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Image credit: UNESCAP

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK (IDN) — The crippling cost of debt financing for many developing countries has hamstrung their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, forced cutbacks in development spending, and constrained their ability to respond to further shocks, according to a new United Nations report.

Photo source: Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific for 2022

By Krishan Dutta

BANGKOK (IDN) — With an eye on the continuing uncertainty over the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased global risks, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific for 2022, has called for anchoring the region’s economic recovery and progress in “a new social contract” of inclusiveness to protect the vulnerable from future shocks.

Image credit: Busani Bafana

By Busani Bafana

KIGALI, Rwanda (IDN) — Less than ten years to the deadline to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Africa is at development cross roads. The big question is how can Africa achieve inclusive and sustainable development to meet the twin agendas; 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063?

Image: Migrant farmworkers in the Italian region of Calabria | Credit: ANSA/Quotidiano Del Sud

Viewpoint by Mahinda Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) — Disruptions from war, impacts of climate, and the growing inequities in wealth distribution are some main factors that drive over 160 million international migrant workers to seek work for a living in overseas countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the 3-D jobs (dirty, dangerous, and difficult) that migrant workers face in their host country while exposed to precarious work.  

Photo: A boy sits amid scenes of destruction in Macomia town after it was hit by tropical cyclone Kenneth, which made landfall in Cabo Delgado province in Northern Mozambique, on 25th April 2019. Credit: Tommy Trenchard/Oxfam

By Rodney Reynolds

NEW YORK (IDN) — A group of over 100 millionaires and billionaires from nine countries published an open letter January 19 to government and business leaders, calling for permanent annual wealth taxes on the very richest to help reduce extreme inequality and raise revenue for sustained, long-term increases in public services like healthcare.

Photo: An employee arranges vegetables in a supermarket in Indonesia. © ILO/Feri Latief

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK (IDN) — A new United Nations report shows that the rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has halted a rapid recovery, countering signs of solid growth at the end of 2021. The report titled, 2022 World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) cites problems contributing to the slowing down of the economy: new waves of COVID-19 infections, persistent labour market and lingering supply-chain challenges, as well as rising inflationary pressures.

Photo source: News24

By Johann Ivanov*

ACCRA (IDN) — Africa is facing a severe employment crisis. But if nothing is done to find a solution, it could get much worse in the not-too-distant future, as World Bank projections from 2017 show: By 2035, Africa’s working age population will expand by 450 million. At the same time, however, only 100 million jobs are expected be created in the same period. And that was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit: Africa was severely affected and its economies experienced a contraction by 2 per cent in 2020. UNECA estimates that almost 30 million Africans have been pushed below the extreme poverty line.

Photo: A mother of six tends to her youngest child in Khorasan Province in Iran. Credit: UNICEF Iran/Mehdi Sayyari

By Radwan Jakeem

NEW YORK (IDN) — Forty years of war, recurrent natural disasters, chronic poverty, drought and the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated the people of Afghanistan. The recent upheaval has only exacerbated needs and further complicated an extremely challenging operational context, notes the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its latest situation report.

Even prior to the events of August 15, when the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul after former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was one of the worst in the world.

Photo: Bali opened the country for tourism on October 14. Source: Travelling Lifestyle.

Viewpoint By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) — Indonesia’s popular tourism islands of Bali opened for tourism October 14, while Thailand announced that from November 1 vaccinated travellers from 19 countries will be allowed to visit the kingdom including its tourism island of Phuket. Both those countries’ tourism industry, which is a major revenue earner, has been devastated by over 18 months of inactivity that have impacted on the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people.

Photo: (left) Buildings affected by worsening flooding in Bangladesh. After Nurjahan moved into a slum to escape flooding in Bangladesh’s south, she used the Graduation program to give her and her family a new outlook on life (right). Credit: BRAC 2019.

Viewpoint by Shameran Abed

The writer is Executive Director, BRAC International. Originally founded in 1972 as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee and later known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, BRAC’s operations have grown globally and with that growth, the organization is now simply known as BRAC.

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