UK’s Brown meets African leaders ahead of G20

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will host a meeting of leading policymakers from Africa on Monday to discuss the economic crisis ahead of the G20 summit in London in April.
“We expect over 20 African representatives to attend,” the prime minister’s spokesman told reporters, listing leaders from Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana, Ethiopia and Kenya and finance ministers from South Africa and Nigeria.
“The purpose of the meeting this afternoon is to provide an opportunity to consult a wide range of African leaders on their concerns and policy priorities during the global economic crisis.”
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.
Reuters says 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 will also attend 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.”
Brown has said that failing to help the most vulnerable economies through the crisis will only prolong the downturn.
“It’s the prime minister’s view that it’s very important we maintain our commitment to the developing world at this difficult time,” Brown’s spokesman said.
Meanwhile, SABC television news reports a meeting of G20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors in London this weekend ended with a commitment to make a sustained effort to beat the recession.
The meeting was to prepare for the leaders’ London Summit early next month.
The ministers agreed on action to restore global growth and support lending as well as reforms that would strengthen the global financial system.
The finance ministers also promised to continue with economic stimulus packages and low interest rates and to increase International Monetary Fund funding.
Speaking to the SABC, SA finance minister Trevor Manuel, who attended the weekend`s meeting said he was disturbed that developed countries were renouncing their overseas development aid (ODA) commitments, despite earlier promises not to do so.  
“Some of the countries named include Italy, who is hosting this year`s G7, France, Portugal and Ireland have announced decreases in their overseas ODA commitments. That on its own will set back the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“I speak about African countries because we`ve looked at this in some detail. [If African countries] are not able to afford basic services the MDGs will be pushed back and the big concern we must express very loudly is that at the end of this deep recession the MDG goals [that must be reached by 2014] will not be met.
“The knock on effect of this recession is really biting across the African continent,” Manuel said.
We will leave generations trapped in poverty without basic services … if we don`t take up the call for donor aid and also ensure that the countries that make these commitments stick to those commitments.”