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Africa Rising? Inequality and the Role of Fair Taxation

After a decade of high growth, a new narrative of optimism has taken hold about Africa and its

economic prospects. Alongside buoyant growth rates, there has been some poverty reduction and

some positive progress in sectors such as health and education. However, despite this, there is a broad

consensus that progress in human development has been limited given the volume of wealth created.

There is growing concern that the high levels of income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa are holding

back progress.

Read the report

 
Profiting from crisis

Corporations, backed by lawyers, use international investment agreements to scavenge for profits by suing Europe’s crisis countries. While speculators making risky investments are protected, ordinary people have no such protection and – through harsh austerity policies – are being stripped of basic social rights.

A must-read report on the power of corporations

 

 

 
European Parliament votes to pierce secrecy of trusts in anti-money laundering bill

A draft bill designed to crack down on money laundering and fraud was backed by a vast majority of MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (11 March).

With only 30 MEPs opposed, the anti-money laundering bill requires companies, trusts and foundations to list the names of people who own them in inter-connected public registers set up in each member state.

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Understanding the relationship between corruption and illicit financial flows

In many ways, both illicit financial flows and corruption are undefined and relative. For that reason, they’re both notoriously difficult to measure. The difficulty in measuring them in the first place may be part of the ambiguity surrounding their connection. Ambiguity aside, however, these concepts are highly interrelated. Here’s how.

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Universal Health Coverage

Oxfam report on why the poor are often left behind when it comes to health care: health care has to be universal and most of all health coverage has to be universal

 
International Day for the Rights of Women

A Feminist Declaration for Post 2015.As the United Nations decides on the future course of international development Post 2015, women of all ages, identities, ethnicities, cultures and across sectors and regions, are mobilizing for gender, social, cultural, economic and ecological justice, sustainable development and inclusive peace. We seek fundamental structural and transformational changes to the current neoliberal, extractivist and exclusive development model that perpetuates inequalities of wealth, power and resources between countries, within countries and between men and women. We challenge the current security paradigm that increases investments in the military-industrial complex, which contributes to violent conflict between and within countries.

 

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Corporate influence in the post-2015 process

As Global Social Justice already noted when analyzing the first report of the Open Working-Group of the UN on sustainable development goals, the influence of corporations is becoming more and more significant.

Read this timely and important report on the corporate influence in the post-2015 process. This is a major part of the neoliberal agenda.

 
Debt is back in developing countries

The World Bank’s 2014 International Debt Statistics report, released on February 12, unveiled a worrying new trend. In 2012, the last year covered by the report, all relevant debt indicators worsened – reversing the essentially uninterrupted trend of improvement since the early 2000s. Although developing country debt levels remain low when compared with their historical levels and with crisis struck countries in the global north, in the absence of sufficient other sources of income, developing country governments increasingly turned to issuing large volumes of sovereign bonds to be sold on private capital markets. The boom in sovereign bond issuance poses severe challenges for the international financial architecture, which is not well equipped to restructure this category of debt if needed.

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Progress report on Sustainable Development Goals

The Open UN Working Group preparing the post-2015 development agenda has published its progress report. It gives a first idea of what the new 'development goals' might become.

At this moment, two remarks can be made:

- all or almost all expected items are mentioned, from poverty to hunger and essential services, through peace and human rights.

- for meeting these new development goals, the UN wants to work with 'partnerships'. This means the official and strengthened entry of transnational corporations within the UN. It could become a 'worthy' complement of the new rights TNC's are acquiring through investment treaties, such as TPP and TTIP ... what about States? what about democracy?

Read the progress report

 
Is the 'European social model' in danger?

“The European Social Model has been subjected to stress and unprecedented challenges - and it's still facing these huge challenges”, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder stated at the opening of the joint ILO-EU conference on 'The European Social Model in times of Economic Crisis and Austerity Policies'.

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor stressed that "our social model is struggling, and in some parts of the EU often failing to fulfill its mission”.

(executive summary of the book on this topic)

 

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Tsetse flies, spirit mediums and Western “science” of development

In the 1980s and 1990s, I was working as a rural development "expert" in north Zimbabwe bordering Zambia - an area called “Lower Guruve”, so called because it was on the lower part of a 1000 meter escarpment which separates the Zambezi Valley from the rest of Zimbabwe. Human settlements have taken place around the relatively fertile areas below the escarpment and along the valleys of rivers flowing through the area right up to the mighty River Zambezi that runs through Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The colonial government had damned the Zambezi River and had created one of the world's largest artificial lakes - Lake Kariba.  Traditionally, people had lived off the resources of the river and the forest.  There was plenty of food.  People lived off fish, kudus, buffaloes and other wild life and fruits. But after the dam was built, they were uprooted and removed from around the Lake and pushed further south towards the escarpment. They were thus denied access to fish and wild life - physically and by law. These were now reserved for tourists from the West who came to the Zambezi for fishing and hunting.

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