A gathering of African leaders and European Union (EU) member-states in Malta has resulted in a proposed financial package of nearly $US4 billion which will ostensibly be utilized to halt the flow of migration from Africa to Europe.
European governments say they are willing to send funds to Africa so that people will not be interested in migrating to the continent. Such a program would in effect turn African presidents and prime ministers into the gatekeepers of Europe.
Two years into President Jim Yong Kim’s controversial reform process, is the World Bank better or worse at fighting poverty?
Bank management is still feeling the effects of internal turmoil and staff dissatisfaction after a $400 million cut in operational expenses and a controversial reorganization. But while these pieces of the reforms have claimed headlines, they are not the only story that can be told about the new shape of the world’s largest international financial institution.
Earlier this year, the United States faced a gut check moment when it comes to its leadership in the multilateral development banks (MDBs). In June, 56 countries, including important US allies like Germany, the UK, and Australia, joined the Chinese government in creating a new MDB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
And while the United States was roundly criticized for its handling of this episode, I think much of that criticism was misguided in putting the focus on the short term bungling of diplomatic outreach, or Congress’s failure to pass IMF reform. Both are relevant, and I very much believe that action on the IMF quota package is critical in its own right, but the challenges to US leadership in the MDBs – institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank where the US is the largest shareholder – run deeper and are longer term in nature.
Over the eight years since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, the ranks of the unemployed have swollen to over 200 million worldwide. That number captures only a fraction of those who remain vulnerable and insecure, since more than four-fifths of the global workforce is outside the formal sector, with poor access to unemployment or other traditional social security benefits.
In order to survive in the absence of social protection, unemployment is not an option for most poor people in the world. Instead, their fate is more likely to be that of the working poor – of low incomes due to underemployment, low productivity or limited survival options. According to the latest estimates of the World Bank, the number of extreme poor (living on no more than $1.25 per capita a day) has declined from 1.93 billion in 1981 to 1.91 billion in 1990 and 1.01 billion in 2011, projected to 835.5 million in 2015.
Interesting report from 'Share the World Resources':
The Sustainable Development Goals – despite their positive and progressive rhetoric – by no means constitute a transformative agenda for meeting the basic needs of all people within the means of our shared planet. This report argues that we may never see an end to poverty “in all its forms everywhere” unless ordinary people unite in their millions and demand the universal realisation of fundamental human rights through huge, continuous and worldwide demonstrations for economic justice.
As India gears up to prevent tax evasion and plug loopholes within its borders so as to raise tax revenues, it hardly helps that some of its closest economic partners – including the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland – top the list of the world’s most non-transparent jurisdictions for hosting financial activities shrouded in secrecy.
According to the 2015 Financial Secrecy Index – a comprehensive survey on global financial secrecy – just released by the Tax Justice Network, Switzerland ranks number one, followed by Hong Kong and the US. Others such as the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Germany, Bahrain and Dubai feature in the top 10 of the index that includes more than 90 other jurisdictions.
Instead of taking suggestions on board from CSOs or its own monitoring bodies, the World Bank continues to push its agenda at the expense of small-scale farmers. In essence, this makes it easier for foreign investors, at the potential cost of local farmers.
This week, the World Bank published the 2016 edition of the Doing Business report. Since 2002, this publication has annually ranked 189 countries’ business climate through 11 indicators1 such as corporate taxation and access to credit. This edition concluded a series of methodological changes that were taken on after extensive criticism of the report from the Bank’s own Independent Evaluation Group, an Independent Panel appointed by the Bank, and civil society organisations.
NIGERIA lost $83.3 billion from 1960 to 2011 through illicit financial flows, Africa Development Bank (ADB) Country Office Director, Dr. Orismane Dore has said.
Ideas for social justice in postneoliberal times
Social protection is high on the international political agenda to-day.
In 2012 the International Labour Organisation adopted a recommendation on ‘social protection floors’. One could think this is a minimalist agenda, but if all people all over the world had their rights respected, this would be a tremendous social progress. Social protection is indeed a human right, mentioned in the Universal Declaration on human rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Nevertheless, more ambition is called for. I would like to go beyond ‘the floors’ and propose a programme for a ‘social common’, for the North as well as for the South. Why?
Civil society groups have expressed disappointment over the outcome of the final round of U.N. climate change negotiations in Bonn — 38 days ahead of the upcoming summit in Paris.
The weeklong negotiations, which concluded Oct. 23, triggered mostly negative comments from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) monitoring the talks.
Denise M. Fontanilla, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, told IPS technically, this is the last round of climate negotiations before Paris.
“But anything can happen – especially given the hype,” she added.
In 2015, for the first time ever, global extreme poverty will fall below 10 %, according to the World Bank in a triumphant press release of three weeks ago. But the Bank remains cautious about its in 2013 defined objective : to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, or to have it at around 3 %.
This is obviously good news. The United Nations just adopted its ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ as a follow up to the Millennium Development Goals and objective number one, the halving of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015 has been met. The World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report 2014/15 estimated extreme poverty in 2011 at 14,5 %, expecting it to lower to 11,5 % in 2015.
Global poverty, then, is diminishing. Some may remember that at the start of this century a percentage of around 20 was mentioned for 2010. In the past year, many scholarly articles were published saying that new measurements would further diminish extreme poverty, others estimating it to remain stable and still others expecting it to rise.
It is sometimes difficult to believe and it can be useful to try and follow the thread, look at how debates are developing and put the poverty measures into their right context. It is useless to try and prove the figures are ‘false’, since that would imply other figures are ‘right’ and that thesis particularly has to be rejected.