Monday, April 18, 2011

IMF and World Bank

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-

This summary is prepared by the External Affairs Department of the World Bank. All material is taken directly from published and copyright wire service stories and newspaper articles. The daily summary and other news can be found on the World Bank’s external website at For inquiries call (202) 473-7660 or send a written request to the News Bureau.

Monday, April 18, 2011
Today’s Headlines:

  • 2015 Development Goals In Reach: IMF, World Bank
  • More Perils Ahead For Economy: World Bank, IMF
  • World Bank: Rising Food Prices Pose Imminent Threat
  • IMF Countries Try To Bridge Economic Policy Rift
  • WHO Announces Deal On Sharing Flu Virus Samples

2015 Development Goals In Reach: IMF, World Bank. “Goals for slashing extreme poverty and hunger in the world by 2015 are more in reach as two-thirds of developing countries near the targets, the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Global Monitoring Report said Friday. But much of the progress reflects rapid economic growth in China and India, while many African countries are lagging behind, economists warned….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

Xinhua adds that “…The report showed that on the whole, the fight against poverty is progressing well…. The number of people living on less than 1.25 dollars a day is projected to be 883 million in 2015, compared with 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990…. Developing countries will also likely achieve the MDGs for gender parity in primary and secondary education and for access to safe drinking water, and will be very close on hunger and on primary education completion….” [Xinhua/Factiva]

PTI writes that “… ‘But progress is slow and targets may be missed on others. Among developing countries, 45% are far from meeting the target on access to sanitation; 39 percent and 38 percent are far from the maternal and child mortality targets, respectively,’ the report said. ‘Reaching the MDGs is a significant achievement for developing countries. But there still is much to do in reducing poverty and improving health outcomes even in the successful countries,’ said Hans Timmer, director of development prospects at the World Bank….” [Press Trust of India]

More Perils Ahead For Economy: World Bank, IMF. “Global finance chiefs warned Saturday that rising food prices, unanswered joblessness, Mideast turmoil and weak finances in advanced economies could still derail economic recovery…. ‘The financial crisis taught us that prevention is better than cure. We cannot afford to forget that lesson,’ World Bank President Robert Zoellick said at the close of the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)….

Repeatedly, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said it was not a time for complacency, that multiple ailments remained, and new ones -- like overheating in the emerging economies -- were coming….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

The Washington Post adds that “…the IMF is trying to learn from the 2008 crisis and become better at understanding developing risks in the world economy, said a statement the Fund…. ‘The recovery is underway, but unemployment in most countries is still too high,’ said Strauss-Kahn. ‘The downside risks are still there.’…” [The Washington Post]

Xinhua reports that “…Zoellick said the G20 can play a leading role in helping to alleviate the problem, adding that the group of nations is working closely with the World Bank. ‘Multilateralism must be focused on doing real things in the short term while building towards mid and longer term actions,’ he said….” [Xinhua/Factiva]

World Bank: Rising Food Prices Pose Imminent Threat. “Spiking food prices have pushed the world's poor countries to ‘one shock away from a full-blown crisis,’ the head of the World Bank warned Saturday. ‘This is the biggest threat today to the world's poor, where we risk losing a generation,’ World Bank President Robert Zoellick at a press briefing on encouraging global development….” [The Wall Street Journal]

Bloomberg adds that “…Zoellick estimated 44 million people have fallen into poverty due to rising food prices in the past year, and a 10 percent increase in the food price index would send 10 million more people into poverty. The UN FAO Food Price index jumped 25 percent last year, the second-steepest increase since at least 1991, and surged to a record in February….” [Bloomberg]

The Toronto Star writes that “…the hungriest people, said World Bank, could be helped by several measures, including: rolling back laws that require food crops to be blended for fuel when food prices reach a certain level; creating financial instruments to combat price volatility; fortifying rice to make it more nutritious; and making bigger investments in agriculture and adopting new technologies….” [The Toronto Star]

IMF Countries Try To Bridge Economic Policy Rift. “International Monetary Fund (IMF) member countries sought to bridge sharp differences over the global economy, acknowledging that rising inflation in emerging markets poses a risk to rich countries too. Addressing one of their biggest challenges, the 187 IMF nations on Saturday recognized the alarm among developing countries about huge inflows of speculative cash that are stoking their growth but also their inflation rates….” [Reuters/Factiva]

Bloomberg adds that “…global finance chiefs split over which policies are most to blame for propelling potentially risky capital flows into emerging markets, with both sides pushing the IMF to adjudicate…. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner blamed a lack of currency appreciation in developing nations such as China for driving so-called hot money into more open markets, while Brazil Finance Minister Guido Mantega pointed his finger at loose monetary policies in rich nations including the US….” [Bloomberg]

Meanwhile, The Economic Times of India reports that “…the IMF will produce a new report investigating how financial policy decisions in countries around the globe affect others, the institution's policy making International Monetary and Finance Committee said Saturday. The new IMF report will mesh in with G20 economies' decision Friday to monitor world's seven largest economies, including India, to highlight and suggest corrective steps to rectify imbalances that could pose risks to the global economy….” [The Economic Times of India]

WHO Announces Deal On Sharing Flu Virus Samples. “The World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday an agreement has been reached on sharing flu virus samples, hammered out after intense negotiations by a group on preparations for flu pandemics. The deal came four years after a working group comprised of representatives of member states was formed. It met this past week in Geneva with the goal of reaching a final accord….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

AP adds that “…the deal must still be approved at the WHO's annual meeting in Geneva next month. Developing countries had for years refused to freely share samples of viruses such as bird flu because they claimed drug companies would profit from vaccines their own citizens wouldn't be able to afford. The deal foresees that drug companies either share the vaccine formula or reserve some of their vaccine production for poor countries in case of a future pandemic….” [Associated Press/Factiva]

Reuters writes that “…the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), which represents 26 research-based drug makers, welcomed the plan and confirmed the commitments its members had undertaken as part of it…. In talks with negotiators, IFPMA’s members had pledged to ‘reserve at least 10 percent of pandemic vaccine manufacturing capacity on a real-time basis, for donation to the WHO and/or supply at tiered prices, to developing countries,’ it said. They would also reserve at least 10 percent of antiviral manufacturing capacity for donation on the same basis….” [Reuters/Factiva]

Also in This Edition, Briefly Noted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday warned he would not allow protests against food and fuel price rises led by opposition leader Kizza Besigye. Museveni blamed drought in the east African country for the rising food prices and said international events had pushed up the price of oil. [Reuters/Factiva]

African officials said Saturday they need Chinese aid because they cannot get support from traditional partners, and called Western criticism of China's huge Africa support program unfounded. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoredissolved his government Friday after members of his presidential guard went on an overnight rampage in the capital Ouagadougou. [BBC News]

Argentine Economy Minister Amado Boudou said on Friday he was convinced his country would be able reach a deal with its Paris Club debtors that would not derail economic growth. [Reuters/Factiva]

Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state officials are confident the state will obtain the $12.65 billion it will need to invest in infrastructure and environmental improvements to prepare for hosting World Cup sporting events in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, Rio state Finance Secretary Renato Villela said Friday. [Dow Jones/Factiva]

China raised banks' reserve ratio requirements on Sunday, the fourth time this year that Beijing has used this tool to tighten liquidity. China's central bank said it was raising the reserves that commercial banks must deposit with the central bank to 20.5 percent, an increase of 50 basis points. [Financial Times]

China will likely need at least 15 years to meet its goal of making the yuan a fully internationalized currency, Dai Xianglong, head of China's pension fund, said on Saturday. [Dow Jones/Factiva]

The British Department for International Development (DFID) will spend $1.6 billion in Bangladesh until 2015 to encourage private investment, help the Bangladeshi government deliver and finance social services and get more children into schools. [Xinhua/Factiva]

The UN is predicting a strong increase in poppy cultivation in north and northeastern parts of Afghanistan where insurgents have stepped up attacks after being heavily pressured in their southern strongholds by Afghan and coalition forces. [Associated Press/Factiva]

Food aid to some seven million Afghans is under threat unless the UN World Food Program (WFP) receives hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding soon, it warned. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

Tunisia has financial needs in the billions for this year and next, said the country’s central bank governor, Mustapha Kamel Nabli, on Friday. [Bloomberg]

The German government is considering transferring EUR6 billion n frozen funds belonging to Muammar Gaddafi's regime to a UN escrow account to be dispersed to the Libyan people. [Reuters/Factiva]

Governments all over the world are increasingly restricting internet freedoms as penetration spreads and activists turn to the still-evolving medium, according Freedom House. [Financial Times]

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