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Two-Thirds of Poorer Countries Are Cutting Education Budgets Due to COVID-19

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Children in Côte d'Ivoire wear face masks as they return to school after temporary closures due to COVID-19. © UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

Education budgets are not adjusting proportionately to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, especially in poorer countries.  Despite additional funding needs, two-thirds of low- and lower-middle-income countries have, in fact, cut their public education budgets since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the new joint World Bank – UNESCO Education Finance Watch (EFW)

In comparison, only one-third of upper-middle and high-income countries have reduced their budgets.  These budget cuts have been relatively small thus far, but there is a danger that future cuts will be larger, as the pandemic continues to take its economic toll, and fiscal positions worsen.  These differing trends imply a significant widening of the already large spending disparities seen between low- and high-income countries.

According to the new report, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2018-19, high-income countries were spending annually the equivalent of US$8,501 for every child or youth’s education compared to US$48 in low-income countries. COVID-19 is only widening this huge per-capita education spending gap between rich and poor countries.

EFW stresses that the education finance challenge is not only about mobilizing resources, but also about improving the effectiveness of funding. Unfortunately, recent increases in public education spending have been associated with relatively small improvements in education outcomes. Although access to education has improved, the learning poverty rate – the proportion of 10-year-olds unable to read a short, age-appropriate text – was 53 percent in low- and middle-income countries prior to COVID-19, compared to only 9 percent for high-income countries.  COVID-19 related school closures are likely to increase this 53 percent share to as much as 63 percent.

“This is a critical moment where countries need to recover the learning losses the pandemic is generating, invest in remedial education, and use this window of opportunity to build more effective, equitable, and resilient systems,” said Mamta Murthi, World Bank Vice President for Human Development.  “The learning poverty crisis that existed before COVID-19 is becoming even more severe, and we are also concerned about how unequal the impact is.  Countries and the international development community must invest more and invest better in education systems and strengthen the link between spending and learning and other human capital outcomes.”

EFW notes that global spending on education has increased over the last 10 years, but the signs are that the pandemic may interrupt this upward trend. Funding for education has grown most rapidly in low- and lower-middle-income countries, where the gaps between the funding needed to achieve the SDGs and current allocations are the widest. The deterioration in government finances over the medium-term suggests that without concerted efforts to prioritize education, the outlook for mobilizing the domestic resources required for education will worsen.

Aid for education has increased by 21 percent over the last 10 years. Disbursements had increased rapidly in the 2000s and fell between 2010 and 2014 in the aftermath of the great financial crisis. However, since 2014, aid to education has increased by 30 percent, reaching its highest recorded level of US$ 15.9 billion in 2019. However, fiscal constraints, other sectoral needs, and changes in student mobility patterns, suggest that external aid for education might fall at a time when it is needed most.    

“External financing is key to support the education opportunities of the world’s poorest,” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General at UNESCO. “Yet donor countries are likely – and some have already begun – to shift their budget away from aid to domestic priorities. Health and other emergencies are also competing for funds.  We foresee a challenging environment for countries reliant on education aid. UNESCO estimates that it may fall by US$ 2 billion from its peak in 2020 and not return to 2018 levels for another six years.” 

The EFW is a collaborative effort between the World Bank and the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report team.  It will be produced annually following the main release of spending data by UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics.  The EFW aims to draw together the best data available on all sources of education funding and monitor efforts to improve information on the levels and use of education funding.  However, good quality and timely information on government, household, and aid spending in education is not readily available in all countries.  This hinders planning and monitoring at a time when countries cannot afford any missteps.

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Your brand needs to be on Twitter, here is why

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Most of us are familiar with doing business physically through stores, but with the introduction of the internet, there are new ways that businesses can showcase and sell their products or services. One of the most used avenues for that is social media which comes with many alternatives depending on the target market you are looking for. While some cater to specific age groups, others cater to multiple age groups. There’s a platform for everyone and more are still coming onto the scene.

Some popular social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Our focus is on Twitter which is a text-based platform that allows sharing of information in real-time. Many brands are leveraging the power of Twitter to increase their brand awareness that potentially could result in sales. This can only happen by drawing in more followers either by yourself or using growth services. It is very easy to buy real Twitter followers via a growth service like Twesocial, and the choice is dependent on your budget and capacity. Some of the reasons why Twitter should be on your social media platform list will be shared in this article.

Talk to Consumers

Twitter is an interactive platform. Besides sharing content about your brand, you get to interact through their different engagement features such as retweets, likes, and comments. This creates a voice behind your brand that allows users to connect. Users want to associate with brands that sound human which means they speak and respond to their queries. Due to its real-time sharing features, you also get to share as much as you can with users that helps them get to know what your brand is all about and what value it can add to them. Being communicative on Twitter will also help you build trusting relationships with your audience and create a devoted community faster. To make this process even more efficient and less time-consuming, you can also buy Twitter followers for your brand account and create your own fanbase with ease.

Drive Traffic

There are options in your profile to add different things including a bio, profile picture, and link to your website. If your bio is attractive, customers may be drawn to investigate more through your website which you should include in the profile. This means it will drive traffic toward your site. Additionally, you may add a link in responses to questions asked by users on Twitter that can direct them to sections of your site that answer their questions. This gives your website more visibility and allows users to get much more information than they may be able to find on your Twitter page.

Research Your Sector

Fortunately, Twitter has so many other businesses that may be in your niche. To understand how your niche works, you may consider doing research through Twitter on the competition to help you understand the ins and outs and guide you on what works best both on and off social media. You do not have to learn it all on your own if you can leverage social media. You can learn some marketing tactics like hosting promotions, events, using hashtags, and using videos in your tweets to boost engagement. There is a lot of benefit to using Twitter to research the best ways to market your business and stand out from the competition.

Convenience

You do not need to carry a whole marketing team with you to tweet. Since Twitter is available on mobile devices, you can take it anywhere you go including your trips, and still be able to post and engage with your customers at any time. This means you can respond to customer queries anytime and anywhere. This makes a brand more available to customers which can help it stand out in a time where people want immediate responses to their queries. Additionally, it is also free to join Twitter which makes it very affordable for any business especially those starting.

Conclusion

Twitter is a great platform once you learn how you can use it best to create awareness about your brand. It offers many features that if used right, can push your business to the next level. Since information is regularly changing on the platform, you can constantly update posts to get more engagement depending on your niche. The value you get includes convenience, a research resource, increasing website traffic, and engaging consumers.

If you want an affordable means to get the word out and interact with customers regularly, you should consider Twitter and all its features. Used correctly, the sky’s the limit for your business.

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How Twitter can help your business

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Twitter is easily one of the leading online platforms which encourages networking on a global scale. The number of users, more than 300 million, is staggering and this is not through sheer luck on their part. The virtual destination provides many advantages including a delectable smorgasbord of ideas for your business. Avoid it at your peril. Here, you can in very little time, easily and cost-effectively develop your brand, its awareness, relationships with customers, past, present, and future, especially if you decide to buy real Twitter followers. A tweet is a post, Twitter style. It will include content, copy and visuals are possible, which captivate your followers. Playstation, Starbucks, and Chanel are among the most popular brands, with a combined following of 42 million people. Brainstorm these ideas as relates to your business and upon implementation, you’ll enjoy their effects.

1. Brand Story
The story about your multi-faceted business should be diligently threaded across your content calendar. Whether your business is complex in its offering or not, your tweets must be diverse in their topic. Impress with accolades received, ooze humility sincerely with a question about a product color you’re grappling with, showcase team member achievements, or the fun on offer at the trade expo you’re attending. Your followers will be converted to loyal and long-term customers if you bear all, professionally. Because Twitter is such a good place to build a dedicated community, you should use it for your own good. The best way to ensure stable community growth is to buy Twitter followers for your account and see the immediate results for your business.


2. Generate Traffic
Social media content calendars often include a call to action, usefully encouraging a specific activity and how and where to do so, which very often will direct the individual to your website, blog, or perhaps an insightful video. Twitter generates traffic to your other important locales, which is one or more steps closer to a purchasing decision. This is what you want and lots of it!


3. Tweet from Anywhere
If your launch strategy includes activity on Twitter next Wednesday, while you’ll be basking in the sun on a beach in the Mediterranean, finally enjoying a long overdue vacation, execute it from your lounger, on your mobile device. You don’t need your larger devices to navigate Twitter and enjoy success. The ease with which you can communicate with followers easily categorizes this platform as one of enormous convenience.


4. Massive Reach
You have never had this number of people quite literally at your fingertips. Be crystal clear about who your target audience is. That your offering has a 250km radius limitation, is crucial information. If you have a limited quantity of an item, your content must reference this. You do not want to disappoint someone continents away, who thinks that what you offer is theirs for the taking when that is not the case. You have an opportunity for massive reach. Plan well and your bottom line will impress all stakeholders.

5. Research Competitors
Know what your competitors are doing. Follow their Twitter profiles and make note of what type of content tends to elicit the greatest level of engagement, good or bad. Follow some of their more active followers, which may lead you to more like-minded prospects. Keep a close eye on their influencer activity. All this research will provide a useful understanding and may inform some of your future choices. However, Twitter has over 350 million monthly users, so avoid focusing your efforts on trying to out-perform them. Focus instead on doing what you do, to a level of excellence and soon enough, your competitors will be following your lead.

Twitter must be included in your comprehensive marketing campaign. Its statistics are indicative of an organization that understands very well what it can do for you and it supports your success, with continual enhancements, all of which will continue to generate traffic, conveniently.

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F.B.I. Official’s Indictment Shows oligarch infiltrated the highest echelons of the government

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The search for kompromat on his opponent in a conflict with shareholders was highly regarded by Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.

That is the conclusion that can be drawn from studying the F.B.I indictment against Charles McGonigal, who, according to the indictment, headed the counterintelligence unit at the bureau’s New York field office. McGonigal, 54, is a former high-ranking F.B.I. official, who was involved in counterintelligence work and investigations against Russian oligarchs.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York accused him of circumventing sanctions and conspiracy to launder funds. Mr. Deripaska is mentioned in almost every paragraph of the 21-page document. The indictment, signed by prosecutor Damian Williams, says efforts to remove Deripaska from the U.S. sanctions list were made by McGonigal in 2019. The payment is $25,000 a month through a shell firm.

Mr. Deripaska, the aluminum magnate, has been on the radar of U.S. authorities for years and is still under sanctions. The Treasury Department said he had ties to organized crime.

Rebecca Davis O’Brien covers law enforcement and courts in New York wrote: For years, Mr. Deripaska, 55, has employed a small army of lobbyists, lawyers, consultants and fixers to protect his business and personal interests and smooth his access to Western countries.

For 2021, the New York federal prosecutor’s office indicted a number of these individuals for helping to circumvent sanctions.

The name of the person against whom the former F.B.I. agent, obviously not without the help of his colleagues, was supposed to collect sensitive information is not disclosed. In the document, he appears under the code name Oligarch-2. However, behind this wording, it could be guessed Vladimir Potanin, who is an opponent of Mr. Deripaska in the long-running shareholder dispute at Norilsk Nickel.

Mr. Deripaska tried to find dirty evidence on his competitor, possibly lobbying also for the inclusion of his competitor’s companies on sanctions lists in order to weaken his position in the corporation, which they both own roughly equal shares of.

It is not clear from the indictment how Mr. McGonigal got onto Mr. Deripaska’s radar.

According to the indictment against Mr. McGonigal, while he was still working for the bureau in 2018, Sergey Shestakov – a former Soviet and Russian diplomat and translator who was also charged in the case – introduced Mr. McGonigal by email to an employee of Mr. Deripaska. That person was identified in the charges as Agent-1 and described as a former Soviet and Russian Federation diplomat.

In 2017, the Associated Press published an article alleging that Mr. Deripaska paid $10 million to American lobbyist Paul Manafort in 2007-2009 to promote his interests in the United States. Almost at the same time, NBC cover a story about a $60 million loan that Deripaska’s structures allegedly gave to Manafort-affiliated companies.

Mr. Deripaska got rich, in the 1990s, when there was a struggle for control of the largest subsoil resources of the Soviet Union and gained a reputation as a ruthless man with a bad reputation.

He also built relationships with politicians and other key figures in countries in the West, especially in Britain, Europe, and the United States, including hosting parties at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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