What to expect at the next G20 summit

What to expect at the next G20 summit

Plus: The World Cup in Qatar is under scrutiny, Turkey plays hardball with Sweden, and Russia announces a withdrawal from a key Ukrainian city

Hi there Intriguer. Today marks the 104th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. If you live in Belgium, France, Martinique, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, or French Guiana, it’s known as Armistice Day. If you live in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, or the Cayman Islands, it’s Remembrance Day. And in the US, it’s Veterans’ Day. Whatever you call it in your part of the world, take a moment at 11 AM this morning to reflect on the unimaginable courage of those who served, and to hope that it never happens again.

Today’s briefing is a ~4.5 min read:

  • 🧠 The G20 Summit: What to expect from the brains trust gathering in Bali.
  • ➕ Plus: Qatar’s under scrutiny for the World Cup (again), Turkey plays hardball with Sweden, and Russia announces a withdrawal from a key Ukrainian city.

Our predictions for the upcoming G20 Summit

In brief:

  • World leaders face a unique set of challenges at this year’s G20 Summit, which kicks off next week in Bali, Indonesia.
  • This year’s agenda will be dominated by the Russo-Ukraine War, rising US-China tensions, and the prospect of a significant economic downturn in the world’s developed economies.

Ah, we meet again

We’re less than a week away from one of the year’s most highly-anticipated global events (no, not the season finale of the Great British Bakeoff).

  • On 15 November, leaders from 20 of the world’s wealthiest countries will travel to Bali to flex their diplomatic muscles under the Indonesian sun.

What is the Group of 20? The Group of 20 (G20, for short) is a forum for world leaders to discuss global economic challenges, including “international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.

A few predictions

Indulge us a moment as we gaze into our crystal ball to find out what will happen at this year’s G20 meeting.

1. ✅ Zelensky will attend

With the Kremlin’s announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin will skip the meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will have the diplomatic world’s undivided attention.

  • Both leaders were invited by Indonesia President Joko Widodo back in April 2022.

Zelensky is unlikely to show up in person, but even a virtual appearance will be significant. 

  • We’ll be watching the reaction of countries like Saudi Arabia and India which will be wary of being seen as being overtly supportive of Ukraine, given their ties to Russia.

2. 👥 Xi and Biden will meet before the Summit

In breaking news yesterday, Presidents Biden and Xi confirmed they will meet face-to-face next Monday. The meeting will be an important chance for the two leaders to set a floor under the relationship:

  • The meeting has the air of the US-Soviet leaders’ meetings during the Cold War which served as important opportunities to separate areas of potential cooperation from the broader adversarial relationship.
  • A senior US official told the New York Times yesterday that President Biden would raise issues like North Korea, and human rights, and would not make any concessions on Taiwan.

To say expectations are low for this meeting would understate the situation considerably. Still, in diplomacy, it is almost always better to talk than to not.

3. 📉 The G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be about resuscitating the global economy

Rising prices are a concern for most G20 leaders, so we expect a resolution calling for renewed efforts to stabilise the world economy.

  • Food (in)security, the energy crisis, and the Russo-Ukraine War are sure to get more than an honourable mention, too.

Stay tuned!

Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to mark our scorecards because the Summit will be done and dusted by Wednesday.

And even if we end up more like Jim Cramer than Nostradamus, the strained geopolitical climate means the Summit will be interesting, if nothing else.


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Africa & the Middle East

🇰🇲 Comoros

Former Comorian President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi will stand trial for high treason.

  • Sambi has already spent four years in prison on corruption charges for his involvement in a scheme to sell Comorian passports.
  • The updated charges, which allies of Mr Sambi have called illegal, would likely lengthen the former president’s sentence.

🇮🇱 Israel

Israel’s air force targeted a convoy of trucks in eastern Syria that it suspected was smuggling weapons from Iran to Iranian proxies in Lebanon.

  • At least ten people died in the attack, with Iraqi and Iranian officials claiming that the convoy was carrying legal fuel shipments.
  • Israel has been conducting airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria for several years now, in an effort to weaken Iran’s reach in the region.

🇰🇪 Kenya

Starting in January, Kenyans will be able to visit South Africa for up to 90 days a year without acquiring a visa.

  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement during his first official visit to Kenya earlier this week.
  • Kenya and South Africa are two of the continent’s most robust economies, and both agreed to further expand their trade partnerships.

🇶🇦 Qatar

In a highly competitive entry for Glib Understatement of the Year, former FIFA ​​President Sepp Blatter labelled his 2010 selection of Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup “a mistake.”

  • Qatar’s World Cup has been mired in controversy for its poor workers’ rights record and recently for the Qatari World Cup ambassador’s derogatory comments about homosexuality.
  • If anyone is to blame for Qatar hosting, it is Mr Blatter, who was forced to resign in 2015 amid corruption allegations and is barred from FIFA events until 2027.

🇹🇷 Turkey

Turkey continues to withhold support for Sweden’s and Finland’s bids to join NATO.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists the countries are still harbouring members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey considers a terrorist organisation.
  • Sweden’s newly-elected Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, promised to work towards meeting Turkey’s demands, which Erdogan described as a “positive step.”

Russia retreats from Kherson

Credits: Marco Hernandez/New York Times.

The news: On Wednesday, Russia’s defence minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, announced the withdrawal of troops from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine.

  • The retreat from Kherson represents a strategic blow for Russia – the city sits at a critical crossroads, with Russia-controlled Crimea to the southeast and a deep-water Black Sea port to the west.

It’s a symbolic blow, too. Kherson was the first major Russian victory of the war and is the only Ukrainian provincial capital that Russia had managed to seize.

  • Russia illegally annexed the province for which the city is named in late September.
  • The influential legion of pro-Kremlin war bloggers responded with dismay, with one analyst calling it the “most serious military defeat since 1991.”

Actions > words: Russian officials describe the retreat as a tactical manoeuvre to consolidate forces on other fronts, but Western and Ukrainian analysts aren’t buying it.

Either way, it’s big news for Ukraine. Ukraine relies on Western military and humanitarian support, and Ukraine’s battlefield success so far has helped demonstrate to sceptics in Western capitals that their money is being well spent.

“[The Ukrainians] have a very strong card to play, which is: ‘you’re supplying us — but we’re delivering, we’re showing we’re capable of winning.’”


To mark the upcoming G20 in Bali, Indonesia, test your knowledge on the G20 member states. Happy weekending! (Click the image to play online!)

Answers: Across – 3. Turkey 4. Argentina 8. Indonesia 9. India Down – 1. Australia 2. Japan 4. EU 6. Brazil 7. Mexico 10. Italy

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