By Pearl Matibe (In Washington DC)
Delivering his remarks at a G20 Summit press conference in La Nuvola, Rome, Italy, United States President Joseph Biden expressed what the meeting meant to him.
‘’It meant the “power of America showing up and working with our allies and partners to make progress on issues that matter to all of us,” he said.
Biden also shared thoughts about his takeaway from the meeting with world leaders. He said, from the face-to-face interactions, he experienced, “a real eagerness among our partners and allies for American leadership to help bring the world together and solve” some big problems.
He said he believed real advancement has been made saying, “in part because of the commitment that the United States has brought to the table.” Ending the global COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable global economic growth, and climate change are among some of the significant areas of concern.
On the margins of the G20, President Biden held bilateral meetings with, “Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore,” the White House has confirmed.
The White House is touting what it describes as ‘American diplomacy and leadership’ as key in reaching consensus on four areas of interests that these countries who, together [are], stand for 80% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). These shared interests are the establishment of a historic Global Minimum Tax (GMT), that will ensure big companies, “pay their fair share no matter where they are located,” COVID-19 Pandemic and Health Security, climate change, and anticorruption and Ransomware.
Before the G20 started, From Italy, a senior administration official expressed their mood saying,” we’re energized, we’re united.”
On the DRC, much was achieved. In the bilateral in which President Felix Tshisekedi, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and current Chair of the African Union (AU), met with President Biden on the margins of the G20 they talked about, “the shared commitment of the U.S. and the AU to advance global health security and end the COVID-19 pandemic everywhere.
They also discussed the recent U.S.-facilitated deal between Moderna and the AU to make up to 110 million vaccine doses available to the AU on an accelerated basis. This is in addition to the 63 million doses of vaccine the U.S. has already shipped to the AU, with more US donated doses delivered each week,” a Biden Administration announcement confirms.
“The leaders also discussed the imperative of protecting the Congo Basin rainforest, which is the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, to meet the global goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
President Biden welcomed President Tshisekedi’s efforts to promote transparency, tackle corruption, and respect human rights in how the DRC manages its vast natural resources.
They also discussed President Tshisekedi’s efforts as the AU Chair to promote peace and security in Africa, including the need to resolve the widening crisis in Ethiopia and restore the civilian-led transitional government in Sudan.”
On South Africa, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met on October 31 with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor in Rome.
The Office of the Spokesperson, bears out that Secretary Blinken and Minister Pandor emphasized the strong partnership and shared priorities of the United States and South Africa. The Secretary and the Minister discussed ongoing cooperation on climate change, COVID-19, and developments in Ethiopia and Sudan.
The Secretary expressed appreciation for South African leadership on numerous common objectives, including building inclusive prosperity, strengthening health infrastructure, and promoting democratic values.”
In preparation for the G20, U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken chaired the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM), The theme’s focus was on, “Shared values: Building a Green Inclusive Future” and moving efforts on climate change were key. This is why U.S. Special Envoy Climate, John Kerry also attended.
A part of the discussions centered on sustainable development projects and increasing opportunities for marginalized groups and how MCM might give this issue prioritization.
At the beginning of October, speaking on the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, Matt Murray, who is the Senior Bureau Official in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and has experience working in U.S. trade policy and negotiations, talked about their activities.
Murray has been engaging to open new markets, resolving trade disputes, on the protection of intellectual property rights, and promoting agricultural innovation and described the OECD as an organization which works for, “free market democracies to tackle shared challenges.”
The goal is, “through the OECD we want to work closely to strengthen the rules-based global economy; ensure our economic cooperation reflects shared values of transparency, equality, and fairness; to generate better, sustainable, and more equitable economic opportunities for our citizens; and leave a greener world,” Murray said.
Of the 38 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, many are bordered by a coastline. There are organisations the U.S. works with multilaterally to promote sustainable, economic, and inclusive economic growth.
The OECD is one of them. Murray explained, “We do continue to look at opportunities, and will be looking at opportunities beyond this ministerial at expanding the [OECD] membership based on some of the standards and the values that the OECD espouses.” Here he was referring to being inclusive of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 38 countries.
Where are we going, going forward?
“Leaders also committed to achieving food security and adequate nutrition, particularly in famine-stricken parts of the world where armed conflicts have exacerbated these problems—such as Ethiopia. Leaders will continue to enhance concrete measures to advance gender equality in national policies.
President Biden issued the first-ever national gender strategy to advance the full participation of all people – including women and girls – in the United States and around the world.”
The G20 was set up in 1999, in the wake of the 1997 economic crisis. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the US proposed to increase the level of participation of the G20 to Heads of State and Government.
To date, its leaders have been meeting each year since 2010 and the participating countries are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Together, the G20 members countries, “account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the population of the planet,” according to the G20 Summit website.
Washington, DC-based foreign correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on U.S. foreign policy and global affairs. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe