Sep 25, 2016 News
By Kiana Wilburg
G20 which stands for “Group of Twenty” represents a partnership of the world’s leading economic giants. So much influence and power in one group easily makes it one of, if not the most important international bilateral relationship.
Established in 1999, the G20 was in response to the financial ravages of that time. And even after those wounds on the global economy healed, it remains pregnant with a rich ideal—achieving international coordination of economic policy and financial stability through high-level discussions.
But after being around for 17 years, and hosting discussions on various topics, many nations which have been left out of this “big boys” club lambaste it for being another expensive talk shop which has to, sooner rather than later, transform into an “action-oriented” team.
Be that as it may, is this a talk-shop that is worth having?
These economic leaders of G20 of the most powerful states may be in the same boat but are they all still rowing in the same direction?
Here is my layman’s perspective.
For many reasons, the influential G20 has faced heavy criticism from various sections of the world for being nothing but a talk shop; a forum of drudgery that in the end, gives the impression that it has lost its zest to find solutions to core issues which can make or break its wish-list of economic policies.
There are also questions about the ability of the G20 to implement its plans. In fact, the G20 failure to effectively address low growth and inequality remains worrying to many globally renowned economists and even those nations which stand on the sidelines of the meetings held by the group.
One other weakness of the high level group is the fact that it leaves out more than four-fifths of the world’s countries, causing some to denounce it as not to be trusted. Because of this very fact, excluded nations have cried out that the absence of their voice at this forum undermines the G20 value and the impact it may want to have on issues of global importance.
While space does not permit me to discuss at length, the issues the G20 are still failing to address, I will focus on one of the perceived weaknesses of the G20 summit—its inability to truly address corruption. Many international economists have repeatedly stated that a tangible improvement on issues such as corruption which goes hand in hand with poverty is yet to be seen.
Weighing in on this topic recently was the international anti-corruption body, Transparency International.
This body firmly believes that it is time for the G20 to take a hands-on approach to actually find ways and means to stop the tide of dirty money.
Transparency International also believes that corruption is a cross-border problem requiring cross-border collaboration between Governments and law enforcement globally. It however welcomes the fact that anti-corruption remains on the G20 agenda.
It insists that The G20 must realize that most of the world’s corrupt money is sitting in member countries. It stressed that the buck stops with the group members to end the system that allows them to benefit from corrupt wealth.
It maintained that the new principles may seek to place emphasis on facilitating the return of people accused of corruption, who have fled overseas and thus deny them safe haven.
Transparency International is of the view that this approach would be a shift from the current preventative approach the G20 has taken, adopting a Denial of Entry network in 2012 which seeks to ensure that corrupt individuals are denied the right to enter into countries in the first place, should there be conviction or sufficient other information.
Another preventative approach, it said, that G20 countries should take is to strictly monitor the “golden visa” policies offered by certain jurisdictions (including G20 countries Australia, France, the UK and the US) that offer residency and/or citizenship to people who proffer significant investment sums.
Transparency International further insists that the G20 should focus on stopping the instruments used to hide corrupt money – secret companies – and getting countries to enforce strict policing of the enablers of corruption that use these instruments: bankers, lawyers and real estate companies.
It should be noted however that the G20 has pledged to fight corruption in various ways, including denying safe haven to corrupt officials and the proceeds of corruption, and further strengthening efforts to combat money laundering.
In spite of its challenges, the G20 remains an important forum and there isn’t at the moment, a substitute for it.
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