Kazakhstan to join Swiss group at IMF and World Bank

Flag of Kazakhstan

Flag of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan to join Swiss group at the IMF and World Bank

Kazakhstan had declared and interest in joining the Swiss group at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) which consists – besides Switzerland – of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

During a conference call on Tuesday, 20.07.2010, the Swiss Federal Council has expressed his support of Kazakhstan joining the group.

The membership will formally be completed in the autumn, when the IMF and WB Executive Directors are elected. In the IMF, the Swiss group will then have voting rights of 2.05% of the total.

Sources: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, IMF

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Greece Receives First Tranche of Financial Help Package from EU

Greece receives first tranche of financial help

Image source: Pravda.ru

This is from the Russian newspaper Pravda:

The first tranche of the agreed financial assistance to Greece has been assigned, said the EU Commissioner for Economy and Monetary Policy Olli Rehn.

In his words, Greece’s partners in the euro zone have wired 14.5 billion euros, and an additional 5,5 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund, to Greece.

On May 2,  at an extraordinary meeting in Brussels, the finance ministers of 16 EU countries adopted a package of financial assistance from the EU and the IMF to Greece  in the amount of 110 billion euros. Eighty billion of which to be assumed by the European Union, including 22 billion from Germany, which is the euro zone’s largest economy. Borrowing agreements with member countries of the euro zone will be bilateral in nature and will be issued under a preferential 5 percent.

Following the meeting of finance ministers from 16 countries of the euro zone, chairman of the EU Group, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters that the meeting participants had unanimously agreed that the Greek government was following the right path.

Source: Pravda

and this is from the Turkish newspaper Sabah (updated for translation errors, my Turkish: bad!):

Since Papandreou came to power in Greece in October, the government has scored its first scandal. Greek Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou, who is the wife of Tolis Voskopuolus, a singer, who is being accused of evading 5 million euros in taxes, has resigned over the allegation. A former actor, Gerekou’s resignation was accepted by Prime Minister George Papandreou. In the attempt to get out of the debt crisis the fight against tax evasion and corruption had been among the priorities of the Greek government. This tax scandal hits the government’s credibility.

Source: Sabah

Africa as the Next Frontier in the Quest for Growth

On Alternet today, we find the following headline:

Billionaires and Mega-Corporations Behind Immense Land Grab in Africa
20+ African countries are selling or leasing land for intensive agriculture on a shocking scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.

It seems that there is a massive land-grab going on in Africa:

An Observer investigation estimates that up to 125 million acres of land — an area more than double the size of the UK — has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

This is all part of a larger pattern, it seems. Lately, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF went to Africa saying in a speech:

All across the continent, we can see signs of life, with rebounds in trade, export earnings, bank credit, and commercial activity. In 2010, the IMF expects growth of around 4½ percent.

[…]

The twin challenges for Africa are to revive strong growth and reinforce resilience to shocks.

So Africa becomes the next – and possibly final frontier – on Earth in the capitalists’ quest for world domination. I again cite from a historical document:

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

This is from the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848. Marx and Engels were on to something, weren’t they.

It is really worthwhile reading some of these old writings even if you don’t share the worldview propagated therein. There might be lessons in there for you anyway, you know.
Nowadays, we delude ourselves that we have made progress and that we have improved as humans. Read the old documents and you will see that they had figured out the source of the problem hundreds or even thousands of years before our time. It always has to do with greed and with a certain type of personality.

IMF and Japan’s Bilateral Borrowing Agreement

The IMF has a nice fact sheet that explains how they get their financing. Inside it you’ll find this paragraph (emphasis added):

In February 2009, the IMF signed a bilateral borrowing agreement with Japan to temporarily bolster its capacity to support members during the current global economic and financial crisis. Under this agreement Japan committed to lend up to US$100 billion (about SDR 68 billion) to the IMF. Supplementary resources available under this loan will help ensure that the Fund can continue to provide timely and effective balance of payments assistance to its members.

US$100 billion, Japan? That reminds me of… so lets look more closely here.
The IMF provides some more detail about this bilateral agreement: Continue reading