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Pakistan elected G77 chair, seeks debt restructuring for developing nations

Pakistan, which was elected chair of the Group of 77 countries on Tuesday, has demanded debt restructuring and allocation of more resources for developing nations to rejuvenate the global economy.

The bloc, known as G77 plus China, is a loose alliance of developing countries established on June 15, 1964. The group derives its name from the 77 original signatories, although it now has 134 members.

Pakistan is a founding member and Tuesday’s election was held by acclamation.

Addressing the group's 45th annual meeting at the United Nation's headquarters in New York, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged developing nations to promote a common development agenda to return to the path of sustained and sustainable growth.

As the new chair, "Pakistan hopes to collaborate with members of the group to promote a common development agenda for developing countries that includes debt restructuring, redistribution of the 650 billion new special drawing rights (SDR) to developing countries, and larger concessional financing,” Qureshi said.

SDRs are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The minister also called for the mobilisation of the $100 billion in annual climate finance by developed countries, ending the billions in illicit financial flows from developing countries and the return of their stolen assets.

Qureshi also underlined the need for creating an equitable and open trading system along with a fair international tax regime.

The primary goals of the G77 are to maintain the independence and sovereignty of all developing countries, to defend the economic interests of member states by insisting on equal standing with developed countries in the global marketplace.

It also seeks to establish a united front on issues of common concern, and to strengthen ties between member countries.

As a founding member, Pakistan has contributed consistently to the shared objectives and interests of the group and has had the distinct privilege to chair the group in New York on three occasions in the past.

Qureshi reminded the international community that the world was facing a triple challenge: the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, the realisation of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and climate change.

He pointed out that the pandemic and climate change have had a disproportionate impact on developing countries and reversed their progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.

Qureshi noted that rich nations had injected over $26 trillion to stimulate their economies and recover from the Covid-19 crisis but “the developing countries have been unable to mobilise even a fraction of the $3-4 trillion they need for economic recovery”.

Noting that the developing world was home to 80 per cent of the world's population, he warned that the disruption of supply chains, and the revived demand in developed economies, had triggered global inflation, compounded the plight of the poor and complicated the debt and liquidity problems of the developing countries.

“Unless the challenges confronting developing countries are addressed and overcome, the world economy will not be able to return to the path of sustained and sustainable growth,” he said. “Islands of prosperity cannot co-exist within an ocean of poverty.”

"The world economy will not succeed in overcoming these challenges, unless developing countries generate adequate financial support to address their debt," Qureshi said, calling for an equitable financial and trade architecture.

“Developing countries need to promote a common development agenda to return to the path of sustained and sustainable growth,” he said.

“Pakistan believes that notwithstanding their current challenges, the greatest potential for economic growth is in the developing world but first it must set out the parameters for equitable global growth and development and realise the promise of a more equal and inclusive world,” he said.

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