Parliamentary Question: Presidency: G20 Summit


Statement to the media by South African President His Excellency Jacob Zuma at the conclusion of the G20 Summit, Cannes, France

We have come to the conclusion of the G20 Summit 2011.

We are encouraged by the commitment to deal with the current economic crisis as well as undertakings to reduce imbalances in the world economy to promote sustainable, poverty-reducing and employment-creating growth.

We are pleased with the commitment to an Action Plan for Growth and Jobs, which is an undertaking to renew efforts to combat unemployment and promote decent jobs, especially for the youth and others who have been most affected by the economic crisis.  

The focus on job creation is in line with South Africa’s own domestic focus on economic transformation to promote inclusive growth and decent jobs.

The G20 summit took place against the background of risks to the global economy. These have increased significantly in recent months, largely due to economic stagnation, sovereign debt crises, financial sector weakness and political paralysis in advanced economies.

The sovereign debt crises and credit rating downgrades of the Eurozone economies have raised fears about a deepening financial crisis in the region.  We welcome the progress made by European leaders in their effort to resolve the current crisis.  We urge them to continue to take decisive actions that will build confidence in the global economy.

We have also urged all G20 member countries to play their part to prevent the negative spill-over effect of the crisis on developing and low income countries in line with the action plan.

We are concerned that slow growth in the world economy is affecting Africa’s trade, growth and job creation prospects.   Before the crisis, Sub-Saharan Africa grew at a robust pace, averaging about 5%. South Africa’s real GDP growth is expected to remain below its pre-crisis 5% average at around 3.5% over the next two years.

However, we welcome the news this week that unemployment rate has dropped from 25.7% to 25% in the third quarter. This indicates that we are doing something right in our efforts to intensively promote employment-creating growth.  The South African Government shares successes in this regard with business and labour in our country, as we work together to promote growth and sustainable development.

To prevent the recurrence of crises, we support calls for measures to address the loose monetary policies in advanced countries, which are perpetuating global imbalances and shifting an unfair burden of adjustment to small open economies with flexible exchange rates.

We also strongly support the continued mainstreaming of the development discourse in the G20, which should be seen holistically within the context of all of the work and processes of the G20, including the Framework for Strong, Balanced and Sustainable Growth. 

South Africa is happy to have participated and co-chaired the G20 Development Working Group, together with France and Korea. While we participate in the G20 in a national capacity, we have always been mindful of the concerns of developing countries and the special challenges faced by Africa.

The success of the development agenda of the G20 is crucial for the long-term credibility and legitimacy of the G20 for developing countries.

All the development priorities/ pillars of the development agenda are significant. However, South Africa puts more emphasis on:
i) Investment in infrastructure,
ii) Food security,
iii) Domestic resource mobilization,
iv) Financial access (also referred to as Global Partnership for Financial Access),
v)  Growth with resilience including improving the flow of remittances, and
v) Improving social protection measures.   

We realize that this growth potential in developing countries, and low income countries in particular, will require concerted actions to further boost access to resources to fund investment, including addressing under-investment in infrastructure in regions like Sub Saharan Africa.

We therefore support the recommendations made by the High Level Panel on Infrastructure, chaired by Mr Tidjane Thiam, which are premised on the understanding that facilitating increased private sector involvement is essential to enhancing and complementing public sector involvement in infrastructure financing and provisioning.

We also support the work of the Development Working Group on food security and building resilience in low income countries, as this work is critical in preventing similar cases of the current famine in the Horn of Africa in the future.

We welcome chairing of the Development Working Group by Mexico in 2012 and the continued implementation of the Seoul Multi-Year Action Plan to support economic growth in developing countries which will contribute to the G20 objective for strong and sustainable growth.

In particular, we urge the Mexican Presidency to focus on developing strategies for job creating growth, in particular jobs for youth in most of our economies, both developing and developed.

We thank President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Government of France for the hospitality extended to us and for a successful, well-organised Summit.

Issued by the Presidency: Republic of South Africa

Cannes, France

Enquiries: Mac Maharaj on 079 879 3203.