Global Economic Challenges, As G20 Meet

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[Global: International Economic Summit]

HENRY GOMBYA Reports for The Black Star News From G20 In LONDON, APRIL 2----
US President Barack Obama after arriving here for the G20 summit which opens today was declared "the saver of the world" by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Addressing a press conference at the British premier’s official residence, 10 Downing Street, Brown said the American President had given people in the United States and those elsewhere in the world new hope. "I want to thank you for your leadership, your vision and your courage, which you have already shown in your presidency and congratulate you on the dynamism, the energy and indeed the achievements that you have been responsible for," he said.

Barely 100 days into his presidency, Obama is finding the world almost at his feet.

During the at times violent street protests against the global mess the world is in at the moment, there wasn’t a single protester calling for the head of the American President as had always been the case with former President George W. Bush’s presidency. Rather, at the famous steps leading to the door of No. 10, thousands of Londoners waved at Obama, obviously happy to see him.

Prime Minister Brown told Obama that since he took office, he had changed America and its relationship with the world. There was a rare smile on the face of the British premier, who rarely smiles or shows his emotions in public prompting many newspapers to dub him "Mr. Gloomy."

Obama is in town with his wife Michelle, who has made an indelible impression in her own right.

Leaders of the leading economic powers have gathered to discuss the global economic crisis that has affected the majority of the world’s population. Brown said there were five critical conditions that had to meet to create a new consensus.

[] The first would be tougher and more transparent supervision of banks, hedge funds and the so-called "global shadow banking system." He said there would be no sustainable recovery until the banks had cleaned up and new regulatory systems set in place.

[] The second test would be an agreement to take necessary action to bring about a resumption of growth, push back against global recession and support families and businesses.

[] The third test would be to ensure international economic cooperation and the strengthening of international economic institutions that would support growth in emerging markets and developing countries.

[] The fourth test would be to reject protectionism and to kick-start global trade. Brown suggested that a minimum of $100 billion of trade finance was desperately needed.

[] Fifth, would be an obligation to help the poorest but least able to respond to the crisis; by meeting the G20 members Millennium Development Goals and keeping to their pledges of aid.

Most commentators here have marveled at the coolness of President Obama in dealing with so many dignitaries on his first visit abroad as President. Some remark that he carries himself as if he’s always been a leader.

Obama told Brown that he was touched by the warm welcome he and wife Michelle were given since arriving on London on Tuesday. He joked that both had found time to chat with Mr. Brown’s two sons about dinosaurs in between serious discussions with Brown over issues on Iraq and Afghanistan.

What amazed newshounds here was the way Obama could easily speak about dinosaurs with Brown’s sons and later go on to tell Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that he had managed not to doze off while having tea with the Browns. For these were things most ordinary politicians never talk about so openly. But then, this may not be an ordinary American President.

On issues facing the G20 summit President Obama said: "We are facing the most severe economic crisis since World War Two and the global economy is now so fundamentally interconnected that we can only meet this challenge together. We cannot create jobs at home if we are not doing our part to support strong and stable markets around the world."

The summit kicked off with heavy security surrounding London.

The presence of uniformed police officers at every road in Central London and those leading to the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands where G20 leaders are meeting was unmistakable. All the accredited press had to drive to an empty parking place, leave their cars there and board coaches that took them to the accreditation centre, then to the Press Centre itself and drove them back in the evening to their cars.

Personal access by the media to the G20 leaders has been nil; only those who ventured to the press center could be interviewed freely.

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