Enhancing the role of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) in sustainable global economic development has been an important issue for G20 leaders since their first meeting in 2008. For leaders, the primary purpose of revitalizing the MDBs was to counter the cyclical effects of the crisis. As the subprime crisis receded, the focus of leaders and the overall G20 agenda since 2010 has shifted towards growth, for which infrastructure financing has been highlighted as a key driver.
Last week in an interview with Reuters, U.S. President Trump labelled the Chinese as “grand champions at manipulation of currency”, indicating he has not fully backtracked from his campaign promise to designate China as a ‘currency manipulator’ on ‘day one’ of his Presidency. The position of Washington on this topic has not exactly been crystal clear, however, with the new U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, announcing on the same day as Trump’s comment that the Treasury was in fact still going through the formal process of analysing Chinese currency practices, and that no judgements would be made prior to the completion of that process. Read the rest of this entry »
On 16-17 February 2017 the foreign ministers of the G20 countries gathered in Bonn, Germany’s United Nations city. This was the second ever meeting of foreign ministers under the G20 umbrella, which brings together 19 of the world’s largest economies, plus the European Union. The discussion among the G20 foreign ministers officially centered around issues of a long-term nature such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris climate agreement, crisis prevention and resolution, and opportunities for deepening the G20’s relationship with African economies.
There is much to discuss as leaders gather in Germany for G20 meetings: from the sluggish global recovery, to the potential for protectionism and threats to globalisation, and the economic and social challenges and opportunities of technological disruption. Reinforced by changing political sentiment over the past year, there is a growing consensus that the global economy is not delivering the benefits that it needs to across the developed world.
In his inaugural address, Donald Trump declared “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first” (a phrase, associated with opponents of entering World War II). Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer commented that “‘America first’ signals the renunciation, and possible destruction, of the US-led world order that Democratic and Republican presidents, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, have built up and maintained – albeit with varying degrees of success – for more than seven decades.” (Project Syndicate, “The God of Carnage,” January 27, 2017)