Look How Far We’ve Come

A Roundtable on regional responses to the crisis revealed surprising optimism about the state of play in 2010 from panellists representing sub-Sahara Africa, central and eastern Europe, Latin America, the Arab States and East Asia. Regional responses varied greatly. The session was chaired by Andrew Steer, Director General, Policy and Research, DFID.

Africa was hit hard. It suffered more than other regions of the world yet the response has been more positive than ever before. Ernest Aryeetey from the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute said “[African] policies are better managed and finance institutions are better structured which lead to better containment of these shocks.”

Africa is not the only region that has responded positively post-crisis. Michaela Erbenova of the IMF said “The co-ordinated responses of advanced economies has been successful, no western economy has abandoned Eastern Europe.” She added “Broadly co-ordinated responses have been successful, we are back to business as usual.”

Latin America has always been sensitive to external shocks and very dependent on external conditions yet the relative impact of 2008 has seen Latin America also show resilience. What is different this time?

Professor Andrés Neumeyer from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella pointed towards stronger financial conditions:

  • Latin American surplus
  • Fiscal stimulus
  • High levels of reserves

Better exchange rate management was supported by the development of local currency as financial instruments for the government and private sector, and better bank regulation.

The GDN conference has discussed in depth how East Asia in particular was subject to external circumstances through its trade channel which plunged it into a deep recession. Yet again, East Asia has also shown remarkable resilience at coping with the crisis. Professor Yung Chung Park from Korea University said “There is an astounding recovery taking place in East Asia.”

The big question is can it be sustained and can it be a catalyst for an Asian recovery? If there is an inability to stimulate internal demand will China be able to substitute Europe and the US as the region’s growth engine?

There is no denying that although the financial crisis may have first emerged in the North, its repercussions are felt globally but there is optimism for developing strong mechanisms to cope.

To close Andrew Steer quoted Ernest Aryeetey “Look how far we have come.” He added “There is an evolutionary learning and institutional building that has made us learn and act differently from the past.”

See more stories from the GDN 2010 Conference, watch participants’ videos interviews, download conference presentations and papers


About Gavin Embley
MMA writer and copywriter. I provide incite into the rapidly growing UK MMA industry.

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