Africa: Chinese Ambassador in Lesotho – Highlights Expected At the G20 Summit in China

On 2 September, 2016, the Public Eye of Lesotho published an article by Ambassador Sun Xianghua: Highlights Expected at the G20 Summit in China. The full text is as follows:

In a few days time, the 11th G20 (Group 20) Summit will be held in the city of Hangzhou, China. It will be the very first time that the Group, at the summit level, be chaired by a developing country which is at the same time, one of the biggest economies in the world. Inevitably, China as the hosting country will bring forward some fresh perspectives and hopefully some new ideas. These new perspectives and ideas will become the highlights that we can expect from this Summit.

G20 has come a long way to this year’s Hangzhou Summit. In 1999, the financial ministers of the G8, namely the USA, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, decided to set up a forum of G20. Its purpose was to prevent the recurrence of the Asian Financial Crisis which happened in 1997, by enhancing the stability of the international financial and monetary system, through informal dialogues about international economy and monetary policies among the relevant countries, including representatives of the developing countries. Until 2008, the G20 meetings were attended mainly by the financial ministers and central bank governors of those countries.

After the serious financial crises erupted in 2008 and spread across the world, leaders of the major economies realized that a global meltdown of the world economy was imminent and drastic coordination in financial policies was a must to counter the crisis and prevent future similar crisis. Meanwhile, it was also realized that the emerging economies were playing an increasingly important role in the world, and their participation was indispensible in the world economic governance. Thus, the leaders of the G20 declared in 2009 that, G20 summit would replace the G8 to become the main forum for global economic cooperation. Currently, the G20 is composed of the USA, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Russia, Australia, China, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and the European Union. G20 members’ gross national production accounts for 85% of the world’s total, and their population accounts for 3/4 of the world.

Since its inception, the G20, through its macro-economic policy coordination among the major developed and emerging market economies of the world, has succeeded in containing the crisis, and later improved crisis preparedness through financial sector and international architecture reforms. G20 cooperation also helped to engineer a gradual recovery of the world economy. Therefore, it’s fair to say that the G20 summit process started off as a crisis response and management platform, its efficacy has proved remarkable. The Group has no doubt evolved since its upgrade at the height of the last global financial crisis.

However, as the global crisis fades away in people’s memory, the sense of urgency is no longer acute as what it used to be. As some people say, there is even a reform “fatigue” and self-complacency. For several consecutive years in the second decade of this century, the world economy has faced with lingering downward pressure, the world economic growth is weak and it is unsustainable to merely depend on financial and monetary policies to stimulate economy.

As the main platform for international economic cooperation, the G20 stands at a critical crossroads. While it is imperative to continue work on the unfinished agenda on crisis response, management and preparedness, the Group needs to redefine its role by transferring from a largely short-term towards a longer-term and more structural agenda. In many ways, the G20 is uniquely placed to set new directions and break new ground for international economic cooperation in response to new and evolving realities in the global economy. It has the responsibility to overcome the current difficulty and guide the way for the world economy.

Under this background, China is hosting the coming G20 Summit. As was observed by China’s President Xi Jinping, China’s initiative to host the G20 is based on our wish to make greater contributions to the Group and the world economy. By hosting the G20 Hangzhou Summit, China hopes to focus on the core challenges and prominent problems facing the world economy, innovate growth patterns, and tap growth potential. The establishment of a more efficient global economic and financial governance will provide solid protection for the world economy. China hopes to promote international trade and investment to revive world economic vitality, advance inclusive and inter-connected development, and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Though the G20 events will continue throughout the whole year of 2016 and 66 meetings of various kinds be held in 20 cities of China, the Hangzhou Summit will be the most important one. Highlights of the Hangzhou Summit can be expected from its theme of “Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy”. Four main topics will be touched up under the theme, namely “breaking a new path for growth”, “more effective and efficient global economic and financial governance”, “robust international trade and investment”, and “inclusive and interconnected development”. The theme and topics proposed by China are highly recognized and supported by all members. It is considered that China’s ideas not only show a long-term and strategic vision, but also demonstrate broad horizon

Meanwhile, ten specific results are expected from the Hangzhou Summit. The first is to develop a blueprint of innovative growth. The second is to formulate action plans for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The third is to identify priority areas, guiding principles and index system for the structural reform. The fourth is to draft strategies for global trade growth. The fifth is to set out guiding principles for global investment policy. The sixth is to deepen the reform of international financial architecture. The seventh is to establish the three-in-one anti-corruption cooperation. The eighth is to launch a cooperative initiative to support the industrialization of African countries and the least developed countries. The ninth is to draw up entrepreneurship action plans. The tenth is to promote the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Though the ten results are all relevant to African countries economic and social development, it must be noted that, as the biggest developing country, China is dedicated to two “first-times” in the history of G20 summits: the first time to give priority to development in global macro policy framework, and the first time to draft action plans for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China will give stronger support to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through collective action as well as individual action taken by each country. It has also invited more developing countries to attend the meeting, in a bid to make the Hangzhou Summit the one that best represents the interests of the developing countries. China hopes to send such a signal to the international community that the G20 not only belongs to its 20 member countries but also belongs to the world and it focuses not only on the welfare of its own but also the common development of all humanity.

In the above-said regard, China will launch a cooperation initiative to support the industrialization of Africa and the least developed countries. Africa and the least developed countries are in urgent need of speeding up the process of industrialization and improving self-development capability. China will promote G20 member states to conduct cooperation and help these countries to accelerate industrialization through capacity building, increasing investment, improving infrastructure and other measures, so as to achieve their poverty alleviation and sustainable development goals.

Therefore, though Hangzhou G20 summit is held thousands of miles away from Africa and Lesotho, it’s still worth our great attention.

Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.