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Posts Tagged / imf

  • May 13 / 2014
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Journal

Jamaica – Skyrocketing debt, poverty and even more austerity

Waving Jamaican Flag (Photograph by- John D. Mcdonald)

Waving Jamican Flag (Photograph by- John D. Mcdonald)

With public debt at 143% of GDP, Jamaica is one of the most highly indebted countries in the world. Jamaica has the third highest debt-to-GDP ratio, after Japan and Greece. Decades of low growth and high debt have led to persistently high poverty and unemployment as well as the departure of many Jamaicans for better opportunities abroad.

The IMF recently approved a 4-year loan agreement with Jamaica under which Jamaica will receive up to US$ 932 million. This will unlock additional funding from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank of around $510 million each. Canada has promised to contribute to program financing by supplying technical and bilateral assistance. The IMF agreement aims to put Jamaica’s public debt on the path to dropping to 96% of GDP by the end of March 2020. Continue Reading

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  • Jan 01 / 2012
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Journal

New energy strategy may be an improvement, but will it be enough?

The World Bank is preparing a new energy sector strategy that it says will respond to the need to increase energy access for the poor while supporting the shift towards environmentally-sustainable development. To provide large energy supplies, the Bank continues to invest in oil, coal and fossil fuel-powered plants that have large environmental impacts, so its energy strategy is a concern for environmentalist groups.
Environmentalist NGOs note progressive steps in the latest draft, but are concerned with several aspects:
– the lack of clear screening procedures and requirements for projects to promote decentralized and environmentally sustainable projects,
– the lack of a clear definition of “clean energy,”
– the promotion of hydropower without appropriate guidelines.
Continue Reading

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  • May 01 / 2011
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Journal

World Bank strengthens its human rights policy

“Consulation” no longer good enough:Consent of local indigenous people now required for commercial projects

The World Bank division that funds private sector projects, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), recently revised its operating guidelines to require the “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) of indigenous people for projects affecting them. This replaces a much-criticized policy that only required “consultation” with local people.

Human rights groups are pleased with the change, for which they have lobbied for years, but are concerned that the new policy – set out in what are called “Performance Standards” – does not go far enough and that the IFC will limit its use. In February, several international NGOs sent a letter to the IFC claiming, among other things, that the “IFC’s current approach does not include a clear commitment to ensuring that human rights are respected and protected in the context of its activities. IFC’s approach is also inconsistent with, and undermines, the emerging international consensus on the responsibility of companies to take concrete actions to ensure that they respect human rights.” Continue Reading

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  • May 10 / 2010
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Journal

eye on the World Bank and IMF:Experts assess compliance by Department of Finance with law requiring human rights in international aid

In 2008, the Canadian government passed the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Accountability Act in order to increase the effectiveness of Canadian aid money in developing countries.  The Act stipulates that through its ODA, Canada must contribute to poverty reduction, take into account the perspectives of the poor, and be consistent with international human rights issues.

10% of Canadian ODA is channeled to the World Bank by way of the Department of Finance. While the World Bank claims that it informally supports human rights, there is no operations policy that enforces them; the Bank claims that human rights is a political issue that falls beyond the scope of its mandate.

So, how does Department of Finance plan to uphold the Act with regards to human rights standards? Continue Reading

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  • Nov 01 / 2009
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Journal

Notes from the corridors

World Bank President Robert Zoellick and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn speak with NGOs.  The reception hall featured a display of mannequins in fashion from around the world.  Photo: World Bank

World Bank President Robert Zoellick and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn speak with NGOs. The reception hall featured a display of mannequins in fashion from around the world. Photo: World Bank

Wednesday

I arrive in Washington at noon, depressed as I consider the financial crisis and what it will mean for people in impoverished countries. It’s time for the main policy meetings of the World Bank and IMF, and NGOs like me take part in some of the dozens of meetings that are planned.

I take the metro from the airport to the guesthouse to drop off my bag, and within an hour I’m at my first session, on gender and income. It’s not a hopeful start. Money from production goes increasingly to corporate profit, and less to wages, and the financial bailouts are reinforcing inequalities. Continue Reading

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