President Nana Addo Dankwa AKufo-Addo has called for the admittance of the African Union (AU) in the G20 Group of nations to redefine global policy co-ordination for the emergence of a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world.
He said admitting the AU to an expanded G21 would have the same galvanising effect within Africa that the European Union’s participation in the G20 has within Europe and would strengthen co-ordination and coherence across the 54 African economies.
Addressing the 76th Session of the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York, USA, on Wednesday, the President said with the AU at the table, the Group would “suddenly” have representation of 54 more countries, 1.3 billion more people, and $2.3 trillion more output.
“This extraordinary increase in representation will add just one seat to the table, and about ten minutes to the discussion. However, it will redefine global policy co-ordination to enable a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world to emerge,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo insisted that key multilateral organisations and international financial institutions such as the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions must be repositioned to reflect inclusiveness.
He called for a constructive review of the structure of the current global economic cooperation, which had proven inadequate for the economic transformation of developing countries.
He noted that since the global financial system had not produced the necessary outcomes to finance sustainable development, the COVID-19 pandemic provided a great chance to rethink global economic cooperation, based on the principles of mutuality, equity, sustainability, and collective prosperity envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals.
The General Assembly is on the theme: “Building Resilience Through Hope to Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People, and Revitalise the United Nations.”
President Akufo-Addo said even before the outbreak of the pandemic many had concluded that the current structure of global economic cooperation, designed some 77 years ago, had proven inadequate to finance infrastructure and economic transformation in developing countries.
“Given the incapacity of the global financial system to produce the necessary outcomes to finance sustainable development, we need a constructive review. COVID-19 is a historic opportunity to rethink global economic cooperation based on all economies of mutuality, equity, sustainability, and collective prosperity,” he said.
The President said COVID-19 had resulted in decreased revenues to the tune of some $150 billion, with African economies still reeling from its economic impacts.
“African governments have already spent scarce reserves fighting the pandemic and providing social protection to millions of affected households. Ghana has been advocating that innovative financing must also address structural challenges beyond responding to immediate fiscal needs, by providing mechanisms to facilitate investments in health infrastructure, technology, the environment, and people that would bolster resilience and equitable recovery,” he said.
The IMF’s historic $650 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) allocation should be seized upon as a catalytic effort to leapfrog Africa to the next level of human development, and ensure sustained global prosperity, the President said.
He said African leaders had advocated a prudent and transparent channeling of at least 25 to 35 per cent of the SDRs from wealthier to vulnerable countries, $100 billion of which should be dedicated to Africa.
“We welcome the support of the European countries, represented at the Africa Summit in France, the IMF, the G7 and G20, to some SDR redistribution,” he said.
The President said the IMF’s $650 billion SDR allocation offered a unique opportunity to provide additional financial resources to address the vast and surging inequities laid bare by the pandemic, and the crisis that may follow as a result.
The proceeds of the SDRs should fund vaccine acquisition and manufacturing, climate and green investments, and a pan-African Stability Mechanism like the European Stability Mechanism that would safeguard financial stability on the Continent, he said.
As part of the redistribution, the SDRs should also fund the recapitalisation of the African Development Bank and Afreximbank to support industrialisation, private-sector job creation and the African Continental Free Trade initiative, the President said.