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G20 lands in South America and puts infrastructure financing centre stage

Maria Romero

14 Dec 2017 13:04:11

For the first time a South American country - Argentina - is president of the G20, and theoretically at least, the whole continent has a major opportunity to make its voice heard. When it took over the presidency at the beginning of December, the Argentinean government announced one of its priorities would be 'infrastructure for development'. So far so good - along with many other South American governments, Argentina is making the right noises, but questions remain about what kind of infrastructure will get financed, and how.   To mark the beginning of the new G20 presidency, civil society groups led by Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) organised an inspiring gathering to discuss, among other things, the growing trend of promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs) ...

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Ready for the next storm? Debt (crisis) management discussed at the UNCTAD and Paris Club

Bodo Ellmers

26 Nov 2017 11:41:27

The number of poor countries that are in debt crisis is increasing rapidly, as is the share of public revenue that southern governments need to divert from essential services to pay down debts. The international community is awaiting the storm with remarkable silence: only peacemeal steps have been taken in 2017 on the multilateral level in the areas of effective institutions for debt crisies prevention and resolution. The 2017 UNCTAD Debt Management Conference that took place in Geneva from 16th to 18th October and the Paris Forum the day after provided a glance on what is to come. The 11th UNCTAD Debt Management Conference took place in an environment where the debt crisis is moving southwards again. While the “transatlantic crisis” has dominated academic and political discourses in ...

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Aid subsidies for companies: a formula for leaving no-one behind?

Polly Meeks

23 Nov 2017 19:04:29

Many donor agencies argue that part of the solution to financing the Sustainable Development Goals lies in using aid money to incentivise – or subsidise – the use of private commercial finance for development purposes. This is often referred to as blended finance, or blending. Yet a growing body of independent analysis shows that the links between blended finance and the achievement of sustainable development objectives are more complex and problematic than they may first appear. Nowhere is this clearer than in the assertion that blended finance can contribute to the objective of leaving no-one behind. Next week the 5th African Union-European Union Summit will take place in Cote d’Ivoire, and blending is likely to be centre stage. In September, the European Union launched the new European ...

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The OECD DAC High Level Meeting: major risks defused, but will the long game deliver for the poorest?

Eurodad

02 Nov 2017 15:09:15

This blog was co-authored by Polly Meeks (Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer at Eurodad) and Julie Seghers (Advocacy Advisor at Oxfam)The stakes couldn’t have been higher going into this week’s High Level Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC). Globally, hunger is on the rise for the first time this century, and this year, the world is on the brink of four famines. An unprecedented 65 million people are on the move – and refugee numbers are at their highest since World War II. With hundreds of millions of people still living in extreme poverty, often compounded by other forms of inequality, the core challenges of poverty eradication and human rights-based sustainable development remain a matter of urgency. The ...

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The Sustainable Development Goals won’t happen without a radical economic rethink

Jesse Griffiths

01 Nov 2017 12:36:39

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ambitious objectives: business as usual will not deliver them. Speaking on the recent International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, UN Secretary General António Guterres acknowledged the need for new thinking: “The pledge to leave no one behind will require innovative approaches, partnerships and solutions,” he said. But this new model will only come about if we radically reshape the national, regional and global economies which lie behind many of the obstacles to achieving the SDGs. We must rethink the way we govern and manage the global financial and economic system. In part, that means rethinking the current trend to treat private finance as the default option for development. Private finance is being heavily touted by the World Bank, ...

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IMF challenged to match inequality rhetoric with action, and a campaign against the World Bank’s promotion of PPPs: Annual Meetings round up

Maria Romero, Mark Perera

18 Oct 2017 11:05:05

The annual meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions (the IMF and World Bank) are over for another year. The meetings in Washington DC were held against a background of strengthened but patchy global economic growth mixed with considerable crisis risks and renewed geopolitical fights over the World Bank’s demand for a capital increase. Meanwhile, civil society organisations (CSOs) questioned the development impact of the Bretton Woods Institutions, and launched a global campaign against public-private partnerships (PPPs). IMF worries about debt (in China) and talks of taxing the rich more The 2017 Annual Meetings were preceded by the publication of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO), in which the IMF signalled stronger than expected growth forecasts for the global economy in 2017 ...

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DebtCon 2 Conference: Leading debt researchers stress the need for fundamental reforms

Bodo Ellmers

10 Oct 2017 18:35:28

A fine selection of the world’s most important debt experts met in Geneva on 5 and 6 October to discuss key challenges in sovereign debt management, and how to address them. The second DebtCon conference, convened by Georgetown University’s Anna Gelpern, and Ugo Panizza from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, tackled questions such as the need for a multilateral debt restructuring mechanism, dealing with vulture fund litigation, better approaches to assess debt sustainability, and debt and human rights. The question cutting across all these issues: when will that Euro crisis finally be resolved - and in particular when will Greece be released from the debt trap? One thing became clear, policy-makers have accumulated a huge backlog in reforms. There ...

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Campaign improves IMF debt assessments, but risk of crises continues to increase

10 Oct 2017 11:16:12

This is a guest blog article by Tim Jones from the Jubilee Debt Campaign.  The IMF and World Bank have agreed some positive changes to their system for monitoring debts of impoverished countries, though some large issues have been ignored. The system, known as the Debt Sustainability Framework, is important as it directly impacts on amounts of lending by the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, and influences lending decisions by governments and the private sector. A key improvement is that some of the hidden cost from Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) will now be included. This was one of the main demands of global civil society of the review, and 2,500 people wrote to the UK’s representative at the IMF asking for this change to be made. One of the main reasons government’s ...

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The unexpected Mozambican debt crisis: illegitimate debt back on the international agenda

Bodo Ellmers

22 Aug 2017 14:26:41

Mozambique’s default on commercial loans worth US$2bn has triggered the latest - and arguably most shocking - African debt crisis in recent times. While nearly all African countries suffer from low commodity prices and rising credit costs, the Mozambican case is unusual in that it reveals how easily the new development finance paradigm, centred on private capital, can go wrong. The successful attraction of commercial loans did not boost Mozambique’s development. They caused a development disaster. The case also underlines that the current global governance regime has no effective mechanism in place to prevent irresponsible lending and borrowing - or to deal with their consequences - and the need to get rid of a pile of illegitimate debts which will continue ...

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First as tragedy, now as farce: lessons from 12 August 1982

Mark Perera

12 Aug 2017 08:47:36

As the saying goes, history repeats itself because no one was listening the first time. This month marks the 35th anniversary of an event that sparked a debt crisis across the developing world. It was a crisis triggered by low interest rates in the Global North, a reckless boom in lending and borrowing to Southern countries over-reliant on commodity exports, and a fall in the price of those same commodities. Sound familiar? The parallels with today’s developing world debt crisis are stark, and looking back at how the 1980s crisis arose and how it was dealt with, there are worrying signs that very little has been learned despite repeated calls by Eurodad and other civil society organisations for a comprehensive, UN-backed debt workout mechanism. A crisis begins On 12 August 1982, Mexican ...