President Joe Biden arrives in New Delhi for the annual Group of 20 (G20) gathering with a mission to address increasing military and economic aggression from Russia and China, while reaffirming the United States’ commitment to developing nations.
The absence of the autocratic leaders of Russia and China from this year’s G20 summit highlights the divisions within the world’s largest economies.
Biden’s agenda at the summit includes issues like climate change and debt restructuring. While he believes in the power of institutions like the G20 to address global challenges, the diversity of nations with varying perspectives at the larger G20 event poses a unique set of challenges.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is at the helm of the G20, will play a central role in the summit. Biden’s priority is to focus on proposed reforms to the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, along with increased funding for institutions that support developing countries.
These institutions have historically funded education, public health, and infrastructure programs in developing countries. However, China has recently used its own lending programs, often leaving countries burdened with debt.
The Biden administration has requested $3.3 billion from Congress for additional World Bank funding, which is expected to generate $25 billion in additional lending capacity. The U.S. hopes that other countries will also commit to increasing funding, contributing a total of $100 billion in new lending capacity.
Biden’s presence at the summit emphasizes the U.S.’s commitment to developing nations. It also provides an opportunity to highlight this commitment in contrast to the absence of China’s President Xi Jinping.
While Biden is expected to discuss the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine, he will primarily focus on proposals that demonstrate the U.S.’s commitment to the developing world. This approach underscores ongoing divisions among G20 members over the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The absence of Xi and Putin offers both challenges and opportunities for Biden as all three leaders compete for global influence. Biden’s key proposal to reform global lending institutions is less likely to face leader-level resistance from Beijing in their absence.
While Xi’s absence is disappointing to Biden, it won’t change the U.S.’s stance on addressing issues important to the global community.