Regional Countries Vulnerable To Food Price Hikes

Like two sides of the same worn coin, the spiraling costs of food stuffs across the globe have raised the spectrum of a new food crisis in some Caribbean countries while simultaneously benefitting most others in Latin America with windfall profits, said the region’s top World Bank officials. Read more of this post

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UN Leading Efforts Rebuilding Haiti’s Telecom System

A global effort led by the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is endeavouring to accelerate the reconstruction of Haiti’s information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, which was destroyed in the devastating January earthquake. Read more of this post

Haiti Fund Launch

The World Bank says it has launched the Haiti Reconstruction Fund to help rebuild the quake-ravaged country. Read more of this post

World Bank Offers CARICOM Debt Assistance

The World Bank has offered to help ease the heavy debt burden of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. Read more of this post

Antigua Woes Deepened As Stanford’s Victims Racks Up Pressure

One motion is still awaiting a vote, but another resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to pressure Antigua and Barbuda into cooperating with Allen Stanford’s jilted investors. Read more of this post

Caribbean Leaders To Meet World Bank President

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and his colleagues from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will seek to articulate its positions on the major challenges it faced when it holds discussion with the President of the World Bank at the Twenty-First Inter-Sessional Meeting in Dominica from 11th to 12th. Read more of this post

Owen & Mia Prophets Of Gloom & Doom On Barbados’ Economy?

Were this duel between Owen Arthur and Mia Mottley not so dangerous and embarrassing for Barbados, it would be entertaining and even hilarious for those of us who enjoy good political drama. Read more of this post

Latin Americans To Approve Replacing US dollars With A New Virtual Currency

The leftist Latin American ALBA trade bloc is scheduled Friday (16 Oct) to approve measures that would replace US dollars with a new virtual currency for regional commerce, an official said here.

Bolivian Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade Pablo Guzman told reporters that members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) “will replace the dollar in commercial exchanges” between members with the Unified Regional Compensation System, or sucre.

The new monetary system was adopted in principle at an ALBA summit in April by organization members, which include Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent, Antigua and Barbuda. Read more of this post

Barbados Government Preparing For Rainy Day

The Barbados Government is taking a number of steps, including negotiating multiple loans, to cushion the effect on the island’s critical sectors if the global recession deepens.

In light of the uncertain economic outlook, Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce Dr David Estwick says government has initiated ‘A Short and Medium Term Action Plan ‘formulated by a Special Working Group on the Economy, to outline a “road map for the development and implementation of several policy initiatives to stabilise the economy”.

Among the proposals to be undertaken by government are measures to improve the level of competitiveness and to maximise the opportunities which may emerge from the crisis; the provision of resources to assist the productive sectors in riding out the current period; and the allocation of a fiscal stimulus to sustain economic activity and safeguard jobs.  Read more of this post

‘End Dollar Supremacy’

The United Nations called on Tuesday for a new global reserve currency to end dollar supremacy which has allowed the United States the ‘privilege’ of building a huge trade deficit.

‘Important progress in managing imbalances can be made by reducing the reserve currency country’s ‘privilege’ to run external deficits in order to provide international liquidity,’ UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, Mr Sha Zukang, said.

Speaking at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Istanbul, he said: ‘It is timely to emphasise that such a system also creates a more equitable method of sharing the seigniorage derived from providing global liquidity. Read more of this post

Financial Crisis Boosts IMF

In reponse to our post ‘Most Countries Worse Off After IMF Agreement – US Think Tank, IMF spokesman Bill Murray, using the handler ‘wmurray’ , rejected the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) findings as ‘seriously misleading conclusions’, ‘relying on faulty analysis and often inaccurate information.’ Other critics were Ms Caroline Pearce, from international aid agency Oxfam. AFP quoted her saying “‘If the IMF wants to be relevant, effective, credible and legitimate, it has to give countries hardest hit by the financial crisis a say in their own destiny.’

The Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) study was published to coincide with the IMF/World Bank meetings.

The havoc wrought by the economic crisis has given the IMF a new sense of purpose as the world’s emergency lender – and even some of its fiercest critics are starting to mellow.

It is a remarkable turnaround for an institution targeted by anti-globalisation protesters and reviled by millions of people after imposing harsh conditions on its loans during previous crises.

‘I think the response has been much more positive in this crisis and it’s been very constructive,’ said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist well-known for his diatribes against International Monetary Fund lending practices. Read more of this post

2018 – The End Of The Global Dollar

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars. Read more of this post

U.S. Nervous About China’s Growing Footprint Across Africa

China’s “no strings attached” financial assistance to developing countries in Africa and Asia has come under scrutiny during the recent high-level talks between Chinese and US leaders.

In this week’s (last week) Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in Washington, China has attempted to highlight its growing economic clout in a bid to push the United States on a range of thorny issues, such as the US budget deficit and trade barriers.

Few official media outlets reported that the United States delegates pressed Beijing on articulating clear guidelines for its growing aid to the developing world. China Business News only reported that the issue was raised between the two sides, but failed to furnish any other details. Read more of this post

High Fuel Prices Around The Corner – World Bank

Experts in the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States’ (OECS) energy sector have been advised to prepare themselves for a possible return of high fuel prices.

Senior energy economist at the World Bank, Pierre Audinet, told the stakeholders who met in St Lucia recently that they must combine approaches to deal with the growing cost of energy. It is against this background, he said, that his organisation supports the establishment of a regional institution proposed as the Eastern Caribbean Energy Planning and Regulation Authority (ECEPRA).

Audinet said that the World Bank is of the view that such a collective approach can help reduce the impact of the unstable global energy landscape.

“The world where we were back in July which had these completely nonsensical oil prices which really hurt you very badly and many other countries in the world was not just a one off episode. The likelihood that this comes back in spikes or for longer periods is actually quite strong,” he said.

“I would be very pretentious to say how much the oil price would be in the next few months, but at least we are definitely going to see some amount of increases and stronger volatility.

Source: caribbean360.com

World Bank – Developing Countries Faced Financial Shortfall Due To Global Crisis

Developing countries like those in the Caribbean face a financing shortfall of $270-700 billion this year, as private sector creditors shun emerging markets, and only one quarter of the most vulnerable countries have the resources to prevent a rise in poverty, the World Bank has said.

In a paper for next Saturday’s meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors, the World Bank said that international financial institutions cannot by themselves currently cover the shortfall — that includes public and private debt and trade deficits — for these 129 countries, even at the lower end of the range.

It said a solution will require governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector. Only one quarter of vulnerable developing countries have the ability to finance measures to blunt the economic downturn, such as job-creation or safety net programmes.

“We need to react in real time to a growing crisis that is hurting people in developing countries,” said World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick.

“This global crisis needs a global solution and preventing an economic catastrophe in developing countries is important for global efforts to overcome this crisis. We need investments in safety nets, infrastructure, and small and medium size companies to create jobs and to avoid social and political unrest.”

The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War Two, with growth at least five percentage points below potential.

World Bank forecasts show that global industrial production by the middle of 2009 could be as much as 15 per cent lower than levels in 2008. World trade is also set this year to record its largest decline in 80 years.

Source: caribbean360.com

World Leaders May Consider Suspending Financial Markets

 Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi told reporters today that stock markets might be suspended in response to the financial meltdown. He was quoting as saying that the solution to the crisis will have to be global and innovative.

The solutions to the crisis will have to be “global and innovative,” Berlusconi said. “There is talk of suspending the markets” while international financial rules are “rewritten.”

FULL STORY

Lord Help Us. 

On Another Note

Jamaica is on the World Bank List of financially strain states. Does that means Jamaica may be the one most vulnerable to feel the effects of this global financial meltdown first in the Caribbean?

A new World Bank report on Thursday named 28 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East facing financial strains due to high food and fuel costs and now from a cascading credit crisis.

Among the “fiscally vulnerable” countries are Jordan, Cambodia, Lebanon, Jamaica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, Madagascar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Fiji, Haiti, Seychelles and Mauritania.

FULL STORY

Food Crisis – International Answer Needed

There are plenty of voices blaming biofuels for the world food crisis. They all are right, and also are wrong. There is a link between biofuels and food prices — the move to biofuels to counter the high price of oil has taken massive amounts of land out of food production, resulting in higher prices for both cereals and animal feed. But biofuels are not the root cause of the price hikes; they and the high price of oil are simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The real villain is the phasing out of subsidies in so many parts of the world at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank. More land has been taken out of food production as a result than any shift to biofuels. It has hit poorer countries particularly hard because they are the ones that have most needed IMF and World Bank support.

Without subsidies, farmers in countries such as Ghana or Gabon — West Africa has been particularly affected — could not compete against cheap imports from the big producers, and gave up. But no one realized a crisis was brewing because cheap food imports continued to arrive. It is only now, with prices rocketing, that poorer countries find they do not have enough local producers to fall back on.

Last week, France announced that it would double its emergency food aid budget to counter the effects of the food crisis. But something far more coordinated, far bigger than individual government responses is needed if millions are not to starve or political instability sweep over the poorer parts of the world.

Half a century ago, the precursor of the European Union, the European Economic Community, chose to subsidize farmers to ensure that Europe never went hungry again. The policy was a brilliant success. Europe has been a net exporter of food ever since. In the 1980s and 1990s, however, with the fixation on free-market forces and the political victory of capitalism over communism, subsidies became a dirty word, not just in Europe but worldwide.

They were associated with socialism and state-controlled economies despite virtually all developed economies operating subsidies of one type or another. The result was a campaign against them, led by the IMF and the World Bank. Inevitably the countries that had to accept this were the poorest, the ones that needed IMF and World Bank help the most.

Europe’s success with agricultural subsidies, which continue despite repeated efforts by European free- market ideologues and cost-cutting bureaucrats across the continent to do away with them, should be a lesson to all.

They are the obvious answer to a food crisis that is only going to get worse. But in today’s interconnected global economy, they cannot be left to individual governments to operate, particularly given that the countries that most need them are the ones least able to afford them.

What is needed is an international body to coordinate subsidies. Ironically, it is an obvious role for the very bodies that have so vigorously attacked them, the World Bank and the IMF. The food crisis is an international problem and it requires an international answer.

See previous articles – Bio-Foolishness

A Look At Our Caricom Neighbours

Africa And India Team Up to Ensure Food Security

High Food Prices Causing Social Unrest WorldWide

World On The Brink Of Food Shortage!!! – 10 More Years Of Expensive Says

UN

Millions Starve As Tons Of Food Rots In Haitian’s Port

Bread From Potatoes

[Source – ArabNews]

Bio-Foolishness

Read how this feelgood measure is becoming a real world disaster for millions around the globe.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120872360532329375.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

Haiti’s Prime Minister Jacques Alexis Fired!

Haiti is searching for a new Prime Minister. That’s because the previous one was fired on Saturday. Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, was fired on Saturday in a vote by 16 opposition senators who said he had not done enough to ramp up food production and reduce the cost of living.

The latest upheaval follows a week of rioting by Haitians enraged at the soaring cost of rice, beans, cooking oil and other staples. The rioters went so far as banging on the presidental palace’ gates before UN peacekeepers fired rubber bullets and teargas to dispere them. Haiti’s government has become the first casualty in the Caricom Community to fall as a direct result of rising food prices which have led to protests and riots in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Yvonne Tsikata, the World Bank’s country director for the Caribbean, said in a statement that the World Bank still planned to provide $10 million in grant handouts to Haiti for school lunches and work programs and other measures to mitigate food price increases.

The development agency also said it planned to help Haiti develop a medium-term strategy to improve food security.

As for Barbados, Prime Minister David Thompson is to address the nation tonight on the issue of rising food prices and other related matters.

See prvious articles – High Foods Prices Causing Social Unrest Worldwide

World On The Brink Of Food Shortage!!! – 10 More Years Of Expensive Food: Says UN

Millions Starve As Tons Of Food Rots In Haitians Ports

Afica And India Team Up To Ensure Food Security

Read more of this post

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