Between 1981 and 1997 the less developed countries paid over US$2.9 trillion in interest and principal payments. This is about US$1.5 trillion more or double what they received in new loans. (1)
In 1998, the Highly Indebted and Poor Countries average debt load was 165.6% of their gross national product. (2)
A Call to Action
A Citizen's Agenda for Reform of the Global Economic System
I. INTRODUCTION: Open the Debate
G-20 response to financial crisis - money, money, money
All eyes were on the Group of 20 (G-20) this month as they met in London and announced a whopping $1.1 trillion to stimulate the global economy. The impressive figure and various commitments on tax havens, regulation, and boosting the IMF’s lending capacity (See “Just the Facts”) grabbed the headlines and saw stock markets respond positively the next day.
When US financial powerhouse Lehman Brothers collapsed last fall, the world saw the start of an unprecedented collapse in global stock markets, bringing with it the loss of billions of dollars of investment around the world and severely shaking the foundations of the international banking system. Gloomy economic forecasts, a loss of investor confidence, and mass capital flight have all contributed to the worsening of the current global financial crisis. A decade ago, a similar situation unfolded in East Asia when market speculation sparked investors to pull out billions of dollars of capital, inflating debt and destabilizing markets in the region. In response, the Chiang Mai Initiative emerged in an effort to protect Asian markets from future crises. But has it stood up to today’s global economic collapse? And is an Asian Monetary Fund on the horizon? This brief explores these, and other, issues.
Government response on CSR and extractives: Fool’s Gold
For two years, parliamentarians, civil society, industry and the Canadian public have waited for the Government of Canada to issue a response to the ground-breaking consensus report from the National Roundtables on Extractive Industries (see IU March 2007). Against great odds, that process produced a consensus document, endorsed by industry and civil society, on a program of policy reform regarding the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies that would make Canada a leader on the world stage.
December 22, 2008
The Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5
Dear Minister Flaherty:
Re: 2008 consultation with respect to the “Official Development Assistance Accountability Act”
Financial crisis a boon for ECAs
While hefty public bailouts of the financial and auto industries have stimulated debate on the role of governments in commercial markets, one form of government subsidy has flown beneath the proverbial radar: export credit. Confronted by an increasingly dire financial crisis, Western governments are using their export credit agencies (ECAs) to boost liquidity and rescue faltering industries. At an extraordinary World Trade Organization meeting last month, participating governments reported a 30% increase in ECA business over the previous 12 months. The WTO called for even greater reliance on public credit to lessen the burden on commercial banks. Shortly afterwards, the OECD announced an agreement with non-members, including Russia and Brazil, to provide markets with publicly-sourced export credit.