News / Economy

Japan Disaster, Mideast Unrest Are Topics for World Bank / IMF Meeting

Egyptians shout as they wave a giant flag during a demonstration at Tahrir Square, Cairo, April 1, 2011
Egyptians shout as they wave a giant flag during a demonstration at Tahrir Square, Cairo, April 1, 2011

Multimedia

Conflict, unsustainable government debt and the need for new ways to tackle global challenges in a post-crisis era are among the key issues as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund gear up for the groups' Spring meeting in Washington next week. Complicating prospects for the uneven global economic recovery is the turmoil in the Middle East and quake devastation to the world's third largest economy.  

Unforeseen events, including the massive quake and tsunami in Japan that triggered a man-made nuclear disaster - and the political unrest that has roiled the Middle East and North Africa are expected to loom large as members of the World Bank and IMF gather in Washington.  

"I think they'll be an important focus, precisely because the developments there are not only critical for people of the region but they have the possibility of having enormous global implications as well," said Marcus Noland, deputy director at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Among the implications is the rapid spike in oil prices and its potential to trigger another global economic slowdown. Although the world economy is projected to grow at a moderate pace this year, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said the recovery remains lopsided, with China and other emerging economies growing faster than Western economies.   

"Beyond Japan and more for a longer term, the question of European countries is certainly an important one," he said. "Some of these countries are at crossroads because of sovereign debt problems, because of financial sector problems."

Ahead of the meeting, Portugal, one of the poorest countries in the eurozone, is now the third EU country to ask for a bailout to deal with its crippling debt. Economists say other countries could follow.

Strauss-Kahn said the challenges will require even greater cooperation among member countries.

"The momentum, the willingness to work together - still there, but not as strong as it has been two years ago and that's a big worry for me because cooperation is obviously something that we need, he said.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick proposes a new social contract - one that considers the impact of global policies on the lives of individual citizens.

"Our message to our clients, whatever their political system, is that you cannot have successful development without good governance and without the participation of your citizens," he said.

"They have to do a couple of things," said Marcus Noland of the Peterson Institute. "The IMF in particular needs to continue on the agenda that was laid out at the Seoul G20 summit and then will be continuing on to the Cannes Summit later this year of internal reforms in their own governance as well as strengthening the global financial system and particularly how it relates to developing countries responding to financial crises."

Zoellick said inaction poses as great a risk as taking the wrong actions. He's urging governments in the Middle East to deliver quick reforms that will increase employment while longer term strategies are developed. The IMF is expected to stress the importance of regulatory reforms to improve global financial stability and narrow the gap between rich and poor.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.