G20 SUMMIT: Is it false compromises for Africa? Written by Administrator Friday, 03 April 2009 13:24 FILISI JOHN The drama and conflict embroidered G20 Summit of the worlds most industrialized countries ends in London today. Under the sponsorship of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the get together had one major assignment to prescribe a cure for the current worst global economic crisis since the Second World War. But what did this mean for the majority of the worlds impoverished countries, particularly on the African continent? The meeting took place within the background of a failed financial sector essentially born in the United States and bred all over the world. To the worlds most developed countries, this led to an economic decline to the magnitude that exceeded the famous World Depression of the 1930s. To the developing world, this translated itself in a market decline for its producer goods. By the World Trade Organization (WTO) figures, world trade over the past year declined by 9% against an estimate of 2%. Brought down to the developed and developing world stage, the developed worlds trade declined by 10% against the developing worlds 2%. It is, therefore, no wonder that the industrialized countries found it essential to come to the table. But the developed world is not the only stakeholder of the world economy. Severally, the developed, emerging and developing economies have everything to gain and lose in any major turn in the world economy. Because of the English saying that charity begins at home, the developed world is more inclined to take a self-interest approach. This is why there were already expressions of discontent for protection measures arising from various quarters, including even some of the developed countries. United States President Barack Obama conceded the G20 has its own line but were not going to agree on every point I came to put my ideas but also to listen, not to lecture. He cautioned, however, we must not miss an opportunity to lead, to confront crisis that knows no borders. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said neither France nor Germany was satisfied with proposals on the table and declared he would reject false compromises at the summit. With or without the United States stimulus, he said, Germany and France were serious with the question of regulations and rein in the financial market excess. He said emerging economies needed more resources to help them weather the storm. Maybe a sideline comment arising from the German Presidents annual address could not have explained the situation better. Before contending that Africa will decide the state of the world economy, the President decried a situation whereby some people lived above their means, forgetting all about being faithful and other peoples interests. His words should not be seen only in terms of the developed world but also the developing one. How many African Heads of State and their allies in government power are guilty of this? The English charity-begins-at-home saying in the current G20 Summit context does not provide enough ground for the African countries. Strange but true, the countries have no common home from where to start their charity. South Africa, a member of the African Union (AU) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) sits on the G20. Should one wonder at what the AU had in mind when it decided to send the Ethiopian Premier as its representative? Was South Africa not likely to present even the regional case to the Summit? Could the Africa story not read as united we fall? If the Summit, ending today, is to deliver, the world must see protectionism coming to an end. We must see the International Monetary Fund being better beefed up to take care of the interests of the developing countries. We must see a way being cleared for the African Voice to be heard in the IMF. Short of that Sarkozys words of false compromises will have come true. And the Summit would end up diving than integrating the world economy. The United States of America, as a country where the global crisis began, would have been denied a chance to lead the way. An important aspect of the peace prospects in the world may have gone unnoticed when Benjamin Netanyahu became the new Israel Prime Minister this week with his right-wing leaning coalition. He said he would negotiate with Palestine but kept mum on a two-state plan. His team is made up of hardliner Avider Lieberman as foreign minister and labour veteran Eliot Barak as defense minister. The Madagascar scene took a new course at the Southern Africa Development Community joined the African Union to suspend the Malagasy SADC membership.