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A communiqué that actually says something

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Most communiqués of international summits are rather bland documents that represent phrasing that everyone could agree on. The communiqué from this weekend’s G-20 summit is a little more forthright than usual, but as Dani Rodrik notes, doesn’t go far enough in holding the G-20 accountable for its actions. By contrast, the communiqué from the November 13-14 Tunis meeting of African finance ministers and central bank governors contains several statements that demonstrate a sense of mutual accountability. First, the ministers and governorsagreed…to deepen economic reforms in the full conviction that such reforms have served African countries well, yielded strong macroeconomic stability, fostered growth and resilience to external shocks.” 

Second, the communiqué states, “we welcome the assurance given by the European Union through the current Presidency (France) that it will maintain its commitments to increase aid.”  Third, after commending the President of the World Bank for his commitment to increase support to Africa, the communiqué calls on “the African Development Bank to further deepen its analysis of the impact of the crisis, develop a program of action including instruments and facilities to assist African countries in collaboration with other IFIs.” Taken together, these three statements represent a compact whereby African governments will continue and deepen economic reforms, aid donors will maintain their commitments, and the international financial institutions will provide counter-cyclical support. Sounds like real progress—bravo!