Time to fix the global economy

Success or otherwise of the London G20 summit will only be clear in the longer term.

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    G20 leaders agreed to hold financial institutions more accountable [AFP]
     
    Now that the politicians have left their secure zone in east London, the hard work of stabilising the shaky financial world can begin.

     

    The big question everyone will ask: was the G20 a success?

     

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    No one can claim to know the answer to that now. The best they can say is, it's a start.

     

    The results will only become clear over time.

     

    There's no doubt the disparate and diverse nations that make up the world's top 20 economic powerhouses did have differences.

     

    Each nation arrived in London with its own goals, its own agenda.

     

    The challenge was to find a "one size fits all answer" to 20 different questions.

    After hours of talks behind doors closed to the media, the leaders issued a document with 29 points of agreement.

     

    Most had been settled before the first leader enjoyed a first cup of tea in Downing Street, but some significant issues were addressed.

     

    First, there is to be more money for the International Monetary Fund and more accountability demanded of international financial institutions.

     

    Tucked away in one line was that future heads of the World Bank will be appointed on merit, historically a post in the gift of the US.

     

    Poor nations

     

    There's to be more trade credit for poorer nations. Barack Obama described them as nations with no voice in the G20 and through nothing they have done they find themselves fighting a financial crisis.

     

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    There is to be stronger regulation of banks, a key demand of the French.

     

    And there is to be a crackdown on tax havens, a strikingly populist, rich-bashing measure which can only be expected to be opposed by people who use tax havens.

     

    Gordon Brown, the British prime minister and summit chairman, called it a day the world began fighting back against global recession.

     

    It is important to remember why the G20 is so important. The members control 90 per cent of the world's wealth and so anything they decide has an impact.

     

    The leaders will meet again to review progress, probably in New York in September.

     

    The finance ministers and the civil servants now have the job of putting all these big-brush strokes into practice in fine detail.

     

    And while they work out how to do that, people around the world will be trying to figure out how the events at a conference centre in London will help their family, save their job, and make their life better.

     

    They can only hope it will, and soon.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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