Bangladesh’s population of 160 million is as big as France, Germany, and the Netherlands combined. The country is also easily the poorest of the world’s 10 most populous. Given its size and the depth of its poverty, the country’s recent economic boom must rank as one of the world’s happiest economic stories right now.
The five BRICS countries are home to 42.6 percent of the global population, 21 percent of the world’s economy and nearly half of the world’s forex reserves, but have been marginalized in the global financial landscape. For example, in the World Bank, the five have a total of only 13 percent of voting rights, while the United States alone holds 15 percent. A similar picture can be seen at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
A big new State Department assessment has identified a major threat to global security. It’s not ISIS or Vladimir Putin. It’s not a rickety global economy or climate change or the threat of global pandemics. Instead, the report argues, these individual problems are symptoms of a much bigger issue — namely, a slow breakdown in global governance. Many of the institutions that were created in the past century to deal with economic and security risks around the world, such as the UN and IMF, may no longer be adequate to the task.
Will BRICS create a framework that is as democratic in sharing governance space with other investors and stakeholders? This will be something to watch for as the systems and structures evolve. The notion that the NDB has been “Shanghai-ed” is perhaps a shallow understanding of this exciting new initiative.
In a report released last week by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Pakistan was pinpointed as “one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, not far from being classified, ‘water-scarce’.” As water demand exceeds supply in the South Asian country, more and more water is being withdrawn from the nation’s reservoirs, leaving them in a critically precarious position.
Last month Afghanistan’s Minister of Mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, told the Wall Street Journal that he expects the country to start exporting oil as early as this year. Mr. Shahrani explained that oil wells in the Amu-Darya Basin in northern Afghanistan, while currently producing no oil, will have an output level of 25,000 barrels of oil a day by the end of this year. He also said that this is expected to rise to 40,000 bpd in 2014.
Predictions of the date may differ, but the general consensus on Japan remains the same. In a matter of just three to 10 years, the world’s third-biggest economy may start running out of the savings needed to fund its massive public debt.
Is it time to start selling yen, or are the doomsayers off target concerning the world’s biggest creditor nation?
The days of Tokyo’s finance mandarins being admired for their fiscal prudence are long since gone.