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China's G20 summit chance to revive, reshape world economy: Experts

Xinhua| Updated: August 30, 2016 L M S

CAIRO - The upcoming G20 summit to be held in China with the participation of some developing countries represents a real opportunity for reviving and reshaping the world economy that has been facing decline over the past few years, said Egyptian economic and political experts.

China chose "Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy" as the theme for this year's summit that will be held in the city of Hangzhou on Sept 4-5.

In late 2008, the representation at the G20 changed from the level of finance ministers and central bank governors to heads of states due to their realization of the heaviness of the economic crisis.

This year, China invites two developing countries as the G20 summit guests of honor, namely Egypt and Kazakhstan, besides the participation of Chad as current head of the African Union (AU), Senegal as China's basic partner for African development and Laos as chief of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"China puts this summit back on track and restores its original goals as an economic summit where economic cooperation and exchange among states are separated from their level of political relations," Diaa Helmi, head of the Egyptian-Chinese Chamber Of Commerce, told Xinhua.

The expert stressed that China seeks openness to the world including Africa, the Arab world, the Middle East region and other states, adding that both Africa and Western states are currently heading east towards China, "which reflects success of the Chinese economic experience as a model to follow."

"China redraws the world economic map at a very critical timing, as the world is economically suffering from terrorism, wars and civil conflicts," Helmi continued, arguing that this year's summit is meant to free the world from "old, stagnant economic policies" including domination and political-based favoritism.

For his part, Mahmoud Allam, Egypt's former ambassador to China, noted that the G20 summit comes eight years after the financial crisis in 2008 amid world economic recession and declining world trade traffic, "which affects growth rates particularly in developing states."

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), world economic growth rate declined to 2.4 percent in 2015 compared to 4.8 percent in 2011.

"The world today needs to realize the necessity for worldwide mutual economic cooperation and world economy should be inclusive, not an exclusive and private club gathering only strong economies," the ex-diplomat told Xinhua.

Allam emphasized that the markets of lower economies need to expand so that big economies find chances to promote and export their products, expecting the idea to be one of the Chinese goals to be highlighted during the summit.

"As current G20 president, the world's second largest economy and a big developing country, China is able to play a mediation role between developing and advanced countries to reach a fairer formula in world economic relations," Allam stressed.

During his first state visit to Egypt, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a speech at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo where he stressed "development" as the key to resolving most Middle East problems, especially growing terrorism and disorder.

"The growth of terrorist activities of the Islamic State (IS) group will not be stopped except through development and creation of job opportunities, as unemployment and poverty are two basic factors for the growth of terrorism in this region," said Ahmed Qandil, expert of Asian affairs and head of the Energy Studies Program at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

The expert said that development can act as "a strong wall" against growing terrorism in general, hoping the G20 summit to urge support of the international community and big economies for the development of the chaotic Middle East region.

According to many economists, developing countries suffered over the past few years from the lack of balance, transparency and efficiency of large world institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank due to the political conditions they set for offering development aids.

"By China's presidency of the G20, we hope it plays a role in increasing the participation of developing countries in the summit, which is referred to as the board of the world's economy, to improve transparency and activeness of such world financial and economic systems," Qandil told Xinhua.

Chances of developing countries are believed to be greater in the G20 provided they manage to convey the message that development in the southern hemisphere will eventually lead to the rise of world economic growth rate and hence the increase of consumption rates, which will restart the cycle of trade and development.

As for Egypt's chances in the G20 summit, which it joins for the first time, experts believe it's a rare opportunity for the Arab country to present its investment opportunities and highlight its economic map, which may bring the country more foreign investments in the near future.

"Egypt has large development projects, particularly at the Suez Canal corridor, and I believe these projects integrate with the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China," Qandil said.

Launched by President Xi in 2013, the main idea of the initiative is to revive ancient trade routes to link China with over 60 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe through the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

"Also as a founding member of the Asian Bank for Infrastructure Investment, Egypt looks forward to getting finance for its energy, transport and other projects to achieve development in the country," Qandil told Xinhua, stressing the necessity of Egypt's development to restore stability in the conflict-stricken Middle East region.