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On the unreliability of poverty data

MDG 1 has been met in 2010. Extreme poverty in developing countries was halved in twenty years! This is the statistical reality, but we know that there has been little improvement for people in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to official World Bank statistics, extreme poverty in SSA still hurts 413 million people, more than twice the number of 1981 and 50 % more than in 1990. Even proportionally, extreme poverty was only reduced from 51,45 in 1981 to 48 % in 2010.

The Dilution of Development Aid?

Development aid is being redefined. Before the new UN Development Goals (Post-2015 Agenda) can be determined, the industrialized countries of the OECD wish to redefine which financial flows count as development aid.

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD has been measuring financial flows from its members to developing countries since the 1960s. The data, compiled every year, provides information about which donor country invests how much in which developing country and in what development sector. In essence, all grants (see glossary below) and concessional loans that go towards the economic and social development are recognized as Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 1970, the United Nations General Assembly agreed for the first time that industrialized countries would earmark 0.7% of their annual gross national income as ODA. This goal has been repeatedly reaffirmed, but so far has been attained by just five of the 28 DAC donor countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

International Reform Activists Dissatisfied by BRICS Bank

The creation of BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) own financial institutions was “a disappointment” for activists from the five countries, meeting in this northeastern Brazilian city after the group’s leaders concluded their sixth annual summit here.

Conditionally yours: Rising IMF Conditionality

IMF loans are provided through a variety of concessional and non-concessional facilities. The rationale behind IMF conditionality is that countries in fiscal crisis should only receive loans from the IMF if they reform their policies – the precise agreed reforms and macroeconomic targets are set out in the conditions attached to the loans. In practice, the IMF is heavily involved in drafting programme documents and the design of the conditions attached. For example, the IMF’s own Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) review in 2007 found that 84 per cent of Fund staff surveyed recognise that the first draft of the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, which sets out the terms of the loan and conditions, was drafted by IMF staff, and there is no evidence that this has changed significantly since 2008.

The Return of Exernal Debt

In recent weeks the external debt issue has returned to the limelight of finance and international politics, due to a ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States, which has emitted a resolution against the government of Argentina. This decision highlights a profound dilemma that exists between national sovereignty and financial globalization. When a government places a debt in international markets, it offers guarantees of payment that commit their taxpayers to pay up in the middle or the long term. Nevertheless, by selling public bonds these become private assets that in certain circumstances can become the object of gigantic speculation which in turn can unleash bankruptcy in the debtor States.

Re-thinking the Role of Global Investment in Africa's Development

Africa’s political leaders are under illusion to believe that foreign direct investments (FDIs) will get them out of their development crisis. This is not to dismiss FDIs but to provide a framework for an analytical and critical understanding of “capital”, how it is generated, and what its real function is.

Put and end to money laundering, bribery and corruption

Corruption around the world is facilitated by the ability to launder and hide proceeds derived from the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. Dirty money enters the financial system and is given the semblance of originating from a legitimate source often by using corporate vehicles offering disguise, concealment and anonymity. For example, corrupt politicians used secret companies to obscure their identity in 70 percent of more than 200 cases of grand corruption survey by the World Bank.

Amid Scepticism, UN trumpets successes in cutting poverty

With 17 months before the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reach their targets by the December 2015 deadline, the United Nations is trumpeting its limited successes – but with guarded optimism.

“Global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 time frame,” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the latest status report released Monday.

"Unfortunately, the trend in the U.N. secretary-general's office and many developed countries is to place hopes in private corporations and 'multi-stakeholder partnerships' that fudge the massive problems caused by many corporations." -- Yoke Ling Chee

Millennium Development Goals Report 2014

New Bank Leak: How the Rich exploit tax haven loopholes

The identities of thousands of wealthy offshore clients of a major Channel Isles private bank have been leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The individuals include donors to the British government, which has been outspoken against tax havens, and some of the most prominent people in British life.

The ICIJ has exclusively allowed The Guardian newspaper to analyze more than 20,000 of the names, all of whom had dealings with a discreet Jersey, Channel Islands branch of Kleinwort Benson, a famous London firm which specializes in “wealth management.”

Delivering on the Data Revolution in Africa

For decades we have been talking on poverty, on millennium development goals, etc. We try to find out if poverty in Africa has been reduced or not ... and we do not really know because there are no data. National statistical systems are weak and donors have other priorities ...

The Center for Global Development wants a better focus on reliable data and makes proposals for the post-2015 agenda.

Read the document

Ever wondered why the world is a mess?

The latest figures from UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, show that in 2013 the total number of refugees worldwide had reached the staggering figure of 51 million people – we are close to the trauma of the Second World War, when the number of refugees was estimated at 55 million.

Now, while the Third World War has not been formally declared, this means that conflicts throughout the world are reaching levels unseen since 1944. Of course, for the large majority of people throughout the world, news about these conflicts is just part of our daily news, even though it should be insane to ignore the increasing spending on arms everywhere.

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