Finding common ground and collaborating for global recovery

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    global cooperation
    Countries' flags displayed in Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual meeting 2022
    Faisal Alibrahim
    • The World Bank expects the global economy to expand 3.2% in 2022, down from its previous estimate of 4.1%.
    • We must strengthen the global community’s ability to convene and communicate to produce impactful results effectively.
    • Saudi Arabia took its Vision 2030 to the world as a cornerstone for global collaborations revolving around its main pillars; to create vibrant societies, thriving economies, and ambitious nations worldwide.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us some important lessons about the importance of collaboration, communication, and solidarity during a crisis, especially on the road to achieving global stability.

    Today, as unilateral policies, geopolitical differences, and speculation create an asset bubble and rise in commodity prices, the stability of the global economy is under threat yet again. This crisis will disproportionately impact developing countries and destabilize economies that are just beginning their journey towards social, economic, and human recovery.

    Disrupted recovery of the global economy 

    We cannot afford to lose sight of the all-too-recent lessons we learned from the pandemic in this emerging context. We must engage with the international community to develop collaborative, mutually beneficial solutions that work for all.

    The world must stand together again and reinforce the urgency and efficacy of unified action.

    Countries and communities that struggled with setbacks caused by lockdowns are now grappling with record-high basic commodities prices, supply chain bottlenecks, and critical food shortages.

    The warning bells of pursuing unilateralism at a time that calls for unity are clear. The World Bank now expects the global economy to expand 3.2% in 2022, down from its previous estimate of 4.1%. And for the first time this century, the number of people living in absolute poverty is rising.

    Furthermore, in March, the International Monetary Fund pointed out that steeper price increases for food and fuel due to current conflicts may spur a greater risk of unrest in some regions, from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America to the Caucasus and Central Asia.

    These emerging conditions disrupt much-needed efforts to stimulate economies, create jobs, and create a more inclusive future.

    As with COVID-19, commodities security is a global concern and needs addressing through cooperative efforts. If left unchecked, it threatens to exacerbate the rich-poor divide – inequalities already deepened in the rippling aftermath of the pandemic.

    But, as we live in a world where change is sudden and constant, we must focus on setting strategic directions rather than finding short-term answers. We can only achieve this by strengthening the global community’s ability to convene and communicate to produce impactful results effectively.

    Learning from history

    History has shown us that in times of crisis, the world unites. Following the formation of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, the global community has harnessed the spirit of international collaboration and cooperation to navigate through numerous global financial crises and even acted to eradicate diseases that at one time threatened the world – from smallpox and polio to the outbreaks of SARS and Ebola.

    More recently, the value of international cooperation was on global display at two significant summits held in Saudi Arabia – the G20 Riyadh Summit and the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, which was called and chaired to support a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    These meetings of international minds, happening in the eye of the pandemic storm, paved the way for the rollout of safe, effective vaccines in affordable, equitable ways around the world. It focused on supporting the poor and highly indebted countries, whose economies have been hit hard by the pandemic, and set out a roadmap for international efforts to restabilize the global economy.

    Global collaboration meant these countries put aside their differences to find common ground on matters with far-reaching ripple effects across society.

    Re-focusing on collaboration and conversation for recovering global economy

    We need to re-focus on cooperation, dialogue, and international solidarity. In any crisis, we are all in it together.

    Global governments must open new channels of dialogue. Private-public partnerships must advance. And we must work with our partners to move towards common ground, aligning our points of view and priorities to devise new and innovative ways of overcoming the challenges that impact us all.

    We can act together or act separately. But our best defense against any global crisis is always solidarity.

    Under the leadership of The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is a staunch believer and driver of international integration and cooperation.

    The government is paving the way for the Kingdom to become one of the world’s 15 largest economies, an active member of the Group of Twenty (G20), and a regional and global leader in economic diversification and output through Saudi Vision 2030.

    Notably, Saudi Arabia recognizes that global policies are bolstered by ambitious domestic action. It is a direction we are implementing across the nation as we embark on an unprecedented economic and social transformation journey. We firmly believe this will position the country as a global leader in business, logistics, healthcare, and tourism, among other sectors.

    On this journey, we will strive to unlock the full potential of our vibrant global economy by deploying cutting-edge technologies, innovative thinking, and a bold approach to policymaking that enhances our capabilities across the vital sectors shaping tomorrow. This approach will give rise to an evolving global economy that is inherently agile and resilient, prepared for future shifts and disruptions.

    Technology sits at the heart of our diversification efforts as we embrace innovative 4IR solutions, harness digital transformation, and fully integrate our people and businesses with the globe via high-speed connectivity, robotics, digital realities, and precision manufacturing.

    And it will be our youth – the guardians of this new technology-driven, digital age – who will be crucial to accelerating and delivering our socio-economic ambitions. With one of the world’s largest youth populations, Saudi Arabia is blessed with a deep pool of emerging talent. Our youth, empowered with the tools, skills, and mindset to shape the future of work, can become the driving force of our transformation.

    Our work in the Kingdom follows a multi-faceted approach to tackling the challenges we face. It includes securing sustainable supply chains that bring additional value to the national economy, attracting more foreign direct investment, and developing a robust pipeline of young talent capable of enhancing our economic competitiveness on the global stage.

    In short, we are making our economy work for the people. This achievement is down to the work and vision of the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman.

    His Royal Highness’ tireless commitment to forging the social and economic conditions that compel our people to thrive and succeed underpins our nation’s strategic and practical ambitions to become one of the world’s leading economies.

    The Kingdom’s future success will secure greater geopolitical stability through further international cooperation. In this spirit, Saudi Arabia took its Vision 2030 to the world as a cornerstone for global collaborations revolving around its main pillars; to create vibrant societies, thriving economies, and ambitious nations worldwide.

    For Saudi Arabia, international partnerships are crucial. Not just to restore healthy levels of growth but to drive towards a desired future state of inclusivity, peace, and prosperity.

    Setting aside differences 

    We need to bolster global dialogues and international cooperation for a sustainable future and a better tomorrow, just as we had learned during COVID-19 using data and vaccine collaboration.

    We must continuously find ways to build bridges to common ground. We can safeguard the global economy by working collaboratively and with conviction. It is imperative to secure a better tomorrow.

     

    *The writer is the Minister of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia   

    **The article was originally published on the World Economic Forum. It is a part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022  

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