Will the G-20 make progress on global development this week — or will the Eurozone crisis dominate the gathering of world leaders in Cannes?
Chances are you’ve asked yourself this question in the past few days.
You’re not alone. And, like Porter McConnell, you may be skeptical that the G-20 countries will find consensus on a broad package of global development measures. McConnell, in a guest opinion for Devex, wrote earlier this week that “the global financial meltdown and Eurozone crisis are likely to dominate” the debate in southern France.
It would be a missed opportunity.
There are many ways to creatively raise funds and boost development. And at the summit, Bill Gates will unveil a package of proposals compiled at the request of the French G-20 presidency. Little surprise that a financial transactions tax is among them — President Nicolas Sarkozy, EU lawmakers and more than 1,000 economists support it. But the United States and others do not.
It’s just one disagreement that may prove insurmountable.
European leaders may not have the clout right now to muscle through ambitious aid proposals. They’re aid recipients too. Just last week, Eurozone leaders agreed to create a “special investment vehicle” to lure investment from China, Brazil and the Middle East. The plan may not be finalized until November, but it may not leave much room for further requests from emerging economies.
How will ongoing financial calamities affect EU development cooperation?
I asked European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs in an interview published this week. Piebalgs displayed confidence in EU members meeting the international target of reserving 0.7 percent of their gross national income for development aid. But he did volunteer that the crisis “strongly affects” development aid.
“For me, the fight is still ahead,” he told me.
>> Read the Devex interview: Andris Piebalgs on the Future of EU Development Aid
Piebalgs is looking at ways to speed up procurement, blend loans and grants, boost public-private partnerships and help developing countries strengthen their tax intake.
But as always, the proof is in the pudding. And this week in Cannes, it’ll be interesting to see whether world leaders eat theirs up.
Read last week’s Development Buzz on the future of development cooperation.