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“Stakeholder Capitalism” Making the Case for a Global Economy that Works for Progress

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Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and author of the best-selling books “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” and “COVID-19: The Great Reset” released his new book, “Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy that Works for Progress, People and Planet”, co-authored with Peter Vanham.

In the book, Schwab looks at the achievements and shortcomings of the global economic system dominant in the past decades: shareholder capitalism in the West, and state capitalism in the East. Both systems enabled unprecedented advances in wealth, measured by GDP and profits, he writes. But they also led to historical economic inequality, and the degradation of the environment.

“We can’t continue with an economic system driven by selfish values, such as short-term profit maximization, the avoidance of tax and regulation, or the externalizing of environmental harm,” Schwab writes. “Instead, we need a society, economy, and international community that is designed to care for all people and the entire planet.”

Schwab proposes a third way: the model of stakeholder capitalism. It is one where companies seek long-term value creation instead of short-term profits; governments cooperate to create the greatest possible prosperity for their people, and civil society and international organizations complete the stakeholder dialogue, helping balance the interests of people and the planet.

Schwab first wrote about the stakeholder model in his book “Modern Enterprise Management” in 1971. 50 years on, his views are becoming mainstream in the global business community. Advocacy groups such as the US Business Roundtable endorsed stakeholder capitalism in 2019, and more than 60 World Economic Forum members this week signed up for the “Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics”.

Various global commentators provided an “Advance Praise” of the book. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma said it “offers a vision for politics and economics driven not only driven by value creation, but by values”. Primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, called it “fascinating”, and Oxfam Director Gabriela Bucher a “timely analysis”. A discussion on the book was held on Monday at the Davos Agenda.

Political and business leaders also offered their endorsement, including the CEOs of Microsoft, Salesforce, Tata Sons, Grupo Santander, Bank of America, and the Prime Ministers of Belgium and the Netherlands, Alexander De Croo and Mark Rutte. Excerpts of the book are available for publication here, and here.

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Mongolia Shows Improvement in Management of Public Finances

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Mongolia’s management of public finances has improved, but further reforms are needed in some areas to achieve international best practice standards, a recent
World Bank assessment finds.

The recently completed Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA)report, which assessed the performance of Mongolia’s public financial management system against international benchmarks, concluded that Mongolia scored well in relation to access to public information, the budget preparation process, financial data integrity, and external audit.  In the application of international accounting standards, fiscal risk management, medium-term budgeting, and the use of performance evaluation to enhance government service delivery, further reforms are needed to enhance fiscal discipline, ensure resources are allocated as intended, and improve service delivery, the report found.   

“Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability assessment provides an excellent foundation for Mongolia to measure its progress in driving improvement in its public financial management,” said Andrei Mikhnev, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia. “The current report will also be used to assess the success of our current programs for supporting effective governance in Mongolia and in designing future programs.” 

The European Union and Mongolia have a long-term and broad partnership. The report demonstrates Mongolia’s willingness to further improve the management of its public finances,” said Ambassador-designate Axelle Nicaise, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia. “The EU will continue to assist Mongolia in its public financial management reform agenda, also with our budget support program”.

Mongolia has gradually undertaken reforms to strengthen fiscal discipline and the public financial management system, the report notes. The first phase of reforms between 2003 and 2008 established the basic elements of the system, including strengthening internal controls, cash management, and accounting and reporting. The second phase of reforms between 2008 and 2011 included improvements in fiscal policy, budget planning, and decentralization of roles and resources to subnational governments. More recently, Mongolia has been pursuing a number of initiatives to improve macro-fiscal management and government service delivery.

The report assesses reform progress over the last 5 years. Of the 31 indicators in the assessment framework, 12 indicators show improvement, 13 indicators are unchanged, and three have deteriorated.

The greatest gains since a 2015 assessment were in the areas of budget credibility, the predictability and control of budget execution, revenue administration processes, budget release processes, cash and debt recording, and payroll controls. Comprehensiveness and transparency, policy-based budgeting, accounting and reporting, and external scrutiny and audit were elements of public financial management that remained relatively consistent over time.

The World Bank congratulates the institutions involved in the progress made to enhance public finance governance.” said Alma Kanani, World Bank Governance Practice Manager for East Asia and the Pacific. “It is very good to see that the government’s continuous commitment to reforms is producing results.”

The assessment was made possible with financing from the EU-funded Strengthening Governance in Mongolia Project. The publication of the report coincides with a planned review and update of the public financial management reform strategy and action plan, and the assessment will provide an important input to the design of future reforms to further strengthen fiscal governance and public financial management.

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7 Business Lessons We Learned in 2021

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2020 was a year unlike any other. It saw the advent of the coronavirus pandemic that affected every nation on earth and plummeted the international economy. Several businesses crashed and had to depend on bailouts and loans. A lot of people lost their jobs, and countries went into recession.

Despite all that, company owners and entrepreneurs learned a lot of business lessons. The future of work changed permanently. Business practices and small business financing in the future will never be the same. 

1.      Remote work is the future

The pandemic brought out the usefulness, ease, and convenience of remote work. Several companies and government organizations embraced remote work, and it is fast becoming a norm. Even when lockdowns eased and the effects of the pandemic lessened, remote work was still a thing for several companies. Square, Twitter, and other companies have fully adopted remote work. Most workers mentioned that they preferred remote work compared to having come into physical offices. Hybrid models that combined both remote and physical work also emerged.  

As a company owner, this means that you can hire people from anywhere around the world for your business. You can hire people from third-world countries and still get premium service and the best of talents. This might cost you less than what you will spend for onsite physical hires. You’ll also save money on office space andsmall business financing. Your staff will save money on commute time and transport expenses. You only need to find the right tech tools like Slack, Calendly, and more.      

2.      Work meetings do not have to be physical

The pandemic massively boosted the popularity of online meetings. Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other platforms became the official meeting channel of several companies, with Zoom being the biggest gainer.

“Mute your mic,” “Turn off your camera,” “Your mic is muted,” and other phrases became very popular. But once people got the hang of things, these meetings worked. Gone are the days of jumping on late-night flights and battling jet lag to attend business meetings across continents. Remote meetings work just fine.

With online meetings, you can better utilize your small business loans on other critical aspects of your business.     

3.      Diversify where possible

Several businesses suffered during the pandemic. The companies that were able to withstand the effects most were those that diversified. If diversification does not cause a strain on your resources or a loss of focus, go for it.

Before obtaining financial support for your small business, think of means by which you can perfectly utilize the money to expand your operation and diversify as needed.   

4.      Have business reserves and savings

A lot of businesses were forced to turn to their cash reserves after sales got hit by the pandemic. All ventures, from one-person businesses to giant corporations, were not spared. Companies had to be bailed out by the government and others had to apply for small business financing loans. The aviation, hospitality, and transportation sectors were the worst hit of all. Lots of workers were laid off, with companies losing talented staff that they had spent resources hiring, training, and onboarding.

Companiess now realize the extreme importance of having cash reserves and emergency backup savings.     

5.      Have a disaster relief plan in place

The fastest companies to recover from the effects of the pandemic were those that had a disaster relief plan in place. These companies were better equipped to deal with the disastrous effects of the pandemic. 

6.      Virtual workspaces will become a thing

Tech companies are now developing technology for virtual workspaces. These workspaces will include hardware and software that will foster closer connectivity among employees in remote locations. 5G, virtual reality headsets, AI-powered assistants, IoT, and other emerging technology will make this a reality. 

During the pandemic, companies like Duolingo held virtual office hangouts, cooking classes, movie nights, and more extracurricular activities using virtual technology.     

7.      Future businesses should have an agile culture  

2020 taught us that work should have an agile, flexible culture, and they must be willing to adapt to changes as fast as possible. Companies with an agile culture were the fastest to adapt to the pandemic. Flexibility allows an organization to be better prepared for crises and unexpected circumstances.  

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International community strikes a ground-breaking tax deal for the digital age

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Major reform of the international tax system finalised today at the OECD will ensure that Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) will be subject to a minimum 15% tax rate from 2023.

The landmark deal, agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions representing more than 90% of global GDP, will also reallocate more than USD 125 billion of profits from around 100 of the world’s largest and most profitable MNEs to countries worldwide, ensuring that these firms pay a fair share of tax wherever they operate and generate profits.

Following years of intensive negotiations to bring the international tax system into the 21st century, 136 jurisdictions (out of the 140 members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS) joined the Statement on the Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy. It updates and finalises a July political agreement by members of the Inclusive Framework to fundamentally reform international tax rules.

With Estonia, Hungary and Ireland having joined the agreement, it is now supported by all OECD and G20 countries. Four countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have not yet joined the agreement.

The two-pillar solution will be delivered to the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington D.C. on 13 October, then to the G20 Leaders Summit in Rome at the end of the month.

The global minimum tax agreement does not seek to eliminate tax competition, but puts multilaterally agreed limitations on it, and will see countries collect around USD 150 billion in new revenues annually. Pillar One will ensure a fairer distribution of profits and taxing rights among countries with respect to the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises. It will re-allocate some taxing rights over MNEs from their home countries to the markets where they have business activities and earn profits, regardless of whether firms have a physical presence there.  Specifically, multinational enterprises with global sales above EUR 20 billion and profitability above 10% – that can be considered as the winners of globalisation – will be covered by the new rules, with 25% of profit above the 10% threshold to be reallocated to market jurisdictions.

Under Pillar One, taxing rights on more than USD 125 billion of profit are expected to be reallocated to market jurisdictions each year. Developing country revenue gains are expected to be greater than those in more advanced economies, as a proportion of existing revenues.

Pillar Two introduces a global minimum corporate tax rate set at 15%.  The new minimum tax rate will apply to companies with revenue above EUR 750 million and is estimated to generate around USD 150 billion in additional global tax revenues annually. Further benefits will also arise from the stabilisation of the international tax system and the increased tax certainty for taxpayers and tax administrations.

“Today’s agreement will make our international tax arrangements fairer and work better,” said OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann. “This is a major victory for effective and balanced multilateralism. It is a far-reaching agreement which ensures our international tax system is fit for purpose in a digitalised and globalised world economy. We must now work swiftly and diligently to ensure the effective implementation of this major reform,” Secretary-General Cormann said.  

Countries are aiming to sign a multilateral convention during 2022, with effective implementation in 2023. The convention is already under development and will be the vehicle for implementation of the newly agreed taxing right under Pillar One, as well as for the standstill and removal provisions in relation to all existing Digital Service Taxes and other similar relevant unilateral measures. This will bring more certainty and help ease trade tensions. The OECD will develop model rules for bringing Pillar Two into domestic legislation during 2022, to be effective in 2023.

Developing countries, as members of the Inclusive Framework on an equal footing, have played an active role in the negotiations and the Two-Pillar Solution contains a number of features to ensure that the concerns of low-capacity countries are addressed. The OECD will ensure the rules can be effectively and efficiently administered, also offering comprehensive capacity building support to countries which need it.

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