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(Virtual Meeting): Ken Ofori-Atta Reiterates Calls for a New World Economic Order.

Accra, Friday April 17, 2020 – Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has called for a new global economic order to salvage the world from the ravages being wreck on the economies of developing countries and the world at large.

“Fellow Governors, I propose we establish an inclusive team of willing collaborators with the private sector from this meeting to create this new era that will make our future greater than the past. It is indeed a break the glass moment and we must seize it”.

Ken Ofori-Atta who is also the Chair of the IMF/World Bank Development Committee, said this when he chaired the 2020 Virtual Spring meeting of the Development Committee.

He proposed a three pronged approach to bring the world economy back to growth;

A recognition that this economic crisis will last much longer and have a greater impact on the developing world;
The need for additional capital to quickly address the issues of economic revival and global supply chains and health care systems, and;
A new global financial architecture in order to rebuild global growth and institute a new global public good.
2020 DevCom Spring

Ken Ofori-Atta also called for debt relief for Africa in his closing remarks to the gathering, saying that discussions on debt must be underpinned by transparency “so that no one abuses this opportunity”.

“Let us from here move rapidly to create an inclusive global forum to rebuild the International financial and economic architecture and a new ability to respond equitably and rapidly to such a catastrophe”, he stressed.

The President of the World Bank, David Malpass and the Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva also addressed the meeting. END

Below is the full text of Ken Ofori Atta’s opening and closing remarks.

Opening Remarks by Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta
Chairman, Development Committee of the World Bank and IMF

2020 Virtual Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF – 17th April 2020

These are extraordinary times which require extraordinary measures. Let me thank the IMF and the World Bank under the leadership of Kristalina and David with their incredible energy, proactiveness and creativity for tackling the Corona Virus Pandemic. However, unless additional resources are found, things are going to be difficult.

We should also congratulate the G20 for prescribing a solution to the debt crisis looming amongst the IDA countries. Unfortunately, this will not suffice to avert countries in the emerging markets and in Africa from going into an insolvency crisis and receding into a depression. We have to solve the liquidity crisis, we have to solve the fresh capital crisis, we have to solve the health crisis, we have to solve the debt crisis and we have to work fast.

I got the chills last night when I heard the EU Commission President apologizing to Italy for the belated support from Europe to use the £500 billion Europe Fund to confront the crisis. The consequences have been about 170,000 cases in Italy and the loss of about 22,000 lives, and their economic intervention of 750 million Euros by the Italian Central Bank, i.e. 30% of Italy’s GDP. The reason I got the chills is because it reminded me of the 1918 Spanish flu which wiped out some 650,000 lives in the US and over 100,000 in the then Gold Coast. The World’s reaction was slow. Even neighbors did not care for each other leaving in the wake of it, a spiritual stupor which haunted everyone’s humanity. 102 years later, the EU Commissioner has to remind us that ‘we must protect each other to protect ourselves’.

I chaired the G24 meeting on Tuesday this week, and co-chaired a number of Africa Finance Ministers meetings in the past few months, and also had the privilege of meeting all the African EDs and later on the European EDs of the World Bank and the outcry and solution are the same; the need for liquidity, fiscal space, fresh capital, debt relief, the need for stronger health systems, the need to work with the rating agencies and private creditors.

There are 3 fundamental buckets that need to be addressed; to recognize that this economic crisis will last much longer and have a greater impact on the developing world, secondly that we must quickly address the issues of economic revival and global supply chains and our health care systems, and this call for additionality of capital. And thirdly, we must design a new global financial architecture in order to rebuild global growth and institute a new global public good. We face unprecedented challenges and obviously unprecedented opportunities because existing systems are inadequate. Gentleman and Ladies, we have to innovate. There is no limit to the human genius – the Lord I believe is doing a new thing and we must perceive it.

By Naa Anyema Collison

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