DEAD SEA â€” King Abdullah on Saturday opened the Lower Middle-Income Countries Summit (G-11), calling for a partnership with theÂ Â G-8 most industrialised nations and assistance to reduce the debt of developing states.
â€œWe have identified specific initiatives that can serve as a practical, targeted start-up for G-8/G-11 cooperation. These include investment in infrastructure, support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, scientific research and development, and technology transfer,â€ the King told heads of state and senior officials of the G-11 summit, held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.
The G-11, launched last September by King Abdullah, groups Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay and Sri Lanka.
The Monarch announced that the G-8 extended an invitation to the G-11 to discuss the establishment of a formal, institutional relationship between the two groups in Berlin later this year.
â€œThe G-8â€™s partnership with the G-11 can multiply the positive effects its support to each of our countries has already had. It will tell the world that the friends of development will not be satisfied until the house of prosperity is really open to all, that our countries are not simply welcomed up the path, not simply left at the door, but invited, gladly, over the threshold and into the house,â€ he said.
The G-8 of most developed countries groups Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US.
The King said the G-11 identified four priority areas for international support and cooperation: Debt burden alleviation, investment promotion, trade development and targeted grant assistance.
â€œThese are the basics for self-sustaining prosperity, supporting the foundations for reform, opening new opportunities for millions more people to escape poverty and enabling our young people to build strong futures.â€
He said developing countries can enhance their development and find new opportunities from cooperation among them.
â€œBut it is vital that the international community support our continued progress.â€
G-11 countries made significant gains across society and the economy, increasing participation in global trade, widening access to skills and technologies, committing to good governance and realising higher growth, according to the King.
â€œThe challenge is to consolidate these gains and sustain progress into the long-term. That means having the budgetary space to continue to invest in development and economic growth. For all of us, that space has been squeezed by fiscal and other constraints â€” high debt burdens, rising oil prices and other external shocks, rising employment demand, and more.â€
The presidents of Georgia, Croatia, Sri Lanka and El Salvador attended the summit alongside the vice president of Honduras and the prime ministers of Pakistan and Morocco.
Observers from G-8 members Germany and Japan were also present.
Ahead of the summit, Jordan signed cooperation agreements with Georgia, El Salvador, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In their communiquÃ©, the leaders of the G-11 â€œagreed on a framework to institutionalise the relationship and cooperation with G-8 countriesâ€.
â€œG-11 countries require fiscal and monetary space to maintain momentum on progress and to lay the foundation for a diversified and sustainable economic growth,â€ the communiquÃ© said.
â€œG-11 countries need targetted assistance and support to accelerate growth, lift millions from poverty and hasten the delivery of the fruits of reform and social development to larger segments of their population.
â€œIn this regard, G-11 countries continue to count on the support of the donor community and the G-8 countries to meet development objectives, graduate into higher-income brackets and make a stronger contribution to world prosperity, peace and stability.â€
They look to the G-8 nations for help â€œin decreasing the debt burden through concessional lending terms, easier repayment arrangements, longer grace periods, lower interest rates on loans and support for debts swaps and debt buyback.â€
Determination to observe â€œfiscal prudence and sound monetary policiesâ€, fighting corruption and â€œaccelerating the implementation of homegrown reformsâ€ were also listed among their objectives.
They listed â€œfighting terrorism… through information and intelligence-sharingâ€ among the G-11â€™s common goals, along with efforts to liberalise their economies, improve education and seek renewable energy to decrease dependence on oil.
The low- and middle-income countries also agreed to bolster cooperation among them in trade, investment, culture and transportation.
They will submit their goals to a G-8 summit meeting in June in Germany.Â
Sunday, May 20, 2007