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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Global Anticorruption blog
International summits come and go, and all too often the promises made at these summits are quickly forgotten, lost in an online catacomb or otherwise hard to track. We at Transparency International are determined that the commitments made by government representatives at last May’s London Anticorruption Summit (648 total commitments by 41 of the 43 participating governments) must not slide into oblivion in this way. That’s why, as Matthew announced in a post earlier this month, we’ve gone through every single country statement and compiled all commitments into one central database, sortable by country, theme, and region. Our goal is for this database to be used by anticorruption advocates and activists to monitor what their countries have committed to, and whether and where they are making progress.
 
Wall Street Journal
The ubiquity of cellphones could allow a rapid expansion of financial services throughout the developing world, with major implications for growth and credit accessibility, a McKinsey & Co. report concludes. “With the technology that’s available today you could provide billions of people and millions of businesses opportunities that don’t exist to them today,” Susan Lund, co-author of the McKinsey Global Institute report on digital finance, said in an interview. The report found that with coordinated action by financial firms, telecommunications companies and developing-country governments, some 1.6 billion people could gain access to financial services by 2025, all without major new expenditures on physical infrastructure.
 
New York Times Opinion- Dani Rodrik
A Chinese student once described his country’s globalization strategy to me. China, he said, opened a window to the world economy, but placed a screen on it. The country got the fresh air it needed — nearly 700 million people have been lifted from extreme poverty since the early 1980s — but kept mosquitoes out. China benefited from the flourishing of trade and investment across national borders. For many, this was the magic of globalization. But it’s not the whole story. Look closely at the economies that converged with richer counterparts — Japan, South Korea, China — and you see that each engaged globally in a selective, strategic manner. China pushed exports, but it also placed barriers on imports to protect employment in state enterprises and required foreign investors to transfer know-how to domestic companies. Other countries that relied on globalization as their growth engine but failed to put in place a domestic strategy became disillusioned.
 
Washington Post
The World Health Organization — which has previously found that indoor and outdoor air pollution killed a shocking 7 million people globally in 2012 — released a new analysis Tuesday underscoring the extent of the risk, which seems to grow worse and worse the more we learn about how damaging tiny airborne particles can be to our health. Most strikingly, the new report, which combines local data with a global model to determine the extent of deadly air pollution across the planet even in places where there are no instruments recording it, finds that 92 percent of people suffer under pollution levels that are worse than WHO standards (as of 2014). The vast majority of deaths are in developing countries. The document calls air pollution the “largest environmental risk factor.”  Of greatest concern is a form of pollution called PM2.5, referring to particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers. The global health agency believes that a concentration greater than 10 micrograms per cubic meter of these fine particles in the air qualifies as dangerous. The great risk is that the particles are so small that they can be inhaled, travel into the lungs, and enter the bloodstream.
 
The Guardian
A young woman entering the job market today can expect to do an average of four years more work than her male peers over her working lifetime, according to a report. Time spent by women around the world on paid and unpaid labour amounts to an extra month for every year of work. The charity ActionAid will present the report, Not Ready, Still Waiting, at the United Nations general assembly on Thursday. Highlighting the global burden of unpaid care work on women, the report finds that a woman living in the UK can expect to do two and a half years more labour than her male peers over her working life. The report warns that the burden of unpaid care work limits women’s opportunities to pursue income-generating options, to have their voices heard in decision-making and political activities, and for rest and leisure.
 
UNCTAD
The Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2016: Structural transformation for inclusive and sustained growth reviews recent trends in the global economy and focuses on the policies needed to foster structural transformation. It observes that global economic growth remains weak, growing at a rate below 2.5 per cent, and global trade slowed down dramatically to around 1.5 per cent in 2015 and 2016, compared to 7 per cent before the crisis. The loss of dynamism in the advanced economies, combined with low commodity prices and global financial instability, is having knock-on effects on most developing countries. Developing economies will grow on average less than 4 percent this year, but with considerable variation across countries and regions: while Latin America is in recession and growth in Africa and West Asia is slowing down to around 2 per cent, East, South-East and South Asia is still growing at a rate close to 5 per cent. Considered in a long-term perspective, most developing countries outside some Asian sub-regions have failed to significantly reduce the income gap with developed economies.

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