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African issues expected to be high on G20 summit agenda

With the G20 summit only days away, some officials and experts in Africa expect that African issues will also be high on the agenda, along with many other topics.

The summit, scheduled for Sept. 4-5 in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou, would play a significant role in promoting and strengthening African trade and investment, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

As the only African member of the G20, South Africa plays a pivotal role in pursuing the interests of the African continent, she said.

"We will continue to strive for a world economy that is inclusive of the developing countries’ aspirations and interests," she said.

Tapiwa Gomo, a South African-based researcher on African development, said developed countries should learn from China’s experience in cooperation with Africa.

"It is now imperative for the developed countries to acknowledge that as the world is a global village, countries need each other, including developing ones," he said.

"The new economic order puts all countries developed and developing at par and as equal trading partners," he added.

He believed that the G20 summit will also give other members an opportunity to look at African countries where China is investing heavily, such as Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Rangarirai Machemedze, a manager at Southern African Development Community Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, echoed Gomo, saying the tone set by China for the G20 summit was an indication that China is keen in assisting emerging countries.

"It is my opinion that the industrialization agenda adopted by Africa last year can only come to fruition with the assistance of China and other developing counties," he said.

Other experts believed that the G20 summit is also expected to highlight the role of China in helping address the world economy’s sluggish recovery.

"The slow growth has caused a sell-off in the stock market and pushed down oil prices, so the members will also discuss that issue," said Blessing Ivan Vava, an expert on China at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Vava said that most emerging countries see economic slowdown, with Russia’s economy edging toward a contraction this year due to the tumble in oil prices and sanctions imposed by the West, and some of the related issues are expected to be discussed at the summit.

The issue of climate change will also be high on the G20 agenda, he said.

China has said it will push for G20 to reform the voting rights at the International Monetary Fund. China is envisaging a leading and larger role for the global monetary organization, which has a mandate to boost global economic growth and international trade.

The G20 countries account for 85 percent of the world economy and 75 percent of world trade, and accommodate two-thirds of the world’s population.

Jimirasire

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