Yellen Urges G-20 Countries to Increase Support for Global Vaccination Efforts

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meeting with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and business leaders at the White House this week.


Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged the Group of 20 countries to increase their support for global vaccination programs, citing “the high, unmet needs of these initiatives.”

“A rapid and truly global vaccination program is the strongest stimulus we can provide to the global economy,” she said in a letter dated Feb. 25 to her colleagues in the G-20, which includes China and other emerging-market economies.

Ms. Yellen raised concerns about low-income countries in particular, which she said could experience further deaths and a needless delay of their economic recoveries without access to vaccines.

She also emphasized the need for a coordinated response to the global crisis and urged G-20 countries “to continue to take significant fiscal and financial-policy actions and avoid withdrawing support too early.”

Janet Yellen told lawmakers during her confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary that the benefits of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package outweigh the costs in the long run. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Press Pool (Originally Published Jan. 19, 2021)

Ms. Yellen said an allocation of special drawing rights, a type of reserve currency created by the International Monetary Fund, could enhance liquidity for low-income countries to aid their recovery efforts.

“To make this tool effective, the G20 must work with a broad coalition of countries on a set of shared parameters for greater transparency and accountability in how SDRs are exchanged and used,” she said.

She strongly encouraged G-20 members to channel excess SDRs in support of recovery efforts in low-income countries.

Write to Kate Davidson at [email protected]

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