Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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G20 special representative visits T&T
The 2014 Global Twenty agenda (G20), will focus on promoting stronger economic growth as well as increasing the ability of the global economy to withstand future shocks.
This is what Australia’s G20 special representative, Daniel Sloper, told some of this country’s and the region’s government officials, businessmen and representatives from financial institutions, when he met with them on Monday at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain. The meeting was hosted by the Institute of International Relations (IIR), UWI St Augustine.
“Two main areas for this year’s work is to promote stronger economic growth and employment outcomes and the other is to make the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks,” said Sloper.
He said this focus came out of decisions made by last year’s leaders in St Petersburg, Russia.
“Russia last year hosted the summit and they dictate what we are doing this year in taking our work forward,” he said.
Australia is the 2014 chair of the G20, the premiere forum for international economic co-operation and decision-making, with representation from 19 countries plus the European Union. The focus of G20 and its members is to discuss and find ways to strengthen the global economy, reform international financial institutions and improve financial regulation.
Before joining in a round table discussion with attendees, Sloper said the purpose of his visit to T&T was to have a meaningful and healthy discourse with people outside of the G20, listening to their concerns, issues and even criticisms and recommendations on the G20 14 agenda. He said it was mandated by the Australian Government, as the host country, that such issues must be discussed with the wider community because whatever goes into the 2014 G20 agenda will inevitably impact all.
“My prime minister for one, looks to us to deliver concrete actions by the end of the year. The G20, as he would describe it, is not a forum to have another talk fest or international meeting but to actually deliver concrete outcomes,” Sloper said.
This is important, he added, because of the growth challenge that still exists after the 2008/9 global meltdown.
“Many countries faced difficult circumstances after the global financial crisis and many are still struggling to make a complete comeback,” said Sloper.
He said research had shown a steady fluctuation in the growth of the global economy, mostly forecasts showing progressive downturns since the global crisis. Sloper said it was only at the start of 2014 that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put out a positive forecast, the first positive in two years.
According to the IMF, global activity strengthened during the second half of 2013, as predicted in the October 2013 World Economic Outlook (WEO).
Activity is expected to improve further in 2014–15, largely on account of recovery in the advanced economies.
However, Sloper said, just last week the IMF’s latest WEO update showed a decline in global activity. In its report it stated that global recovery continues but at an uneven pace, and as a result, downside risks remains.
Australia’s host year began on December 1, 2013 and will culminate in a leaders’ summit in Brisbane on November 15-16.
IMF latest report as at July 2014
• Global growth forecast at 3.4 per cent for 2014—0.3 per cent weaker than April projections—and at four per cent for 2015
• Markdown due to one-off factors and slower demand in emerging markets
• Risks from geopolitical tensions and higher financial market volatility.
For more information on the 2014 G20 agenda visit: www.dfat.gov.au