President Jacob Zuma heads for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, this week with a somewhat overloaded agenda that covers the future of quantitative easing, the health of the global economy, reform of international institutions and BRICS Development Bank amongst others; all of which may be clouded by the Syrian crisis.
A statement released by the Presidency yesterday confirms the overloaded agenda. The statement said Zuma will lead the South African delegation to the G20 at a time of increased turbulence in global financial markets.
Scheduled for fifth and sixth of September, the G20 Summit is expected to be an extraordinarily heated affair as a result of the Syrian standoff. Russia and the US have exchanged blows lately firstly over the Edward Snowden matter and the situation has not been helped by the Syrian crisis.
South Africa has issued strong statements cautioning that the West must not rush into a military strike without global consent. Yesterday’s statement from the Presidency did not touch on the Syrian matter though.
The statement noted that “The summit will take place at a time of increased turbulence in global financial markets, which has been brought about by speculation that the US Federal Reserve will soon cut back on the $85 billion it has been pumping into the financial markets every month”.
It added “the prospect that the Federal Reserve will cut-off these flows of funds has resulted in emerging market currency volatility, which has been yet another reminder of the risks and the potentially destabilising and negative effects that policies and shocks in major economies can have on other countries and regions”.
The statement said the leaders of the G20 countries will also meet against the backdrop of a fragile and uneven economic recovery.
“As the current volatility of emerging market currencies shows, decisions taken by countries based solely on their own national interest can have serious implication for other nations. There must be a greater recognition that we live in an interconnected world. “Decoupling” is not an option for either developing or developed economies”.
The solution to all these challenges – turbulence in financial markets, the fragile and uneven economic recovery – lies in better global coordination of efforts”.
The statement said “the G20 Summit is envisaged to focus on a set of measures aimed at boosting sustainable, inclusive and balanced global growth.
The statement added that a BRICS Leaders’ meeting will be held on the margins of the G20 Summit. “The meeting will afford BRICS leaders an opportunity to reflect on the progress made with regards to the implementation of the Durban Declaration, especially as it pertains to the New Development Bank and the Currency Reserve Arrangement”.
“South Africa seeks to use its participation in the G20 to promote and strengthen the interests of Africa and of the South, on the understanding that, if managed carefully, the G20 does present meaningful opportunities for advancing much-needed global governance reforms and orienting the international development agenda”.
“President Zuma will be accompanied by the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane”.