Tag Archives: financial crisis

G20: Poor countries must get a seat at the table

Gordon Brown at G20, London 2009Despite some initial excitement prompted by Gordon Brown’s support of an international tax on banks, last weekend’s G20 finance ministers’ meeting was not a big event for political decision-making, especially for poor countries who weren’t even invited to attend.

The G20 has been welcomed in some quarters as a more inclusive grouping than the G8 club that did not include any developing or emerging economies.

But the G20 does not include any of the poorest countries, even though it makes decisions that directly affect them. Under these circumstances, can the G20 be good news for the poorest countries?

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Opinion: Financial crisis makes action immeasurably urgent

kenya-fishermenThough the current crisis started as a financial one, it has broadened out, beyond the rich countries where it was triggered, and is now a fully-fledged development crisis.

I am reminded of one of Jon Sobrino’s favourite themes – that if you worship anything as an idol, particularly wealth, it will demand human sacrifices. This is not to say all wealth creation is bad. But it has to be kept in balance with the world that God created and with all his people.

I am well-placed to talk about the seductive nature of progress because two weeks ago I passed my 65th birthday. To my generation, progress brought access to technology, comfort, travel, food and drink, medical advances and entertainment which previous generations only dreamed of.

Our experience embedded a culture in which the accumulation of wealth increasingly came to be regarded as synonymous with well-being.

But financial institutions and the markets in which they operate were themselves a product of a world deeply divided between rich and poor, a world of huge inequality – a bigger and more enduring scandal than the financial crisis itself.

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G20: Protests getting a raw press

protests-picIn the streets of Pittsburgh a few hundred people are protesting. On the huge TV screen in the conference centre it’s being made to look like Armageddon.

But if you watch carefully you can see that there are riot police marching up the streets in flanks of err… six or seven, banging their batons gently on their shields.

To be fair though, teargas has been thrown and I saw two protestors in masks rolling a jumbo wheelie bin down the road. Let it be noted however that they still had a firm grip of its handles.

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Zambia: G20, we need new economic order

photo: CAFOD/Adrian White

photo: CAFOD/Adrian White

In August, Zambia experienced a month-long strike from teachers and health workers. The main contention by health workers was the salary package and working conditions.

Government was not prepared to go beyond a 15 per cent increment, while civil servants wanted a 25 per cent increment and improvement in allowances.
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Zambia: The hardest choices

Angela, HIV prog

I don’t know how I would handle it.

Zambia is a country that desperately needs help to eradicate HIV, yet funding cuts because of the global financial crisis are forcing aid workers to make extremely difficult decisions. 

CAFOD’s partner the Diocese of Ndola, works with communities in Zambia’s Copperbelt, and relies on charities in the developed world for most of its funding. 

But now the global crisis has hit donations, particularly in the US, the charities funding the Diocese have less to spend.

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