Speaking from Nairobi, Kenya, Sue Mbaya, World Vision’s Advocacy Director for Africa, said: “We’re concerned by some reports that the G20 will pursue a narrow agenda centred on piecemeal financial regulation.
"The summit will have failed if it doesn’t reach firm agreement on measures to protect the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world who are being hit by the secondary effects of the financial crisis.”
Mbaya continued: “The World Bank estimates that this year alone the global economic crisis is set to trap 53 million more people into poverty.
"This is a double whammy for Africa on the back of last year’s rise in food and fuel prices that drove more than 130 million into poverty during 2008.
"These numbers, and the human reality behind them, cannot be ignored.”
In the year 2000, the world's leaders agreed to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), aimed at eradicating poverty by 2015.
The current economic crisis will seriously undermine the achievement of these goals if global leaders do not act now, World Vision says.
“Already the World Bank projects a loss of 200,000 to 400,000 more child lives a year if the crisis persists, leading to a total of 1.4 to 2.8 million child deaths between 2009 and 2015,” Mbaya warns.
World Vision is a child-focused charity which runs a sponsorship scheme to help children in the developing world. It is also member of the Put People First Coalition of more than 100 different development agencies, trade unions, faith-based organisations and civil society representatives, including the thinktank Ekklesia.
Members of the coalition are mobilising supporters to march peacefully in London on 28 March, ahead of the G20 summit to remind world leaders that people must come first in the decisions that they make next week.
“The cost of saving millions of lives is small in comparison to over $1 trillion already spent on bail-out packages to banks by the same countries that have been failing on a promise made in 2005 to increase aid by $25 billion a year to help developing countries achieve the MDGs.
"According to the World Bank foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa is likely to decrease due to the financial crisis.
"We simply can’t stand by and let this happen,” continues Mbaya.