Recovery or Relapse: The Role of the G-20 in the Global Economy

June 18, 2010

On June 26, heads of state and government of the Group of 20 (G-20) will meet in Toronto, which is the fourth time they will convene since the start of the global economic crisis. At last September’s G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, leaders seemed cautious yet fairly optimistic and confident that the worst of the crisis was behind them and that the world economy was on the path toward recovery. During Pittsburgh, leaders focused on the global coordinated actions needed to ensure a full economic recovery that would deliver sustainable, long-term and balanced global growth.

However, before the economic recovery could be fully entrenched, the global economy was hit with yet another setback in the form of the European debt crisis. Therefore, almost a year later, the question still remains: is the world economy really recovering? Or are we beginning to see a relapse?

Experts from the Brookings Global Economy and Development program examine this question, analyze the current economic climate, and provide recommendations on how the G-20 should continue to serve as the “premier forum for international economic cooperation.”

Download the full report » (PDF)


Back From the Brink, but a Tough Road Still Ahead for the G-20 » (PDF)
Eswar Prasad takes the pulse of the world economy and tracks the recovery in G-20 economies by looking at a set of real economy, financial and confidence indicators. He discusses the critical policies and reforms that G-20 leaders must take into consideration in Toronto in order to put the world economy back on track toward balanced, robust and sustainable growth.

The G-20 Summit Assesses the European Crisis: Finding the Way From Toronto »  (PDF)
Domenico Lombardi assesses how the ongoing European debt crisis will impact the agenda and discussions in Toronto. He argues that the European Union—the largest economy in the world—lacks the institutional framework needed to manage the first serious crisis since its post-World War II establishment. Lombardi also discusses what the G-20 can and cannot do to help Europe deal with its debt crisis.

It’s Time to Drop the G8 »  (PDF)
Colin Bradford and Johannes Linn analyze the changing role of the G8 with the rise of the G-20. They argue that the G8 has lost its legitimacy and effectiveness due to its reduced relative weight in the world economy and the growing set of complex global challenges that require greater coordination from a diverse group of countries. They advise allowing the G-20 to break the pre-formed, traditional alliances in order to engage in a more fluid and flexible process of discussion, negotiation and bargaining.

Passing the Development Football From the G8 to the G-20 »  (PDF)
Homi Kharas examines what role the G-20 should play in international development vis-à-vis the G8. He argues that while the G8 deserves credit for achieving some positive impacts on development aid and debt relief, the G-20 can and should provide a more comprehensive view of development; one that includes issues like growth, employment, investment and private sector development and that affects a more diverse group of emerging and developing economies.

It’s Time for Africa’s Voice in the G-20 »  (PDF)
Ezra Suruma discusses Africa’s lack of representation in the G-20 despite having Ethiopian and South African leaders participate in the meetings in Toronto. Suruma urges the G-20 and other international forums and institutions to respond to Africa’s quest for inclusion and to increase Africa’s voice of nearly one billion people in the global discussions of world economic affairs, which certainly impact the future of Africa’s growth and development.

G-20 Leadership Lacking on the Doha Round »  (PDF)
Paul Blustein evaluates how the G-20 has delivered so far on the Doha Round of global trade negotiations. He argues that although G-20 leaders have continued to pledge to refrain from using protectionist measures such as raising new barriers to international trade and investment, they have done little to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010.