G7 Focuses on Vaccines and Economic Response to COVID Crisis

The presidents and prime ministers of 7 of the world's wealthiest countries gather in the United Kingdom to meet on the response to the economic and health crises spurred by the coronavirus. Hosted in the seaside town of Cornwall this weekend, the G7 Summit focuses on global vaccine distribution and tax, debt, aid, trade and climate policies.

“As developing countries struggle with a third wave of the coronavirus, it's clear that the world faces a prolonged economic crisis,” said Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and leader of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. “The only way to beat the dire economic forecasts is to distribute vaccines quickly and provide debt relief and aid to developing countries."

Less than 2% of COVID vaccines reached poor countries. The International Monetary Fund asserts the global economy will lose $9 trillion if vaccines are not distributed by 2022 to developing countries.

On Wednesday, the World Trade Organization began a vaccine patent waiver process that could help developing countries produce and procure more vaccines.

“Unfortunately, G7 leaders still have not come to an agreement on waiving the pharmaceutical patents on vaccines,” remarked LeCompte. "More and more people will die as wealthy countries wait to waive COVID vaccine patents."

As a part of the coronavirus response, the G7 supports a debt relief process for poor countries and agreements to curb corporate and digital tax avoidance.

"The G7 tax deal could help boost revenues that countries need to get through the crisis," shared LeCompte.  "While G7 support of debt relief is critical as we confront the pandemic, the G7 should support expanding relief to assist more developing countries in need."

During the summit, the G7 will discuss a $650 billion creation of Special Drawing Rights, a special IMF reserve currency, to respond to the corona economic crisis. Specifically, the G7 will review how these emergency funds can assist developing countries access vaccines, reduce poverty and fight climate change.

“The Special Drawing Rights could be a critical source of funding for the IMF's $50 billion plan to end the pandemic," stated LeCompte.

Read about the WTO vaccine patent waiver process here.

Read Jubilee USA's statement on last week's G7 finance ministers meeting and communiqué here.

Read the Jubilee USA Network press release on last week's G7 finance ministers meeting here.

Read about the IMF $50 billion plan to end the pandemic here.