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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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.