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20.11.2008 Business & Finance

World Bank: G-20's Pledges Commendable, But...

By Our Correspondent - newtimesonline.com

World Bank Group President, Mr Robert B. Zoellick, has welcomed the reaffirmation by the G-20 leaders of the importance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and their commitment to honour their pledges of overseas aid.

He said: “If we are going to avert a human crisis, we will have to do more.  At $100 billion a year, the amount spent on overseas aid is a drop in the ocean compared to the trillions of dollars that are now being spent on financial rescues in the developed world.”

Mr. Zoellick said the World Bank Group will continue to stretch by expanding its funding, ideas, innovative products and partnership to help developing countries, adding that he was encouraged by the leaders' commitment to ensure that the bank had sufficient resources to undertake this task.

The World Bank chief also welcomes the commitment to increase the voice and representation of emerging and developing economies in the governance structure of the Bretton Woods institutions. Though management can make proposals, ultimately the decision on the size and timing of reforms rests with shareholders.

He expressed the hope that some bold steps would be taken to build on the preliminary reforms agreed upon at last month's annual meetings.

Mr Zoellick said he was also pleased to see the commitment of the G20 leaders “to strive to reach agreement this year on modalities that lead to a successful conclusion to the WTO's Doha Development Agenda with an ambitious and balanced outcome.

“The best way to resist protectionist measures is to advance measures to open markets.”

The summit of G-20 leaders and the G-20 meeting of Finance Ministers last weekend begun to lay a productive foundation of discussion, input, and agreement.

A release from the World Bank office in Accra early this week said: “what matters now are the follow up actions — people are looking to leaders for a global, coordinated and fast response”,

The release said: “If September and October were about coordinated and cooperative monetary policies, then November and December will be increasingly about starting fiscal stimulus.  

“China's recent $580 billion stimulus package was well timed and shows leadership.  Further decisive actions will be needed. Such actions must take into account the interests of the poor and most vulnerable in developing countries”.

World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick,  in October called for a reform of the G7 and for a modernised multilateralism to better reflect the realities of the 21st century.

He said it was a positive step forward that leaders of developed economies were now meeting together with leaders from the rising economic powers but the poorest developing countries must not be left out in the cold, adding, “we will not solve this crisis, or put in place sustainable long-term solutions by accepting a two-tier world”.

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