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Financial Sector

Asia: the Ins and Outs of FDI

Izumi Kobayashi's picture

I recently returned from a visit to seven countries throughout Asia. Although I had visited some of them before, this was my first visit representing MIGA. During my trip, I recognized the value and potential of MIGA’s focus on south/south investment to investors in this region. Of course providing guarantees to support inward investment to Asia is very important to MIGA, especially guarantees for complex infrastructure projects. MIGA can add a lot of value to these types of projects – particularly when it comes to helping manage the environmental and social aspects of projects.  

However, even through this global economic crisis, many private sector companies in Asian middle income countries have become “investors” in other parts of the world. Investments from Asia reach many of the poorest and post-conflict countries. At the same time, risk-mitigation instruments such as political risk insurance are not well known. We see a role for MIGA in sharing experience and working with Asian export credit agencies and Eximbanks to bring Asian investors the risk mitigation tools they need to help continue expanding their investments.

DM2009 Juror: 'I Would Give Them All a Thumbs Up'

Tom Grubisich's picture

Looking at the 11 finalist projects he was assisgned to evaluate, juror Fred Onduri says: "I am so impressed.  I would give them all a thumbs up. I wish they could all be winners."

Onduri, who is chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as head of the Policy and Planning Department of the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is one of the 40 jurors who took a searching look at the 100 projects that were winnowed from the 1,750 applications proposing early-stage adaptation to climate change.  Their goal was to choose up to 25 winners.

Onduri said the winners would have a better chance of long-term success if they were incorporated in the national priorities of the governments of the countries where the projects would be undertaken.  "Their funding will carry them for about two years," Onduri said.  "That's not enough.  Sustainability is very critical."

He also said that the winning projects' chance of ultimate success would be improved if jurors could offers ways to improve the proposals, especially in closing what he called "the sustainability gap."

Onduri and his colleagues used five criteria in their evaluations:

Does South Asia Run the Risk of Rising Inflation?

Eliana Cardoso's picture

I am old enough to remember the days when Latin America was the land of inflation. Hyperinflation in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina made the news in the 1980s and early 1990s. At that time, Asia was seen as immune to the Latin disease. Since then, much water has gone under the bridge. Inflation came under control in the majority of Latin American countries. Today the median inflation rate in South Asia is more than twice the size of the median inflation rate in Latin America and the Caribbean. (See chart below)

Should South Asia’s policymakers look at this information and wonder whether they are doing something wrong?

In general, the recipe for hyperinflation is the monetization of budget deficits in countries afflicted by political instability or conflict. Even if the threat of mega inflation is far removed from the South Asia scenarios, the combination of big budget deficits and loose monetary policy seems to be present in some countries of the region.

Impact of the Global Financial Crisis

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Not a day passes without somebody asking me about the impact of the global financial crisis on Africa's poverty reduction efforts. So I thought I would share this interview I recently did for Deutsche Welle radio.

I have also written extensively about what the crisis may mean for Africa on this blog. You can see those entries here.

Madagascar - Economic Update: Going Down...

Noro Andriamihaja's picture

If recent trends persisted during September, three new developments seem to indicate a deterioration in public finance and economic activities: (i)  the Government borrowed on the domestic financial market (about half of its monthly expenditures) for the first time since the beginning of the crisis; (ii) the exchange rate depreciated compared to the Euro and the USD over the past two weeks (down by 6 and 4% respectively); and (iii) international trade continued to decline (exports in volume, down by 62% in August compared to the same period a year ago).

How Should We Best Accelerate Growth and Job Creation in South Asia?

Ejaz Ghani's picture

“South Asia continues to grow rapidly and its largest economy, India, is close to becoming a Tiger.”

Sadiq Ahmed and I were inspired to author Accelerating Growth and Job Creation in South Asia when we were asked by the South Asia Chamber of Commerce, SAARC Business Conclave, FICCI, and a number of policy makers, local research institutes, and CEOs to come up with a strategy on what can be done by South Asian countries to accelerate growth and job creation. So we invited the world’s leading scholars to apply their talents to understanding the economies of South Asia. This gave birth to the book.

It is organized along three themes—an overview of South Asia’s growth opportunities and challenges; sources of growth and policies for the future; and the significance of regional cooperation in promoting growth. The essays combine quantitative data with analytical rigor to provide innovative suggestions in terms of policies and institutions that can propel South Asia towards higher growth, while promoting inclusiveness.

Don’t Throw the Baby with the Bathwater!

Zahid Hussain's picture

Paul Krugman’s September 6 article in the New York Times (How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?) is a humbling warning to the economics profession against the pitfalls of intellectual complacence. It challenges the profession to re-examine the validity of its existing knowledge particularly in relation to globalization and the workings of local and global financial markets.

Granted that economists have to face up to the unpalatable fact that our theoretical apparatus falls far short both as descriptions of how economies function and as prescriptions of how they can be made to function better. The crisis has exposed the limits of economic knowledge. According to Krugman: “The vision that emerge as the profession rethinks its foundations may not be all that clear; it certainly won’t be neat; but one can hope that it will have the virtue of being at least partly right.”

In this process of reappraising existing economic knowledge, there is a real risk of going overboard and wrong the right knowledge. Using the global economic crisis as an excuse, there are emerging tendencies to reject tested economic wisdoms in areas such as the role of foreign capital and trade policy in economic development.

One school of thought that is attempting to rise from the ashes is known as (old) Structural Economics.

Your Comments on Africa's Successes

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The African Successes post has generated a vigorous exchange of ideas.  I appreciate receiving your comments on the study, your suggestions for success stories, and your views on development approaches that have worked and those that have not.  


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