Multilateral and regional trading systems, global agricultural value chains and trade inclusiveness for increased economic growth were on the agenda when representatives from 42 least-developed countries (LDCs) met at the first Global Forum on Inclusive Trade for LDCs at the WTO on 13-14 June 2018. The goal of the gathering was to seek ways to further integrate the world’s poorest countries into the multilateral trading system. Helping women overcome barriers to doing business was discussed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a meeting with the heads of six multilateral agencies on 11 June in Berlin to discuss ways to foster international economic co-operation to address global challenges and improve the prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth. A press release was issued after the gathering. Speaking after the meeting, WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo said: “Many would agree that the trading system is imperfect and that it needs reform… The best way to do this is through a new dialogue among leaders. We must find constructive ways of engaging and bringing leaders together.”
The second meeting of the Energy Transitions Working Group and the meeting of Energy Ministers, from 13-15 June 2018, looked at energy access, transparency and subsidies. On Friday, 15 June at 5.15 pm, once the ministerial meeting was concluded, the G20 troika gave a press conference which was livestreamed on the G20 YouTube channel.
The ministers welcomed South Africa’s two-pronged outreach approach through the BRICS-Africa Dialogue and the BRICS Plus co-operation, to be held during the summit next month. They also commended the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area as an important step towards economic integration on the continent.
Global economic growth was expected to remain robust at 3.1% in 2018, according to the World Bank, before slowing gradually over the next two years, as advanced-economy growth decelerated and the recovery in major commodity-exporting emerging market and developing economies levelled off. It said on 5 June that growth in Sub-Saharan Africa was projected to strengthen to 3.1% in 2018 and to 3.5% in 2019. South Africa was forecast to expand 1.4% in 2018 and 1.8% in 2019 as a pickup in business and consumer confidence supported stronger growth in investment and consumption expenditures.
At its annual Ministerial Meeting, the OECD started the development of a joint work programme with South Africa, one of its five Key Partner countries, aimed at promoting stronger and more inclusive growth. The initial focus will be on developing small, micro and medium enterprises, promoting trade and investment (including by South Africa adhering to the OECD Code of Liberalisation of Capital Movements) and improving the skills of the South African workforce.
The multilateral trading system provided a stable and predictable business environment that helped to drive economic growth, WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo said an OECD Ministerial Council meeting on 31 May. It was important to defend this stability but also to strengthen and safeguard the system so that it continued to help governments and businesses meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global economy.
India, Brazil and South Africa foreign ministers met informally in Pretoria on 4 June, 2018 for the informal meeting of IBSA Foreign Ministers, adopting and jointly releasing the IBSA Declaration on South-South Cooperation, to contribute to greater understanding of development co-operation as a common endeavour of the Global South. It includes increasing advocacy for reforms of global governance institutions in multilateral fora, as well as driving people-centric social policies for restructuring the international financial architecture and reforming international organisations.
Sub-Saharan Africa can expect a modest growth uptick, while decisive policies are needed to reduce vulnerabilities and raise medium-term growth prospects, according to the IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook: Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Private Investment. Monetary policy must be geared towards ensuring low inflation.
The Opportunities For All: OECD Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth finds that governments need to make urgent and concerted efforts to drive more inclusive, sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone in society. To help countries assess their progress in achieving more inclusive growth, the OECD has created a new dashboard of indicators.
The WTO publication looks at its role in delivering the SDGs and unpacks ways it can help to ensure that international trade contributes to accelerating progress in achieving the goals. The report examines the SDGs from economic, social and environmental perspectives and outlines how trade is contributing to making progress in each of these areas.
The BRICS Business Council meets in Durban on 22 and 23 July, followed by the BRICS Business Forum, which will meet in Gauteng on 25 July. Council themes for this year include the Fourth Industrial Revolution, youth entrepreneurship and food security.
The G20 foreign ministers met in Buenos Aires on 20 and 21 May 2018 to discuss global governance, development and gender, amongst other issues. “Multilateralism is under pressure; we therefore consider it very important that the G20 provide responses,” ministers concluded. Read more.
Finance ministers and central bank governors agreed that now is a good time to normalise monetary policy, and expressed optimism on the future of work, one of the priorities of the Argentine G20 presidency.
Argentina took over the Presidency of the G20 from Germany on 1 December 2017. The central themes of the Argentina Presidency are:
On Sunday, 28 May international think tanks in the Think 20 Group (T20) presented twenty policy proposals for the twenty largest industrialised and emerging countries (G20) to the German Chancellery to take forward to G20 decision-makers.
The GEGAfrica project has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.