Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Should developing world have more say in crisis talks?

November 14, 2008

When world leaders meet in Washington to tackle the global financial crisis, Africa will be represented only by South Africa.


African officials meeting in Tunis this week to discuss the impact of the crisis argued that the continent needed better representation, given the effects that the turmoil is having in Africa as well as the continent’s growing financial importance. The complaint could apply equally to other developing countries.


The global crisis has come just as many African economies were turning a corner, buoyed by improvements in governance, technological change, debt relief, higher prices for their exports as well as inflows of funds from Asia and from Western investors seeking higher yields.


Many African countries have spent decades gearing economic policies to attract more private capital and dispel a reputation as unreliable investment destinations.


But turmoil on world markets has cut the supply of money as the world’s biggest banks shift funds from new projects to shoring up balance sheets, leaving African governments wondering how their infrastructure will get built.


African officials were dismayed not to have a bigger voice at the summit in Washington.


“Africa … was not associated even slightly with the preparation when it’s a question of deciding the future of the world to which this continent belongs, in fact and by right,” said Jean Ping, head of the African Union’s executive Commission.


But should Africa be better represented? Compared to its own recent history, African economies have been doing extremely well, but they are still small in global terms. As Africa’s biggest economy, South Africa will be attending, alongside representatives of the main developed and developing countries. Is that enough? What advantage might Africa gain from having a bigger voice at the summit? What about the world’s other poorer regions? Should they have more say too? 





This is a very difficult question because it is naturally wise to be inclusive and many developing countries obviously have points they would like to provide.

On the other hand, I understand the crisis talks hopes to agree to a coordinated approach to try to overcome the financial crisis. Therefore the participants are those who are probably in a position to achieve the goals.

Secondly the UN provides another venue for those who were not invited.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

Africa is really despised and carelessly looked upon by the developed countries as well as by the developing countries in the world. Presenty,the African countries are improving their internal economic stats with their die-hard efforts and prudency.They have unfairly been blamed for global financial crisis.It is unjustifiable,to evaluate African countries in such nagative angle. A big loop hole that has been generated in the world economy,is to be analized through co-ordinated and amicable discussion and necessary uniform measures are to be adopted and implemented.

In the danger,it is wise to overcome the existing problem rather than blaming someone.


If you have clout -: political , economical or in military area ; your voice will be heard otherwise its just waste of time .

The present international order may talk of higher moral values but in the implementation stage its just power that matters.

Thats why Iran and North Korea want to have nuclear weapons.
Can Iran and North Korea dare to use nuclear weapons first.No…Never; they will cease to exist the next morning because of the kind of nuclear weapons US has.
The only benefit of nuclear weapons is that they cant be blackmailed ; subverted ; or ignored.

Power(soft,hard or any other form) is the only thing that matters.

Posted by manhar | Report as abusive

Pranab, hopefully nobody is blaming Africa for this financial crisis. Most would say it was the US and some other western banking countries lack of regulations and transparency gone wild.

The success of the world’s major economies is crucial to us all, so hopefully some positive coordinated solution will be the result of the meetings.

Posted by Buffalojump | Report as abusive

undoubtelly the western word has to acknwoledge and accept that other countries, different in all aspects from the western ones, exist on this planet and deserve/have the right to have a voice on global issues; it needs also to understand that the principle of “other” and its respect is not a threat rather than a complementing quality in order to create a secure and peaceful world as far as the west wants to listen on what others have to say. burden sharing and co-sharing on benefits and responsilities needs to be distributed between “givers” and “takers” and vice versa; Inclusion is a divine quality as far as you abolish fear and embrasse understanding.

Posted by emmanuel | Report as abusive

No condition is permanent, the world is changing from unipolar to a more multipolar world, Obama is president as a result of a changing world. Africa shall prevail and get stronger. The powerful had the chance to create a fair world and they failed miserably, their interests were put first to the detriment of others. All that is gone now, a new world order has dawned on us all.Africa is on the rise, the Congo’s, Zimbabwe’s, Somalia’s are in their dying days of turmoil. The Islamists are the best choice for Somalia’s stability, nevermind the interferers in Washington who try and impose their ways on people they know nothing about.

Posted by Nduka Tolefe | Report as abusive

Of course, underdeveloped nations should avail more chances to have their say to the world than the developing or developed ones may have.

Posted by A.R.Shams | Report as abusive

Current Crisis – Cure or Croak

The real economic situation is ever in a state of flux and the ready made solutions in the classical or neoclassical mould evade a lasting solution to the current crisis. Over the years the very concept of ‘economy’ has undergone a sea change. The models that address to the national economies of yester years have become redundant and they don’t go beyond a transitory solution suppressing the real economic forces, side tracking the long term perspectives. The long lasting solution needs a fresh debate among the political economists to come out with an integrated co-operative model, keeping in mind the linkages of the so called developed and the developing economies, in which the monetary and the fiscal policies play a subservient role.

Simon Kuznets was a far sighted development economist who could foresee more than half a century ago that ‘poverty anywhere is a threat to development everywhere’. The ‘national economy’ is a misnomer today and an attempt to resolve the existing depression at the national levels will always belie the expectations, specially of the developed countries, and they are likely to slip from devil to the deep sea.

I look at the present crisis as a consequence of too much monetarism of the developed countries for maintaining their growth rates overlooking the potential development of South Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. This might lead to relentless speculative tendencies, playing down the primary role of money and ultimate crash down of giant economies of the world creating a worldwide economic chaos. The retrieval from it might take a century.

Posted by Dr. C. P. Sharma | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see