From: Biniam Tekle (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Mar 17 2009 - 07:59:37 EST
African leaders petition G20 for more funds Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:25am GMT
By Adrian Croft and Carolyn Cohn
LONDON (Reuters) - African countries petitioned the G20 on Monday for an
increase in funding and easier access to international financing to help
them through the global financial crisis.
More than 20 African leaders and ministers met British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown to present a joint African position before the G20 summit of old and
emerging economic powers that Brown will host on April 2.
Brown will transmit their message to the G20, which will examine how to
restart the stalled world economy and reform global financial institutions.
South Africa is the only African member of the G20, although Brown has
invited umbrella groups the New Partnership for Africa's Development and the
African Union Commission to the summit.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the critical issues African
countries wanted addressed were additional funds and ease of access to those
Asked how much additional money African nations wanted, Meles said the
figures "being bandied around" ranged as high as $50 billion.
"There are bound to be various means of funding and various means of
disbursing those funds. We have discussed those with the prime minister
(Brown) and I believe we have agreed on the fundamentals of all of this," he
told a news conference.
He said the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had millions of
dollars that could be released to African countries now "by simply modifying
the disbursement mechanisms".
COST OF CRISIS
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the cost of keeping reform
going was much less than the cost of peacekeeping operations if the economic
crisis led to a resumption of fighting in her country, racked by a civil war
between 1989 and 2003 that killed 200,000 people.
Leaders from Tanzania, Botswana and Kenya and finance ministers from Nigeria
and Rwanda also attended.
Brown said he hoped the result of the G20 summit would be that every
continent, including Africa, "has its fair share of support over the next
few months and equally that every continent feels that it can play a part in
drawing up the plan for recovery."
African ministers said the continent was being hard hit by the crisis and
was seeing a reduction in overseas aid flows.
"In the case of Africa, people are going to die. We are talking about lives,
not just somebody who will have to drive a smaller car," Egyptian Finance
Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali told Reuters.
The risk was that overseas development aid would "dry up or diminish," South
African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told reporters. "Some countries have
indicated they are not capable of meeting these commitments," he said.
"It is not possible to stimulate the world economy while ignoring the
millions of the poor in Africa, south Asia and other places," the President
of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, told BBC radio before the
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