G20 leaders must help close a funding gap to buy vaccines, drugs and tests to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a letter from South Africa’s president, Norway’s prime minister, and the heads of the World Health Organization and European Commission said.
The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent ahead of the Group of 20’s virtual summit at the weekend in Riyadh organised by Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the club of rich nations and big emerging powers.
“A commitment by G20 leaders at the G20 summit in Riyadh to invest substantially in the ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools) Accelerator’s immediate funding gap of US $4.5 billion will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass procurement and delivery of COVID-19 tools around the world, and provide an exit strategy out of this global economic and human crisis,” it said.
The letter also called on G20 leaders to commit jointly to “a proportion of future stimulus” spending on the tools, which are particularly aimed at securing supplies for lower income countries.
The signatories were South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.