Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the first Asian chairman of the G20 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Global Financial Governance, recently quoted singer Elvis Presley at the close of a Group of 30 International Banking Seminar on Oct. 14.
Moreover, he referred to the singer as a ‘late economist.’
He said, “This was an economist called Elvis Presley, who’s unfortunately deceased now but made a significant impact on economic thought. And in one of his master treatises, he said: ‘A little less conversation, a little more action, please. A little less fight, and a little more spark. Close your mouth and open up your heart, and baby, satisfy me.”
Mr. Shanmugaratnam used the popular song as a call for more urgency, since during the seminar he said that the next 10 years are crucial for the world’s economic future, since more people are reaching the are of employment in the developing parts of the world.
“Because we’ve succeeded in lifting large parts of humanity out of poverty, because China has succeeded, we now have a more multi-polar world.”
In Africa, by 2030 there will be an additional 334 million people joining the workforce. Nine out of 10 people in poverty live in Africa.
A report from the EPG says “To bend the arc of history, we must succeed in Africa, where the poverty, demographic and environmental challenges are the largest — and so too the opportunities to contribute to world growth and the global commons.”
The report emphasizes that bold changes are necessary in order to attain sustainability and growth for the next ten years. “The current pace of reforms will not get us there.”
Mr. Shanmugaratnam explains his call for more action: “We’re not prepared in terms of job creation. We’re not prepared in terms of financing. And this requires a new form of public-private partnership.
There’s tremendous untapped potential, but we’ve got to take it. And if we fail, the consequences are not merely going to be economic consequences.
That’s what motivates a lot of our report: Strengthening development finance and long-term finance, but also strengthening the resilience of the financial system.”
The report from the G20 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Global Financial Governance, which can be downloaded here, emphasizes the need for better systems globally that will encourage economic stability and growth. It highlights the problem that “the present international monetary and financial system lacks the coherence, joint capacity, and effectiveness” to sustain economic development globally, but there is not enough urgency about it.
The report says that “shareholders could be described as being in a state of active inertia — willing to talk about reform but without being willing to provide the political leadership needed to drive change”.