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How to tackle global challenges: The IMF & World Bank blueprint
How to tackle global challenges: The IMF & World Bank blueprint | Global Stage

How to tackle global challenges: The IMF & World Bank blueprint

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Spring Meetings in Washington have told a tale of two economies: In the developed world, inflation is falling, and recession looks unlikely. But many of the world’s poorest countries are struggling under tremendous debt burdens inflated by rising interest rates that threaten to undo decades of development progress. That means these key lenders of last resort have their work cut out for them.

The good news? There’s a proven model, as GZERO Senior Writer Matthew Kendrick discussed with Tony Maciulis at a Global Stage event while reporting on the meetings. Somalia, once the byword for a failed state, managed to implement massive reforms to its financial system to meet the guidelines of the IMF’s Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

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The Bland Bombshell and the Big Banks

Is there anyone more bland, more powerful, and less recognizable than Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell? He makes money moves more than Cardi B, and yet most people wouldn’t recognize him if he were sitting on their lap in the subway.

Why do relatively obscure banker meetings matter? Fair question, and it’s precisely why our GZERO team in Washington, DC, is covering the IMF-World Bank spring meetings this week.

For Masters of Monetary Policy like Powell, being bland is a strategy, not a characteristic. They speak in a purposely arcane language that requires near Bletchley Park decoding powers because everything they say makes news that impacts markets. This, in turn, affects things like your mortgage, your investments, and your grocery bill. It also impacts global poverty, which ought to make a lot more news. So understandably, they have to be careful and neutral to avoid panics or bouts of enthusiasm and ensure their signals leave lots of room for interpretation. But don’t mistake bland for lack of consequence. In global banking, bland is the brand, but influence is the purpose.

What have you missed so far?

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Students read Koranic verses at a madrasa, or Koranic school, in Dhusamareeb, central Somalia, December 16, 2012.

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

IMF says economic picture is rosy, but how does it look from the bottom?

Inflation looks set to fall globally, and a global recession is unlikely in 2024, according to the IMF’s April update to the World Economic Outlook. That so-called “soft landing” is great news for those in New York or Paris, but what does the picture look like from the most vulnerable economies?

Money has been tight for developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, with many over-indebted states are only just returning to capital markets after COVID-19’s economic knock-ons shut them out, and face dim medium-term growth prospects.

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Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara watch Major League Baseball's season-opening game against the San Diego Padres at Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome on March 20, 2024

REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Curveball drama, Development & the deep blue sea, Turkey hikes rates, Somali pirates plot comeback

4.5 million: At least $4.5 million in wire transfers sent from the bank account of American baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani has reportedly ended up with a California bookmaker now under federal investigation. Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s longtime friend and interpreter, says the ballplayer was generously paying off Mizuhara’s gambling debt. A day later, Ohtani’s lawyer claimed Mizuhara had robbed his client. Stay tuned.

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SpaceX's next-generation Starship spacecraft atop its powerful Super Heavy rocket lifts off on its third launch from the company's Boca Chica launchpad on an uncrewed test flight, near Brownsville, Texas, U.S. March 14, 2024.

REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Hard Numbers: SpaceX has a rocky reentry, Norway to hit NATO target early, British MPs are OOO, Somalia debt is canceled, Berlin techno is protected

3: SpaceX launched the third test flight of the tallest and most powerful rocket ever built, Starship, to mixed success. Designed to one day send astronauts to the moon (and beyond), the third test was the most successful yet, flying farther than any previous launch. The spacecraft was lost during atmospheric reentry.
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FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally tonight in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. March 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Jay Paul/File Photo

Hard Numbers: Republicans regret Trump, Bosnia gets EU pathway, Pakistan swears in cabinet, Somalia’s pirates seize the moment

50 million:Donald Trump may have a chokehold on the Republican Party, but that doesn’t mean he has a grip on all Republicans. The group Republicans Voters Against Trump, which first appeared in 2020, has recently raised $50 million to produce a campaign of video testimonials by Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 but say they just can’t do it again this year.

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FILE PHOTO: Somali supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hold Turkey's flag during celebrations after the second round of the presidential election, in Mogadishu, Somalia May 29, 2023.

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Somalia signs defense pact with Turkey amid tensions with Ethiopia

Turkey confirmed Thursday that it has signed a defense agreement with Somalia. The deal commits Ankara to defending Somali waters and to helping Mogadishu build up its navy against “foreign interference” – a veiled reference to rising tensions with Ethiopia.

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Naming names: The nonprofit tracking corruption around the world
Naming names: The company tracking corruption around the world | Global Stage

Naming names: The nonprofit tracking corruption around the world

What is the least corrupt country in the world? According to a Berlin-based nonprofit called Transparency International, that would be Denmark. Finland is close behind. At the very bottom of the list is Somalia, dead last out of 180 nations.

Founded in 1993 by a retired World Bank Official, Transparency International operates in more than 100 countries, promoting accountability and exposing public sector corruption.

The team, led by CEO Daniel Eriksson, attended the 2024 Munich Security Conference last week with a warning about the rise of “strategic corruption,” a geopolitical weapon involving bribes and disinformation to attain a political goal in another nation.

“Our definition of corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain,” Eriksson told GZERO’s Tony Maciulis.

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