G20 Leaders Endorse Business-Focused Economic Development Plan As Seoul Summit Closes

The G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, ended Friday with leaders issuing a communique (.pdf) that endorsed the multi-year Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, Xinhua reports (11/12). The plan seeks to boost development by taking a “business-focused approach” in the developing world, the Globe and Mail reports (Curry et al., 11/12). According to the Korea Herald, “[t]he Seoul Consensus identifies nine key pillars where we believe actions are necessary to resolve the most significant bottlenecks to inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth in developing countries, low income countries in particular,” the leaders said (11/12).

“The Seoul Consensus complements our commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and focuses on concrete measures as summarized in our Multi-Year Action Plan on Development to make a tangible and significant difference in people’s lives, including in particular through the development of infrastructure in developing countries,” states a G20 leadership statement available through the BBC (11/12).

“The plan includes actions on infrastructure, human resources and development, private investment and job creation, food security, growth resilience, financial inclusion and domestic resource mobilization, and knowledge sharing,” Xinhua notes. To achieve plan goals, the G20 will work with a variety of organizations, such as the World Bank, UNESCO and the World Trade Organization (11/12). 

“The notion that the rich world’s efforts must shift to creating private-sector jobs and away from traditional foreign aid is hardly new,” the Globe and Mail writes. The focus on “tailoring initiatives to nations’ individual circumstances … has been paid lip service before, too. But this time around the country [South Korea] pushing the proposal is the leading example of how a poor country can become a wealthy one,” the newspaper writes (11/12).

The International Business Times reports on worries that during the G20 Summit, “in all the heated debate on currency and trade imbalances, the development issue will fall by the wayside. The second concern is that the issue of aid has been decoupled from that development.”

The article quotes a variety of development experts, including Ben Phillips, Asia Strategy Director for Save the Children, who said, “The emerging Seoul G20 development agenda is right to reject the old one-size-fits-all model of development, in favor of one where developing countries shape their own future. … It’s right to call for growth, but growth alone is not enough” (Picard, 11/12).

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