G20 finance leaders’ meeting begins with focus on global instability

Jakarta, Jul 15 (EFE).- The two-day meeting of G20 finance leaders and central bank governors began Friday on the Indonesian island of Bali with a focus on growing social instability and difficulties in paying external debt in many countries due to the complex global crisis.

In her opening speech, Indonesian finance minister and host Sri Mulyani Indrawati stressed that the world faces a “triple threat” from the war in Ukraine, rising energy prices and global inflation.

“Around 60 percent of low income economies are in or close to debt distress,” said Indrawati, adding that the problem also threatens developing and even high-income countries.

The minister indicated that the current pressing problems, including the increase in food prices and food insecurity, add to the wear and tear caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as sanctions and restrictions on exports.

She recalled that over the past two years the number of people facing food insecurity has gone from 135 to 276 million, while the price of crude oil has increased by 350 percent between April 2020 and April 2022.

“We are seeing this is having huge social and political implications – in Sri Lanka, Ghana, Peru, Ecuador and elsewhere,” Indrawati said, referring mainly to the energy crisis and rising prices.

She also stated that the ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies will have to address other issues between Friday and Saturday, such as the climate crisis, debt sustainability and a sustainable and inclusive economic model.

Indrawati advocated for multilateralism and building bridges instead of walls, something that Indonesia has been repeating in recent months in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has isolated Moscow from much of the West.

In Bali, the Indonesian authorities will try to reach a consensus for a final statement on Saturday, something they were unable to achieve at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting on July 7-8 due to divisions over the Ukraine war.

The G20 is made up of Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korea, the United States, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey, plus the European Union.

Among the invited partner countries are Spain, the Netherlands, Fiji, Cambodia, Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. EFE


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