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Time to rethink G7, says World Bank Chief


 World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick says that the way in which the world tries to solve its economic problems needs to be rethought amid today's global crisis, including turning the Group of Seven into a Steering Group that would include South Africa and other emerging market economies. 

Speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington DC on Monday, Zoellick said that the existing multilateral economic system needs a fundamental overhaul to become one that empowers rising economic states.

 "The G-7 is not working. We need a better group for a different time," said Zoellick.  "For financial and economic cooperation, we should consider a new Steering Group including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the current G-7."

"Such a Steering Group would bring together over 70 percent of the world's GDP, 56 percent of the world's population, 62 percent of its energy production, the major carbon emitters, the principal development donors, large regional actors and the primary players in the global capital, commodity and exchange rate market," he said

Emphasising the necessity of such a Steering Group within a revised multilateral system better suited to a changing world economy, Zoellick said "We need this mechanism so that countries are not left to fail... We need it so that global problems are not just mopped up after the fact but anticipated. We need it to develop the habit of dialogue and the necessary relationships of trust before crises hits. We need it to shape multilateral solutions."

 While recognising the value of the G-20 Group of Industrial Nations (of which SA is a member), Zoellick described it as "too unwieldy in moving from discussion to action."

"We need a core group of Finance Ministers who will assume responsibility for anticipating issues, sharing information and insights, exploring mutual interests, mobilising efforts to solve problems and managing differences," he added.  

Zoellick also said that the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and possibly the World Trade Organisation would help support this group.

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Time to rethink G7, says World Bank Chief

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