The International Monetary Fund turns 65 this year. Until the current economic crisis, it had reduced its workload drastically to a near-retirement level — its total loan portfolio plummeted by 92 percent in four years. But like many senior citizens, the Fund has kept working past retirement age — and is now expanding its responsibilities.
The I.M.F. has a track record that seems to have been almost completely ignored in discussions of a proposed $750 billion increase in its resources. Nearly 12 years ago, a financial crisis hit Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The word “contagion” became part of the financial reporting lexicon as the crisis spread to Russia, Brazil, Argentina and other countries. Continue reading
By DEB RIECHMANN –
WASHINGTON (AP) — The global economic crisis has stymied the international community’s effort to halve extreme poverty by 2015 and meet other goals to reduce hunger, fight disease and get young children to school, the World Bank warned on Friday.
A report released in conjunction with this week’s meeting of the bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington said the financial meltdown is impeding efforts to achieve most of the eight U.N. millennium development goals. Although it still may be possible to reach the first goal — halving extreme poverty by 2015 from its 1990 level — it will be an uphill battle, according to “The Global Monitoring Report 2009: A Development Emergency.” Continue reading
Small farmers at risk from industrial-scale deals
, diplomatic editor, The Guardian,
Saturday November 22 2008
Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies. The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of “neo-colonialism”, with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people. Rising food prices have already set off a second “scramble for Africa”. This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports. Continue reading