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G20 summit: World leaders vow to address trade and geopolitical tensions

As more countries get drawn into trade wars that threaten the global economy, the 'Sunday Times' reported President Cyril Ramaphosa has thrown Pretoria’s support behind China as it faces off with the United States.

World leaders attending the G20 summit opening session on 28 June 2019 in Osaka, Japan. From L-R: US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - World leaders at the G20 summit in Japan expressed concern over intensifying trade and geopolitical tensions and vowed to address the risks.

As more countries get drawn into trade wars that threaten the global economy, the Sunday Times reported President Cyril Ramaphosa has thrown Pretoria’s support behind China as it faces off with the United States.

China and the US have been locked in a bitter trade battle that has seen US president Donald Trump blacklist Chinese mega telecoms company Huawei.

Although this particular issue was not tackled by the world leaders, the Osaka declaration following the G20 summit stated they were concerned about the state of the global economy.

• 'Nobody reads the communique': Top G20 moments

The statement also noted global growth appears to be stabilising, projecting it could pick up moderately later in the year.

“Global growth appears to be stabilising, and is generally projected to pick up moderately later this year and into 2020. This recovery is supported by the continuation of accommodative financial conditions and stimulus measures taking effect in some countries. However, growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside,” the statement stated.

“Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified. We will continue to address these risks, and stand ready to take further action.”

The South African economy contracted by 3.2% in the first quarter of the year, adding more pressure on an already distressed economic environment.

At the G20 meeting, which Ramaphosa attended, world leaders said they would work together to foster global economic growth, with a specific focus on technological innovation as the effects of the 4th Industrial Revolution become more apparent.

“As digitalisation is transforming every aspect of our economies and societies, we recognise the critical role played by effective use of data, as an enabler of economic growth, development and social well-being. We aim to promote international policy discussions to harness the full potential of data.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)