In a final statement, the Group of Eight—the heads of state and government of eight large industrial countries, including Russia, and the representatives of the European Union—said that “the situation in many developing countries—especially in Africa—calls for decisive global action.” The most effective poverty reduction strategy, they said, “is to maintain a strong, dynamic, open, and growing global economy” The meeting of the Group of Eight was preceded by meetings of the leaders of the Group of Seven industrial countries on July 20 and their finance ministers on July 7 (IMF Survey, July 16, page 229).
In a statement following their July 20 meeting (see excerpts, page 245), the Group of Seven stressed that opening markets globally and strengthening the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the bedrock of the multilateral trading system is …an economic imperative.” For this reason they promised to engage personally and jointly in the launch of a new round of trade negotiations at next November’s WTO ministerial conference in Qatar. They also emphasized that “increasing global growth and prosperity depends crucially on a sound and stable international financial system.”
The Group of Seven in its statement (see excerpts below) also welcomed the important progress achieved in implementing the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The leaders noted that to date 23 countries had benefited from the Initiative, with a total amount of debt relief of over $53 billion, out of an initial stock of debt of $74 billion. “This will significantly reduce their debt service, thus freeing resources for social sector expenditure, in particular education and health,” they observed.
The leaders encouraged those HIPCs that had not yet reached their decision points to quickly undertake the necessary economic and social reforms, including the development of a strategy for overall poverty reduction, in cooperation with the World Bank and the IMF.