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Developing countries critical for G20 global growth agenda

What can the G20 do for the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world?

This question was at the centre of discussions in Hobart this week, where G20 officials and other stakeholders examined how the G20 could best support development through economic growth, both within and beyond the borders of member countries.

Strengthening development is central to the G20’s objectives. Emerging market and developing economies contribute around three quarters of global growth. While more than half the world’s poor population live in G20 countries, the G20 also works to provide benefits to all developing countries through more open trade, less regulation, better infrastructure, improved banking regulation and more effective tax systems.

Leading this week’s talks, the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI)  moved forward with a plan to bring the world’s poorest into the global economy.

More than half the world’s adult population (about 2.5 billion people) has no access to bank accounts or loans, and no insurance policy to cash in when crops fail or natural disasters hit. For the poorest and most vulnerable, access to financial services provides the only sustainable path out of poverty. These services allow them to save, set up businesses and help to secure their incomes. Delegates also considered how the GPFI could help lower the cost of money transfers, which can attract fees of up to 30 percent in low-income countries, and improve the availability of remittance services.

Later in the week, the G20’s Development Working Group (DWG) moved forward with priority areas for the G20 development agenda during Australia’s presidency. Building on the 2013 St Petersburg Development Outlook, which set out five priority areas for the G20’s development agenda, Australia has prioritised infrastructure, domestic resource mobilisation (taxation), and financial inclusion and remittances. Following this week’s meeting, the DWG will progress practical efforts to assist developing countries participate in international tax regimes and to further reduce the cost of remittances to developing countries, given the critical role that remittances play in stimulating growth and development. Recognising the challenges to infrastructure investment in developing countries, the DWG will advance its support to project preparation. We are also continuing important work in food security and human resource development. This was the second of three planned meetings of the DWG under Australia’s presidency in 2014.

The DWG also hosted a forum in Hobart on how the G20 might best contribute to the post-2015 development agenda led by the United Nations. The forum, attended by G20 officials and external partners including representatives of the Civil Society 20 (C20), the Labour 20 (L20), the Think 20 (T20) and the Youth 20 (T20) , as well as the Pacific Islands Forum, discussed the importance of economic growth, jobs and global resilience to development.  The United Nations Development Programme outlined the latest developments in the post-2015 process and outlined the G20’s possible contribution to this work.

 

Image: Delegates from the Development Working Group meeting in Hobart on 9 May, 2014.

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