The summit of G20 leaders in Pittsburgh last week, a year after the Lehman shock, was always going to be about economic recovery and on whether we need to regulate banker’s bonuses. So, did they talk development, at all? The short answer is yes. First, they reaffirmed previous commitments that they have made to the poor. Second, the leaders called on the World Bank to develop a new trust fund to support the new Food Security Initiative agreed at L’Aquila G8 Summit in July. Third, they agreed to review the capital needs of the multilateral development banks, especially the World Bank’s soft loan arm, the International Development Association (IDA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
But, there were some clear omissions too. On climate change, even though some G20 leaders committed to scaling up its assistance at the UN High Level Summit on Climate Change just a few days ago, the G20 as a group failed to call for resources to help the poorest countries adapt to the harmful impacts of climate change, and tackle its causes.
This Summit was another opportunity to recognise Africa as part of the solution to the global economic recovery. We thought that the best way to underscore the important role that the continent plays in today’s world is for the G20 to agree to hold an upcoming G20 Summit in Africa. With the G20 becoming the new G8 and the next several hosts already queued up (Canada in June 2010, South Korea in November 2010, and France in 2011), unfortunately, there will be no “G20 Africa Summit” any time soon. One thing is sure though – regardless, ONE will urge these leaders to keep the challenges of Africa and the world’s poor as an important issue on their table.
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