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Silk Road Fund debuts in Pakistan

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China’s $40-billion Silk Road Fund for investment, part of the nation’s commitment to the Belt and Road initiative, announced its first project on April 20 during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Islamabad.

Silk Road Fund Co, the management arm of the fund, has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Three Gorges Corp and the Pakistan Private Power and Infrastructure Board to provide capital to build the Karot Hydropower Project on the Jhelum River in northeast Pakistan.

It is the fund’s first investment project since it was established in Beijing in December.

According to the agreement, the fund will provide capital and serve as a major shareholder in China Three Gorges South Asia Investment, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corp, to support clean-energy development projects in Pakistan.

The fund will also provide loans to the project by joining a consortium led by the Export-Import Bank of China.

Karot Hydropower station is a priority project within the broader China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative, proposed by Premier Li Keqiang in May 2013. The initiative aims to build a $46-billion 3,000-kilometer-long route from China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region through the Karakoram mountain range and Pakistan’s Balochistan, to the Gwadar Port, connecting China, Pakistan and the Arab world.

The project is in the fourth stage of the river’s five-stage development plan, with an installed capacity of 720,000 kilowatts and an annual power generation capacity of 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours. It requires a total investment of about $1.65 billion.

Chinese companies plan to develop a total capacity of 3,350 megawatts along the Jhelum River through new developments, and mergers and acquisitions, according to a statement from the fund.

Construction of the project is to start by the end of this year and commence operations in 2020, the statement said. “The station will be operated by the Chinese side for 30 years and then transferred to the government of Pakistan.”

As a market-oriented investment fund targeting medium- and long-term projects, the Silk Road Fund will focus on key projects along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road while continuing to find potential targets, the company said.

In November, Xi announced during the Beijing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings that China would contribute $40 billion to set up the Silk Road Fund. He emphasized that the fund will be used to provide investment and financing support for infrastructure, resources, industrial cooperation, financial cooperation and other projects in countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the Chinese central bank governor, has described the fund as a “private equity” investor with a longer investment return.

Jin Qi, chairwoman of the fund management company, said the projects will also support the development of Chinese high-tech and equipment manufacturing industries by helping enterprises go overseas.

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First published by the China Daily

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Promoting Economic Security: Enhancing Stability and Well-being

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The stability and well-being of people, communities, and countries are critically dependent on economic security. It covers a range of topics, such as access to necessities, work opportunities, stable incomes, and defense against economic shocks. The need of guaranteeing economic security has increased significantly in the modern world, which is characterized by technical developments, geopolitical shifts, and unexpected disasters. The importance of economic security is examined in this article, along with important tactics for promoting adaptability and preserving people’s quality of life.

The value of economic security to individuals, communities, and countries cannot be overstated. By fostering an atmosphere where people and families can achieve their basic needs without suffering undue stress, it promotes stability. Because of this stability, people can recuperate and start over after severe shocks like economic downturns, natural disasters, or health crises.

Furthermore, economic security contributes to social cohesion by reducing inequality and fostering inclusivity. When individuals feel economically secure, they are more likely to actively participate in society, contribute to their communities, and engage in productive endeavors. This sense of security leads to greater social harmony and a collective feeling of prosperity.

Moreover, economic security is vital for long-term sustainable development. It enables individuals and societies to invest in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and innovation. These investments drive economic growth, improve overall well-being, and create the foundation for a prosperous future. By ensuring economic security, countries can build resilient and sustainable economies that benefit their citizens and contribute to global progress.

To enhance economic security, several key strategies can be implemented. Firstly, governments and businesses should prioritize diversifying their economies by promoting sectors with growth potential and resilience. By reducing reliance on a single industry or market, countries can mitigate the impact of economic downturns and build a more robust and diversified economy.

Investing in education and skills development is another crucial strategy. Governments and organizations must focus on providing quality education, vocational training, and lifelong learning opportunities. Equipping individuals with the necessary tools and knowledge enables them to adapt to changing economic landscapes and remain competitive in the job market.

Strong social safety nets are necessary to protect people during times of economic upheaval. The most disadvantaged populations should be given priority in the design and implementation of comprehensive social welfare systems by the government. Creating a safety net for all citizens entails implementing programs for income support, healthcare coverage, and unemployment benefits.

Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation can create new opportunities for economic growth and job creation. Governments can support aspiring entrepreneurs by providing access to capital, mentorship programs, and favorable regulatory environments. Embracing technological advancements and fostering a culture of innovation further enhances economic security, particularly in an increasingly digital world.

International cooperation is essential since economic security is a global issue. Cooperation between nations is necessary to advance ethical business practices, lessen economic inequality, and improve financial stability. Initiating discourse, coordinating policy, and assisting nations in economic crises are all important functions of multilateral organizations.

Societies can improve their economic security and create a more secure and prosperous future by putting these strategies into practice: diversifying the economy, investing in education and skills, creating social safety nets, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, and fostering international cooperation.

Having economic security is crucial in a world that is uncertain and changing quickly. Governments, corporations, and individuals may all work together to create an environment that promotes economic security by putting a priority on stability, resilience, and inclusivity. We can create a more resilient and prosperous future for everybody through diversity, education, social safety nets, entrepreneurship, and international cooperation. By making investments in financial stability, we build a more just and sustainable world.

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The Impact of Globalization on the South Asian Economy

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Globalization refers to the process by which economies, societies, and cultures from different countries become integrated with one another. The economies of the countries that make up South-East Asia, which include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, have been significantly impacted by the spread of globalization in recent decades. The effects of globalization on the economies of South Asian countries have been mixed, with some positive and some negative results.

Positive Impacts of Globalization on the South Asian Economy

The expansion of South-East Asia’s trade and investment opportunities is one of the aspects of globalization that has had the most positive impact on the region’s economy. Because of its large consumer base, low labor costs, and strategic location, the region has become an attractive destination for foreign investors. As a consequence of this, the level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Asia has significantly increased, which has led to the development of new industries and the production of new jobs.

The expansion of the service industry in Sout-East Asia can also be attributed to the effects of globalization. South Asian countries have emerged as a hub for the outsourcing of services such as information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing as a result of the emergence of new technologies and the increased availability of skilled labor (BPO). As a direct consequence of this, the area has benefited from an increase in both the number of available jobs and the amount of money it brings.

Last but not least, globalization has facilitated greater cultural interaction and integration throughout South-East Asia. The region possesses a significant cultural legacy, and the advent of globalization has made it possible for South Asian music, films, and cuisine to become popular all over the world. This has not only contributed to a greater awareness of the region’s cultural heritage, but it has also opened up new doors for the travel and hospitality industry.

Negative Impacts of Globalization on the South-East Asian Economy

Even though there have been some positive effects, there have also been some negative effects that globalization has had on the South Asian economy. The widening gap between rich and poor is one of the most pressing problems that we face today. The advantages brought about by globalization have accrued almost entirely to a relatively small number of people, which has contributed to a widening income gap. As a consequence of this, social unrest and a wider gap in incomes have emerged.

Another significant obstacle that has been presented is the displacement of workers and traditional industries. Due to the effects of globalization, many smaller businesses have been forced to shut down, and their employees have been relocated to larger companies that are more productive. As a consequence of this, there has been an increase in unemployment as well as social unrest, particularly in rural areas.

Globalization has contributed to the deterioration of the environment in South Asia. The region has seen a growth in industries such as the textile industry, both of which have had a significant impact on the environment as a result of their expansion. The population’s health and well-being have suffered as a direct result of environmental degradation, which can be traced back to the increased consumption of natural resources and the improper disposal of waste produced by industrial processes.

Conclusion

The economy of the South-East Asian region has been affected in both positive and negative ways by the phenomenon of globalization. While it has resulted in the growth of industries and increased cultural exchange, it has also resulted in the displacement of workers and the widening of income inequality. While it has contributed to the growth of industries and increased cultural exchange, it has also resulted in the displacement of workers. In order to address these challenges, policy interventions that foster inclusive growth, protect the environment, and create new opportunities for the population will be required. By acting in this manner, countries in South Asia will be able to take advantage of globalization’s positive aspects while mitigating some of its more damaging effects.

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Defaulting on Collateralised Chinese Loans, Ghana Will Loose its State Properties

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After several negotiations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has finally granted approval for a Special Drawing Rights of 2.242 billion, equivalent to $3 billion, to the Republic of Ghana. Its democracy and economic development down the years have been considered as model for Africa, but surprisingly under the current administration headed by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, due to gross mismanagement and inappropriate use of budgetary funds have created deep economic crisis. The government has consistently blamed Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine crisis for its economic predicament.

As part of the IMF deal, committed to implementing a number of post-pandemic programmes to build resilience and lay the foundation for stronger economic growth, including “an ambitious structural reform agenda” to reinvigorate private sector-led growth by “improving the business environment, governance and productivity.”

Historically the Government of Ghana has contracted various loans from People’s Republic of China (PRC) purposely to undertake various projects, since it took over political administration from the sustainable economic development committed National Democratic Congress (NDC), as President of the Republic Ghana in 2017. As world-wide business rules, it offered its part of its resources as collateral security, failure to repay contracted loans requires seizure of the property.

Reports have now emerged May 23, making authentic reference to the IMF that China would take over Ghana’s mineral revenue and electricity sales in default of four (4) loans. The report by the IMF on Ghana’s external debts shows that should Ghana fail to honour obligations under the loan agreement with China, it could lose revenue from its mineral resource and electricity sales.

Details of Ghana’s collateralised loans from China show that the Asian country could have the right to use proceeds from Ghana’s oil, cocoa, bauxite or even the sales from electricity to settle the debt China owns about two-thirds of all of Ghana’s external loans, making the Asian superpower an important party in discussions about Ghana’s loans.

The IMF has published details on Ghana’s four collateralised Chinese loans in a report compiled in connection with the $3 billion bailout programme. The report shows that should Ghana fail to honour obligations under the loan agreement with the Asian economic superpower, it could lose revenue from its mineral resource and electricity sales. 

According to the report by Joy News, in about 20 years, Ghana has borrowed close to $5 billion from, at least, 41 Chinese loan facilities. Per data released by the IMF, China would also have the right to use proceeds from Ghana’s oil, cocoa, bauxite or even the sales from electricity to settle the debt. This is because Ghana contracted the loans by collateralising some eight national assets. Ghana owes China $1.9 billion, but $619 million of this amount is collateralised. 

An outspoken TV personality Captain Smart predicted that Ghana could lose some critical national assets to China over a huge debt to the Asian country. The outspoken journalist mentioned the Tema Harbour, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as the likely assets that Ghana could lose. It owes China billions of dollars, which represents about a third of all its foreign debts. Captain Smart of Onua TV said a similar takeover of national assets by China has occurred in Uganda, Zambia and Sri Lanka. 

In another media report monitored by this author, Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has visited China for debt support talks. He said, at the time, that the visit to China was important because amid Ghana’s financial and economic challenges, China represents about a third of the $5.7 billion Ghana owes externally. The loans granted by the IMF, $600 million represents the first disbursement out of the $3 billion loan hit the accounts of the Bank of Ghana last week. 

In any case, there are a few important facts President Nana Akufo-Addo has said about IMF bailout. Monitoring media reports, for instance, YEN.com.gh reported in a related story that President Nana Akufo-Addo spoke for the first time about the IMF bailout during a mammoth rally held in the city Kumawu located in the Ashanti Region. 

According to him, it is not true that he mismanaged the economy and run to the IMF because 29 other countries have signed up for various programmes with the Fund. He also promised that before he concludes the end of his tenure in 2024, he would have fulfilled all his promises to Ghanaians and put the economy in a much better shape with the leverage to the IMF $3 billion.

Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor Dr. Ernest Addison has informed that a comprehensive strategy to revive the nation’s financial sector is being readied for the end of June, as part of the $3 billion facility being provided by the International Monetary Fund. The proposed reforms aim to strengthen the sector, restore market confidence and promote lending to the private sector – while commercial banks, special deposit-taking institutions and other regulated entities must submit plans for recapitalisation. 

As of 2019, Ghana was the 7th largest producer of gold in the world. It is a leading producer and exporter of cocoa to Europe. It is the 2nd largest producer of cocoa globally. According to the President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghana was “the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve the goal of halving poverty, as contained in Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals.” The Republic of Ghana, with a population of over 32 million, is located on the coast of West Africa. 

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