The B20 – or “G20 for businesses” – is a forum of private international companies that provides recommendations to the G20 to address the most relevant challenges of the global economic and financial agenda. This year, Saudi Arabia will preside over the meeting. BBVA has played a very active role in the B20 since 2015, thanks to BBVA Executive Board Member José Manuel González-Páramo, who serves as Vice Chair of the Finance and Infrastructure Task Force.
José Manuel González-Páramo attended the first meeting of the B20 task forces, held in Riyadh on January 15th – 16th. At this forum, he underscored that: “At BBVA, we firmly believe in the importance of the B20 to promote a constructive public-private sector dialogue regarding global economic and social challenges, and to come up with recommendations for G20 leaders to foster greater economic growth and more sustainable and inclusive development.”
Financing a sustainable future
The Finance and Infrastructure Task Force will focus on six priorities. The first is the role of fintech startups in the financial industry. They will also discuss public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects and related risks. The third priority is the role of financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as drivers of growth. Fourth is monetary policy, countercyclical measures and low interest rates. For the fifth priority, they will discuss macroprudential policies, and finally, the funding needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
From Riyadh, González-Páramo emphasized the three priority issues the task force should take into account when preparing their recommendations for the G20: 1) fomenting digitization that allows for the benefits of innovation to be shared; 2) increasing the financial sector’s contribution to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development; and 3) strengthening cooperation among international regulators of the financial market.
On the first point, BBVA’s Executive Board Member called for a regulatory framework that addresses the challenges posed by the digital innovation of financial services. “The traditional notion of sectors and borders is becoming obsolete,” he said. Therefore, in the future, authorities have to work on breaking down regulatory barriers to technological innovation in the financial sector, as well as the possible risks involved in the entry of bigtechs as direct competitors in financial services. In his opinion, “regulation and supervision should evolve toward a new stage in which they regulate based on risks and activities, not based on concrete sectors, avoiding asymmetries in data access.”
Regulation and supervision should evolve toward a new stage in which they regulate based on risks and activities, not based on concrete sectors, avoiding asymmetries in data access
Regarding the second point, he stressed the crucial role banks play in mobilizing the resources needed for the transition to a more sustainable economy. In order to make progress in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, “we must include not only climate change challenges but other environmental and social ones such as the circular economy, energy efficiency in infrastructure or the financial inclusion of the unbanked population.” Finally, he called for greater cooperation among international regulators, and between international and local regulators to create a global framework that regulates the financial sector avoiding market fragmentation.
“At BBVA, we believe that now is the time for global leaders to act if they want to be at the forefront of the rapid social and economic change. The B20 has the opportunity and the duty to accompany the G20 in this challenge,” he said. “BBVA’s purpose is to bring the age of opportunity to everyone. We are therefore committed to contributing to the B20’s work.”
A feminine approach to the B20
Last year, the B20 was held under Japan’s presidency and focused on building an inclusive and sustainable economy. In 2020, Saudi Arabia took over with the priority goal of promoting the role of women in the corporate world.
This year, the B20 is comprised of six task forces that will meet periodically throughout the year. At these meetings, recommendations will be prepared to discuss at the B20 summit, which will take place in Riyadh in October, 26-27. These proposals will be subsequently presented to the G20 leaders.
What are the task forces?
- Energy, Sustainability and climate
- Finance and Infrastructure
- Future of Work and Education
- Integrity and Compliance
- Trade and Investment
A specific group was also created to promote the presence of women in the corporate world in order to contribute to gender diversity in businesses. Furthermore, two cross-cutting goals – entrepreneurship and SMEs, and the Sustainable Development Goals – will be priorities in all of the task forces.
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