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Geopolitics of Golden Trap

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Accusations of the West towards Putin traditionally are based on the fact that he worked in the KGB. And, therefore he is a cruel and immoral person. Putin is blamed for everything. But nobody ever accused Putin of lack of intelligence.
Any accusations against this man only emphasize his ability for quick analytical thinking and making clear and balanced political and economic decisions.

Often Western media compares this ability with the ability of a grandmaster, conducting a public chess simul. Recent developments in US economy and the West in general allow us to conclude that in this part of the assessment of Putin’s personality Western media is absolutely right.
Despite numerous success reports in the style of Fox News and CNN, today, Western economy, led by the United States is in Putin’s trap, the way out of which no one in the West can see or find. And the more the West is trying to escape from this trap, the more stuck it becomes.
What is the truly tragic predicament of the West and the United States, in which they find themselves? And why all the Western media and leading Western economists are silent about this, as a well guarded military secret? Let’s try to understand the essence of current economic events, in the context of the economy, setting aside the factors of morality, ethics and geopolitics.

After realizing its failure in Ukraine, the West, led by the US set out to destroy Russian economy by lowering oil prices, and accordingly gas prices as the main budget sources of export revenue in Russia and the main sources of replenishment of Russian gold reserves.
It should be noted that the main failure of the West in Ukraine is not military or political. But in the actual refusal of Putin to fund the Western project of Ukraine at the expense of the budget of Russian Federation. What makes this Western project not viable in the near and inevitable future.

Last time under president Reagan, such actions of the West’s lowering of oil prices led to ‘success’ and the collapse of USSR. But history does not repeat itself all the time. This time things are different for the West. Putin’s response to the West resembles both chess and judo, when the strength used by the enemy is used against him, but with minimal costs to the strength and resources of the defender. Putin’s real policies are not public. Therefore, Putin’s policy largely has always focused not so much on effect, but on efficiency.

Very few people understand what Putin is doing at the moment. And almost no one understands what he will do in the future.
No matter how strange it may seem, but right now, Putin is selling Russian oil and gas only for physical gold.
Putin – dislike the constant noise of the West – is not shouting about it all over the world. And, of course, he still accepts US dollars as an intermediate means of payment. But he immediately exchanges all these dollars obtained from the sale of oil and gas for physical gold!
To understand this, it is enough to look at the dynamics of growth of gold reserves of Russia and to compare this data with foreign exchange earnings of the RF coming from the sale of oil and gas over the same period.

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Moreover, in the third quarter the purchases by Russia of physical gold are at an all-time high, record levels. In the third quarter of this year, Russia had purchased an incredible amount of gold in the amount of 55 tons. It’s more than all the central banks of all countries of the world combined (according to official data)!

In total, the central banks of all countries of the world have purchased 93 tons of the precious metal in the third quarter of 2014. It was the 15th consecutive quarter of net purchases of gold by Central banks. Of the 93 tonnes of gold purchases by central banks around the world during this period, the staggering volume of purchases – of 55 tons – belongs to Russia.
Not so long ago, British scientists have successfully come to the same conclusion, as was published in the Conclusion of the U.S. Geological survey a few years ago. Namely: Europe will not be able to survive without energy supply from Russia. Translated from English to any other language in the world it means: “The world will not be able to survive if oil and gas from Russia is subtracted from the global balance of energy supply”.
Thus, the Western world, built on the hegemony of the petrodollar, is in a catastrophic situation. In which it cannot survive without oil and gas supplies from Russia. And Russia is now ready to sell its oil and gas to the West only in exchange for physical gold! The twist of Putin’s game is that the mechanism for the sale of Russian energy to the West only for gold now works regardless of whether the West agrees to pay for Russian oil and gas with its artificially cheap gold, or not.

Because Russia, having a regular flow of dollars from the sale of oil and gas, in any case, will be able to convert them to gold with current gold prices, depressed by all means by the West. That is, at the price of gold, which had been artificially and meticulously lowered by the Fed and ESF many times, against artificially inflated purchasing power of the dollar through market manipulation.
Interesting fact: the suppression of gold prices by the special department of US Government – ESF (Exchange Stabilization Fund) – with the aim of stabilizing the dollar has been made into a law in the United States.
In the financial world it is accepted as a given that gold is an antidollar.

•    In 1971, US President Richard Nixon closed the ‘gold window’, ending the free exchange of dollars for gold, guaranteed by the US in 1944 at Bretton Woods.
•    In 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reopened the ‘gold window’, without asking Washington’s permission.
Right now the West spends much of its efforts and resources to suppress the prices of gold and oil. Thereby, on the one hand to distort the existing economic reality in favor of the US dollar and on the other hand, to destroy the Russian economy, refusing to play the role of obedient vassal of the West.

Today assets such as gold and oil look proportionally weakened and excessively undervalued against the US dollar. It is a consequence of the enormous economic effort on the part of the West.
And now Putin sells Russian energy resources in exchange for these US dollars, artificially propped by the efforts of the West. With which he immediately buys gold, artificially devalued against the U.S. dollar by the efforts of the West itself!
There is another interesting element in Putin’s game. It’s Russian uranium. Every sixth light bulb in the USA depends on its supply. Which Russia sells to the US too, for dollars.

Thus, in exchange for Russian oil, gas and uranium, the West pays Russia with dollars, purchasing power of which is artificially inflated against oil and gold by the efforts of the West. But Putin uses these dollars only to withdraw physical gold from the West in exchange, for the price denominated in US dollars, artificially lowered by the same West. This truly brilliant economic combination by Putin puts the West led by the United States in a position of a snake, aggressively and diligently devouring its own tail.
The idea of this economic golden trap for the West, probably originated not from Putin himself. Most likely it was the idea of Putin’s Advisor for Economic Affairs – doctor Sergey Glazyev. Otherwise why seemingly not involved in business bureaucrat Glazyev, along with many Russian businessmen, was personally included by Washington on the sanction list?  The idea of an economist, doctor Glazyev was brilliantly executed by Putin, with full endorsement from his Chinese colleague – XI Jinping.

Especially interesting in this context looks the November statement of the first Deputy Chairman of Central Bank of Russia Ksenia Yudaeva, which stressed that the CBR can use the gold from its reserves to pay for imports, if need be. It is obvious that in terms of sanctions by the Western world, this statement is addressed to the BRICS countries, and first of all China. For China, Russia’s willingness to pay for goods with Western gold is very convenient. And here’s why:
China recently announced that it will cease to increase its gold and currency reserves denominated in US dollars. Considering the growing trade deficit between the US and China (the current difference is five times in favor of China), then this statement translated from the financial language reads: “China stops selling their goods for dollars”. The world’s media chose not to notice this grandest in the recent monetary history event . The issue is not that China literally refuses to sell its goods for US dollars. China, of course, will continue to accept US dollars as an intermediate means of payment for its goods. But, having taken dollars, China will immediately get rid of them and replace with something else in the structure of its gold and currency reserves. Otherwise the statement made by the monetary authorities of China loses its meaning: “We are stopping the increase of our gold and currency reserves, denominated in US dollars.” That is, China will no longer buy United States Treasury bonds for dollars earned from trade with any countries, as they did this before.

Thus, China will replace all the dollars that it will receive for its goods not only from the US but from all over the world with something else not to increase their gold currency reserves, denominated in US dollars. And here is an interesting question: what will China replace all the trade dollars with? What currency or an asset? Analysis of the current monetary policy of China shows that most likely the dollars coming from trade, or a substantial chunk of them, China will quietly replace and de facto is already replacing with Gold.

In this aspect, the solitaire of Russian-Chinese relations is extremely successful for Moscow and Beijing. Russia buys goods from China directly for gold at its current price. While China buys Russian energy resources for gold at its current price. At this Russian-Chinese festival of life there is a place for everything: Chinese goods, Russian energy resources, and gold – as a means of mutual payment. Only US dollar has no place at this festival of life. And this is not surprising. Because the US dollar is not a Chinese product, nor a Russian energy resource. It is only an intermediate financial instrument of settlement – and an unnecessary intermediary. And it is customary to exclude unnecessary intermediaries from the interaction of two independent business partners.

It should be noted separately that the global market for physical gold is extremely small relative to the world market for physical oil supplies. And especially the world market for physical gold is microscopic compared to the entirety of world markets for physical delivery of oil, gas, uranium and goods.
Emphasis on the phrase “physical gold” is made because in exchange for its physical, not ‘paper’ energy resources, Russia is now withdrawing gold from the West, but only in its physical, not paper form. So does China, by acquiring from the West the artificially devalued physical gold as a payment for physical delivery of real products to the West.

The West’s hopes that Russia and China will accept as payment for their energy resources and goods “shitcoin” or so-called “paper gold” of various kinds also did not materialize. Russia and China are only interested in gold and only physical metal as a final means of payment.
For reference: the turnover of the market of paper gold, only of gold futures, is estimated at $360 billion per month. But physical delivery of gold is only for $280 million a month. Which makes the ratio of trade of paper gold versus physical gold: 1000 to 1.
Using the mechanism of active withdrawal from the market of one artificially lowered by the West financial asset (gold) in exchange for another artificially inflated by the West financial asset (USD), Putin has thereby started the countdown to the end of the world hegemony of petrodollar. Thus, Putin has put the West in a deadlock of the absence of any positive economic prospects.

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The West can spend as much of its efforts and resources to artificially increase the purchasing power of the dollar, lower oil prices and artificially lower the purchasing power of gold. The problem of the West is that the stocks of physical gold in possession of the West are not unlimited. Therefore, the more the West devalues oil and gold against the US dollar, the faster it loses devaluing Gold from its not infinite reserves.
In this brilliantly played by Putin economic combination the physical gold is rapidly flowing to Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and India, the BRICS countries, from the reserves of the West. At the current rate of reduction of reserves of physical gold, the West simply does not have the time to do anything against Putin’s Russia until the collapse of the entire Western petrodollar world. In chess the situation in which Putin has put the West, led by the US, is called “time trouble”.

The Western world has never faced such economic events and phenomena that are happening right now. USSR rapidly sold gold during the fall of oil prices. Russia rapidly buys gold during the fall in oil prices. Thus, Russia poses a real threat to the American model of petrodollar world domination.

The main principle of world petrodollar model is allowing Western countries led by the United States to live at the expense of the labor and resources of other countries and peoples based on the role of the US currency, dominant in the global monetary system (GMS) . The role of the US dollar in the GMS is that it is the ultimate means of payment. This means that the national currency of the United States in the structure of the GMS is the ultimate asset accumulator, to exchange which to any other asset does not make sense.

What the BRICS countries, led by Russia and China, are doing now is actually changing the role and status of the US dollar in the global monetary system. From the ultimate means of payment and asset accumulation, the national currency of the USA, by the joint actions of Moscow and Beijing is turned into only an intermediate means of payment. Intended only to exchange this interim payment for another and the ulimate financial asset – gold. Thus, the US dollar actually loses its role as the ultimate means of payment and asset accumulation, yielding both of those roles to another recognized, denationalized and depoliticized monetary asset – gold.

Traditionally, the West has used two methods to eliminate the threat to the hegemony of petrodollar model in the world and the consequent excessive privileges for the West.

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One of these methods – colored revolutions. The second method, which is usually applied by the West, if the first fails – military aggression and bombing. But in Russia’s case both of these methods are either impossible or unacceptable for the West.
Because, firstly, the population of Russia, unlike people in many other countries, does not wish to exchange their freedom and the future of their children for Western kielbasa. This is evident from the record ratings of Putin, regularly published by the leading Western rating agencies. Personal friendship of Washington protégé Navalny with Senator McCain played for him and Washington a very negative role. Having learned this fact from the media, 98% of the Russian population now perceive Navalny only as a vassal of Washington and a traitor of Russia’s national interests. Therefore Western professionals, who have not yet lost their mind, cannot dream about any color revolution in Russia.

As for the second traditional Western way of direct military aggression, Russia is certainly not Yugoslavia, not Iraq or Libya. In any non-nuclear military operation against Russia, on the territory of Russia, the West led by the US is doomed to defeat. And the generals in the Pentagon exercising real leadership of NATO forces are aware of this. Similarly hopeless is a nuclear war against Russia, including the concept of so-called “preventive disarming nuclear strike”. NATO is simply not technically able to strike a blow that would completely disarm the nuclear potential of Russia in all its many manifestations. A massive nuclear retaliatory strike on the enemy or a pool of enemies would be inevitable. And its total capacity will be enough for survivors to envy the dead. That is, an exchange of nuclear strikes with a country like Russia is not a solution to the looming problem of the collapse of a petrodollar world. It is in the best case, a final chord and the last point in the history of its existence. In the worst case – a nuclear winter and the demise of all life on the planet, except for the bacteria mutated from radiation.

gdch4Yugoslav economy before the Western intervention of the proxy war, depopulation and de-industrialization of any important Slavic state and the NAM leader.

The Western economic establishment can see and understand the essence of the situation. Leading Western economists are certainly aware of the severity of the predicament and hopelessness of the situation the Western world finds itself in, in Putin’s economic gold trap. After all, since the Bretton Woods agreements, we all know the Golden rule: “Who has more gold sets the rules.” But everyone in the West is silent about it. Silent because no one knows now how to get out of this situation.

If you explain to the Western public all the details of the looming economic disaster, the public will ask the supporters of a petrodollar world the most terrible questions, which will sound like this:
– How long will the West be able to buy oil and gas from Russia in exchange for physical gold?
And what will happen to the US petrodollar after the West runs out of physical gold to pay for Russian oil, gas and uranium, as well as to pay for Chinese goods? No one in the west today can answer these seemingly simple questions.
And, this is called “Checkmate”, ladies and gentlemen. The game is over.

 

Original text: Grandmaster Putin’s Golden Trap taken with the permission from the Gold-Eagle (www.gold-eagle.com/)

Economy

Is Myanmar an ethical minefield for multinational corporations?

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Business at a crossroads

Political reforms in Myanmar started in November 2010 followed by the release of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and ended by the coup d’état in February 2021. Business empire run by the military generals thanks to the fruitful benefits of democratic transition during the last decade will come to an end with the return of trade and diplomatic sanctions from the western countries – United States (US) and members of European Union (EU).  US and EU align with other major international partners quickly responded and imposed sanctions over the military’s takeover and subsequent repression in Myanmar. These measures targeted not only the conglomerates of the military generals  but also the individuals who have been appointed in the authority positions and supporting the military regime.

However, the generals and their cronies own the majority of economic power both in strategic sectors ranging from telecommunication to oil & gas and in non-strategic commodity sectors such as food and beverages, construction materials, and the list goes on. It is a tall order for the investors to do business by avoiding this lucrative network of the military across the country. After the coup, it raises the most puzzling issue to investors and corporate giants in this natural resource-rich country, “Should I stay or Should I go?”

Crimes against humanity

For most of the people in the country, war crimes and atrocities committed by the military are nothing new. For instances, in 1988, student activists led a political movement and tried to bring an end to the military regime of the general Ne Win. This movement sparked a fire and grew into a nationwide uprising in a very short period but the military used lethal force and slaughtered thousands of civilian protestors including medical doctors, religious figures, student leaders, etc. A few months later, the public had no better options than being silenced under barbaric torture and lawless killings of the regime.

In 2007, there was another major protest called ‘Saffron Uprising’ against the military regime led by the Buddhist monks. It was actually the biggest pro-democracy movement since 1988 and the atmosphere of the demonstration was rather peaceful and non-violent before the military opened live ammunitions towards the crowd full of monks. Everything was in chaos for a couple of months but it ended as usual.

In 2017, the entire world witnessed one of the most tragic events in Myanmar – Again!. The reports published by the UN stated that hundreds of civilians were killed, dozens of villages were burnt down, and over 700,000 people including the majority of Rohingya were displaced to neighboring countries because of the atrocities committed by the military in the western border of the country. After four years passed, the repatriation process and the safety return of these refugees to their places of origin are yet unknown. Most importantly, there is no legal punishment for those who committed and there is no transitional justice for those who suffered in the aforementioned examples of brutalities.

The vicious circle repeated in 2021. With the economy in free fall and the deadliest virus at doorsteps, the people are still unbowed by the oppression of the junta and continue demanding the restoration of democracy and justice. To date, Assistant Association for Political Prisoner (AAPP) reported that due to practicing the rights to expression, 1178 civilians were killed and 7355 were arrested, charged or sentenced by the military junta. Unfortunately, the numbers are still increasing.

Call for economic disengagement

In 2019, the economic interests of the military were disclosed by the report of UN Fact-Finding Mission in which Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holding Limited (MEHL) were described as the prominent entities controlled by the military profitable through the almost-monopoly market in real estate, insurance, health care, manufacturing, extractive industry and telecommunication. It also mentioned the list of foreign businesses in partnership with the military-linked activities which includes Adani (India), Kirin Holdings (Japan), Posco Steel (South Korea), Infosys (India) and Universal Apparel (Hong Kong).

Moreover, Justice for Myanmar, a non-profit watchdog organization, revealed the specific facts and figures on how the billions of revenues has been pouring into the pockets of the high-ranked officers in the military in 2021. Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE), an another military-controlled authority body, is the key player handling the financial transactions, profit sharing, and contractual agreements with the international counterparts including Total (France), Chevron (US), PTTEP (Thailand), Petronas (Malaysia), and Posco (South Korea) in natural gas projects. It is also estimated that the military will enjoy 1.5 billion USD from these energy giants in 2022.

Additionally, data shows that the corporate businesses currently operating in Myanmar has been enriching the conglomerates of the generals and their cronies as a proof to the ongoing debate among the public and scholars, “Do sanctions actually work?” Some critics stressed that sanctions alone might be difficult to pressure the junta without any collaborative actions from Moscow and Beijing, the longstanding allies of the military. Recent bilateral visits and arm deals between Nay Pyi Taw and Moscow dimmed the hope of the people in Myanmar. It is now crystal clear that the Burmese military never had an intention to use the money from multinational corporations for benefits of its citizens, but instead for buying weapons, building up military academies, and sending scholars to Russia to learn about military technology. In March 2021, the International Fact Finding Mission to Myanmar reiterated its recommendation for the complete economic disengagement as a response to the coup, “No business enterprise active in Myanmar or trading with or investing in businesses in Myanmar should enter into an economic or financial relationship with the security forces of Myanmar, in particular the Tatmadaw [the military], or any enterprise owned or controlled by them or their individual members…”

Blood money and ethical dilemma

In the previous military regime until 2009, the US, UK and other democratic champion countries imposed strict economic and diplomatic sanctions on Myanmar while maintaining ‘carrot and stick’ approach against the geopolitical dominance of China. Even so, energy giants such as Total (France) and Chevron (US), and other ‘low-profile’ companies from ASEAN succeeded in running their operations in Myanmar, let alone the nakedly abuses of its natural resources by China. Doing business in this country at the time of injustice is an ethical question to corporate businesses but most of them seems to prefer maximizing the wealth of their shareholders to the freedom of its bottom millions in poverty.

But there are also companies not hesitating to do something right by showing their willingness not to be a part of human right violations of the regime. For example, Australian mining company, Woodside, decided not to proceed further operations, and ‘get off the fence’ on Myanmar by mentioning that the possibility of complete economical disengagement has been under review. A breaking news in July, 2021  that surprised everyone was the exit of Telenor Myanmar – one of four current telecom operators in the country. The CEO of the Norwegian company announced that the business had been sold to M1 Group, a Lebanese investment firm, due to the declining sales and ongoing political situations compromising its basic principles of human rights and workplace safety.

In fact, cutting off the economic ties with the junta and introducing a unified, complete economic disengagement become a matter of necessity to end the consistent suffering of the people of Myanmar. Otherwise, no one can blame the people for presuming that international community is just taking a moral high ground without any genuine desire to support the fight for freedom and pro-democracy movement.

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The Covid After-Effects and the Looming Skills Shortage

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coronavirus people

The shock of the pandemic is changing the ways in which we think about the world and in which we analyze the future trajectories of development. The persistence of the Covid pandemic will likely accentuate this transformation and the prominence of the “green agenda” this year is just one of the facets of these changes. Market research as well as the numerous think-tanks will be accordingly re-calibrating the time horizons and the main themes of analysis. Greater attention to longer risks and fragilities is likely to take on greater prominence, with particular scrutiny being accorded to high-impact risk factors that have a non-negligible probability of materializing in the medium- to long-term. Apart from the risks of global warming other key risk factors involve the rising labour shortages, most notably in areas pertaining to human capital development.

The impact of the Covid pandemic on the labour market will have long-term implications, with “hysteresis effects” observed in both highly skilled and low-income tiers of the labour market. One of the most significant factors affecting the global labour market was the reduction in migration flows, which resulted in the exacerbation of labour shortages across the major migrant recipient countries, such as Russia. There was also a notable blow delivered by the pandemic to the spheres of human capital development such as education and healthcare, which in turn exacerbated the imbalances and shortages in these areas. In particular, according to the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) shortages can mount up to 9.9 million physicians, nurses and midwives globally by 2030.

In Europe, although the number of physicians and nurses has increased in general in the region by approximately 10% over the past 10 years, this increase appears to be insufficient to cover the needs of ageing populations. At the same time the WHO points to sizeable inequalities in the availability of physicians and nurses between countries, whereby there are 5 times more doctors in some countries than in others. The situation with regard to nurses is even more acute, as data show that some countries have 9 times fewer nurses than others.

In the US substantial labour shortages in the healthcare sector are also expected, with anti-crisis measures falling short of substantially reversing the ailments in the national healthcare system. In particular, data published by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), suggests that the United States could see an estimated shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, including shortfalls in both primary and specialty care.

The blows sustained by global education from the pandemic were no less formidable. These affected first and foremost the youngest generation of the globe – according to UNESCO, “more than 1.5 billion students and youth across the planet are or have been affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic”. On top of the adverse effects on the younger generation (see Box 1), there is also the widening “teachers gap”, namely a worldwide shortage of well-trained teachers. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), “69 million teachers must be recruited to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030”.

From our partner RIAC

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Accelerating COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake to Boost Malawi’s Economic Recovery

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Lunzu market in southern Malawi. WFP/Greg Barrow

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries including Malawi have struggled to mitigate its impact amid limited fiscal support and fragile health systems. The pandemic has plunged the continent into its first recession in over 25 years, and vulnerable groups such as the poor, informal sector workers, women, and youth, suffer disproportionately from reduced opportunities and unequal access to social safety nets.

Fast-tracking COVID-19 vaccine acquisition—alongside widespread testing, improved treatment, and strong health systems—are critical to protecting lives and stimulating economic recovery. In support of the African Union’s (AU) target to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent’s population by 2022, the World Bank and the AU announced a partnership to assist the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative with resources, allowing countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million Africans. This extraordinary effort complements COVAX and comes at a time of rising cases in the region.

I am convinced that unless every country in the world has fair, broad, and fast access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, we will not stem the spread of the pandemic and set the global economy on track for a steady and inclusive recovery. The World Bank has taken unprecedented steps to ramp up financing for Malawi, and every country in Africa, to empower them with the resources to implement successful vaccination campaigns and compensate for income losses, food price increases, and service delivery disruptions.

In line with Malawi’s COVID-19 National Response and Preparedness Plan which aims to vaccinate 60 percent of the population, the World Bank approved $30 million in additional financing for the acquisition and deployment of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. This financing comes as a boost to Malawi’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project, bringing World Bank contributions in this sector up to $37 million.

Malawi’s decision to purchase 1.8 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines through the AU/African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) with World Bank financing is a welcome development and will enable Malawi to secure additional vaccines to meet its vaccination target.

However, Malawi’s vaccination campaign has encountered challenges driven by concerns regarding safety, efficacy, religious and cultural beliefs. These concerns, combined with abundant misinformation, are fueling widespread vaccine hesitancy despite the pandemic’s impact on the health and welfare of billions of people.  The low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is of great concern, and it remains an uphill battle to reach the target of 60 percent by the end of 2023 from the current 2.2 percent.

Government leadership remains fundamental as the country continues to address vaccine hesitancy by consistently communicating the benefits of the vaccine, releasing COVID data, and engaging communities to help them understand how this impacts them.

As we deploy targeted resources to address COVID-19, we are also working to ensure that these investments support a robust, sustainable and resilient recovery. Our support emphasizes transparency, social protection, poverty alleviation, and policy-based financing to make sure that COVID assistance gets to the people who have been hit the hardest.

For example, the Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship Scaling Project (FInES) in Malawi is supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises by providing them with $47 million in affordable credit through commercial banks and microfinance institutions. Eight months into implementation, approximately $8.4 million (MK6.9 billion) has been made available through three commercial banks on better terms and interest rates. Additionally, nearly 200,000 urban households have received cash transfers and urban poor now have more affordable access to water to promote COVID-19 prevention.

Furthermore, domestic mobilization of resources for the COVID-19 response are vital to ensuring the security of supply of health sector commodities needed to administer vaccinations and sustain ongoing measures. Likewise, regional approaches fostering cross-border collaboration are just as imperative as in-country efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. United Nations (UN) partners in Malawi have been instrumental in convening regional stakeholders and supporting vaccine deployment.

Taking broad, fast action to help countries like Malawi during this unprecedented crisis will save lives and prevent more people falling into poverty. We thank Malawi for their decisive action and will continue to support the country and its people to build a resilient and inclusive recovery.

This op-ed first appeared in The Nation, via World Bank

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