UNITED NATIONS (AP) - African, Asian and Caribbean countries
complained Wednesday that the global economic crisis which they
didn't cause was devastating their countries and urged the rich
nations responsible for the meltdown to bail them out.
Stepping on to the world stage for the first time since the
crisis began in the United States last fall, leaders and ministers
from developing countries told a U.N. financial summit that new
resources are needed immediately to stem growing poverty and
hunger, and prevent social unrest.
Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, speaking on behalf of
the least developed countries, said the crisis is having "a
disproportionate negative impact" on the world's poorest people
and she warned that "our failure to reverse the economic recession
now may unleash a social recession which will be far more difficult
"These countries will need urgent support from the
international community on a sustained basis commensurate with the
impact of the crisis," she said.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow of Belize, speaking on behalf of the
Caribbean Community, said economic conditions are the worst since
members of the 15-nation trade bloc became independent - and "the
shoots of economic recovery that some claim to discern on the
landscape of the industrialized world, do not even reach the level
of wishful thinking in our small countries."
Commodity prices remain severely depressed, prolonging a decline
in export earnings from agriculture, tourism revenues are falling
which means myriad job losses, and foreign investment is in
retreat, he said.
The Group of 20 key countries that account for over 80 percent
of the global economy agreed at a summit in April on a substantial
package of financial support totaling $1.1 trillion, with US$50
billion targeted for low income countries.
Barrow said the amounts "are not nearly enough to deal with
even part of the more urgent developing country requirements."
South Africa's Minister of International Cooperation Maite
Nkoana-Mashabane said that as a member of the G20 it has been
advocating for new and additional resources to enable African
economies to sustain growth and reinvigorate global trade.
"When progress, development and stability seems to be going out
of the window, poverty, instability and the threat to peace, human
rights and development become inevitable," she warned. "The
international community must now show the same urgent resolve and
determination to assist the developing countries."
All speakers from the developing world backed a bigger U.N. role
in tackling the financial crisis - including China's Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi.
He urged the 142 participating countries to "send out a strong
signal that the international community is united as one" in
tackling the crisis.
The draft document, expected to be adopted at the end of the
three-day summit on Friday, paints a depressing picture of millions
of people losing jobs, savings and their homes; more than 50
million additional people driven into extreme poverty, and the
prospect of over 1 billion hungry and undernourished people, a
World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said its latest
forecasts suggest developing country growth of only 1.2 percent in
2009, compared to 7.7 percent in 2007. And she said current
projections indicate that 84 of 109 developing countries would face
financing gaps that in most cases couldn't be covered by tapping
She said the bank has increased lending and backed those calling
for urgent efforts to "quench the burning fires of the financial
The United States, the European Union, and Britain which heads
the G20 said they plan to increase aid, but gave no figures.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told the summit "the United States
recognizes that we, along with others, bear a share of
responsibility for the current crisis."
"The United States understands that we have an economic,
security, and moral obligation to extend a hand to the countries
and the people who face the greatest risks today," she said,
citing U.S. support for substantial increases in resources to boost
the emergency lending by the International Monetary Fund and help
regional development banks accelerate lending.
"These are challenging times. But the United States remains
committed to substantially increasing our own official development
assistance, despite the fiscal impact of the current crisis," Rice