As the US-China trade war rages, and fears of a new conflict in the Gulf loom, world leaders meet in Osaka (June 28-29) at the G20 Summit. Beyond today's crises, the Summit will be a litmus test for the G20 countries’ ability to tackle key global challenges: from financial stability to climate change, from trade protectionism to aging populations and the future of work in the digital age. Will the sense of urgency prevail over growing divisions?
As the world’s premier forum on international economic governance, the G20 plays an important role in global rule-making. Born out of crisis, the G20 has morphed into the inner sanctum of world governance. Given that Africa has been a rule-taker since its decolonisation, its limited participation in this grouping (only South Africa is a full member) runs the risk of perpetuating this situation.
The implications of aging societies have been rising on advanced economy agendas for a long time. The challenges posed by a shrinking labor force, potential declines in productivity and a growing number of retirees which, in turn, threaten the sustainability of pension systems and public finance in general are cases in point. In the recent past, several middle- and low-income countries have also been increasingly exposed to the aging of their populations.
The G20 has the potential and responsibility to lead the world in developing more sustainable economic systems and life styles. Today’s patterns of consumption and waste generation are unsustainable. They contribute to social inequalities and the environmental degradation that is polluting our oceans, heating up the planet, threatening species survival, and contributing to the spread of disease.
During the Think 20 (T20) hosted by Japan in 2019 to prepare analyses and policy proposals for the G20, a specific working group of think tank experts (Task Force n.2: TF2) devoted its discussions and proposals to the issue of the adequacy of the International Financial Architecture. This has always been a traditional and central theme of the G20. The guiding idea of this Task Force has been to concentrate its analyses and advice on the most urgent and novel aspects and problems that mark the evolution of global financial markets and institutions.
At the end of their G20 Osaka Summit on June 29, 2019, the most powerful leaders of the world’s most powerful countries will release a communiqué containing many commitments to respond to the biggest challenges of today’s complex world. But their citizens, increasingly skeptical of the work of such governing elites, will doubt that these commitments will make any difference to their daily lives.
9th Maria Weber Annual Conference
The 2019 elections coincide with an important milestone in South Africa’s history: it is also the 25th anniversary of the country’s first ever democratically-held elections. The country is approaching these elections in the wake of some shocking reports of state corruption and graft reaching to the highest offices of leadership. Continuing high levels of poverty and unemployment, skewed development, lack of progress on transformation and stagnant growth have all dampened enthusiasm for the upcoming polls.
South Africa will hold its sixth elections since its transition to democracy 25 years ago. The elections take on added significance in the corrosive aftermath of nine years under former president Jacob Zuma. This period undermined the embryonic foundations of constitutional rule through a destructive “state capture” project, with widespread systemic corruption, fraud, and abuse of power as the main manifestations.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) still holds power in a nearly hegemonic way. Nevertheless, the popularity of the party is decreasing while economic and social inequalities are deeply entrenched in the country.