The Minister of Finance briefed the Committee on South Africa’s participation in international organisations, and highlighted South Africa's international engagements in terms of African and international priorities. The Minister traced the history of the Southern African Customs Union from its formation in 1910 up to 2006. He highlighted the Union's achievements to date as well as the challenges faced and emphasised issues pertaining to Pan-African institutions such as the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for
A Member sought clarity on the G20 discussions in Davos, and was concerned about
The Minister stipulated that questions would be answered in detail after the President’s State of the Nation address and after the Budget Speech. There was still work to be completed at the Doha Round of Trade Talks.
Minister of Finance on
The Hon. Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance, briefed the Committee on
The Minister also briefed the Committee on the history of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) from its formation in 1910 to 2006. The SACU was based on external tariff and revenue sharing and its members were
With regards to the expectations of heads of state, there was to be a comprehensive review of SACU's revenue sharing formula. A basis had to be developed for common trade negotiation purposes. The briefing continued with a presentation on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the broadening of regional integration.
The Minister outlined the history of the SADC from 1980 when the SADC was initiated by the frontline states.
The Minister noted that SADC’s objectives were economic cooperation with joint planning and mutual assistance, trade liberalisation, infrastructure development, poverty alleviation and support for domestic growth.
The Minister noted the urgent issues too. These pertained to the consolidation of the Free Trade Area as well as the overlapping of memberships and incompatible policies in member states.
The Minister noted issues on Pan-African institutions such as the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union.
The Minister said that the African Development Bank (AfDB) was temporarily located in
With regards to the African Development Bank, the Minister said that the challenge was for Africa to develop infrastructure for the increase of intra-
The Minister noted the critical issues for
The Minister mentioned issues in relation to the World Bank. The World Bank had a national engagement in terms of the Country Partnership Strategy for 2008-2012 in connection with the Government's urban and rural development priorities as well as regional integration.
In terms of the Governments’ urban and rural development priorities, he spoke on the large cities reform agenda, land reform and agriculture and private sector development.
In terms of regional integration, he spoke on the World Bank's advantage regarding knowledge services and he also noted the challenges faced by the World Bank.
One of the key challenges faced by the World Bank pertained to the improvement of relationships. There was a global debate on the reform of governmental structures and decision making process.
The Minister said that the World Bank needed a reform of governance structures as well as its decision making processes. He added that there also needed to be, within the context of the global debate, improved responsiveness and flexibility.
The Minister highlighted some of the implications of the governance and quota reforms. He said that
The Minister noted that
The Minister noted issues relating to the International Monetary Fund in relation to surveillance, technical as well as financial assistance. He said that surveillance was inclusive of the annual Article IV Consultation as well as the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP). He said that the 2008 FSAP was indicative of a good regulated South African financial sector.
The Minister highlighted some the issues on the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). He noted that the OECD had 30 members and that
The Minister tabled the Committee on issues relating to the Group of Twenty (G20). He highlighted the history of the G20, its achievements to date and the 2011 work plan. He noted that the G20 had been formed after the 1998 Asian contagion and that
With regards to the achievements to date, the G20 had played a crucial role in the avoidance of the worst effects of the financial crisis. One of the issues noted for the G20’s 2011 work plan was the recovery of the global economy.
The Minister outlined the history of the World Economic Forum (WEF). It was an independent economic forum that had been derived to improve the state of the world via engagement with business, political, academic and other leaders for the moulding of regional and global industry agendas. The Minister remarked on the WEF at Davos in 2011. The theme for Davos was 'shared norms for the new reality' and had been structured on four interconnected pillars in response to the new reality, the building of a risk response network, the support of the G20 agenda and the economic outlook and policies for inclusive growth.
The Minister noted issues relating to the WEF in
Mr S Swart (ACDP) was interested in the Davos discussions. He was concerned about
The Minister replied that the Brazilian finance minister had been very vocal regarding that issue. The Minister noted that all the finance ministers and governors of the central banks would meet in two weeks time, just before
Mr Swart asked the Minister for clarity on the Doha Round of Trade Talks and wanted to know where the Doha Round fitted in with the institutions.
The Minister replied that the Doha Round was just over 10 years old and that everybody was still anxious now that the round of negotiations had been resolved.
The Minister added that the Doha Round was an opportunity for ministers to meet to bridge the gap between the different countries and that at this specific stage there was still work that needed to be completed.
Mr Swart said that there had been recent concern about the rising global food prices. He sought clarity as to where one would address rising global food prices with regards to greater regulations on commodities and fuel prices. He wanted to know if it would be addressed in the G20.
He wanted to know what the benefits would be to
The Minister said that he did not want to comment on BRIC as President Jacob Zuma would probably cover that in the State of the Nation address.
With regards to the rising global food prices, the Minister said that the French were certainly raising the same question that Mr Swart had raised. The Minister noted that perhaps the issue could be addressed at a later stage when he got back.
The meeting was adjourned.
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