Nepal: Quake survivors can avail six types of soft loan from banks

The government had recently endorsed the integrated working procedure to avail disaster victims with subsidised loan from banks and financial institutions.

The NRA will send one social mobiliser to each local level and one engineer to each district to help victims get loans to uplift their social and economic condition.

NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyewali said his office was trying to get assistance from the World Bank to send social mobilisers to each local level and engineers to each district. Social mobilisers will provide social and technical support to disaster victims and engineers will refer the victims to the concerned agencies for subsidised loan. The government came up with this policy as the previous plan to provide loan did not work properly.

Read entire article Quake survivors can avail six types of soft loan from banks | Rewati Sapkota | The Himalayan times >
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Digital technologies offer hope in fight against corruption

Digital technologies offer a hope in the fight against corruption which is a problem in every single country of the world, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said. Kim said the World Bank had instituted a very strict measure to follow every dollar that it lends to ensure that the dollars it provides are not used for other purposes.

“We take a very strong stance against corruption”“Unfortunately, corruption is a problem in every single country in the world, and I can tell you that we take a very strong stance against corruption,” Kim told reporters at a news conference here on the sidelines of the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

He said methods of detecting corruption had gotten better, but corruption still exists everywhere.

Read entire article Digital technologies offer hope in fight against corruption, says World Bank President Jim Yong

How global Anti-Corruption enforcement grew

American corporate anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws form the basis for one of the largest and busiest fields of white-collar legal practice in the world.

Other countries have even developed their own enforcement mechanisms in response to the increasing importance of American anti-corruption laws. But prior to 2000, enforcement of U.S. anti-corruption laws rarely occurred. What prompted this dramatic and rapid change?

Scholars argue changing global attitudes and U.S. legal culture have impacted white-collar prosecutions

According to Duke Law professors Rachel Brewster and Samuel W. Buell, greater international cooperation combined with U.S. legal culture spurred this growth in anti-corruption enforcement. In a recent article, they argue that a better understanding of the effects of corruption prompted countries to support U.S. anti-corruption enforcement efforts and gave U.S. prosecutors access to evidence located abroad, which improved their ability to investigate and bring cases against both American and foreign corporations.

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In addition, U.S. legal culture rewards prosecutors for handling anti-corruption cases, and a symbiotic relationship between prosecutors and corporate defense attorneys formed over time. Brewster and Buell suggest that, due to these factors, anti-corruption enforcement will continue to grow in importance.

The main U.S. anti-corruption law – the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – always allowed prosecutors to target both U.S. and foreign companies that bribed foreign government officials. But, as Brewster and Buell note, since evidence of illegal bribes was often located overseas, U.S. prosecutors needed the help of local authorities to collect this evidence. And many governments refused to aid U.S. anti-corruption enforcement efforts.

Indeed, the prevailing theory held that bribery actually benefited developing countries by facilitating investment, and some countries even considered bribes a tax-deductible business expense.

>> Read complete article: How Global Anti-corruption Enforcement Grew | The Regulatory Review

Tanzania prepares for worsening effects of climate change

Tanzania aims to better protect its city dwellers from floods and other climate-related threats through an urban resilience program launched this week.

The initiative comes as the country is grappling with the worsening impacts of climate change, such as frequent flooding and recurring drought.

More than half the world’s population now lives in cities, and the United Nations projects that share will rise to 66% by 2050, with close to 90% of the increase taking place in urban areas of Africa and Asia. While this growth will globally create wealth and reduce poverty, analysts say many cities are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, putting lives and property at risk.

Threatened by flooding

In East Africa, Tanzania is bearing the heaviest burden of flooding, which threatens infrastructure assets worth $5.3 billion in Dar es Salaam, the World Bank said at the launch of Tanzania’s urban program Wednesday.

Home to more than 4.5 million people, the nation’s commercial capital is vulnerable to flooding, which cripples the ability of poorer city residents to access clean water and better sanitation.

Tanzania aims to better protect its city dwellers from floods and other climate-related threats through an urban resilience program launched this week.

The new initiative, a collaboration between Britain’s Department for International Development, the World Bank and the Tanzanian government, aims to find ways to cushion people from weather-related disasters, such as identifying flood-prone areas and drawing up preparedness plans.

The program includes strategic actions, such as installing early warning systems, to boost Tanzania’s ability to respond to disasters and help people recover rapidly.

According to the World Bank, the program will use scientific methods to evaluate risks, and install early warning and monitoring equipment to prepare vulnerable communities for emergencies.

“No disaster is entirely natural,” said Edward Anderson, a disaster risk management specialist with the World Bank. “Disaster itself is often a failure in development planning.”

Teaching resilience

As part of its strategy, the government will develop a “Resilience Academy,” in which the concept of resilience will be taught at university level to help younger generations tackle natural disasters and other threats, officials said.

According to a recent World Bank report on greening Africa’s cities, protecting fast-degrading environments in growing cities like Dar es Salaam can make them more liveable, and help them cope with extreme weather.

“Restoring forest areas and rehabilitating river systems could alleviate urban flooding problems, and make cities more pleasant and productive places to live,” Bella Bird, the World Bank’s country director for Tanzania, told the urban program launch.

Source: voanews

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A step towards financial inclusion for all with new ISO standards

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Mobile banking not only makes our life easier, it gives access to banking services to those that have none. A new series of standards just published will provide the platform for this technology to expand and grow, bringing robust and secure banking services to more people than ever before.

According to the World Bank, around two billion people worldwide are “unbanked”, meaning they have no access to a bank account. Cash is king and that can bring with it its own problems. However, more and more people, particularly in developing countries, have a mobile device, whose functionality in the financial world is growing daily, offering more and more services and transactions.

The ability of mobile devices to execute transactions between the large number of platforms and financial institutions is due to a robust interface and effective operability. A new series comprising International Standards and technical specifications has just been published. ISO 12812, Core banking – Mobile financial services, defines common terms and requirements for greater interoperability. It specifies the technical components and their interfaces and the role of the various parties so that everyone is on the same page.

Patrice Hertzog, Chair of ISO/TC 68/SC 7, the ISO technical subcommittee that developed the series, said that with more people having mobile phones than bank accounts in the world, developing this technology will bring secure financial services to a wider audience.

“Financial access has many benefits, allowing people and businesses to plan their lives and also invest in things like education and health, and access insurance.

“In addition, through supporting the development and implementation of technology in this area, the standards will provide a catalyst for refining and improving the experience of the end user by complementing other standards in the sector such as ISO 20022 for financial messaging,” he said.

Source: iso.org

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China-led AIIB to block corrupt firms from projects

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will block firms banned by other development banks from participating in its projects, a move that signals the Beijing-based bank’s tough stance towards corruption and fraud.

The AIIB said on Wednesday it had voluntarily adopted the list of sanctioned firms and individuals under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions (AMEDD), which has been signed by five multilateral development banks including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The decision means that almost a thousand companies and individuals blacklisted by the other major development banks, including dozens of Chinese firms, are now also debarred by the AIIB.

“Creating a culture that lives up to our core value to be ‘clean’ is crucial for AIIB because we are ultimately the stewards of taxpayers’ money from all of our members,” Hamid Sharif, Director General, Compliance, Effectiveness and Integrity Unit at the AIIB said in a statement.

The AIIB was launched last year as a “lean, clean and green” bank to finance the building of roads, power plants and other infrastructure in Asia with US$100bn in committed capital.

The AIIB said it has voluntarily adopted the list of firms and individuals debarred by other multilateral developing banks. (Photo: China News Service)

While the Chinese-proposed bank attracted a total of 57 founding members including the UK, Australia and South Korea, the United States and Japan opted not to join over concerns about the newly-established bank’s standards and transparency.

But Sharif, who previously worked for the ADB, said the AIIB was institutionally organised to “react and deal with any suspicions of corruption or unethical behaviour in our projects.”

The AIIB said that, like other multilateral development banks, it would sanction firms and individuals that engage in corruption, theft or other fraudulent behaviour by barring them either permanently of temporarily from participating in projects it finances.

The bank aims to lend US$2.5bn this year, after approving loans worth US$1.73bn last year to energy, transport and urban projects in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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Stricter policy

The AMEDD agreement was first signed in 2010 by the African Development Bank, ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank to mutually enforce each other’s debarment decisions.

The World Bank’s debarment list, for instance, currently has 833 companies and individuals from around the world that have been blocked under its fraud and corruption sanctioning policy from participating in the bank’s projects.

Source: gbtimes

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