If India can help bridge global fractures and get the G-20 to achieve some concrete outcomes it will have played a key role, said Ajay Chhibber who is Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Economic Policy, George Washington University.
In an interview with BW Businessworld, he said that India wants to see greater progress in the digital economy and showcase its own progress on digital infrastructure and it wants to see more focus on gender-led development. Edited excerpts:
India will convene the G-20 and take over the presidency for 2023. What opportunities do you see for a more engaged G-20 in the global economy?
India took over the G-20 Presidency on 01 December 2022 at a very difficult time for the global economy. Many advanced economies, including the USA and the EU countries, are headed towards a recession, as they try to control inflation. China has slowed down due to its zero-Covid-19 policies which it is trying to come out of and war still rages in Ukraine, creating risks for the future of energy and food markets.
Many developing countries face enormous challenges as they face food and energy price increases and compounded further by rising debt service costs due to rising interest rates and a surging US dollar. The G-20 played a key role in coming together after the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 to prepare a coordinated response to help global recovery, led by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Whether the G-20 can again come together again to address these immediate problems as they gear up as well to handle longer-term challenges such as climate change and rising disasters remains to be seen.
Opportunities for India?
If India can help bridge global fractures and get the G-20 to achieve some concrete outcomes it will have played a key role. India’s G-20 theme “One Earth, One family, One Future” derived from the phrase ” Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The World is One Family!” from Maha Upanishad sets the right note for this troubled time for the world.
India also wants to bring in the voice of the Global South to a much greater degree than before in the G-20 deliberations. It wants to see greater action on climate finance and climate justice and reform the international financial architecture – especially the Bretton Woods institutions- to help address rising inequalities and help finance huge development challenges as spelt out under the SDGs in an accelerated manner.
It wants to see greater progress in the digital economy and showcase its own progress on digital infrastructure and it wants to see more focus on gender-led development.
What is on the top of your wish list?
In G-20 meetings there are many issues for discussion. India wants to see a successful presidency for which discussion alone is not enough. My wish is to see concrete agreements on a few issues for which India’s presidency can be remembered.
One of these would be the reform of the international financial architecture, especially the Bretton Woods institutions – the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and the other regional multilateral development Banks.
Former US Vice-President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has said the World Bank is “missing in action” on climate change. This must change and this year the G-20 can ensure that a reformed set of Bretton Woods emerges that can be used to catalyze international finance much more than in the past to address the green transformation of the world economy and accelerated progress on the SDGs.
It’s the end of 2022 and…..
I wish 2023 will bring an end to the war in Ukraine so that we can collect through the G-20 and otherwise address the challenges Planet Earth faces – we must remember we have only one planet to share and it’s a beautiful planet.