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African Finance ministers call for G20 voice, more support

By Amaka Agwuegbo, with Agency reports

African finance ministers, Sunday,called for their countries to have a voice in the Group of 20 nations to ensure the body considers their long-term development needs.Pledging to show fiscal prudence in the wake of the global financial crisis, they also said they needed more help from the IMF and World Bank to help shore up battered budgets, make needed investments and replenish foreign currency reserves.
The African states, hit hard as the crisis knocked down commodity prices and wiped out foreign investment, stressed they had mobilized their domestic resources, and were looking to broaden income streams and boost revenue collection.

Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest economy, said it was particularly eager to have a say in the G20 club of emerging and developed economies.”We have really been clamouring for a greater role. For us, the key concern is to see that the principle gets accepted, and we are very happy to see a softening of view in this regard,” Nigerian Finance Minister, Mansur Muhtar, said at a news conference with fellow ministers.

The Group of 20 nations, which groups developed nations with emerging economies from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, has called for a significant shift in IMF voting power to developing nations and a doubling of members’ quotas.

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The IMF this month lowered its 2009 GDP growth projections for Sub-Saharan Africa to 1.3 per cent from 1.5 per cent, blaming the collapse of global trade and falling commodity prices.”The crisis is reducing poverty reduction efforts. We ask the IMF and World Bank to increase resources available to African countries” and ease the conditions they place on loans, said Ethiopian Finance Minister, Sofian Ahmed.

Senegal said it was in contact with the IMF to see how it could recover growth lost in the crisis.
Separately, in a communique released at the semiannual meetings of the World Bank and IMF, a group of heavily indebted countries welcomed the G20’s decision to step in as the premier global economic policy body, but said these developed and emerging powers did not always have their interest at heart.

Ministers from these countries suggested the international community should create a small fund to relieve debts severely indebted and low-income countries owe each other.


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