Page last updated at 22:30 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

IMF calls for unity ahead of G20

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Mr Strauss-Kahn has called for agreement among G20 leaders

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stressed the need for unity among world leaders at the G20 meeting in London next week.

"It is absolutely necessary for leaders to find agreement," said IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The UN has also called for urgent action at the G20 to prevent the financial crisis developing into a "catastrophe for human development".

There has been discord among leaders about how best to tackle the crisis.

'Global stimulus'

"If there is a big clash at this [G20 meeting] on any topic among leaders it will not be good for confidence," Mr Strauss-Kahn said.

He expressed satisfaction that governments had acted according to recommendations from the IMF.

"What has been announced in terms of fiscal stimulus is broadly in line with the 2% of global stimulus that we were asking for."

World leaders will meet next week in London to discuss measures to tackle the downturn. See our in-depth guide to the G20 summit.
The G20 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the US and the EU.

But more money may be needed next year, he said.

Governments should "make sure that, if needed, more can be done in the course of 2010."

Mr Strauss-Kahn also said that other central banks might follow the lead of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England in pumping money directly into the economy.

"I wouldn't be surprised that this kind of unconventional policy could be adopted by other central banks," he said.

'Forceful action'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also stressed the need for action.

"The banking crisis has developed into a financial crisis. The financial crisis has developed into an economic crisis.

"That is why in London I will speak out forcefully for action to prevent a potential crisis in human development," he said.

There has been some disagreement between world leaders about the best way to stimulate economic growth.

In the US and UK, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown have been in favour of injecting massive amounts of government money into their economies.

The French and German governments, for example, have been rather more circumspect of such huge stimulus packages.

Mr Brown has said people should not be "cynical" about what can be achieved at next week's G20 summit, saying he is optimistic about the likely outcome.

He is in Chile on the last leg of a trip designed to build support for joint global economic action in London.

The prime minister said he would be stressing the importance of free trade during the summit.

''One of the messages that must come from next week's summit is that we will reject protectionist tendencies.

"We will monitor those countries and name and shame if necessary countries that are not following free trade practices.," he said.

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