FILE PHOTO: Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a media conference with Saudi Arabia’s central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
RIYADH (Reuters) – The group of 20 rich and emerging economies on Sunday launched an international initiative to accelerate access to health tools needed to fight the new coronavirus.
The finance minister of Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair, said the group is still working to bridge an estimated $8 billion funding gap to combat the pandemic.
“The G20 will continue reinforcing global cooperation on all fronts, and most importantly, on closing the immediate health financing gap,” the minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, said in a statement launching the “Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator” initiative.
He added that “the international community is still facing extraordinary uncertainty about the depth and duration of this health crisis”, the statement said.
Saudi Arabia earlier this month pledged $500 million to support global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In the statement, it repeated its call on all countries, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists and the private sector to help close the financing gap.
Reporting by Marwa Rashad in Riyadh and Nayera Abdallah in Cairo; Editing by Daniel Wallis
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