China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, adding the two countries have highly complementary economic and industrial structures.

The Belt and Road Initiative and the Saudi Vision 2030 are highly compatible and enjoy huge potential for cooperation in fields such as artificial intelligence, the digital economy and high-end manufacturing technology, he said.

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With continuous and rapid development of bilateral relations in recent years, more Chinese companies have started doing business in Saudi Arabia, making positive contributions to localizing Saudi Arabia’s industrial sector, promoting employment and facilitating development in various fields, the Ministry of Commerce said.

FAHAD ALTURKI, vice-president of research at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). The center is a nonprofit institution for independent research into global energy economics that brings together an international group of researchers from more than 15 nationalities.

Via China Daily