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The World Bank President we want: a time for new thinking on development finance

Maria Romero, Cecilia Gondard

17 Jan 2019 14:07:06

First published by Development Finance International  When Harvard-trained global health leader Jim Yong Kim took office as World Bank President in 2012, many thought he would put locally-anchored sustainable development and accountability at the centre of the World Bank’s approach. However, a critical look at his tenure, and his new workplace, raise many red flags. Now that most headline news is about the role Ivanka Trump will play, who the US nominates and the timeframe for nominations – which kick off in three weeks – it is crucial to clarify: who needs to be at the helm of the World Bank for the institution to serve its development mandate? And what kind of process, and eventually president, will serve to raise the legitimacy of the institution? Kim’s departure has been a ...

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Things to watch in 2019: Debt and emerging debt crises (part 2)

Bodo Ellmers

17 Jan 2019 11:57:36

Second in a two-part blog series  At the start of the New Year, the number of countries at high risk of debt distress is growing at an alarming rate. With so many crises already ongoing, and more expected to emerge over the next 12 months, it’s no surprise that the topic is high on the agenda of international organisations. But perhaps it’s not as high up as it should be in order to head off a looming crisis… Here are some of the key moments to look out for in the 2019 calendar: In March, the UN Human Rights Council will convene for its 40th session. On the agenda: adopting Guiding Principles for human rights impact assessment of economic reform programmes. These principles should ensure that future ‘reform programmes’ – i.e. adjustment programmes that creditors such as the ...

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Things to watch in 2019: Debt and emerging debt crises (part 1)

Bodo Ellmers

17 Jan 2019 11:57:23

First in a two-part blog series More than a decade after the last global financial crisis hit, the next wave of defaults is lapping at our shores. Financing conditions will become more difficult in 2019. The world’s major central banks ‘normalised’ their monetary policies last year, meaning that the times of cheap and abundant credit are over.  Both public and private actors that borrowed heavily in recent years are finding it increasingly hard and costly to refinance their sky-high debt stocks. The number of countries at high risk of debt distress is increasing. In this overview of 2019, we look at the key crises that are threatening economies around the globe, and which countries are likely to be hit hardest… An end to quantitative easing in Europe The European Central Bank ...

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Four Critical Steps to Ensure International Aid Works for the Poorest

Polly Meeks

14 Jan 2019 10:49:27

By Polly Meeks, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer at Eurodad, Julie Seghers, Advocacy Advisor at Oxfam and Jiten Yumnam, Secretary General at the Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur  Second in a two-part series. Part 1 can be viewed here At the end of last week, we blogged about three distinguished aid insiders’ grave concerns over proposals for recording support to the private sector as Official Development Assistance (ODA). Today we turn our attention from the conference halls of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), to the marginalised communities who are ultimately affected by the DAC’s decisions. Marginalised people counting the cost: the Lake Turkana Wind Power project The Lake Turkana Wind Power project ...

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Why 2019 is a Make-or-Break Year for International Aid

Polly Meeks

10 Jan 2019 14:23:19

Don’t just take our word that aid is in danger: former OECD heavyweights agree By Polly Meeks, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer at Eurodad, Julie Seghers, Advocacy Advisor at Oxfam and Jiten Yumnam, Secretary General at the Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur  First in a two-part series. This article has also been published by Oxfam International.  Nothing says ‘happy holidays’ like a scathing criticism of how the OECD is handling the ‘modernisation’ of overseas aid reporting, right? But an open letter published just before the festive break did offer two crucial holiday ingredients, at least for anyone with an interest in the quality of official development assistance (ODA): a rare chance to hear from long-standing acquaintances, and some fundamental reflections ...

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G20 Summit in Buenos Aires: A non-event amidst citizen protests

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero, Tove Ryding

13 Dec 2018 16:26:12

By Bodo Ellmers, Maria José Romero and Tove Maria Ryding When the global financial crisis broke, the world looked to the G20 to find solutions. But as G20 leaders recently gathered in Buenos Aires 10 years on for their 2018 Summit, it was all too clear that ‘too big to fail banks’ have grown even bigger while we’re stuck with a vastly expanded shadow banking industry and a very worrying new wave of debt crises. Even though the G20 consider themselves to be the world’s major body for economic policy coordination, they are sleepwalking into the next crisis. Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that global debt levels have reached all-time highs and that the world economy is now even more highly leveraged than before the global financial crisis began a decade ...

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Reporting debt relief as ODA: civil society shut out, bad rules to be locked in?

Polly Meeks

21 Nov 2018 10:58:47

“There are negotiations being made that are going to answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems. That’s all I can tell you right now.” So goes the line from The Godfather. This week at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “negotiations will be being made” about the rules for counting debt relief as Official Development Assistance (ODA – or ‘aid’). As we blogged earlier this year, these negotiations are highly unlikely to answer all the questions or solve all the problems of civil society advocates interested in ensuring that the new rules set the best incentives for eradicating poverty, tackling inequalities and preventing a new wave of debt crises in the global south. Yet, just as in The Godfather, the negotiations remain shrouded ...

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Paradise Lost: EU governments blocking transparency one year after Paradise Papers

Olivia Lally

06 Nov 2018 18:04:49

On the morning of 5 November 2017, exactly one year ago this week, people around the world woke up to yet another shocking tax scandal. The Paradise Papers – released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – included 13.4 million leaked files from the law firm Appleby and others. The documents revealed the tax dodging strategies of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, as well as the offshore activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders. Overnight, big companies, politicians and celebrities found their dirty laundry exposed on front pages around the world. But 12 months later, what has changed? The answer is: not enough. We’re still stuck in the murky waters of corporate secrecy. Big companies can still hide money ...

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Argentina: More lending guarantees creeping austerity

Gino Brunswijck

31 Oct 2018 16:40:12

Against a backdrop of public protests, on 25 October the Argentinian government approved the 2019 budget including US$10 billion worth of cuts in essential areas such as education and public works. The next day, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the first review of a loan agreement paving the way for the disbursement of a tranche of US$5.7 billion to the debt-stricken country. At the same time, the Board gave the green light to increase Argentina’s bailout loan to US$56.3 billion. However, this loan comes with a significant price tag. The higher the bailout, the greater the austerity The IMF review calls for stronger and faster fiscal consolidation in Argentina. The budgetary targets for the short and medium term were tightened compared to the initial ...

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New report by Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly calls for better debt crises resolution

Bodo Ellmers

18 Oct 2018 16:19:07

Debt problems continue to burden countries on both sides of the Atlantic. Argentina has just agreed the highest ever International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan and risk premiums for Italian bonds have surged. This is the backdrop for a new report by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat – a forum that brings together 150 parliamentarians from the two regions). The report joins growing demands for better institutions to help prevent and resolve debt crises. Among the report’s recommendations, EuroLat is calling for the creation of an international debt restructuring mechanism, and a European Debt Conference to address the debt restructuring needs of a whole currency area. The EuroLat parliamentarians stress that it is their role to protect democracy and human rights – especially ...