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The Transfer Pricing Labyrinth

Last week, Namibian activists raised concerns about transfer pricing in Africa’s extractive sector in an open letter to De Beers. Their letter comes at a critical time in which transfer pricing and tax havens have contributed to an exorbitant amount of capital flight from developing countries. Namibia’s economy is hugely dependent on diamond exports, which alone account for 10% of GDP, and revenues from the extractive sector, including uranium and gold. With increased scrutiny into transfer pricing just across the border in South Africa’s platinum mines, these Namibian activists have delivered a timely, earnest demand to investigate transfer pricing in their own country.

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State and Finance in Financialized capitalism

Costas Lapavitsas is a leading Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and also sits on the National Advisory Panel of Class.

Costas specialises in the study of financial systems and their structure, and the relationship of finance and development. He is the author of a number of books including Profiting without Producing, How Finance Exploits Us All, Financialised Capitalism: Expansion and Crisis, Social Foundations of Markets, Money and Credit and Political Economy of Money and Finance.

In the public interest: the role of the modern state

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Transnational corporations and Human Rights

The Human Rights Council just adopted a

resolution presented by Ecuador and South Africa that establishes an

intergovernmental working group with the mandate of developing an

international legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of

transnational corporations.

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The Rise of Infrastructure Giants in Asia

With massive infrastructure projects seeking funds, the World Bank is facing increased competition from new players in Asia, with China launching the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the new Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Bank (see Bulletin Feb 2014, Update 85) expected to be launched in July, largely focusing on infrastructure finance. But questions remain about potential negative social and environmental impacts, with none of the players adequately engaging with local communities.

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Money Drain Blocks African Progress

With average economic growth of 5 per cent, Africa makes a lot of profit. The problem: a big chunk of the money doesn’t stay in the continent. Billions of African dollars are illegally transferred into foreign bank accounts every year, and effectively make the continent a net creditor, legal experts say.

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Linking Financial and Monetary Reform to the post-2015 Agenda

There is almost no dispute that the worst performance of all Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was registered on MDG 8, the Global Partnership for Development. The impending deliberations to shape the post-2015 development agenda offers a high level political opportunity to correct that imbalance.

For that, it is important to avoid treading the same path of the MDG approach. The initial blueprint for the MDGs entirely neglected mention of the means of implementation necessary in the form of international support. Since it was clear that developing countries would never get on board with an agenda that would harshly judge their progress in improving certain quantifiable indicators without correlative commitments of financial support to help achieve them, one more goal was added, and this was Goal 8 on the Global Partnership. Accepting this approach condoned the methodological nonsense of putting means of implementation as a category equivalent to the goals they should serve. It condemned finance for development to the constraints of a format that required simplified, succinct, one-size-fits-all statements that could never capture the breadth, complexity and diversity needed for development finance to work.

 

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Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights

In October 2013, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) published a new study, Tax Abuses, Poverty and Human Rights. The publication was the result of over a year of research and international consultations by a Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights. Although tax abuses have been rising in prominence on the global political agenda in recent years, the issues have rarely been framed in terms of human rights. From the early feedback on the IBAHRI Task Force’s work, an explicit human rights analysis is a welcome contribution to the global debates on tax justice, and further research and discussion is required in order to provide more practical guidance to policy-makers and practitioners.

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In developing world, pollution kills more than disease

Pollution, not disease, is the biggest killer in the developing world, taking the lives of more than 8.4 million people each year, a new analysis shows. That’s almost three times the deaths caused by malaria and fourteen times those caused by HIV/AIDs. However, pollution receives a fraction of the interest from the global community.

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GFI Hails Continued Progress on EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive

Council of the European Union Approves Text and Timetable for Directive, Including Crucial Measures on Beneficial Ownership Transparency

– Global Financial Integrity (GFI) praised the Council of the European Union for continuing today the EU’s movement towards cracking down on anonymous companies, a major conduit for laundering the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion.

The Council, which is composed of government ministers from each EU member country, agreed on a revised text of changes to the EU’s Anti-Money-Laundering Directive (AMLD), which will now return to the Parliament for a second reading and negotiations with the Council on final wording. The Council text retains the requirement, which the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved in March, that companies and trusts formed in every EU country disclose their “beneficial owners,” or the natural persons who ultimately own or control them, to a central authority.

 

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G77 + China: Towards a New World Order for Living Well

The G77+China Summit, marking the body’s 50th anniversary, ended in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on Sunday June 15, with the adoption of a Declaration (http://www.alainet.org/active/74644),

containing 242 articles, under the heading: “For a New World Order for Living Well”.

The Declaration addresses, among other things, the three main United Nations priorities for the coming year, which as Ban Ki-moon pointed out in the opening session, include: the fulfillment of the Millennium Goals of Development (and contingency measures for those which may not be fulfilled), progress in the negotiations concerning climate change (whose next world meeting is scheduled for Lima at the end of this year), and the definition of the new development goals for the period after 2015. It also sets out new lines of action for South-South cooperation in the present context of geopolitical shifts, and proposals for strengthening and reorienting the UN, including revitalizing the General Assembly and a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, in accordance with the collective interests of developing countries.

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US Supreme Court 'Validates' Vulture Funds Activities

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject an appeal by the Argentine government will embolden aggressive “holdout” creditors, anti-poverty groups say, and make it far more difficult to arrive at debt-relief agreements for poor countries.

The move, announced Monday, is a definitive setback for Argentina, which has been battling two U.S. hedge funds for years to allow a major debt-restructuring agreement to go forward. Yet the court’s decision is also being seen as a significant loss for poor countries looking for debt relief.

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