3 minute read
18 Nov 2014
1:39 pm

Ebola was central at G20 Summit – Nene

South Africa raised the Ebola crisis in West Africa for inclusion in discussions at the G20 leaders summit held in Brisbane, Australia, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Tuesday.

FILE PICTURE: Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: GCIS

“We are indeed concerned. We actually led the inclusion of matters that relate to Ebola at the G20 level and all other multilateral meetings we participated in,” Nene told reporters in Pretoria.

“We understand that it’s not just an economic matter but a humanitarian matter as well. These [affected countries] are our trade partners. We do need to have multilateral institutions and engagements.”

He said discussions on Ebola attracted “encouraging” concern from all parties.

“We have seen that at times the distance doesn’t make much difference before you have it in your own country. The United States and Spain ended up having Ebola cases because of the inter-connectedness of the world,” said Nene.

“We have seen philanthropists, even from our own country, not only speaking about it but putting in financial resources to ensure that those West African countries are assisted to contain Ebola.”

Nene said the leaders of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (Brics) grouping met on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

“Brics leaders exchanged views on the G20 summit agenda as well as how to support additional measures of addressing the Ebola epidemic,” he said.

President Jacob Zuma led the South African delegation to the summit, which took place on November 15 and 16.

Zuma was accompanied by Nene and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Nene said the sluggish global economic growth was a major concern to all at the G20 summit.

“Leaders noted that the world economy is not growing fast enough due to the lack of global demand and supply constraints,” said Nene.

“They agreed while there might be scope in some countries to still use macro-economic policies to stimulate and support the economy, a bigger boost will have to come from country-specific structural reforms.”

He said discussions in Brisbane centred on strategies by all countries that would contribute to the objective of adding a further two percentage points to baseline growth estimates over the next five years.

Nene said there was “robust discussion” regarding calls for the reform of international financial institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“It was agreed that the international financial institutions needed to be reformed to reflect the fact that the emerging markets and developing economies now account for the largest share of global growth,” said Nene.

“This shift in the structure of the global economy must be reflected in the governance structures of multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Trade Organisation.”

He said “accelerated infrastructure investment” took centre stage at the summit.

“Under the leadership of the Australian presidency (sic), the G20 announced the establishment of the global infrastructure hub, an initiative that complements ongoing efforts to reduce barriers to infrastructure development in most G20 countries,” said Nene.

“The hub will be open to all member countries as well as non-G20 members. It is intended to attract private sector financing to complement efforts by the public sector.”

The initiative was scheduled to be operational by early next year.

Members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

The international forum is also known as the Group of Twenty.