Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 12:43 UK

Developing agenda wins at G20

By Kabir Chibber
Business reporter, BBC News

Obama and Indian PM
Developing countries such as India succeeded in pushing for a bigger role

The G20 summit could go down as the turning point when the distinction between the developing and developed world, already blurry, ends for good.

Many of the developing nations - China, Brazil, India among them - came to the summit in London with a list of demands to make a more multilateral world.

Unlike the past, this time they actually got most of them.

This prompted Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom US President Barack Obama called the world's most popular politician, to say that the richer nations had finally negotiated with emerging countries on "equal terms".

Brazil's role

Brazil was among the biggest winners out of the summit.

$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

Lula, viewed as something of a leader of the developing world, was pushing for greater influence for countries such as his in the international organisations that are so crucial to the world economy.

The G20 has agreed to give Brazil, India and other developing nations a greater say in the running of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the two big organisations set up to run the world economy after World War II.

After 2011, the US could lose its veto power at those institutions and Western countries could find their voting rights severely reduced.

The convention that an American heads the World Bank and a European heads the IMF will also now be abandoned, the G20 leaders say.

The G20 also created a new Financial Stability Board, incorporating all members of the G20 for the first time, to replace the current Financial Stability Forum, which mainly consists of the central banks and finance ministries of US and European countries.

This fundamentally shifts the importance of developing economies to the financial system.

Brazil has been campaigning for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, as well as a seat for the African continent, and that is likely to be Lula's next big push on the international stage.

World currency

China also flexed its muscles at the London summit.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, meets Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega to discuss the financial crisis in Sao Paulo, Monday 20 October 2008.
President Lula said developing countries had been treated as equals

Before the summit, the world's biggest emerging economy had pushed for a radical idea of a global reserve currency to replace the dollar.

While that did not happen, what did was that the G20 nations agreed on essentially creating more money to help countries that need more aid.

That money comes from an additional $250bn of special drawing rights, the IMF's own currency, consisting of a basket of currencies including the US dollar, the yen and the euro.

IMF managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn noted that this was the first step to the IMF becoming a lender of last resort or, in effect, the world's central bank.

This means that poor countries are less reliant on Western nations, and the value of the US dollar, when they get into trouble and need aid.

China also flexed its economic muscles by contributing $40bn to bolster the IMF.

And it won in its battle to keep its territories of Hong Kong and Macau off the blacklist for tax havens.

More aid

The developing world also received more in aid, with one of the bigger surprises of the communique being the extra $100bn for multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

That was in addition to the $500bn agreed for the IMF to lend to struggling economies.

And the IMF will raise $6bn from selling gold reserves to increase lending for the poorest countries.

US President Barack Obama said he would ask Congress to provide an immediate $448m to help the poorest countries, saying it was not charity but rather helping "future markets", reflecting the importance of developing countries as the crisis is resolved.

Poorer countries, long wary of unbridled financial markets, were also heartened by the G20's admission in its communique that a lack of financial regulation and supervision were "fundamental causes" of the crisis.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said that countries that previously defended deregulation "at any cost" now understood the need for more state intervention.

The emerging economies came to London to strengthen international institutions, and that is broadly what was agreed.

Since this came at the expense of stimulus packages desired by the US and UK, that should only embolden the developing world at the next G20 summit later this year.

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