Brazil, S Africa lash out at rich countries over financial crisis

Leaders from Brazil and South Africa Wednesday blamed rich countries for the financial crisis that was hurting the developing world and called for a new international initiative to bring about structural reforms in the global financial system, reported dpa.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe led their respective delegations from their countries at the third IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) summit in New Delhi which focussed on the financial crisis as well as energy and food security.

The three countries decided to institute a coordination mechanism and convene meetings of their finance ministers to enhance economic cooperation and stave off the effects of the financial crisis.

At the summit, Lula slammed the wealthy countries for triggering the financial crisis by turning the world into a "gigantic casino."

"Why should we become victims of a financial crisis created by rich countries? At the same time they gave us lessons on how we should govern our countries," said the Brazilian president.

"The irresponsibility of the speculators has transformed the world into a gigantic casino," he added.

Motlanthe spoke about the need for self-regulatory mechanisms and emphasized on the need for improving governance of financial institutions.

"The ill-conceived decisions of the few have brought the international financial system on the brink of collapse. There is a need for improving governance of financial markets and institutions," he said.

Meanwhile, Singh said the three countries, had a "key role" to play in ensuring equitable global growth and in contributing to international stability."

"Our voice on how to manage this crisis in a way that does not jeopardize our development priorities needs to be heard in international councils," he said.

Addressing a joint press conference after the summit, Lula called on the US and EU to take immediate steps so the effects of the crisis did not reach less developed countries.

"They (developing countries) did not participate in this financial casino. They did not attend the casino," he said.

The Delhi Summit Declaration released at the end of the talks noted that the developing countries could be "very seriously affected" and stressed the need for structural reforms in the global financial system.

"The reform must be undertaken so as to incorporate stronger systems of multinational consultations and surveillance as an integral part. This new system must be designed to be as inclusive as possible and must be transparent," the document said.

During their discussions, the leaders also talked about the challenges posed by the increase in energy and food prices and the problem of terrorism that "threaten our developmental efforts."

Singh said efforts must be made to resume the Doha round of the WTO talks so negotiations could be concluded in a manner that promoted development and inclusive growth.

The three countries also signed seven agreements and launched an action plan in the civil aviation sector to forge cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and environment.

The trilateral trade target among IBSA member states has been set at 15 billion dollars by 2010, up from around 10 billion dollars a year ago.

The three countries also stressed the need for renewed effort for the reform of the institutions of international governance including the United Nations.

All three countries have ambitions of securing a permanent Security Council seat in the event of its enlargement.

The IBSA initiative launched in 2003 groups economic powerhouses from Asia, Africa and South America to amplify the voice of the developing countries in international trade and politics.

The three countries, which have a combined population of 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of over 2 trillion dollars, believe they can achieve results on issues such as WTO and UN reforms.

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