How Canada inspired the G7 to broaden its outlook

How Canada inspired the G7 to broaden its outlook
A street in Banff, amid the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. During a press briefing in March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke of the measures the leaders agreed on to tackle the virus. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 November 2020

How Canada inspired the G7 to broaden its outlook

How Canada inspired the G7 to broaden its outlook
  • The country helped set up the G20 to be the inclusive group it is today

DUBAI: “What the G20 says is, we are all in this together.” Sound familiar? If so, that may be because “we’re all in this together” has become one of the catchphrases of 2020’s coronavirus pandemic.

But this quote actually predates COVID-19. It was spoken in 2018 by the man sometimes referred to as the father of the G20: Paul Martin, Canada’s Liberal prime minister from 2003 to 2006.

It was Martin who, as Canada’s finance minister in the 1990s, looked around the Group of Seven (G7) and thought more countries should be invited to the forum for the world’s top so-called advanced economies. (Canada had been asked to join in 1976 almost as an afterthought, but more about that later.)

Martin talked to US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers about making it more inclusive. After the two drew up a list and presented it to the G7, the G20 was created as a parallel organization at the finance ministers’ level in 1999, with Martin as its first chairman.

It was at the G20 meeting in Montreal in 2000 that Canada championed moving the group beyond its financial mandate. The Montreal consensus on globalization affirmed that the benefits of economic growth should be more broadly shared and that the poor should be protected from the costs of globalization. 

“The G20 in my opinion is an essential tool because it represents the power of individual regions regardless of the state of your economy,” Martin said in an interview about the G20’s history on the website of the Center for International Governance Innovation.

“I tried very hard to get it up to the leaders’ level, having had something to do with its founding at the finance ministers’ level,” Martin said. “Everybody was on side, except the United States ... I was very sure, as were a number of us, it would take a crisis to bring it to the leaders’ level, and that’s exactly what happened (with) the 2008 crisis.”

After his minority Liberal government lost the 2006 election, Martin stepped down as leader, so ironically, he never got to pose alongside the G20 leaders in the summit’s traditional “class photo.” By the time the G20 reached the leaders’ level in 2008, holding its first summit in Washington that November in response to the global financial crisis, Conservative Stephen Harper was Canada’s prime minister.




Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

It was Harper who presided over the one G20 leaders’ summit hosted by Canada, held in Toronto in June 2010 as the world emerged from the economic recession. While that meeting was relatively uneventful, Harper shook things up at the Australian summit in 2014, when he took a stand against Russia’s annexation of the Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin left the summit early after Harper reportedly told him, while shaking his hand, to “get out of Ukraine.”

This stand appeared to fly in the face of his own wisdom, which Harper had shared at the 2009 summit in Pittsburgh, US: “Canada is big enough to make a difference but not big enough to threaten anybody. And that is a huge asset if properly used.” 

It’s an asset that, when properly used, has long gotten Canada invited to the party.

Pierre Trudeau, as Canada’s prime minister, had pushed to be invited to a 1975 meeting of leaders from the US, Britain, France, Italy, West Germany and Japan, dubbed the Group of Six, to discuss solutions to the oil crisis. While initially left out, Canada’s addition a year later made it the G7, and so it seems only fair that it would be the one in the future to push for others to be included.

At the G7 summit in 1976, Trudeau Sr. was already looking to expand the group’s purpose, saying its success should be measured beyond solving economic issues: “The success will be judged by whether we can influence the behavior of people in our democracies and perhaps even as important the behavior of people on the outside who are watching us, in a way in which they will have confidence that our type of economic and political freedom permits us to solve problems.”

We need to work together to have an impact that goes beyond our borders.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Justin Trudeau, the current Canadian prime minister, was a mere boy when his father spoke these words. Fast forward to November 2015, and it was at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Antalya, Turkey that Justin made his heady debut on the world stage, less than two weeks after becoming prime minister. And while the young leader fired up “bromances” with former US President Barack Obama and later French President Emmanuel Macron at summits like this, much has been made about his awkward interactions with US President Donald Trump and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

However, Canada has a global reputation to maintain as a bridge-builder, perhaps best exemplified by another of its Liberal prime ministers, Lester B. Pearson, who won the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to create the first UN peacekeeping force during the Suez crisis.

This bridge-building spirit was on display after Justin Trudeau attended the extraordinary virtual G20 summit called by Saudi King Salman on the COVID-19 pandemic this past March.

At a press briefing after the summit, Trudeau spoke of the measures the leaders agreed on to tackle COVID-19, including injecting the global economy with $5 trillion and pledging to help more vulnerable countries through organizations such as the UN and the World Health Organization. 

“We need to work together to have an impact that goes beyond our borders,” Trudeau pointed out.

Or, as G20 founder Paul Martin put it, “we are all in this together.”


G7 should invest $10tr to stoke economic recovery

G7 should invest $10tr to stoke economic recovery
Updated 25 min 43 sec ago

G7 should invest $10tr to stoke economic recovery

G7 should invest $10tr to stoke economic recovery
  • Summit will be chaired by Britain’s Johnson in Cornwall, southern England, on June 11-13

LONDON: G7 countries should invest $10 trillion to stoke an investment-driven recovery that puts COVID-19 vaccines in arms and triggers a sweeping energy transformation to slow climate change, according to a report requested by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

US President Joe Biden is expected to join other Group of Seven leaders at a G7 summit chaired by Britain’s Johnson in Cornwall, southern England, on June 11-13.

Founded in 1975 as a forum for the West’s richest nations to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo, the G7 will discuss what it perceives as the biggest threats: China, Russia, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

Nicholas Stern, professor of economics at the London School of Economics, said in a report for Johnson that the G7 was a crucial opportunity for the West’s richest economies to make a real change to the global economy.

“The transition to a zero-emissions and climate-resilient world provides the greatest economic, business and commercial opportunity of our time,” Stern said in the report.

“At the heart of the proposed vision for the economic response to the pandemic is a coordinated global program of investment for recovery, reconstruction and transformation that can boost all forms of capital — physical, human, natural and social,” Stern said.

G7 countries, he said, should set a collective goal to raise annual investment by 2 percent of GDP above pre-pandemic levels for this decade and beyond and improve the quality of investment — equal to about $1 trillion per year in additional investment over the next decade.

The G7 leaders should ensure a timely global roll-out of vaccines by immediately closing the $20 billion funding cap of COVAX, a global program to provide vaccines mainly for poor countries.

After Johnson called for countries to do more than produce “hot air” rhetoric on climate, the report said the G7 should come up with credible ways to meet Biden’s climate goals.

The G7 should commit to eliminating all fossil-fuel subsidies no later than 2025, lead a sweeping energy transition, end overseas support for fossil-fuel investments and consider a minimum corporate profit tax of 21 percent.


Copper hits record high on higher demand hopes

Copper hits record high on higher demand hopes
Updated 31 min 25 sec ago

Copper hits record high on higher demand hopes

Copper hits record high on higher demand hopes
  • Bullish investors bet that demand for copper will increase further as the world economy recovers from COVID-19 slumps and as investments into green energy sectors ramp up

HANOI: Copper prices touched record highs in both London and Shanghai markets on Monday on hopes for improved demand amid tightening supply.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose to an all-time high of $10,747.50 a ton earlier in the session before easing to $10,694 a ton, still up 2.7 percent.

The most-traded June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed up 4.8 percent to 77,720 yuan ($12,094.62) a ton, after scaling a peak of 78,270 yuan earlier. Sentiment has been boosted following record high LME prices since 2011 hit on Friday.

Bullish investors bet that demand for copper will increase further as the world economy recovers from COVID-19 slumps and as investments into green energy sectors ramp up, while prices were also supported by tight supply in the concentrate market.

“Prices continue to rise as the world is talking about the global recovery and the need for metals,” said Malcolm Freeman, a director at UK broker Kingdom Futures, adding that the LME contract “looks set to attempt $11,000 on a technical basis.”

However, he noted that industrial players are not buying at this price level.

ShFE aluminum surpassed 20,000 yuan a ton, rising as much as 3.8 percent to 20,445 yuan a ton, its highest since January 2010, while ShFE zinc hit its highest since March 2008 of 23,065 yuan a ton. LME aluminum rose 2 percent to $2,590.50 a ton and zinc advanced 1 percent to $3,045 a ton.

A group of 15 key copper smelters in China have agreed to cut their purchases of raw material copper concentrate in 2021 by 8.8 percent year-on-year, state-backed research house Antaike said.


Egypt in talks with international firms to invest in data centers, says minister

Egypt is in talks with international companies to boost investment in data centers and information technology. (Shutterstock/Illustrative)
Egypt is in talks with international companies to boost investment in data centers and information technology. (Shutterstock/Illustrative)
Updated 10 May 2021

Egypt in talks with international firms to invest in data centers, says minister

Egypt is in talks with international companies to boost investment in data centers and information technology. (Shutterstock/Illustrative)
  • The aim is to take advantage of the geographical location of Egypt and the passage of a large number of international data cables between Asia and Europe

RIYADH: Egypt is in talks with international companies to boost investment in data centers and information technology, the country's communications minister revealed.

The aim is to take advantage of the geographical location of Egypt and the passage of a large number of international data cables between Asia and Europe, reaching North America, said Minister of Communications and Information Technology,Amr Talaat.

It is part of a wider push to build an integrated digital society, Al Arabiya reported.

That is why the budget for the information technology sector and the ministry’s budget has been growing over the last two years and will continue to grow over the next three years, he added.

“We have started building the Egypt digital platform that provides more than 70 digitized government services at the present time, and we look forward to increasing it to 170 services by the end of this year, and then increasing to include all government services within two years until 2023,” said the minister.


Egyptian prime minister discusses industry localization with US firm Bechtel

According to a statement issued by the Egyptian government, Madbouly said that the Bechtel delegation’s visit to Egypt was part of a strategy to enhance Egyptian-American cooperation. (AFP/File Photo)
According to a statement issued by the Egyptian government, Madbouly said that the Bechtel delegation’s visit to Egypt was part of a strategy to enhance Egyptian-American cooperation. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 10 May 2021

Egyptian prime minister discusses industry localization with US firm Bechtel

According to a statement issued by the Egyptian government, Madbouly said that the Bechtel delegation’s visit to Egypt was part of a strategy to enhance Egyptian-American cooperation. (AFP/File Photo)
  • Mostafa Madbouly said the country was currently localizing industrial production with the aim of rendering it more sustainable

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held discussions with US construction firm Bechtel on ways to increase the use of local products and components in the development of projects in Egypt.

According to a statement issued by the Egyptian government, Madbouly said that the Bechtel delegation’s visit to Egypt was part of a strategy to enhance Egyptian-American cooperation across a number of sectors.

The prime minister said there were several projects in Egypt being developed in cooperation with American companies, like the petrochemical complex in the Ain Sokhna area. He added that he is following up on these megaprojects.

Madbouly also said that he welcomed the cooperation proposed by Bechtel in constructing a sixth metro line and in managing new cities.

Bechtel’s Infrastructure Global Business Unit President Shaun Kenny expressed his enthusiasm to work with the Egyptian government on megaprojects currently being implemented, especially the metro line.

The Egyptian prime minister stated that the country is currently localizing its industrial production with the aim of rendering it more sustainable.


Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospitals bid to buy Alameda Healthcare halted

Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospitals Group said its bid to acquire Alameda Healthcare through a sale and purchase agreement of shares has been halted. (Cleopatra Hospitals Group)
Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospitals Group said its bid to acquire Alameda Healthcare through a sale and purchase agreement of shares has been halted. (Cleopatra Hospitals Group)
Updated 10 May 2021

Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospitals bid to buy Alameda Healthcare halted

Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospitals Group said its bid to acquire Alameda Healthcare through a sale and purchase agreement of shares has been halted. (Cleopatra Hospitals Group)
  • The proposed deal was originally announced by Cleopatra in late December 2020

RIYADH: Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospitals Group said its bid to acquire Alameda Healthcare through a sale and purchase agreement of shares has been halted.

It made the disclosure in a filing to the Egyptian Stock Exchange on Monday.

The proposed deal was originally announced by Cleopatra in late December 2020, with an estimated value of about $500 million.

But it was quickly followed by an announcement from the Egyptian Competition Authority saying that it did not agree in principle to the acquisition.

It highlighted the potential consolidation of Cleopatra’s dominance over hospitals around Cairo and Giza.

Alameda Healthcare’s network includes four tertiary care hospitals in Cairo, two of which are currently being constructed. Once the facilities are fully commissioned Alameda Healthcare will have a capacity of 890 beds, according to its website. The network also includes facilities in Kuwait and London, outpatient clinics, diagnostic centers, specialist centers, pharmacies, and a rehabilitation center.