Home | News    Wednesday 18 March 2009

UK’s Brown, African leaders consult economic concern

By Tesfa-alem Tekle

March 17, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has held pre-G20 talks with a group of African leaders to hear about their countries’ economic needs. Sudan Tribune learnt.

Leaders, policy makers and Representatives of several African states, including Kenya, Liberia, Ethiopia and South Africa, attended the meeting in central London on Monday.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosts the meeting to provide an opportunity to consult a wide range of African leaders on their concerns and policy priorities during the global economic crisis. According to sources coming from London.

The meeting is believed to determine what preparations should be made in advance of the G20 meeting so as to drive Africa’s interests, home to the rich and emerging nations.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is to represent Africa in the summit as called on unanimously to by the recent 12th AU summit in Addis Ababa and as invited by Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

During the meeting PM Brown said that he wanted to ensure the needs of poorer countries are tackled as part of the G20 summit, which will take place in London next month.

He added that the G20 should take action to reform international institutions, encourage global trade, counter protectionism and provide support to poor nations.

Mr. Brown said "It is our duty to do everything that we can first of all to relieve the pressure people are facing as a result of the downturn - and Africa knows more about these problems than any continent in the world - and secondly to prepare ourselves to get out of the downturn by taking the right decisions for the future."

"I want us to come out of this meeting with not only a determination that every continent - and that means Africa - has its fair share of support over the next few months, but equally, that every continent feels that it can play a part in drawing up the plan for recovery."

It is widely believed that the upcoming summit will serve as a vehicle to map out strategies for coping the current global economic recession and to seek ways sustainable solutions that similar financial and economic disaster on such scale would not recur.

The economic downturn across the world has raised concerns that rich nations will be less willing to boost aid to poorer nations.

’It is not possible to stimulate the world economy while ignoring the millions of the poor in Africa, south Asia and other places,’ said President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, who also attended the pre-G20 meeting.

’The real stimulus will have to involve every country in the world,’ he told BBC radio. ’We think that the sums involved for the world to do so are a small proportion of what is being deployed right now to stimulate the world economy.’

South Africa is the only African member of the G20 group of old and emerging economic powers, although Brown has asked umbrella groups the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Union Commission to attend the summit on April 2.