JOHANNESBURG: A top US treasury official today praised the role of emerging economies in the Group of 20 of the world’s wealthiest nations for their role in reining in the global economic crisis.

“The improvements we are seeing would not have been possible without swift international action,” deputy treasury secretary Neal Wolin said in a speech at a South African business school. “The shift towards the G-20 reflects the critical importance of emerging economies like South Africa, India, Brazil and others,” he said.

Finance ministers from the group of the world’s richest countries and major developing economies are set to meet this weekend in Scotland for new talks on the global crisis.

Wolin also said that the United States wasn’t worried by China’s enormous investments across Africa, seen as part of a new scramble for the continent’s natural resources.

“We don’t view it as a competition as such,” he said. “There is plenty of room for both the US and China to partner with African countries and in African development. We think it’s important for the Chinese to be transparent about their engagements in this context and to make sure international standards are applied.” Wolin was wrapping up a three-nation tour included earlier stops in Rwanda and Tanzania.