Although the main purpose of the meeting was to agree on the agenda for the annual economic summit bringing together the leaders of the G7 member countries and Russia in June in Sea Island, Georgia (United States), the ministers made use of the occasion to urge progress on various issues. These included removing the remaining impediments to cross-border remittance flows, which support individuals and finance small businesses in developing countries, and concluding the Doha round of multilateral trade talks as soon as possible. The ministers also pledged to bring forward proposals that would “top up” debt relief “where appropriate” under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, and announced their commitment to full implementation of the initiative.
The G7 finance ministers also discussed their strategic review of the World Bank and the IMF, concluding that they were “gratified by the positive response” received so far. Commending recent reforms—including limits on exceptional access, enhanced surveillance, streamlined conditionality, collective action clauses, grants, and measurable results management—the ministers said they intend to continue to engage with the IMF and the World Bank and their shareholders on how best to broaden reforms based on “principles of accountability and good governance, transparency, clarity of objectives and responsibility, and effective working with markets.”
Describing entrepreneurship as essential for development, ministers asked the World Bank and the regional development banks to scale up their financial and technical assistance programs designed to support small businesses. They also urged the multilateral development banks to work with bilateral donors and developing countries to remove legal and regulatory obstacles to investment.