Leaders unite in Paris for groundbreaking financial reforms

France hosts a summit on Thursday, including African leaders, China's prime minister and Brazil's president, to boost crisis financing for low-income countries.
Activists with Glasgow Actions Team and 350.org hold a floating "invisible banner" that will appear to transform the Eiffel Tower into a wind turbine to welcome world leaders on the eve of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, at the Trocadero Square in Paris, France, June 21, 2023. The slogan reads "End Fossil Finance" and "Make Polluters Pay".
Activists with Glasgow Actions Team and 350.org hold a floating "invisible banner" that will appear to transform the Eiffel Tower into a wind turbine to welcome world leaders on the eve of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, at the Trocadero Square in Paris, France, June 21, 2023. The slogan reads "End Fossil Finance" and "Make Polluters Pay". REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

By Leigh Thomas and John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) - France hosts a summit on Thursday, including African leaders, China's prime minister and Brazil's president, to boost crisis financing for low-income countries, reform post-war financial systems and free up funds to tackle climate change.

The "Summit for a New Global Financial Pact", held in the French capital aims to forge a top-level consensus on how to progress a number of initiatives currently struggling in bodies like the G20, COP, IMF-World Bank and United Nations.

It aims to create multifaceted roadmaps that can be used over the next 18-24 months, ranging from debt relief to climate finance. Many of the topics on the agenda take up suggestions from a group of developing countries, led by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, dubbed the 'Bridgetown Initiative'.

"The international financial system is no longer adapted to face financing challenges the world faces today so this is an opportunity to get everyone around the table," said a senior French diplomat.

The coronavirus pandemic pushed many poor countries into debt distress as they were expected to continue servicing their obligations in spite of the massive shock to their finances.

Africa's debt woes are coupled with the dual challenge faced by some of the world's poorest countries of tackling the impacts of climate change while adapting to the green transition.

Wealthy nations have yet to come good on climate finance that they promised as part of a past pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year, a key stumbling block at global climate talks.

Though binding decisions are not expected, officials involved in the summit's planning said some strong commitments should be made about financing poor countries.

Nearly eighty years after the Bretton Woods Agreement created the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), leaders aim to squeeze more financing from multilateral lenders for the countries that need it most.

In particular, there should be an announcement that a $100 billion target has been met that will be made available through the International Monetary Fund for vulnerable countries, officials said.

Leaders are set to back a push for multilateral development banks like the World Bank to put more capital at risk to boost lending, according to a draft summit statement seen by Reuters.

Some leaders are expected to lend their weight to long-stalled proposals for a levy on shipping industry emissions ahead of a meeting next month of the International Maritime Organization, officials said.

French Officials say the summit will not aim to bring up the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which has had an indirect impact on Africa and left some leaders from emerging countries, including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unwilling to distance themselves from Moscow.

However, just a few days after the leaders of Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Congo Republic, Comoros and South Africa launched a mediation trip to Ukraine and Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to use the summit for feedback given most of the same presidents will be attending.

(Reporting by John Irish; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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