How Africa can overcome being marginalised in the global economy
Interesting report from German development NGO on the Financing for Development process loinked to the post-2015 development agenda
According to recent figures from the World Bank, my country Malawi is the poorest country in the world. People here live to an average age of 55 and there are high rates of Aids/HIV infection. Our health service is threadbare, with a great shortage of nurses and doctors and our schools need teachers. The country desperately requires investment in public services, including health and education programmes.
However, this does not mean there is no hope. Far from it. One of the solutions to this problem is to increase government income through taxation. Although Malawi is poor, the country has natural resources that are hugely valuable. In theory, by allowing large companies to mine these resources and then tax those operations, our government could raise millions of dollars of revenue.
Just as the EU is trumpeting its continuing commitment to development cooperation, it is being undermined. And by one of its most reliable members, Finland, which has announced it will cut its aid budget by almost half.
On May 26 the EU reaffirmed its collective commitment to dedicate 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA) when it published its position ahead of next month’s Financing for Development Summit. The Finnish decision to make 43% of cuts from development cooperation funds just two weeks later (reducing its ODA contribution to 0.35% GNI) could not have come at a worse time. It is a serious blow to the EU’s credibility in a year when several major summits will decide the future of international development.
While negotiations on Financing for Development and the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the UN are deadlocked, a new Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child is going to be established outside of the UN. The creation of the GFF was initiated by the World Bank and the governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States, and announced at the UN General Assembly in September 2014. It will be officially launched in July 2015, at the third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Globalization has changed the rules of the game regarding tax systems. Seeking ways to increase their profits, multinational corporations take advantage of regulatory gaps and the public sector is always one step behind, trying to close loopholes.
In order to allow for fair taxation, more than good will is needed. The current UN debates on Financing for Development (FFD) and the new sustainable development agenda cannot avoid the issue of where resources will come from and the reform of the international corporate taxation system is one of the biggest demands from civil society.
When this text was finished (morning of 29th of June) nobody knew, how the confrontation
between Greece and the other 17 countries of the Euro-group would end. Everything
is possible. The crisis has reached such a precipitating dynamics, that nobody is able to
fully control the process. There might still come a last minute muddling through compromise.
The fact that Obama has called Merkel on Sunday the 29th of June indicates, that
there is pressure from Washington, where they want to keep Greece in the Euro for geopolitical
reasons. But there might also be an insolvency and a subsequent Grexit either
by accident or by intention.
Independently from how the drama will continue, the damage is already huge and irreversible.
For more articles on EU crisis: see Social Europe Journal
Democracy is on the retreat and authoritarianism is on the rise in more than 96 of the U.N.’s 193 member states, according to a new report released here.
The two regions of “highest concern” for defenders of civic space are Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, which between them account for over half of the countries counted.
"Legitimate civil society activities are worryingly under threat in a huge number of countries in the global North and South, democratic and authoritarian, on all continents." -- Dr. Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah
Luis Parada’s office is just four blocks from the White House, in the heart of K Street, Washington’s lobbying row – a stretch of steel and glass buildings once dubbed the “road to riches”, when influence-peddling became an American growth industry. Parada, a soft-spoken 55-year-old from El Salvador, is one of a handful of lawyers in the world who specialise in defending sovereign states against lawsuits lodged by multinational corporations. He is the lawyer for the defence in an obscure but increasingly powerful field of international law – where foreign investors can sue governments in a network of tribunals for billions of dollars.
During the 3rd drafting session to formulate an outcome document for the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, a coalition of 30 NGOs from around the globe is urging governments to pave the way for setting up an intergovernmental body on tax cooperation with universal membership under the roof of the United Nations. To ‘sweeten the deal’ for delegates, and to strengthen their resolve, negotiators received a little gift of chocolate, which came right in time just after lunch. Of course, arguments were also provided for why the world needs a new institution for a truly global tax governance.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a new international labour standard that is expected to help hundreds of millions of workers and economic units move out of informality and into the formal economy.
More than half of the world’s workforce is estimated to be trapped in the informal economy, which is marked by the denial of rights at work, the absence of sufficient opportunities for quality employment, inadequate social protection, a lack of social dialogue and low productivity, all of which constitutes a significant obstacle to the development of sustainable enterprises.
The new Recommendation acknowledges that most people enter the informal economy not by choice but due to a lack of opportunities in the formal economy and an absence of any other means of livelihood.