WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to India next week to attend Group of 20 finance minister meetings in Bengaluru and will address the global economic impacts of Russia's invasion of Ukraine as her visit coincides with the one-year anniversary of the invasion.
Yellen’s schedule of events will begin on Feb. 23, where she plans to give a speech about the state of the economy as the U.S. and its allies assist Ukraine in defending itself against the invasion, according to the Treasury Department. She will also talk about bolstering public digital infrastructure and reforming the multilateral development banks, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, to make their investment requirements more climate-focused.
This will be the first finance ministers' meeting since India officially became chair of the Group of 20 leading economies in December. The Indian government has put climate issues at the top of the group’s priorities.
A senior Treasury official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the secretary's travel plans said Yellen also intends to ask member countries to reduce emissions and will raise funds for climate finance projects to invest in developing countries' infrastructure, agriculture and renewable sources of energy.
The official also said part of the visit will focus on sovereign debt issues — namely Zambia's $6 billion debt to China, its biggest creditor.
Yellen visited Lusaka, Zambia's capital city that’s visibly dominated by Chinese financing, in January, in part to discuss the country's massive debt to China. Zambia became the site of Africa’s first coronavirus pandemic-era sovereign nation to default when it failed to make a $42.5 million bond payment in November 2020. Negotiations over how to deal with the debt load have been ongoing.
The G-20, made up of the world’s largest economies, has a rolling presidency with a different member state in charge of the group’s agenda and priorities each year.
At the U.N. climate conference last November, India — currently the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases — proposed a phaseout of all fossil fuels and repeatedly emphasized the need to revamp global climate finance.
Associated Press reporter Sibi Arasu in Bengaluru, India, contributed to this report.