Fear of a 2008-style financial catastrophe is holding back the global recovery but business must be more confident and seek out investment opportunities, Canada’s prime minister said on Wednesday.
“We can’t get over the overhang” of the financial crisis that followed the collapse of US investment powerhouse house Lehman Brothers, the Canadian leader said in a speech inaugurating the Indian World Economic Forum in New Delhi.
Businesses worldwide are refraining from investing because they fear a “catastrophic event” that will “send everything into a tailspin”, said Harper, adding that this “continues to restrain the global recovery”.
He called such fears overblown and urged financial decision-makers to display more confidence in making investments and help repair the global economy.
“Don’t worry about today’s uncertainty - look at the opportunities over the medium term,” said Harper, noting this was the strategy being pursued by Canada whose growth is the best among leading industrialised nations.
There are signs of rising global trade protectionism like that which hampered recovery from the GreatDepression in the 1930s and which could still push the world into a prolonged recession, Harper conceded.
“But it (protectionism) is not an avalanche - it is not yet something to panic about,” Harper told business leaders who are discussing ways to boost India’s faltering economic growth.
“Most leaders get it on the big picture” that protectionism will harm rather than help their economies, he said.