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Poorer nations should be involved in handling financial crisis
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The upcoming G20 summit in London is a good chance to cobble together an out-of-crisis roadmap, not only for the developed countries, but also for the developing ones, including the world's poorer nations.

While on the global "radar screen" of stimulus measures, signals from the poorer nations in Africa, Latin America and Asia have been weak and scarce. However, the poorer nations' suffering caused by the financial woes has no reason to be ignored.

The global crisis "hits Africa twice" and has left those poor countries to "face the very real danger of malignant decoupling, derailment and abandonment," said Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations who now chairs the Africa Progress Panel.

Not only are the poorer countries most subject to the impact of the global crisis, but the very way in which the developed world has responded to the trouble continues to worsen their situation by encouraging capital to flee to perceived safety.

Lacking the means to argue their case at the top tables in the global economic and financial structure, the African countries face the very real danger of losing their voices and are being further marginalized.

The International Monetary Fund estimated earlier this year that global trade could decline by nearly 3 percent this year, and pointed out that poorer nations "are far more dependent on trade for growth" than industrialized countries.

Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization warned last week that global trade may contract by 9 percent in 2009, the largest such contraction since World War II and significantly worse than previous forecast.

Social ills, such as poverty, hunger and social unrest caused by the economic slump, may be more serious than people might think.

"Social recovery will take much longer than economic recovery," warned UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday.

Ban said he hopes the London summit can send a signal of solidarity and hope to all peoples and nations, "including the poorer countries."

It's neither a charity nor a sacrifice, but a must, to involve the poorer nations in the global strategy to dig out of the financial turmoil.

Economic revival in just parts of the world is not revival with real meaning and global efforts to tackle the crisis should include all of the nations. "Unless we do that, those on the very bottom will pull down those on the very top," U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said Saturday in London.

Thus, as leaders from the G20 countries are set to discuss how to tackle the crisis on April 2 in London, the interests and concerns of the poorer nations should be put on the table of negotiation.

Apart from fine words and political desire, concrete measures are most needed to help the poor. Political and financial support from the international community should continue, and a deserved part considering the developing counties, including the poorer, should be set in the agreement of the London summit.

In the long run, the poorer nations should play their fair part in the reconstruction of the post-crisis order of economic and social development.

The international community should draw lessons positively from the financial storm and seek to build a truly new era after the crisis.

(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2009)

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