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It’s G-20 time again, and once again the attention of the leaders of the world’s biggest economies will be largely preoccupied with shoring up the financial sectors in countries that are home to the world’s top billion. This is unfortunate but under the circumstances not entirely unreasonable. Financial crises in the rich world can have far-reaching consequences for poor people in the developing world, including weak demand for developing-country exports, sagging tourism and remittances, and tighter credit, which among other things makes it harder to finance trade.
The wake-up call came as a bit of a shock. Ernesto Zedillo, the highly regarded former president of Mexico and director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, was discussing the record of international institutions and the powerful countries that run them. On their response to unprecedented international cooperation and coordination challenges, he was in no mood to mince words.
Bad news from Argentina: The government has been tampering with inflation statistics for several years (publishing official rate as 8 percent compared to independent estimates greater than 20 percent). Now it is imposing big fines ($100,000) on private consulting firms and individuals producing private estimates. And where is the IMF on this issue? In deference to its member Argentina it publishes the official estimate with a footnote suggesting private estimates are much greater. More background (in Spanish) can be found
IMF governance reforms were agreed the week before the G20 Summit. One decision – to increase IMF resources but not by much – may matter for the IMF’s role in a still-unsettled Eurozone – if Ireland’s problem becomes Portugal’s and so on.
For a full and nicely balanced assessment of the reforms from Ted Truman, including on resources, go here. Among other things, unpacks a couple of little-known and little-understood facts that are (though he doesn’t say so directly) about the role of the USA – the poor man with good ideas.
Reports of progress last weekend notwithstanding, the so-called currency wars—the reality and threat of competitive devaluations—are likely to continue to dominate the news about the upcoming Seoul G-20 Summit.
This blog post also appeared The Guardian's Global Development blog.
When Seoul hosts the G-20 in November, development issues will be squarely on the agenda for the first time since the top steering group for the global economy was created in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, according to Ho-young Ahn, South Korea’s Ambassador at large for the G-20.
Here is what I liked about President Obama’s UN speech on development last week, what I liked less, and what to watch for next. I conclude with an epilogue on this week’s historic gathering of secretaries Clinton, Gates, and Geithner, USAID Administrator Shah, and Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Daniel Yohannes for the U.S.
I attended a conference convened and hosted by Jean-Michel Severino, the head of the French bilateral agency, outside Paris last week. The question participants addressed was: What should be the goals of the international development community in the post-MDG period after 2015? Should the MDGs be retrofitted and complemented with g