A call for drastic action for the poor of the world

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for "drastic" measures to shore up banks and extend lines of credit to the world's poorest states. Ban spoke at a closed meeting with top U.N. agency heads, economic advisers and the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund focusing primarily on the global financial crisis.

"The danger is a succession of cascading financial crises," Ban warned. "This demands drastic measures … substantial standby lines of credit … so that banks in developing nations, too, have adequate funds to draw on in emergency."

The credit crisis engulfing nations from central Europe to Latin America and emerging markets ranging from Turkey to South Africa "compounds the food crisis, the energy crisis, the crisis of development in Africa," Ban said.

Earlier in the week, Ban sought advice from economists Nancy Birdsall, Dani Rodrik, Kenneth Rogoff, Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz on how to limit the depth and length of the economic downturn and ease the burden on developing countries.

Ban said in a statement, "It would be unacceptable that the least developed countries and the most vulnerable populations were asked to pay for the consequences of a crisis the making of which was entirely outside of their control."


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