Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 21:24 UK
G20 leaders seal $1tn global deal

By Steve Schifferes
Economics reporter, BBC News

President Obama: 'We all have responsibilities to work together'

The G20 summit has ended in a global deal to boost world growth.

Is it the beginning of a new world economic order?

At first glance, there is less than meets the eye in the G20 communiqué.

There was no co-ordinated economic stimulus plan, and the extra $500bn pledged to the IMF will come with too many strings attached to boost the world economy.

And regulation, although global in principle, will still be applied by national regulators who may take different approaches.

Any help to poor countries was limited in scope, and there seems little prospect of a global trade deal that could lift their prospects in the long term.

New consensus

But there are hints, in the rhetoric and in substantive measures, that a new way of running the world economy may be emerging from the G20 process.

President Barack Obama said as much when he acknowledged that the 'Washington consensus' of unfettered globalisation and deregulation was now outmoded, and called for a more balanced approach to regulating markets rather than letting them run free.

$500bn for the IMF to lend to struggling economies
$250bn to boost world trade
$250bn for a new IMF "overdraft facility" countries can draw on
$100bn that international development banks can lend to poorest countries
IMF will raise $6bn from selling gold reserves to increase lending for the poorest countries
Source: BBC

And it is the shift in the US position, which was previously the strongest opponent of international regulation, that has opened the way for a much broader attempt to regulate the financial sector.

These go far beyond banks' capital requirements to include the global regulation of hedge funds, tax havens and executive pay - something that would have been unthinkable before the crisis broke.

And in the new Financial Stability Board, which will now incorporate all G20 members, there is the potential for a powerful new global financial regulator.

Even more significant is the increased power given to the international financial institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, who have been subcontracted by the G20 to monitor and run many of their policies.

IMF managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn was jubilant after the meeting, saying that the IMF "is now truly back."

The IMF's image had been tarnished during the Asian financial crisis and, until the current crisis came to a head, there had been fears that the organisation was losing its relevance.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was particularly enthusiastic about the plan for the IMF to issue $250bn worth of its own currency, the SDR, saying this was the first step on the IMF issuing its own liquity as well as being a lender of last resort - the two key functions of a world central bank.

The IMF will also be made more representative, with China and India getting a bigger say, and its top job opened to all comers, not just Europeans, in the future.

Further meetings

But perhaps most significantly, the G20 decided to continue to meet regularly to monitor progress on dealing with the global economic crisis - with the next meeting scheduled for later this year.

Mr Strauss Kahn said that he believed that the G20 was shaping up as the board of governors for the world economy, and said he favoured an even bigger grouping to give more representation to poor countries.

It may be that after the crisis is over, the G20 disbands as a group.

But given the belief by governments on both sides of the Atlantic that global cooperation is now essential for economic growth, the likelihood is that it will carry on and attempt to strengthen its role.

With fits and starts, the world may be moving to a recognition that as the economy has become global, the power of governments can only be effective if they too become more international in scope.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific