President Bush is inviting the G20 members to a “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy” to be held in the Washington DC area on November 15th.
Bush, along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, outlined and called together the meeting of the G20 at the end of October. The summit is set to take place on November 15 and according to the White House it will discuss the “causes and efforts to resolve [the financial crisis] through more effective regulation and reform” as well as “the effects of the crisis on emerging economies and developing nations” whose concern over the long-term impact has grown extensively since the crisis hit.
The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
Sadly, it's little surprise that South Africa is the only African country among them.
“The summit will also provide an important opportunity for leaders to strengthen the underpinnings of capitalism by discussing how they can enhance their commitment to open, competitive economies, as well as trade and investment liberalization,” White House Spokesperson, Dana Perino said. This liberalization, however, is one key reason many African economies remain so stunted today. The counterintuitive remarks and motives of the exiting administration don't end there.
Perino said Bush “thinks it’s critical to include developing nations in the talks because they are important in the global economy on a variety of levels.” The G20 - with just one African country and two Latin American nations - is far from such an inclusive approach. If Africa is not represented at this moment, when the urgency is so clear and present that they be considered, when will they be? A key part of any reconstruction of the global economic system must be a more inclusive decision making process.
And isn’t blind faith in top-down economic progress what started this crisis in the first place? The summit cannot even begin to address the full implications of this crisis on the Global South without any poor countries actually present. Have the Western nations not learned one bit from their mistakes? There is still no word on whether President-elect Obama will be present in the meetings.
While better than a G7 or G8 meeting, this special G20 summit looks to be driven foremost by the self-interest of rich countriesn rather than a global vision for participatory, people driven economic development worldwide "Anything that we do through this series of summits, I think we want to ensure that we don't inhibit that kind of market activity, that we continue to see investment and that we continue to see increased trade," Bush said. Yet that U.S.-Africa trade policy remains unjust, as massive U.S. agricbusiness subsidies prevent the continent from enjoying its natural competitive adventage in agriculture.
The hundreds of millions of people whom Bush's policies have left quietly destitute will not have a voice in this summit in DC. However, in response to theis exclusive and alienating summit, civil society around the world is convening satellite summits to open up the discussion on financial and economic solutions on terms driven by people, not power. See http://globaljusticeaction.wordpress.com for information on events taking place in Washington, DC.