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African leaders and experts warn that reform of global governance will fail if poorest countries are sidelined

Geneva, Switzerland

Africa Progress Panel launches new publication bringing together views of African leaders and development experts

Geneva, 27 March 2009 – The Africa Progress Panel has today launched a new publication ahead of the G20 Summit in London next week, bringing together the views of eleven African leaders and development experts. They conclude that a new and improved form of multilateralism is needed to allow the developing world to overcome the challenges created by the economic crisis, warning that reform will not be effective or sustainable if the world’s poorest countries are not included in reformed governance structures.
The eleven contributors include Kofi Annan (Chair of the Africa Progress Panel), Michel Camdessus (former Managing Director, IMF), Goodall Gondwe (Minister of Finance, Malawi), Gilbert Houngbo (Prime Minister, Togo), Trevor Manuel (Minister of Finance, South Africa), Simon Maxwell (Director, Overseas Development Institute), Festus Mogae (former President of Botswana), Linah Mohohlo (Governor, Bank of Botswana), Todd Moss (Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development), Benno Ndulu (Governor, Central Bank of Tanzania) and Ngaire Woods (Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme, University of Oxford).
The contributors make a number of key policy recommendations, including:
  • The Bretton Woods Institutions must be reformed at several levels to make them more inclusive. While the World Bank’s allocation of a third seat on its Executive Board to Sub-Saharan Africa is a first step in the right direction, others like it must follow to ensure a more equitable and fair distribution of voting power.
  • Backroom deals should give way to transparency and full representation, whether in the Bretton Woods or other financial institutions such as the Financial Stability Forum and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
  • In the short term, if the G20 is to become the premier forum for coordinating a global response, then the African Union should be systematically represented. In the longer term, multilateralism must be underpinned by institutions with universal reach such as the UN whose legitimacy is beyond question.
  • This crisis will not be overcome by institutional reform alone. Donors must renew their commitment to boost resource levels for the least developed countries, ease access to credit, review debt sustainability criteria and lessen aid conditionality.
Mr Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, states in the report that:
“Africa now needs urgent support to maintain economic activity and protect the vulnerable from the crisis. But while trillions of dollars are being found, at short notice, for stimulus plans and bail outs in the richer countries, the least developed countries find themselves lacking access to credit and faced with lending policies and practices that minimise their chances of receiving loans”.
“Lacking the means to argue their case at the top tables in the global economic and financial architecture, Africa’s countries are left to face the very real danger of malignant decoupling, derailment and abandonment”.
– Ends –
The Africa Progress Panel has launched a new publication ahead of the G20 Summit in London, bringing together the views of eleven African leaders and development experts. They conclude that a new and improved form of multilateralism is needed to allow the developing world to overcome the challenges created by the economic crisis, warning that reform will not be effective or sustainable if the world’s poorest countries are not included in reformed governance structures.
Notes to Editors

The full publication, ‘New Multilateralism’, is available at: www.africaprogresspanel.org. The publication was produced by the Africa Progress Panel Secretariat and compiled by Murithi Mutiga, an editor with the Nation Media Group, Kenya.

The 11 contributors are:
Kofi Annan, Chair, Africa Progress Panel
Michel Camdessus, Former Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, former member, Commission for Africa and member of the Africa Progress Panel
Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Malawi
Gilbert Houngbo, Prime Minister, Togo
Trevor Manuel, Minister of Finance, South Africa
Simon Maxwell, Director, Overseas Development Institute
Festus Mogae, Former President of Botswana and winner of the 2009 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo, Governor, Bank of Botswana, former member, Commission for Africa and member of the Africa Progress Panel
Todd Moss, Senior Fellow and Director of The Emerging Africa Project, Center for Global Development
Benno Ndulu, Governor, Central Bank of Tanzania
Ngaire Woods, Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme, University of Oxford

The Africa Progress Panel is comprised of Kofi Annan (Former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate), Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Michel Camdessus (former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund), Peter Eigen (founder and Chair of the Advisory Council, Transparency International), Bob Geldof (musician, businessman, founder and Chair of Band Aid, Live Aid and Live8, Co-founder of DATA, former member of the Commission for Africa), Graça Machel (women and children’s rights activist, President of the Foundation for Community Development), Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo (Governor, Bank of Botswana), Olusegun Obasanjo, (former President of Nigeria), Robert E Rubin (Chairman of the Executive Committee, Citigroup, former Secretary of the United States Treasury), Tidjane Thiam (Chief Financial Officer, Prudential Plc, former member of the Commission for Africa) and Muhammad Yunus (economist, founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Laureate)

Full profiles of the Panel members are available at: www.africaprogresspanel.org

Deriving its origins from a key recommendation of Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa, the Africa Progress Panel was launched in April 2007 as an independent authority on Africa to focus world leaders’ attention on delivering their commitments to the continent. The APP promotes Africa’s development by tracking progress, drawing attention to opportunities and blockages and catalyzing action.

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