Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four
on International Monetary Affairs and Development
April 23, 2004
I. GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROSPECTS
1. Ministers welcome the strengthening in global growth prospects, but note that the recovery faces some significant downside risks, such as massive payments imbalances, an impending transition to a higher interest rate environment, and persistent geopolitical concerns. They note that while economic activity has strengthened in several regions, the gains have been unevenly spread, with growth in sub-Saharan Africa in particular falling well short of the requirement for achieving sustained poverty reduction and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
2. Ministers consider that while the U.S. fiscal expansion, combined with a stimulative monetary stance, has helped defuse deflationary tendencies and support the global recovery, more resolute and credible action than currently envisaged will be required to put the fiscal balance on a sustainable footing and address the large current account deficit. This would help to minimize the risk of disorderly exchange rate movements and a sharp increase in interest rates that would undermine the global recovery. Ministers believe that higher growth in the European Union is essential to the continuation of the global recovery process, and see a need for a more accommodative monetary policy stance and for a deepening of structural reforms. They welcome the incipient recovery in the Japanese economy, and urge the authorities to address the lingering imbalances in the financial and corporate sectors to help boost domestic sources of growth. Ministers recognize the strong contribution that the Asian emerging market economies are making to the global recovery, and encourage a greater role for these countries in international economic policy coordination.
3. Ministers consider that to effectively address global imbalances, a cooperative multilateral approach is essential, and call upon the IMF to undertake a more proactive role in the surveillance of major economies and to establish mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of this surveillance.
4. Ministers consider that in order to support growth and competitiveness in emerging and developing countries, IMF policy advice should allow for higher levels of investment in infrastructure. In particular, the IMF should ensure that financing from multilateral development banks for infrastructure investment, as well as the investment of commercially-run public enterprises, be accommodated in the assessment of the fiscal stance of developing countries. Ministers welcome the Bank's Infrastructure Action Plan to step up support to developing countries through increased infrastructure lending.
5. Ministers are concerned about the worsening security and economic situation in Iraq, and urge the United Nations to play an active role in addressing the political, economic, and social problems of the country. They also express deep concern about the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories, the construction of a wall in the West Bank, and the adverse social and economic ramifications on the Palestinian people. Ministers call on the IMF and the World Bank to intensify their commendable assistance to the Palestinian people. Ministers welcome donors' commitment to provide Afghanistan with the necessary assistance for the country's rebuilding plans.
VII. DATE AND PLACE OF NEXT MEETING
18. The next meeting of the G-24 Ministers is expected to take place on Friday, October 1, 2004, in Washington, D.C.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS1
Ministers of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development held their seventy-first meeting on April 23, 2004 in Washington, D.C. Senator Conrad Enill, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Trinidad and Tobago, was in the chair, with Mr. Paul Toungui, Minister of State, Finance, Economy, Budget and Privatization, Gabon, as First Vice-Chairman and Mrs. Juanita Amatong, Secretary of Finance, Department of Finance, Philippines as Second Vice-Chairman.
The meeting of the Ministers was preceded on April 22 by the eighty-third meeting of the Deputies of the Group of Twenty-Four, with Mr. Ewart Williams, Governor of the Central Bank, Trinidad and Tobago, as Chairman.
African Group: Mohammed Laksaci, Algeria; Paul-Antoine Bohoun Bouabré, Côte d'Ivoire; Farouk A. El-Okdah, Egypt; Hyacinthe Mounguengui-Mouckaga, Gabon; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria; Danel Janse Van Rensburg, South Africa.
Asian Group: Y.V. Reddy, India; Ebrahim Sheibani, Islamic Republic of Iran; Alain Bifani, Lebanon; S. Aziz, Pakistan;Gil S. Beltran, Philippines;A.S. Jayawardena, Sri Lanka; Ghassan El-Rifai, Syrian Arab Republic.
Latin American Group: Oscar Tangelson, Argentina;Luiz A. Pereira Da Silva, Brazil; Gustavo Gaviria, Colombia; Lizardo A. Sosa L., Guatemala; Javier Guzman, Mexico ;Javier Silva-Ruete, Peru; Alison Lewis, Trinidad and Tobago; Mary Dager, Venezuela.
Observers: Inés Bustillo, ECLAC; Eddy Lee, ILO, Suleiman J. Al Herbish, OPEC Fund; Ruogu Li, China;Hamad Albazai, Saudi Arabia; Amadou Boubacar Cissé, Faiz Mohammed, Islamic Development Bank; Miguel Chorro, CAMC.
Special Guests: Anne O. Krueger, Acting Managing Director, IMF; James Wolfensohn, President, World Bank; Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN, Jan Kregel, UNCTAD.
International Monetary Fund: Abdallah Alazzaz, Alternate ED.
World Bank: Mohamed Amr, Alternate ED; Nada Mufarrij, Senior Advisor; Haruna Mohammed Senior Adviser.
G-24 Secretariat: Ariel Buira
IMF Secretariat for the G-24: Patrick Cirillo, Jones Morco, Lorna Sibblies, Gordana Damjan Rodic.
1Persons who sat at the discussion table.
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