Africa: G20 Leaders Promise Billions for Low-Income Nations

2 April 2009

The leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies, recognizing that the global financial crisis has "a disproportionate impact" on vulnerable people in poor countries, have promised to make hundreds of billions of United States dollars available to these countries as part of a $1.1 trillion plan to rescue the world economy.

In a communiqué released by the Group of 20's London Summit on Thursday, the leaders announced what they called "a global plan for recovery on an unprecedented scale."

They said the rescue package would include resources totalling $850 billion, to be channelled through global financial institutions, "to support growth in emerging market and developing countries by helping to finance counter-cyclical spending, bank recapitalisation, infrastructure, trade finance, balance of payments support, debt rollover, and social support."

Outlining allocations for materially poor nations, they promised:

  • An increase in lending of at least $100 billion by multilateral development banks, including loans to low-income countries;
  • An amount of $50 billion for social protection, to promote trade and to safeguard development in low-income countries; and
  • The selling of gold reserves to help the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provide $6 billion for the world's poorest countries over the next two to three years.

In a section of the communiqué dealing with the reform of international financial institutions, the leaders said that "emerging markets and developing countries, which have been the engine of recent world growth, are also now facing challenges which are adding to the current downturn in the global economy. It is imperative for global confidence and economic recovery that capital continues to flow to them."

The leaders re-stated what they said was their "historic commitment" to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and to fulfilling pledges made, particularly to sub-Saharan Africa, on aid, debt relief and trade at the 2005 summit of the Group of Eight nations in Gleneagles, Scotland.

They also agreed to give emerging and developing economies a greater voice and representation in international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, and to introduce "an open, transparent, and merit-based selection process" for their leaders.

They said they "remain committed" to finalising the Doha Development Round of world trade talks by reaching "an ambitious and balanced conclusion" to negotiations. "This could boost the global economy by at least $150 billion per annum," they declared.

Read the full communiqué

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