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Kazakh leader calls for single global currency

Kazakh leader calls for single global currency

Kazakhstan's president called Wednesday for the creation of a single global currency as a potential solution for the current financial turmoil.
Discussions on a currency operating under the aegis of the United Nations should be discussed at the upcoming Group of 20 meeting in London, Nursultan Nazarbayev said _ without detailing how this proposal might resolve the crisis.
"The creation of a global currency should be put on the agenda of all major political and economic bodies, summits and forums, including the G8 and the G20," Nazarbayev said at an international economic forum in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
The world's 20 leading industrialized and emerging nations are set to meet on April 2 in London to discuss measures on coordinating a unified approach on the financial crisis.
In the past, Nazarbayev has criticized excessive global reliance on the U.S. dollar, and has suggested that existing monetary policies serve only the individual interests of the issuers of the dominant global currencies.
Nazarbayev's proposal has raised eyebrows in some quarters, but the idea was embraced Wednesday by Robert Mundell, who won the Nobel prize for economics in 1999 for helping lay the theoretical groundwork for Europe's single currency.
"It would be a very good idea if the G-20 took that idea up in London," Mundell said.
An international study group should be created to consider proposals on how to implement the world currency, he said, adding that he was skeptical any progress could be made on the idea.
Nazarbayev has long been a proponent of the adoption of a regional currency, akin to the euro, by members states of the Eurasian Economic Community, a loose economic grouping comprised of six former Soviet nations including Kazakhstan and Russia.
Under the vision outlined by Nazarbayev, the world could move gradually toward a transitional unfied currency before adopting a new monetary standard.
In a recent article in Russian daily newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta, Nazarbayev suggested the currency could be dubbed "akmetal" _ a composite word based on the Greek 'akme' meaning supreme quality.
The idea of creating a single international currency is not new. In the 1940s, British economist John Maynard Keynes advocated creating a world central bank charged in part with issuing a monetary unit called the "bancor." U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt's administration also forwarded its own variant on the idea called the "unitas."
Energy-rich Kazakhstan has become a leading economic powerhouse in the region since gaining independence in 1991, but the Central Asian nation has been badly hit by falling oil prices and diminished demand for its energy and mineral resources.