Energy Subsidies

LESOTHO: Help At Hand for Orphans

The Lesotho government - battling against the challenges presented by an ever-growing population of orphans whose parents have succumbed to the AIDS pandemic - has embarked on an ambitious programme aimed at alleviating the suffering of these vulnerable children, in partnership with the European Union and UNICEF.

ENERGY-BRAZIL: Two-Pronged Policy

The Brazilian government announced it is overhauling the country's energy basket with more emphasis on renewable resources, while continuing to plan for future expansion of local production of traditional fossil fuels, like oil and gas.

ZAMBIA: Diminishing Returns on Agriculture Subsidy

Responding to years of complaints over the management of the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP), the Zambian government has now proposed that the private sector takes over its running to reduce cases of corruption.

Children in Otjivero settlement: campaigners say a pilot programme for a universal income grant is working here. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

ECONOMY: Namibia Gets BIG on Poverty

There was no mention of a special grant to tackle poverty in the Namibian national budget speech delivered on Mar. 19, much to the disappointment of campaigners for a Basic Income Grant (BIG) for all citizens.

There is evidence that at the household level, livestock improves the lives of the poor better than crop-related agriculture. Credit:  Glenna Gordon/IRIN

AGRICULTURE-AFRICA: Livestock Vital to Rural Livelihoods

The Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute estimates 250 million people in Africa - a quarter of the population - rely on livestock for their livelihoods, yet African governments invest almost nothing to support the sector.

A woman preparing nshima, a thick porridge made from maize meal on a brazier in one of the townships of Lusaka. Credit:  Kelvin Kachingwe/IPS

ZAMBIA: Food Vouchers Not Enough to Fight Hunger

In an attempt to mitigate rising food insecurity and malnutrition, the Zambian government and the World Food Programme (WFP) have started to hand out food vouchers to the country’s urban poor.

"Stay out – refueling" reads a barrier at a gas station in Santiago. Credit: Daniela Estrada/IPS.

CHILE: Controversial Fuel Taxes and Subsidies

In 2008, Chile’s state coffers took in just over one billion dollars from the specific tax on fuels. But at the same time, the government injected 700 million dollars into a fund that year to shore up fuel prices and made another 500 million available in case the price of oil continued to rise.

Beneficiaries of Malawi's cash transfer scheme are nominated by local community leaders based on need. Credit:  Mick Yates

POVERTY: Cash Transfers Transform Lives of Malawi’s Poor

Malawi has taken major strides towards reducing poverty and hunger in the country. Government’s cash transfer scheme has managed to reach many of those usually unable to access grants due to lengthy and complicated bureaucratic processes and assessments.

Palownia tree shoot. Credit: Photo Stock

CHILE: Biofuels Head to the Forests

Chile has set its sights on producing second-generation plant-based fuels from forest biomass within the next five years. But before that it must consider the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of such an endeavour, warn experts and activists.

 Credit: Fidel Márquez/IPS

VENEZUELA: The Cost of the World’s Cheapest Gasoline

The world’s most inexpensive gasoline is sold in Venezuela, through a longstanding subsidy programme that benefits car owners while depriving the oil industry of a large source of funds for reinvesting.

Woman carrying gas cylinder in Buenos Aires slum. Credit: Malena Bystrowicz/IPS.

ARGENTINA: Companies Pocketing Gas Subsidy for the Poor

Companies that produce and distribute liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Argentina are benefiting from large government subsidies aimed at bringing down the price of the fuel, which 40 percent of the population depends on for cooking and heating.

A busy 'sasti roti' (subsidised bread) outlet in Lahore.  Credit: Qaiser Khan/IPS

WORLD FOOD-DAY-PAKISTAN: Hunger, Poverty Initiatives Suspect

As Pakistan’s food crisis deepens, with an estimated 60 million people facing food insecurity, the GCAP (Global Call to Action Against Poverty) plans to hold rallies through the weekend demanding ‘’public accountability’’ even for hunger and poverty alleviation initiatives.

DEVELOPMENT: Challenging the Bio-fuel-Hunger Paradigm

Participants at The Third India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Business Forum 2008 came together here to debunk the belief that development of bio-fuels would invariably exacerbate global hunger. Conventional wisdom has it that increased production of bio-fuel - particularly ethanol - will invariably result in decreasing acreage for food grain production, rising food prices and a surge in hunger and malnutrition. Participants at the Forum - held in New Delhi during the lead-up to the third IBSA Summit - declared that this was not necessarily true.

ENVIRONMENT-US: Florida Hopes Energy Farm Will Be First of Many

If an experiment to plant sweet sorghum in rural Florida and convert it to fuel ethanol pans out, it could herald a fundamental change in how the U.S. and other countries create and use renewable bio-energy, researchers say.

Sen. Barack Obama Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS

OBAMA: "Subsidising Big Oil Makes No Sense"

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama sat down with IPS correspondent Bankole Thompson again on Thursday for a one-on-one interview in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where over 15,000 enthusiastic Obama supporters turned out to hear his message of change at downtown's Calder Plaza.

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