Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3 ways the financial meltdown hurts poor countries

I'm attending a pre-G20 summit workshop in central London that is hosted by G20 Voice.

Speaking presently is Oxfam poverty expert Duncan Green (blog), the author of From Poverty To Power. Duncan indicates that the global financial crisis has hurt developing countries in three ways, reducing:
  • Commodity prices
  • Trade and manufacturing
  • Remittances
Duncan says that topping the list of proposed remedies ought be 1) a rescue package for poor countries totaling 3-5% GDP; 2) a crack-down on tax havens; 3) and the reform of global governance.

Of those points Duncan listed, one bright spot on the eve of the summit is anticipated reforms of laws concerning tax havens.


  1. Good points on the poor country effects. It is scandalous that the G20 is in danger of forgetting the majority of the world's countries.

    We have today published new figures, calculating the gap in finance between the crisis shock that is affecting poorer countries and the amount on the table from the G20 (very little of it new money).

    Hope you can use some of our stats.

    Alex Wilks
    European Network on Debt and Development

  2. The problems have been correctly identified but the solutions are contentious:
    Developing countries and their advocates in the developed world don't need new pledges, they need governments to honour the pledges already made. If a pledge of point something of a percentage of GDP is first ignored then branded unfeasible in the face of economic recession, how will we get a 3-5% commitment.
    The second question is how does one ensure that those vast sums of money actually go to where the money is needed - and who determines the need?

    Rural communities are at the grassroots level but as the Guardian partnership with AMREF is discovering, community development has its challenges.

    Katine Editor, the Guardian

  3. How would governments go after tax havens without creating dangerous precedents of infringing national sovereignty?

    Or do we even care about that, given the damage that tax havens can pose?


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