Jakarta (ANTARA) - The emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has increased global economic uncertainty, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said.

"Like the previous COVID-19 variants, Omicron has affected countries at different times," she noted at the opening of the 1st Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of G20 countries here on Thursday.

The divergence in the capacity for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine rollouts across countries, has been a major factor behind uneven recovery, she pointed out.

The global economy has continued to recover, but several factors have affected the speed of recovery, such as higher food and energy prices, potential interest rate hikes, the threat of a new variant of COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, natural disasters due to climate change, and rising geopolitical tensions, Indrawati said.

"These factors will, of course, shape the outlook for the global economy in the future," she added.

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After contracting 3.3 percent in 2020, the global economy is projected to have grown by 5.9 percent in 2021 and is expected to record a moderate growth of 4.4 percent in 2022, as per the National Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, she noted.

However, the global economic recovery has remained uneven, the minister highlighted.

Indonesia, which has assumed the G20 Presidency at a time full of challenges, is committed to addressing global health challenges and helping countries cope with the impact of Omicron on the one hand and address short-term risks on the other, she added.

The minister emphasized that managing the economic and financial impacts of the pandemic and increasing equitable access to vaccines remain priorities for expanding and strengthening global recovery, in accordance with the "recover together and recover stronger" theme of Indonesia's G20 Presidency, according to Mulyani.

"Directing vaccines where they are needed the most is crucial to control the pandemic and reduce the possibility of new variants," she added.

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Translator: Agatha OV, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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