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Headlines For Tuesday, June 10, 2008

World Bank: Developing Nations Hold Up Well Amid Financial Turmoil

“Developing countries are proving to be surprisingly resilient to the economic slowdown and financial market upheaval engulfing their more advanced neighbors, with the World Bank predicting only modest declines in growth rates and investment this year.

 

Still, the global economic environment is becoming increasingly challenging, as surging oil and food prices stoke inflation pressures and hurt the most vulnerable in their countries, the World Bank said in its annual Global Development Finance report released Tuesday.

 

‘There is still a very robust outlook for developing countries,’ Hans Timmer, co-author of the report, said in an interview. ‘There is somewhat of a slowdown, but it's not really severe…’

 

The World Bank downgraded its 2008 world growth forecast to 2.7% from an earlier estimate of 3.3% in January, a marked slowdown from last year's 3.7% pace. The global economy is expected to recover modestly to a 3.0% rate in 2009.

 

Meanwhile, developing countries are expected to maintain a solid 6.5% growth rate in 2008, though that's down from 7.8% in 2007 and an earlier forecast in January of 7.1%. Next year, they should continue a gradual deceleration to a 6.4% pace, which the bank sees as a "more sustainable growth rate" following the rapid expansion of recent years.” [Dow Jones/Factiva]

 

Bloomberg reports that “Global economic growth will probably slow to 2.7 percent this year from 3.7 percent in 2007, checked by spiraling food and energy prices and the subprime credit crisis, the World Bank said.

 

Developing countries should be less affected, with their economies expanding on average 6.5 percent, down from 7.8 percent, the Washington-based lender said today in its Global Development Finance report released in Cape Town, South Africa. June 10 [Bloomberg]

 

Reuters adds that, “Global credit turmoil, an economic slowdown in industrial countries and accelerating inflation are set to curb the rapid pace of growth in developing economies this year, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

 

The economic cooling may be welcome relief to countries where economic overheating had become a major concern, the Bank said in its annual review of global financial conditions in the developing world. …The Bank's Global Development Finance report said the deceleration in growth in developing countries would be across most regions, with the largest declines in East Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America. The slowdown in East Asia will mostly be in China where growth is expected to fall by 2.5 percentage points to 9.2 percent in 2009, and 9.0 percent in 2010.

 

In contrast, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to pick up in 2008, reaching 6.5 percent - the highest rate in 38 years - then fall to 5.9 percent by 2010, which is still above the average over the past five years. A major worry, the World Bank said, was the doubling of prices of food staples since 2005, fuelled mainly by rising demand for food and biofuels. Inflationary pressures in the developing world, driven by record food and fuel prices, are complicating policy efforts to ward off broader effects from the slowdown and financial turmoil, it said. …”   [Reuters/Factiva]

 

Afghanistan Needs Stronger State For Development: World Bank

The World Bank on Tuesday said war-torn Afghanistan needs to build a more effective state to promote economic development and urged the international community to help in the process. …

 

The report, Building an Effective State -- Priorities for Public Administration Reform in Afghanistan, calls for a shift of government functions that are still performed by the international community, or are not performed at all, to strengthen Afghan institutions. …

 

The development of an effective state is at the heart of the reconstruction agenda, the Bank said, and public administration reform is intended to contribute to that effort by building up civil service, improving governance and service delivery at the local level, and making government accountable. …

 

Alastair McKechnie, World Bank Director, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group…said the challenge lay in ‘finding innovative ways to improve service delivery to citizens as quickly as possible, while at the same time gradually improving the country’s own capacity to deliver services without large amounts of external expertise.’ …” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

 

World Bank Leads Tiger Conservation Drive

The World Bank launched Monday a joint [Tiger Conservation Initiative] with conservation groups and Hollywood to help reverse the dramatic decline of wild tigers in Asia.

 

The Tiger Conservation Initiative will begin by consulting with countries that have tiger populations to assess financing needs for conservation, identify funding sources and mobilize resources to protect the animals, officials said.

 

‘Just as with many of the other challenges of sustainability - such as climate change, pandemic disease or poverty - the crisis facing tigers overwhelms local capabilities and transcends national boundaries,’ World Bank President Robert Zoellick said at the launching at the National Zoo in Washington. …The World Bank is planning to host a ‘Year of the tiger’ summit in 2010 to provide a forum for those involved in tiger conservation to review the status of the wild tigers and their habitant. …” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

 

Xinhua notes that “…The Tiger Conservation Initiative teams up leading scientists, NGOs, governments, and the private sector to promote tiger conservation. It will initiate a series of high-level country dialogue workshops in the tiger range states, and promote international cooperation.

 

By now, tigers occupy only 7 percent of their historical range and about 40 percent less than they did just a decade ago, according to Dr John Seidensticker, head of the Conservation Ecology Center at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington DC.. The health of the tiger population is an indicator of biodiversity and a barometer of sustainability. Since tigers are at the top of the food chain, the conservation of wild tigers also means the preservation of the habitats in which they live and the prey populations that support them.” [Xinhua/Factiva]

 

Reuters adds that “Hollywood celebrities Harrison Ford, Bo Derek and Robert Duvall on Monday threw their support behind a new global initiative by the World Bank to save tigers from extinction…

Zoellick said the decline in the number of tigers was ‘shocking’ from over 100,000 a century ago to currently less than 4,000. …A World Bank report warned that ‘if current trends persist, tigers are likely to be the first species of large predator to vanish in historic times.’…

 

The World Bank chief said there were examples of where tigers had been brought back from the brink of extinction, such as in Russia and Nepal, but added that saving the world tiger population would not be an easy task. …Seidensticker said tiger conservation efforts needed to be more coordinated and focused, and the World Bank could help as a global institution.” [Reuters/Factiva]

 

UN Report Says 33.2 Million People Living With HIV

An estimated 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV as of December 2007, according to a UN report released Monday. The report, prepared by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that the ‘annual rate of new HIV infections appears to have decreased over the last decade.’…

 

Despite the existence of affordable treatments for tuberculosis, only 31 percent of people with HIV/TB co-infection received both antiretroviral and anti-TB drugs in 2007, the report said, adding that the rate of progress in expanding access to essential services is failing to keep pace with the expansion of the epidemic itself. …” [Xinhua/Factiva]

 

NYT notes that “Inadequate attention to the spread of tuberculosis is undermining recent gains made against the virus that causes AIDS, UN officials said Monday. Tuberculosis and AIDS are now epidemic in many areas of the world, and the two infectious diseases must be addressed together, said the officials, who spoke from the UN’s first high-level meeting on the interaction of the two diseases. …

 

Because tuberculosis is often neglected, people who are infected but have no symptoms often fail to receive a drug, isoniazid that could help prevent development of the full-blown disease, the officials said. At least 700,000 tuberculosis cases develop among HIV-infected people each year, and this year an estimated 230,000 HIV-infected people will die from tuberculosis. …” [The New York Times/Factiva]

 

AP adds that “…Despite a stepped up global battle against AIDS, the numbers of people newly infected with HIV are far and away outpacing the numbers beginning antiretroviral drug treatments, U.N. officials said Monday. Ban opening several days of UN debate on AIDS prevention, told world leaders that 2.5 million people became infected with HIV last year compared with 1 million who started using important antiretroviral drugs. …” [The Associated Press/Factiva]

 

Reuters reports that “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria requires another $7 billion to $8 billion to reach its funding goals for 2008, the fund's Executive Director, Michel Kazatchkine, said on Monday. …Kazatchkine said the fund was helping pay for 1.75 million people to receive HIV drugs in low- and middle-income countries. …

 

An estimated 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV as of December 2007, according to a UN report released Monday. The report, prepared by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that the ‘annual rate of new HIV infections appears to have decreased over the last decade.’…

 

Despite the existence of affordable treatments for tuberculosis, only 31 percent of people with HIV/TB co-infection received both antiretroviral and anti-TB drugs in 2007, the report said, adding that the rate of progress in expanding access to essential services is failing to keep pace with the expansion of the epidemic itself. …” [Xinhua/Factiva]

 

NYT notes that “Inadequate attention to the spread of tuberculosis is undermining recent gains made against the virus that causes AIDS, UN officials said Monday. Tuberculosis and AIDS are now epidemic in many areas of the world, and the two infectious diseases must be addressed together, said the officials, who spoke from the UN’s first high-level meeting on the interaction of the two diseases. …

 

Because tuberculosis is often neglected, people who are infected but have no symptoms often fail to receive a drug, isoniazid that could help prevent development of the full-blown disease, the officials said. At least 700,000 tuberculosis cases develop among HIV-infected people each year, and this year an estimated 230,000 HIV-infected people will die from tuberculosis. …” [The New York Times/Factiva]

 

AP adds that “…Despite a stepped up global battle against AIDS, the numbers of people newly infected with HIV are far and away outpacing the numbers beginning antiretroviral drug treatments, U.N. officials said Monday. Ban opening several days of UN debate on AIDS prevention, told world leaders that 2.5 million people became infected with HIV last year compared with 1 million who started using important antiretroviral drugs. …” [The Associated Press/Factiva]

 

Reuters reports that “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria requires another $7 billion to $8 billion to reach its funding goals for 2008, the fund's Executive Director, Michel Kazatchkine, said on Monday. …Kazatchkine said the fund was helping pay for 1.75 million people to receive HIV drugs in low- and middle-income countries. …

 

‘We are hopeful that these gaps are narrowing ... but let's be very careful, because 2008 ... is a time when some people say you are doing alright with the AIDS epidemic, now we have to focus on something else. We need a very sustained effort and we still need increased resources,’ Kazatchkine said. …” [Reuters/Factiva]

Scientists Warn G8 Of Climate Peril To Food

Scientists from G8 countries and the five biggest emerging nations urged next month's G8 summit to ratchet up action against global warming, warning that climate change threatened food and water supplies.

 

The 13 academies called for leaders to commit to a goal … that would halve global emissions of carbon gases by 2050. They also demanded urgent action to improve energy efficiency and expand renewable energy and for a timetable, to be drawn up by 2009, for building ‘carbon capture’ plants to snare carbon dioxide from power stations and other big emitters. …

 

The joint statement was signed by the heads of the national academies of science of the G8 countries and of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. …” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

 

Reuters notes that “…The academies, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also urged work on technologies for capturing greenhouse gases, for instance from coal-fired power plants, and burying them in porous rocks. …

 

The academies also urged the world to prepare for the impacts of climate change and to accelerate a shift towards a ‘low carbon society’, including new clean energy sources and energy conservation. They also urged more focus on health, telling leaders at the Japan summits to do more to cooperate to improve health, for instance by raising access to safe water and by ensuring ‘equitable access to medical information and treatment’. …” [Reuters/Factiva]

 

Kyodo News adds that “…The science academies' joint statement on climate change urges governments to ‘prepare for the challenges and risks posed by climate change by improving predictive and adaptive capacities at global, national and local level.’

 

It also urges them to assist developing nations to conduct vulnerability analyses and cooperate with such countries such as by transferring technologies necessary in the transition to a low-carbon society. …On global health, the academies urge governments to increase international collaboration and technology transfer to developing countries as well as promote coordination with international organizations to tackle health challenges such as infectious diseases and lifestyle-linked diseases. …” [Kyodo News (Japan)/Factiva]

 

Meanwhile in related G8 news, AP reports that The heads of key organizations involved in public health called on leading industrialized countries Monday to invest more in fighting disease. The G8 leaders should step up long-term efforts to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio and other health threats to build on progress they have made from previous commitments said the heads of UN agencies and other organizations.

 

In an open letter to the IHT they said new commitments by the leaders at the G8 summit in Toyako, Japan, in July would reduce child deaths, poor nutrition and global diseases. They also could provide more clean water and sanitation to people around the world. … ‘Better health in the developing world is a vital contribution to our collective security,’ the agencies said. …” [The Associated Press/Factiva]

Also In This Edition… Briefly Noted...

Many African countries are rapidly running down their natural resources as growing populations push the continent towards its ecological limits, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Monday. The warning was issued in its first-ever detailed report on Africa's ecological footprint - an estimate of the area of a country or region's land and sea surface used annually in meeting the individual consumption demands of its people. [Reuters/Factiva]

 

The Mexican government is capable of boosting supplement to fiscal reform with a clear intention to promote results-based budgeting, says World Bank Country Director Axel Von Trotsenburg in a discussion with El Economista. [El Economista (Mexico)/Factiva]

 

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez said Monday that the revenue from controversial higher duties on grain exports would go toward building hospitals, housing and roads across Argentina. [Agencia EFE/Factiva]

 

Honduras and Nicaragua are the only Central American countries qualified to receive help in the face of the current world food crisis, said World Bank’s Managing Director, Juan José Daboub, in El Salvador on Sunday. [El Heraldo (Honduras)/Factiva]

 

World Bank Country Director Joachim von Amsberg said it still had no plan to finance the Jakarta monorail project because it was not included in its priority projects but it was ready to hold dialogs on the possibility of providing financial assistance. [Asia Pulse (Australia)/Factiva]

 

Bangladesh’s interim government announced plans on Monday to double subsidies and spending on welfare measures in a $14.3 billion budget in a bid to shield the poor from spiralling food and oil prices and contain protests. [The Financial Times (UK)/Factiva]

 

Russiawill need over $1 trillion for infrastructure development in the next 10 years, said International Finance Corporation (IFC), Executive Vice President Lars Thunell. The IFC official said Russia’s development, which has been sustainable in the past decade, could be stalled by an infrastructure gap. [Russian Financial Control Monitor/Factiva]

 

Russia's Central Bank Monday said it would hike its key lending rates by 25 basis points from June 10, the third increase this year. The decision, expected by economists, comes as pressure increases on the bank to intensify its efforts to combat surging inflation. [Dow Jones/Factiva]

 

Global oil prices, around $40 up this year, will remain high in a range between $104 and $108 a barrel over the next three to five years, World Bank's Chief Economist Justin Lin told reporters at a conference in Cape Town. [Reuters/Factiva]

 

The World Bank on Monday priced a $25 million bond linked to UN-approved carbon emission offset credits, the market's first such bond, lead manager Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe said. Payments on the bond are linked to Certified Emissions Reduction credits (CERs), which are issued under the Clean Development Mechanism, a trading scheme that allows rich nations to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries. [Reuters/Factiva]

 




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