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Rebuilding Haiti: The post-earthquake path to recovery

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Children return to school following the earthquake in Haiti. © UNICEF/Diaz Mercado

Six months after a devastating earthquake in south-west Haiti which caused the deaths of 2,200 people and injured 12,700 more, the international community is coming together with the Government of Haiti to raise up to $2 billion for the long-term recovery and reconstruction of the country. UN News explains why support is needed.

What happened?

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake on 14 August 2021, struck the south-west of this Caribbean island nation causing widespread destruction in predominately rural areas. In addition to the deaths and injuries, thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed and key infrastructure including schools, hospitals, roads and bridges were wrecked, disrupting key services, transport, farming and commerce. The UN says around 800,000 people were impacted in some way or another; that includes 300,000 children whose schooling was disrupted.

What was the response to the Earthquake?

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the Government with the support of the United Nations and others swung into action to provide emergency humanitarian aid to the affected people.  The UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, played a central role in coordinating the response. The International Organization for Migration provided temporary shelters for people who lost their homes, food and other items so people could get by. The provision of hot meals for school children by the World Food Programme was stepped up in order to encourage those children whose schools were not destroyed to carry on attending classes. Some 60 health facilities were also destroyed, so emergency wards were supported by the UN Population Fund UNFPA and UNICEF. Expectant mothers were cared for and often gave birth in tents.

Six months after the earthquake, Haiti has moved beyond the immediate emergency and is now looking at long-term recovery and reconstruction. In November, the Government published an assessment of the amount of money it needs to rebuild and recover; it amounts to close to $2 billion. Just over three-quarters of that, so around $1.5bn will go towards reinvigorating social services including housing, health, education and food security programmes. The rest will be spent on boosting agriculture, commerce and industry as well as repairing key infrastructure. Spending on environmental programmes has also been targeted.

What lessons have been learned from natural disasters?

Haiti is, of course, not unused to natural disasters and lessons have been learned from the devasting earthquake of 12 January 2010 in which an estimated 220,000 people died, largely in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas. The key takeaway from that catastrophic event and the response effort that followed was that national leadership is crucial.

In 2010, the government was directly impacted by the disaster and was ill equipped and unprepared to coordinate the emergency response on such a huge scale, and as a result, it was side-lined by the international community.

Haiti also has to do better in terms of introducing more robust disaster risk reduction measures.

What other crises is Haiti facing?

The 2021 earthquake struck as Haiti was facing multiple crises of an economic, political, security, humanitarian and developmental nature. The country has high levels of poverty and ranks 170 out of 189 countries worldwide on the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2020. The economy is in dire straits, not helped by a recent blockade of petrol deliveries by armed gangs which almost brought the country to a standstill. Insecurity, including kidnapping, is rife, with gangs controlling many neighbourhoods in the capital, Port-au-Prince. In July 2021, the President was assassinated whilst at home and an investigation into his death is continuing. 

On top of all this, Haiti is facing the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

How can Haiti recover from this latest setback?

On 16 February, the Government is hosting an international conference in Port-au-Prince at which it hopes to raise at least $1.6bn of the $2bn it needs to put the country back on track after the earthquake.

Many donor countries globally are struggling with the extra financial burden the pandemic has put on their resources. Moreover, Haiti is, in reality, competing for funds with other crises around the world, such as Afghanistan and the Ethiopian region, Tigray. One of Haiti’s trump cards may be its huge diaspora, especially in the United States, which it’s hoped will contribute to the fundraising effort. US-based philanthropies are also being targeted.

The international community in Haiti is warning that if the country doesn’t get the support it needs then its recovery, development and ability to withstand other natural disasters will all be negatively affected.

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The Financial Dilemma: All You Need To Know About Credit Checking

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Photo by cottonbro studio from pexels.com

In personal finance, most people prioritize taking care of their credit scores and raise considerations about credit checking. Simply put, good credit is vital in determining your financial health and access to a broad range of financial services, which is helpful if you’re working on loans, credit cards, or acquiring investment assets like housing and cars.

This article will cover the essential parts of credit checking and credit scores, what it entails, and how it can affect your financial lifestyle.

Understanding Credit Checking

Credit checking, commonly known as a credit score check or credit inquiry, is a process in which banks, lenders, and landlords assess a client’s creditworthiness. It involves a brief assessment of a person’s credit report and score to evaluate their capacity to manage their obligations and repay debts.

Credit checking exists in most cases where an investment or loan is involved, and based on the results of their credit checks, lenders or landlords reserve the right to decline or approve a lease request or loan, which emphasizes the importance of building a good credit score.

Types of Credit Checking

In credit checking, two types of evaluation can affect your credit score, these are:

1. Soft Pull

Soft pulls or soft inquiries are credit checks that don’t impact a person’s credit score when evaluating their creditworthiness. This happens when you typically check your credit reports, ask a potential employer for background checks, or receive pre-approved credit offers from banks or other establishments.

2. Hard Pull

On the other hand, hard inquiries occur when a lender reviews your credit report as part of their approval process, like real estate, getting another credit card, or a loan. Hard inquiries may harm your credit score. Fortunately, it is only temporary, and you can recover from it through suitable financial activities like paying debts or settling accounts.

Credit Score vs. Credit Checking Reports

You might think that credit scores and credit reports are the same. Although closely related, credit scores are a numerical system that evaluates your creditworthiness. In contrast, a credit report or check is a detailed breakdown of your financial activities.

For example, inside your credit report are your recent credit card transactions, pre-approval processes, and recent financial activities that, in turn, reflect your overall credit score.

Considering the information above, you must understand that you know how to read your reports and understand the reason behind your credit scores. After all, self-checking your credit report is free, and you can manage it before lenders or other financial entities can incur a hard pull.

What Makes Credit Checking Important

Your credit score is a tangible representation of your creditworthiness. In other words, it reports how banks and financial institutions can trust you as a responsible borrower. A stern analysis of your credit activities allows you and your bank to work together in making favorable loan or investment programs.

To give you an idea, here’s how credit checks impact your financial well-being in various ways:

Interest Rates

Determining your credit score through a hard pull often determines the interest rate you’ll receive in loans and credit card debts. A higher score can lead to favorable terms and lower interest rates, saving you money.

Loan Approvals

Financial lenders use credit checks as part of their decision-making process. Depending on whether your score is high or low, it may result in denying your application or approving it and proceeding to a curated loan agreement contract.

Real Estate

In housing, landlords are typically more flexible in accepting would-be tenants. A good credit score approves them of their rental request, while a bad one may either outright deny their application or adjust for a higher security deposit instead. Overall, such flexibilities are unique from one property to another and may depend on the state’s housing regulations.

Employment

Not all companies do this, but some employers conduct soft credit checks for background checks, especially for positions involving financial management or handling sensitive accounts. After all, why would they hire someone in a financial position with bad financial credit?

Insurance Policies

Your credit scores affect your payment terms for insurance premiums, especially for home or auto insurance. A lower credit score may result in higher insurance costs. Fortunately, most insurance companies still offer the same policies, so you’d still get the same benefit whether you have a higher or lower credit score.

Final Thoughts

Given the importance of credit checks and their significant impact on financial well-being, you must manage your finances. The good thing is that you’re always entitled to do a self-credit check on most banks for free and report inaccuracies before settling down to an investment. Nevertheless, your credit is a fundamental aspect of personal finance, and good standing can help you go through most financial decisions and secure your future.

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Blame the BRICS for the de-dollarization

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“De-dollarizing” the world economy could have dangerous consequences for the United States. The BRICS alliance — originally comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — took a major step toward flexing its communal currency muscle at its recent summit in South Africa, writes ‘The New York Post’.

Six new members joined the organization — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates — in an effort to reduce the dollar’s decades-long dominance and end its use as the preferred payment for the one commodity that still dominates global trade: oil.

The dollar’s role as the world’s key reserve currency is the foundation for America’s global leadership.

Most crucially, at a time of unprecedented global conflict, diminishing the dollar’s importance would allow rogue nations such as Iran and Russia to become immune to sanctions in response to geopolitical bad behavior.

Lower demand for the currency might make exports cheaper but it will also reduce the dollar’s purchasing power and undermine confidence in its stability.

As the BRICS summit made clear, the block’s leverage in the oil market has never been greater.

This has given them unprecedented power to finally replace the dollar on the global energy markets with their own domestic currencies.

Take a close look at the selective approach the alliance used to expand its membership.

While the bloc did not provide details about specific admissions criteria, the selection is clearly energy-centric.

Only six out of more than 40 applicant nations were accepted this year — with sizable economies such as Turkey and Indonesia conspicuously left out.

The anti-Western alliance now has six of the world’s top oil producers – Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Brazil, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.

It’s also home to two of the world’s largest oil importers – China and India.

Although 90% of oil trades are currently conducted in dollars, an increasing number are being handled in Chinese yuan and Russian rubles.

India, for instance, has started paying for Russian oil imports in yuan, and China also began using its yuan to pay Russia for most of its energy imports in the first quarter of this year, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia may be new to BRICS, but it’s already colluding with Russia to reduce petroleum production, which has resulted in oil reaching a 10-month high this month.

What’s notable about the BRICS newcomers is that many are authoritarian regimes who are intimately familiar with the power of US sanctions.

Iran, of course, has contended with them for years.

The Saudis — while a crucial US ally — are keen to avoid the “consequences” called for by Biden in October after OPEC+ announced those large production cuts.

Back in 2020, Biden also threatened to make the kingdom a “pariah” over the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

By shutting Washington out of trade and diplomacy, BRICS membership allows rogue nations to upend our ability to “weaponize” the dollar as a tool to punish ‘bad guys’.

The US has employed sanctions for decades, in lieu of military intervention against authoritarian regimes such as Iran, North Korea, and now Russia.

The White House, for instance, seized $300 billion in Russian assets following its invasion of Ukraine.

Biden also removed Russia from SWIFT, the international money transfer system, sending shock-waves to non-western nations at risk of White House ire.

But sanctions, no matter how robust, have proven ineffective. China and India — both of which have yet to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine — have kept Moscow’s energy revenue flowing, helping to finance Putin’s war machine and highlighting the power of BRICS cooperation.

The BRICS already have a significant presence across the global economy.

With a collective population of more than 3 billion and 31.5% of the world’s GDP, they’re a formidable challenger to the G7 block of the world’s top economic superpowers.

The G-7’s share of global GDP, for instance, is currently at 30%, and projected to fall to 27.95 percent in 2027, according to Statista research.

The dominance of the dollar has driven many non-Western nations to join forces and develop a counterweight to Western economic hegemony.

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Common statistics homework problems and how to solve them

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Statistics is a branch of mathematics that deals with collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. Statistics homework problems can be challenging for many students, especially if they lack the necessary skills and concepts. That is the reason why many choose to get statistics help for students. It seems like a more effective way of dealing with an issue at hand. However, there are some common types of statistics problems that can be solved using some basic steps and strategies.

Statistic help for students: examples of problems and solutions

Example 1: Finding the mean and median of a data set

The mean and median are two measures of central tendency that describe the average or typical value of a data set. The mean is calculated by adding up all the values in the data set and dividing by the number of values. The median is the middle value of the data set when it is arranged in ascending or descending order. If there is an even number of values, the median is the average of the middle two values.

To find the mean and median of a data set, we can follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Arrange the data in ascending or descending order (optional for finding the mean, but necessary for finding the median).
  • Step 2: Add up all the values in the data set and divide by the number of values to get the mean.
  • Step 3: Find the middle position of the data set by dividing the number of values by 2. If the result is a whole number, then that position is the median. If the result is a fraction, then round it up to the next whole number and find the value at that position. This is the median if there is an odd number of values. If there is an even number of values, then find the average of the values at that position and the previous position. This is the median.

For example, suppose we have the following data set:

139 143 128 138 149 131 143 133

To find the mean and median, we can do the following:

  • Step 1: Arrange the data in ascending order:

128 131 133 138 139 143 143 149

  • Step 2: Add up all the values and divide by 8 (the number of values) to get the mean:

(128 + 131 + 133 + 138 + 139 + 143 + 143 + 149) / 8 = 138.25

The mean is 138.25.

  • Step 3: Find the middle position of the data set by dividing 8 by 2:

8 / 2 = 4

Since this is a whole number, we look at the value at position 4 and position 5 (the next position) in the ordered data set:

128 131 133 (138) (139) 143 143 149

The values at these positions are 138 and 139. To find the median, we take their average:

(138 + 139) / 2 = 138.5

The median is 138.5.

Example 2: Constructing a frequency table

A frequency table is a table that shows how often each value or category occurs in a data set. It can be used to summarize and display categorical or numerical data. To construct a frequency table, we can follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Identify the possible values or categories in the data set.
  • Step 2: Count how many times each value or category occurs in the data set.
  • Step 3: Record the counts in a table with two columns: one for the values or categories and one for their frequencies.

For example, suppose we have the following data on the GPA of six students:

3.0 3.3 3.1 3.0 3.1 3.1

To construct a frequency table, we can do the following:

  • Step 1: Identify the possible values in the data set. In this case, they are 3.0, 3.1, and 3.3.
  • Step 2: Count how many times each value occurs in the data set. In this case, 3.0 occurs twice, 3.1 occurs three times, and 3.3 occurs once.
  • Step 3: Record the counts in a table with two columns:
GPAFrequency
3.02
3.13
3.31

This is our frequency table.

These are just two examples of common statistics homework problems and how to solve them. There are many other types of problems that require different methods and techniques, such as finding standard deviation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, correlation, regression, and more. To learn more about these topics and how to solve them, you can check out some online resources such as Mathway, The Princeton Review, or Math-Drills. You can also consult your textbook, your instructor, or your classmates for more help and practice. Statistics can be a challenging but rewarding subject, and with some effort and guidance, you can master it.

How to find competent statistics help for students

When you are overwhelmed with your assignment and don’t feel like working on it, qualified statistic help for students is the best solution to your problem. However, you should find out a bit about the service before you place your order on its website. To specify, you need to know how long its team has been providing statistics assistance for students. What is more, you should check out what their pricing policy is like, as well as what other customers think about the agency in question.

Apart from that, don’t forget about the guarantees which a reliable service should provide. The more guarantees a service offers, the more secure you will feel placing your order on the website. All in all, finding a service that provides competent statistics assistance will not take you long as there are many companies you can trust. Yet, you need to pay special attention to a number of factors to choose the best service on the market. A company that provides competent assistance with statistics assignments is right on hand. You just need to learn more about what it has to offer.

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