Trade & Investment

CORRECTED VERSION: World Bank Dispossessing Rural Poor

The World Bank’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project, launched in 2013, has sought agricultural reforms favouring the corporate sector. EBA was initially established to support the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, initiated by the G8 to promote private agricultural development in Africa.

World Bank Financialization Strategy Serves Big Finance

The World Bank has successfully built a coalition to effectively advance its ‘Maximizing Finance for Development’ (MFD) agenda. The October 2018 G20 Eminent Persons Group’s (EPG) report includes proposals to better coordinate various international financial institutions (IFIs) in promoting financialization.

Ambitions Are Affordable for Asia and the Pacific

Three years of implementation of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific shows the region has some catching up to do. Despite much progress, the region is not on track to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are living in a time of booming prosperity, yet many are getting left behind. Basic needs, such as the freedom for all from hunger and poverty, ill-health and gender-based discrimination, and equal opportunity for all are elusive. Economic, social and planetary well-being has a price tag. Calculations by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) show that it is mostly affordable for the region.

China and Developing Countries: Managing Chinese Investments

Fifty years ago China was a poor country with little influence in the international sphere and without even a seat at the United Nations. Since then rapid economic growth in China has made it an economic powerhouse that increasingly plays a leading role on the world stage as a trade partners as well as a source of investment.

Has Privatization Benefitted the Public?

In most cases of privatization, some outcomes benefit some, which serves to legitimize the change. Nevertheless, overall net welfare improvements are the exception, not the rule. Never is everyone better off. Rather, some are better off, while others are not, and typically, many are even worse off. The partial gains are typically high, or even negated by overall costs, which may be diffuse, and less directly felt by losers.

Defining the End State Ecosystem: How Can We Get Better at it?

Restrictions on the movement of people impedes Africa's development, limiting economic integration and trade between African countries. Using a systems-thinking approach, champions and decision-makers have led the charge towards a visa free Africa.

World Bank Financializing Development

The World Bank has successfully legitimized the notion that private finance is the solution to pressing development and welfare concerns, including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Agenda 2030. A recent McKinsey report estimates that the world needs to invest about US$3.3 trillion, or 3.8 per cent of world output yearly, in economic infrastructure, with about three-fifths in emerging market and other developing economies, to maintain current growth.

Belt and Road Initiative vs Washington Consensus

With the Washington Consensus from the 1980s being challenged, President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and China pursuing its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), most notably with its own initiatives such as the multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the political and economic landscape in East Asia continues to evolve. Jomo Kwame Sundaram was interviewed about likely implications for developing countries in the region and beyond.

Climate Change: a Threat to Agriculture & UN’s Goal to Eradicate Hunger

The United Nations has vowed to eradicate extreme hunger and malnutrition on a self-imposed deadline of 2030. But it is facing a harsh realty where human-induced climate change – including flash floods, droughts, heatwaves, typhoons and landslides-- is increasingly threatening agriculture, which also provides livelihoods for over 40 per cent of the global population.

Seven Challenges for US Nominee for World Bank President

All incoming World Bank presidents bring a public record of their views about the bank and about development more generally. David Malpass, who is on track to become the bank’s next president, has not been shy in criticizing the role and management of the institution he now plans to lead.

Innovative Sustainable Business: A Three Trillion-Dollar Opportunity that UN Environment Wants People to Develop

In the East African region, communities around the continent’s largest water body, Lake Victoria, regard the water hyacinth as a great menace that clogs the lake and hampers their fishing activities. But in Lagos, Nigeria, some groups of women have learned how to convert the invasive weed into a resource, providing them with the raw material needed to make handicrafts.

Promoting Privatization

Privatization has been central to the ‘neo-liberal’ counter-revolution from the 1970s against government economic interventions associated with Roosevelt and Keynes as well as post-colonial state-led economic development. Many developing countries were forced to accept privatization policies as a condition for credit or loan support from the World Bank and other international financial institutions, especially after the fiscal and debt crises of the early 1980s. Other countries voluntarily embraced privatization, often on the pretext of fiscal and debt constraints, in their efforts to mimic new Anglo-American criteria of economic progress.

Ignorance-Inspired Brexit Imperial Nostalgia

As the possible implications of Britain’s self-imposed ‘no-deal’ exit from the European Union loom larger, a new round of imperial nostalgia has come alive. After turning its back on the Commonwealth since the Thatcherite 1980s, some British Conservative Party leaders are seeking to revive colonial connections in increasingly desperate efforts to avoid self-inflicted marginalization following divorce from its European Union neighbours across the Channel.

Doing Business with Nature

As the environment continues to degrade and natural resources deplete at unprecedented rates, spelling disastrous consequences for societies, a new tool aims to bring financial institutions into the fight to protect nature.

Reverse Engineering for SDGs

When young people from small towns and villages seek higher education they have to usually migrate to big cities leaving their local communities behind. On completion of their degree from the Universities, they generally prefer staying in cities, in search of a good job and a successful career. Though this is a standard practice, it is also a case of lost opportunities, especially for students who pursue higher education in agriculture. Here is why.

Agribusiness Is the Problem, Not the Solution

For two centuries, all too many discussions about hunger and resource scarcity has been haunted by the ghost of Parson Thomas Malthus. Malthus warned that rising populations would exhaust resources, especially those needed for food production. Exponential population growth would outstrip food output.

What, After Buenos Aires Conference on South-South Cooperation?

Initially, in its BAPA+40 follow-up, the Group of 77 should address – in its own circle and in a comprehensive manner – the challenges and opportunities facing South-South cooperation.

Bringing #MeToo to the Fashion Industry

The global #MeToo movement has put a spotlight on sexual harassment and violence in various industries including the film and music industries. Is it now time for the fashion industry to address these issues within their supply chains, one organisation says.

Economic Crisis Can Trigger World War

Economic recovery efforts since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis have mainly depended on unconventional monetary policies. As fears rise of yet another international financial crisis, there are growing concerns about the increased possibility of large-scale military conflict.

Farmers Secure Land and Food Thanks to ‘Eyes in the Skies’

Six years ago while wondering how best to use her engineering skills, Tanzanian ICT entrepreneur Rose Funja decided to enter an innovation competition. Years later she has turned a digital idea into a viable business that helps smallholder farmers across the East African nation access credit.   

Blue Economy: The New Frontier for Africa’s Growth & How Japan Can Help

1. Why Blue Economy in Africa? What potentials does Africa have? The blue economy in Africa is neglected, ignored or underexploited, but it can offer a range of African solutions to African economic problems. More than one-quarter of Africa’s population lives within 100km of the coast and derive their livelihoods there. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2020, the annual economic value of energy activities related to maritime affairs will reach EUR 2.5bn.1 Out of the 54 African countries, 34 are coastal countries and over 90% of African exports and imports are transported by sea. The territorial waters under African jurisdiction cover a surface area of 13 million km², with a continental shelf of some 6.5 million km² comprising exclusive economic zones (EEZ). The continent covers 17% of the world’s surface water resources. The strategic dimension of the blue economy is an indisputable reality for African countries. It is for this reason that it has been included in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and that a practical handbook on the blue economy was prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in March 2016.

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