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Commonwealth Finance Ministers To Discuss Prevention Of Future Debt Crisis   
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As global financial institutions warn of a pending international debt crisis, Commonwealth finance ministers are to look at ways in which debtor and creditor countries can work together to prevent future crises.

The ministers from the 53-member organisation will meet in Washington on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The meeting comes at a time when global financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, have indicated another global debt crisis could be on the horizon.

“We have seen the calamitous impact that the Asian debt crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis had in our member countries of, and we know the grave threat that the recurrence of such crises would have on the health of the global economy.

“So, the countries of the Commonwealth are determined to work together to prevent this from happening.

“The finance ministers of our member nations will explore economic policy instruments to curtail rising household debt and how technological advancements and other approaches can promote debt transparency for improved risk assessment and debt sustainability,” she added.

The Finance Minister of Cyprus, Harris Georgiades, is going to chair the meeting, under the theme “Preventing Debt Crisis: The Roles of Creditors and Debtors”.

The Secretary-General would present findings of the 2019 Commonwealth Economic Development Report, which examines the debt challenges member countries had to tackle in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The ministers would also consider ways in which the newly-developed Commonwealth financial technology (fin-tech) toolkit could help countries create and share innovative, technology-driven responses to emerging financial challenges.

Earlier in London, Commonwealth trade ministers had called for resistance to protectionism and reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which sets the global rules for international trade.

The ministers said they supported free trade in “a transparent, inclusive, fair and open multilateral trading system, with the WTO as its core institution”.

They agreed that any WTO reform should take into account the positions of developing and the least developed countries, and small and vulnerable economies, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The ministers also endorsed an action plan to boost trade among their countries to at least US$2 trillion by 2030 through the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda.

Intra-Commonwealth trade is projected to hit US$700 billion by next year.

Secretary-General Scotland said: “The multilateral trading system is the only way for our countries, as diverse as they are, to trade in a predictable, stable, transparent and fair environment.

“While the global trading system may be far from perfect, it is the surest pathway towards eradicating poverty.

“Building on this, the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda will help businesses, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, to plug into global trade networks and benefit from world trade.

“In this way, intra-Commonwealth trade offers immense opportunities to contribute to reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development,” she added.
Source: GNA

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