TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: President Obama this week is headed to London for the Group of 20 summit. World political and financial leaders will be meeting to discuss the global economic fallout. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is calling on those heavy hitters to support a $1 trillion stimulus package for developing nations.
Gretchen Wilson joins us this morning from Johannesburg. So what is Ban asking for exactly?
Gretchen Wilson: Well, Ban really wants to make sure that G20 leaders don’t lose sight of the challenges in developing countries. He’s looking for $1 trillion — half of which would go towards aid and long-term lending, and the other half to go through the IMF to inject liquidity in emerging economies. The idea is to keep the lights on, keep hospitals running, keep markets working to make sure that the developed world . . . the developing world does not collapse. The idea is that there’s a growing consensus here in the developing world that we need to really look at the priorities here. And that there’s a number of people, even in the West, who are saying forget about corporations — it’s actually the developing world that’s too big to fail.
Chiotakis: Does he think he’s going to get this money?
Wilson: Well, of course it’s a tough sell in this environment. The fact is developed countries and rich countries have actually already dropped the ball on their earlier commitments to increase aid to poor countries. You might remember back in 2005, the G8 made a big song and dance about how they’d beef up this aid to developing countries, but by and large they haven’t paid up. So the hope is that they’re actually going to meet those targets and then some. The World Bank is actually joining this cause and saying, you know, 40 percent of the world’s poorest countries are highly exposed to the credit crunch, and that 53 million people will be stuck in poverty for something that they really had nothing in creating. The argument is that the developing world stands to develop hte most, whereas it really had no hand, you know, in developing this crisis. So there’s a number of people who are really looking towards the world’s poorest and saying, you know, we really need to make sure that we don’t forget about them in the midst of all this.
Chiotakis: So Gretchen, what’s the response to these bailouts and stimulus packages in the developing world?
Wilson: Here in the developing world, there’s a sense that, you know, wait a minute, hang out — there’s all this hand-wringing in the United States about a crisis. You know, well what is a crisis? There are many people who are saying billions of us here were already in crisis before this whole thing even started. And so we need to make sure that our issues are remaining front and center as the whole world negotiates how they’re going to respond to the financial crisis.
Chiotakis: Gretchen Wilson joining us from South Africa. Gretchen, thank you.
Wilson: Thank you, Steve.
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