The G20 Summit in Buenos Aries: Bedevilled with Uncertainty, by Donovan Reynolds Independent Writer

G20 Summit 2018

The Buenos Aires summit takes place in Argentina and will be the thirteenth meeting of Group of Twenty (G20) richest economic dynamos in the world. It comes at a time when global consensus amongst trade and ethics in politics has been increasingly difficult to come by. The economic CV of Argentina hardly reads like a G20 country.  Despite its literate population and diversified industrial economic base, it has experienced an economic roller coaster ride. The great depression had a negative impact on the country’s economy and caused Argentina’s GDP to fall by a quarter between 1929 and 1932. The country rebounded economically from 1932 to 1974 when the economy grew almost fivefold (or 3.8% in annual terms) while its population only doubled. While unremarkable, this expansion was well-distributed and  most notably it lead to creation of the large comparative middle class (40% of the population by the 1960s) in Latin America as well as the region’s highest-paid, most unionized working class. However by the 1980s, the economy was on the decline again after a period of sluggish economic growth, expensive short term debt financing   and an overvalued fix exchange rate. By 2002 the situation had deteriorated so that Argentina defaulted on its external  debt: its GDP had declined by nearly 20% in four years, unemployment reached 25%, and the peso had depreciated 70% after being devalued and floated. The country’s economy has the resilience to bounce back like the spirit of a study oak tree. By the turn of the millennium the economy faced a remarkable recovery and nearly doubled in growth from 2002 to 2011. During this period it grew at an average of 7.1% annually and around 9% for five consecutive years between 2003 and 2007. After a period of debt, restructuring between 2005 and 2010 resumed the repayment of its external debt valued at almost US$100 billion in defaulted bonds.

The economy of Argentina has had a dramatic turnaround in recent times and was regarded as a high income economy for the fiscal year of 2017 according to World Bank. It is now Latin America’s third largest economy and the second largest in South America behind Brazil. Argentina is back on top and  and has found its way in the company of rich and influential first world countries playing host to the 2018 G20 summit in Buenos Aries from 30th November until  1st of December 2018 . The first G20 meetings of the Argentine Presidency began in Bariloche in early December 2017. During the build-up to the G20 Summit between world leaders on 30 November 2018, Argentina hosted over 45 consultations at various government levels and areas in 11 different cities throughout the country.

Unfortunately, summits of this magnitude too often attract dissent from social activist and anti-globalisation protestors; the 2018 summit has reinforced security, to prevent a repeat of those protests. Kingstonmouth recalls that last year in Hamburg, Germany, anti-globalization activists clashed violently with police across the German port city of Hamburg despite the presence of a huge security detail. Already, local left-wing organizations are planning protests and have called for foreign activists to join them, but the Argentinian security force is on high alert and is expected to manage the situation. Furthermore, US security sources are briefing that the remote location of Argentina will discourage international protesters from travelling to the country. Already the Security Minister is warning that 22,000 police and 700 security ministry agents will guard the event, supported by the security services of the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Italy, Spain and other south American allied forces.

G20 Argentina has put forth three agenda priorities for discussion at the G20 meeting at Buenos Aires summit: the future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future. Meanwhile, a number of attending countries are focusing upon the regulation of crypto-currencies at this meeting. In addition, over the two days summit, Heads of State and Government from the world’s leading economies will address pressing issues on the global agenda. The summit will consist of nineteen G20 countries plus the European Union represented by President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and his colleague Jean Claude Juncker.

The establishment media will be present, hoping to capture headline grabbing media frames such as China’s Xi Jinpings encounter with Donald Trump in the ongoing trade war that might adversely affect the world economy. Vladimir Putin will be under the microscope for a recent spat with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko. Both have swapped trading insults for exchanging bullets across the Strait of Kerch which separates the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea in the west from the Taman Peninsula of Russia’s Krasnodar Krai in the east. This conflict could lead to a war between both countries and possibly involve NATO alliance if not resolved quickly by the United Nations. Donald Trump will be at his unpredictable best and is expected to be the main headline grabber. It is not known whether or not Trump will meet Putin one-on-one on the side-lines of the G20. Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former long-time personal lawyer, pleaded guilty on Thursday to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Organization skyscraper in Moscow, prompting the president to lash out at Cohen as a liar and “weak person”. The press will be waiting eagerly for the opportunity to ask the US President about his relationship with Cohen.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman is set to face a grilling from the media and participating leaders about his involvement with the disappearance and alleged death of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We are eagerly awaiting his response to this line of questioning.

Other participating guests invited to the meeting are Chile and the Netherlands.  International organizations invited by Argentina are the Caribbean Community (represented by Jamaica), the Inter-American Development Bank, and a representative from the Development Bank of Latin America. Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica is the current chairperson of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) he is expected to raise concerns over Climate Change Volatility and the proneness of Caribbean countries facing financial ruins as a result of hurricane damages. He is expected to call for support for a climate change fund.

This summit is expected to be one of the most contentious, with deep divisions over issues such as the Paris climate accord, the future of World Trade Organization, The looming trade war between the US and China and Saudi Arabia’s dubious human rights records and the West inaction towards it. It is clear to see that there will be scant regards for the widening gap between the rich and the poor. Kingston-mouth will be curious to see the final communique coming at the end of the 20 18 G -20 -Buenos Aries Summit, given the current period of political and economic uncertainties. We don’t envy the Diplomat’s task of pulling off such a difficult challenge.

 This article was written by Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing editor of Donovan Reynolds is an Independent blogger and Human Right’s Activist of Jamaican descent and a legal Academic who has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development issues. Readers of this article are welcome to provide feedback at the space provided at the end of this article at useful commentary made on our Facebook and Kingsonmouth@twitter pages.

Donovan Reynolds is an Independent Blogger and Human Rights Activists who is of a Jamaican descent and a legal academic that has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development Issues.
Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing Editor of Kingston-Mouth .com.
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Donovan Reynolds is an Independent Blogger and Human Rights Activists who is of a Jamaican descent and a legal academic that has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development Issues. Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing Editor of Kingston-Mouth .com.

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