Saudi Arabia said on Monday said it will hold the G20 summit virtually in November, instead of having leaders of the world’s richest nations converge on Riyadh as planned before the coronavirus crisis and will be chaired by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The pandemic has forced all of the group’s meetings to be held by videoconference since March.
The Summit will focus on protecting lives and restoring growth by addressing vulnerabilities uncovered during the coronavirus pandemic and by laying down foundations for a better future, the government said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia had been attempting to repair its frayed global image ahead of its hosting of the summit.
The conservative kingdom, under fire over human rights abuses, has accelerated investment in glitzy sports and entertainment events in a bid to soften its profile and boost jobs and investment.
The G20 has contributed over $21 billion to support the production, distribution and access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines,” the statement said.
It has also injected $11 trillion to safeguard the global economy and launched a debt suspension initiative for least developed countries allowing them to defer $14 billion in debt payments due this year.