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David Malpass: Development in a Time of Upheaval

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World Bank Group President David Malpass today called our current era of high inequality and reversals in global development progress a “time of upheaval,” and he outlined steps to help boost economic growth, shorten the crisis, resume development, and lay a strong foundation for a future that is more prosperous and better prepared for global disasters like COVID19.

Reversals in development threaten people’s lives, jobs, livelihoods, and sustenance. In many places around the world, poverty is rising, living standards and literacy rates are falling, and past gains on gender equality, nutrition and health are sliding backwards. For some countries, the debt burden was unsustainable before the crisis and is getting worse. Rather than gaining ground, the poor are being left behind in a global tragedy of inequality. This drastic narrowing of economic and social progress is creating a time of upheaval in economics, politics and geopolitical relationships.”

Speaking in Khartoum as the first Bank Group President to visit Sudan in nearly 40 years, Malpass noted recent progress the country has achieved. “Over the past few years, you have made a tremendous effort to put people on a forward path, amid very adverse conditions. Two years ago, Sudan’s transitional government inherited a deeply damaged economy and society that had suffered decades of conflict and isolation. Even as the people resolved to break with the past, Sudan faced extraordinary headwinds: from the COVID-19 pandemic, from a locust plague, from unprecedented floods, and an inflow of refugees escaping conflict from across the border.”

“Yet the country pressed forward with bold reforms, re-engaging with the international community, clearing World Bank arrears with the help of a U.S. bridge loan, and in June reaching the decision point for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries – or HIPC – initiative…While there is much work ahead, I commend the Sudanese authorities, civil and military, for their efforts and achievements in working together toward a better future. It’s critical to avoid political slippages because there is no development without peace and stability. I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable resilience of the Sudanese people – your drive to build a better Sudan despite the challenges is truly inspiring.”

Malpass noted the global pandemic has taken massive toll on poverty: “The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in increased poverty rates again after decades of steady decline. It has pushed nearly 100 million people into extreme poverty, with several hundred million more becoming poor, many of them in middle-income countries.”

He noted that while a turnaround is possible, risks remain. He recalled how  the deadly Spanish Flu of 1918-20 was followed by extremely rapid economic growth – but also by wider inequality, and dangerous financial vulnerabilities that culminated in the prolonged Great Depression.

Malpass posed a question for the international community: What should we do to boost growth that is inclusive, broad-based, and sustainable and avoid a lost decade for development? “First, we need a stronger focus on the key priorities, with clarity on how we approach and measure them…And second, we need much bigger scale to achieve impact.”

Malpass noted four areas in which determined action should make a difference: achieving economic stability; leveraging the digital revolution; making development greener and more sustainable; and investing in people.

Achieve economic stability

Malpass noted that many developing countries made extraordinary efforts to support their people and keep economic activity going during the pandemic. “Many have gone beyond what they could afford, especially as debt in developing economies was at record highs when the pandemic hit.”

When the debt service suspension initiative – or DSSI – expires at the end of this year, low-income countries that resume debt service payments will see their fiscal space shrink to purchase vaccines and finance other priority expenditures, Malpass said. “It’s time to pursue a gradual and people-oriented fiscal consolidation and restructure unsustainable debt.  Enhanced and accelerated implementation of the G20’s Common Framework will be critical on this front.”

Malpass called for greater global cooperation, including private sector participation, to provide debt relief to the world’s poorest countries and fund growth-enhancing investments. “In Sudan, for example, global cooperation that included the U.S., France and the UK helped the country clear its arrears with the World Bank, IMF and other IFIs, making possible more than $50 billion in debt relief in what will be the largest HIPC initiative ever.”

In addition to better debt management, Malpass said countries have to eliminate wasteful public expenditures, make service delivery more efficient, and reallocate public resources to their most productive uses. “This is also a time for proactive debt management to reprofile payments while international interest rates remain low. There need to be concrete steps to improve the transparency of debt contracts, increase accountability and ensure decisions draw on comprehensive information. Lower-income countries need to prioritize concessional financing and avoid the high interest rate financing that has become increasingly problematic. Focusing this agenda for each country and measuring the progress will be critical.”

Leverage the digital revolution

The faster adoption of digital solutions can radically expand access to finance and create new economic opportunities, Malpass said, noting that digital solutions can increase competition in product markets and enable people to sell services online, connecting them to national and global markets. “Supporting this transformation requires many actions at scale: investing in digital infrastructure, eliminating monopolies in the telecom sector, providing national IDs, and creating an enabling regulatory environment.”

“The digital revolution can also transform the public sector. For example, it allows a radical rethink of safety nets systems. Across the world we are seeing programs move from in-kind and cash delivery to digital delivery, direct to people’s bank accounts or visible on their phones. Similarly, in both the formal and informal sectors, new payment systems enable daily purchases through phones, using QR codes and other technologies. Kenya and many other African countries have extensive experience on this,” said Malpass.

Make development greener and more sustainable

Malpass noted that the international community is strongly committed to slowing the increase in atmospheric carbon and to reducing climate impacts on the most vulnerable. “A key step is to stop the creation of new coal-fired plants, decommission existing ones, and substitute them with cleaner sources of electricity. We should support countries in a “just” transition, which includes taking care of the workers affected.”

“This is also the time to reinvigorate often-stalled power sector reforms. Energy subsidies are expensive and distortive, while removing them needs to be done in ways that solve underlying inefficiencies and increase access. Aiming for clean, affordable energy requires competition in electricity generation and distribution, as well as a truly independent regulator…Transportation is another major source of emissions. With more urbanization expected in developing countries, infrastructure and design of cities can make an enormous difference. Instead of sprawling metropoles where commuters spend hours on the road, governments can aim for more compact cities with efficient and clean public transportation systems.

In the climate change efforts, both mitigation and adaptation, and the development effort more broadly, we need to prioritize and focus efforts for the largest impact per dollar spent and look for solutions that are rapidly scalable.”

Invest in people

Malpass highlighted the importance of investing in people’s long-term health and education – the human capital agenda. “Strengthening education and health systems takes more than just providing budgetary resources in an efficient and prioritized way. For example, aligning incentives for teachers and health care providers – public or private – with the needs of the people they serve is important. And finding scalable solutions to enhance health care and improve the quality of education, including through distance learning, is also critical. 

“Nowhere is human capital accumulation more important than in conflict-affected countries, where most poor people live today. Assisting refugees and host communities is a key priority. Security is essential, but soldiers can’t win the battle of development. Change is more likely to come from small victories won across millions of households over time.”

Malpass noted the role the World Bank Group can play. “The World Bank Group is uniquely endowed and positioned to support countries with the four priorities I have outlined — through finance and know-how for governments, while mobilizing the private sector. We have unmatched experience working with countries, using technical experts across all the key sectors.”

Combat reversals in development

“This unprecedented crisis has set in motion a time of upheaval. The many choices in coming years will determine whether developing countries suffer a lost decade or can usher in rapid growth and economic transformation,” said Malpass.

To succeed requires the active participation of the public and private sectors across countries, civil societies and foundations, indeed the whole international community working together. These efforts require leaders to be ambitious for the prosperity of people. And they require focus and scale throughout our development work.”

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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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7 ways to earn cryptocurrency without risks

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Today we will talk about earning opportunities with the help of cryptocurrencies and technologies related to them.

AirDrops

The first and very effective way to earn cryptocurrency without risks and large investments are AirDrop.

Usually, this is a marketing strategy through which the authors of this or that cryptocurrency can thank their users with real money (cryptocurrency). For authors, AirDrop is an opportunity to distribute new key tokens to existing users who will be interested in a new free coin in their portfolio. Also, this is a way to advertise and interest the crypto community in the new project.

A very famous AirDrop case that happened quite recently is the Uniswap Airdrop. There they gave each user of this decentralized exchange 400 UNI (approximately $16,000 at the peak of the token price). Pretty good, huh?

Where to find new AirDrops?

Very interesting AirDrops can be found on CoinMarketCap and the site dedicated to AirDrops — AirDrop.io.

If you are looking for an even easier way to earn crypto – visit BTC 360 ai app       

Staking

Another very effective, but costly, way of earning new cryptocurrencies is staking.

It is a process in which the user locks his cryptocurrency in his wallet to maintain the activity of the blockchain on the PoS (Proof of Stake) algorithm. In other words, this is just a type of mining, but the difference from the everyday PoW algorithm, where money is given for the computing power of the system, is that here the money practically does not depend on the computing power of the system, but depends on the number of tokens you have.

The largest currencies that use this algorithm are Solana, Etherium (2.0), Cardano, which on average bring the user 5% annually. This is not a very large amount, but if you take into account that the cryptocurrency itself does not stand still, then instead of keeping the cryptocurrency in your wallet idle, why not make this cryptocurrency “work for you” and bring in additional money?

You can see all the up-to-date information on the rewards you will receive for staking various tokens here.

Proof of Work

The third way of making money is traditional mining, or PoW (Proof of Work). This is a more complicated way to earn on cryptocurrencies than the second way because here you have to physically go (or order online) and buy the necessary things for mining.

What are these things?

It depends on what you are going to mine. In the case of Ethereum (1.0), these are video cards (which are practically nowhere to be found anyway), in the case of Bitcoin, these are ASICs. You also have to keep in mind whether mining will be profitable for you with your electricity prices, and what to do with the heat and noise these machines generate. Although this is a more complicated method than PoS, it usually brings much more money to its user.

You can calculate your earnings on this site.

Providing Liquidity

Another, slightly riskier, but more profitable than regular staking is liquidity supply.

Your goal is to supply two coins (50% of the value of one and 50% of the value of the other) and earn increased percentages compared to normal staking. But there are several “buts”, for example, you lose some coins if these coins are quite volatile.

It will take a long time to describe in more detail, but I advise you to read about it here using the example of SushiSwap.

You can supply liquidity on Binance, Uniswap, or other decentralized platforms.

Faucets

The next method is quite easy, but it’s usually not very profitable. These are faucets.

This name is not adapted to our language, but the essence of it is that it is a process where users give rewards for taking a survey or reading an article. This helps the developer to spread their cryptocurrency and the user to earn from it. The American crypto-wallet Coinbase, which gave and still gives rewards for the fact that the user read the article and answered questions from it, very popularized this type of earnings. Quite recently you could get about $80 out of it, which is pretty good.

Centralized Investments

Centralized investment is a way to earn on crypto that cannot be staked (as in the 2nd point). It works very similar to how you put dollars/hryvnias as a deposit, but instead of fiat you can put Bitcoin or, for example, Monero. You can make these investments on Binance or BTI.LIVE.

Work in Crypto

The seventh and final point is simply to become a developer in the field of cryptocurrencies. You don’t need to have a “big idea” of cryptocurrency that will revolutionize the industry, but it is enough to get a job with a company that already exists on the market. But you will need knowledge of Smart Contract programming languages (Solidity, for example). Knowledge of English will not hurt either. And if you don’t know any programming languages yet, you can try to get a job, for example, in the Binance support team, and start developing yourself there. Lots of opportunities, but we need your motivation!

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Brazil and Argentina preparing new Latin American currency to ‘reduce reliance on US dollar’

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Image source: ndtv.com

The governments of Brazil and Argentina are making plans to create a new currency for Latin America, called the Sur (“south” in English), according to a report in the Financial Times.

Other countries in the region will be invited to use the currency.

Their goal is to “boost regional trade and reduce reliance on the US dollar”, the newspaper noted, citing government officials.

Argentina’s Economic Minister Sergio Massa told the Financial Times that the South American nations will soon “start studying the parameters needed for a common currency, which includes everything from fiscal issues to the size of the economy and the role of central banks”.

Brazil has the largest economy in Latin America, and Argentina has the third biggest (after Mexico).

Argentina-based Spanish economist Alfredo Serrano Manc, who directs a think tank dedicated to regional integration, the Latin American Strategic Center of Geopolitics (CELAG), told the Financial Times that “the path is to find mechanisms which substitute the dependence on the dollar”.

He added that now is the moment, given that “there are many governments that are ideologically similar”, with left-wing leaders across Latin America.

During his electoral campaign, Lula had floated the possibility of creating a regional currency for trade.

At a rally in May 2022, the Workers’ Party leader had said, “We are going to create a currency in Latin America, because we can’t keep depending on the dollar”.

Lula revealed that it would be called the Sur. He added that it would not be based on the euro model, and that countries could maintain their sovereign domestic currency. Instead, the plan would be to use the Sur for regional trade, Lula said.

After Lula won the October 2022 election, Ecuador’s left-wing politician and economist Andrés Arauz published a blueprint for a “new regional financial architecture” for Latin America.

Arauz said the plan would be to revive regional institutions like the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Banco del Sur (Bank of the South), and to create a Banco Central del Sur (Central Bank of the South) to oversee the new currency.

The goal is “to harmonize the payment systems of” the countries that make up UNASUR in order “to carry out inter-bank transfers to any bank inside of the region in real time and from a cellphone”, he wrote.

Today, Argentina is trapped in $44 billion of debt with the US-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF). This dollar-denominated foreign debt has led to a constant drain of foreign currency out of Argentina, fueling high levels of inflation.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández visited China and Russia in February 2022, seeking alternatives to the US-dominated financial system, and joining Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Argentina has also applied to join the extended BRICS+ bloc, with Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Buenos Aires attended the group’s 2022 summits at Beijing’s invitation.

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