World Bank chief wants G7 expansion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) The Group of Seven rich nations is no longer effective and should be replaced by a steering group that includes emerging economic powers, the World Bank President Robert Zoellick has said.

In a speech ahead of meetings of G7 finance leaders in Washington this weekend, Mr. Zoellick said the global financial crisis was a ‘wake-up call’ that required broader cooperation across more countries.

‘The G7 is not working,’ Mr. Zoellick said, referring to the group of rich countries including the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan. ‘We need a better group for a different time.’

He added: ‘The new multilateralism, suiting our times, will need to be a flexible network, not a fixed nor unitary system. It needs to maximize the strengths of interconnecting and overlapping actors and institutions, public and private.’

He said the steering group should include finance ministers from China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Russia. It should not, however, be limited to any set number of countries but should be flexible and evolve with the times.