South Africa gives thumps up to G20 Summit outcome

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa has come away from the G20 summit feeling that a fair amount has been achieved, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told a news conference in Johannesburg on his return to the country on Friday.

He said the world had been looking for a global response to the economic crisis, and the G20 summit had provided that.

He added that the decisions taken at the summit had taken the world "far down the track" in restoring confidence.

"We went in with a number of objectives, and we’ve come away with a feeling that a fair amount has been achieved."

Manuel said that South Africa had been "reasonably shielded" from the global economic crisis and was one of the few countries that was showing positive economic growth.

"Our current account will reduce this year. Our unemployment, though, remains a big worry."

But this was a global problem.

National Treasury director general Lesetja Kganyago said South Africa had always been bullish about its economy, but it had never been blind to the fact that the country was linked to the global economy.

If it hadn’t taken the steps it had — "painful as they might have been" — growth would have slower.

Manuel said the South African government welcomed the broad display of unity and commitment by leaders of the G20 to restore global growth and build the foundation of a sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery into the future.

He said South Africa had presented four points for consideration at the G20 summit. These were: stabilising global finance; countering the global recession; deploying resources to support demand and sustaining investment in developing countries; and laying the foundation for a sustainable recovery. 
 

"The communiqué issued by the G20 at the conclusion of the summit provided a road map that requires a global solution to the greatest challenge that faces the world today," Manuel said. "Since the last G20 summit, governments have taken action across a broad front, inspired by the commitments made together on November 15 2008 in Washington. However, these actions have not been well coordinated and have not yet achieved the needed breakthrough."

Manuel added that South Africa supported the agreements reached and these included trebling the resources available to the International Monetary Fund to $750-billion and supporting a new Special Drawing Rights allocation of $250-billion.

Also agreed upon was supporting at least $100-billion of additional lending by the Multilateral Development Banks, assuring $250-billion for trade finance, and using additional resources from agreed IMF gold sales for concessional finance for the poorest countries.

These measures constitute an additional $1,1-trillion of support to restore credit, growth and jobs in the global economy. — I-Net Bridge