Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati called upon participating nations at the recently concluded G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting to set their sights on economic recovery worldwide.

At the event held last July 16th in Bali, Indonesia, Sri Mulyani expressed hopes that G20 countries could unite to address soaring inflation rates along with the rising price of essential goods, the need to address food security in poorer nations, as well as the increasing difficulty low-income countries face in repaying their debts.

The sentiment was echoed by Perry Warjiyo, governor of the Indonesian Central Bank, who declared that member-nations need to focus on what each nation has planned to achieve for its economy in 2022, thus sending a positive message regarding the G20’s role and prime initiatives for economic recovery on a global scale.

Russia vs Ukraine: The Elephant in the Room

However, the Indonesian finance minister’s words may be in vain as the event ended without a formal communique as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine continued to divide the assembly.

Among those who openly blamed the Russian government for the severe economic impact of the war were US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. 

Meanwhile, Ukrainian finance minister Serhiy Marchenko attended the event virtually and called for stricter, more targeted sanctions against Russia in light of how violent military operations have cast a pall over the finance ministers’ assembly as well as several other G20 events.

Western countries have enforced strict sanctions on Russia and accused it of war crimes in Ukraine, which Moscow denied. However, other G-20 nations, including China, India, and South Africa, have been more muted in their response.

Several western nations have imposed strong economic sanctions against Russia in light of its numerous war crimes in its attack on Ukraine. However, China, India, and South Africa have been slower and less vocal about their condemnation of Russia’s punitive action.

China Called Out

China is another nation that has gained negative attention among G20 nations in recent years, mainly due to the lack of transparency regarding its loans to developing countries.

According to Rahm Emanuel, US Ambassador to Japan, Chinese loans have already caused issues for the governments of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and several others. Indeed, Emanuel went so far as to say that China’s loan structure is a financial deathtrap for developing economies.

Western nations are putting pressure on China to restructure its debt contracts, ensuring that it contributes to a borrower nation’s growth instead of fostering a culture of indebtedness and servitude.