The World Bank Group has announced series of measures aimed at strengthening itself to better meet the evolving needs of clients across the world. The Bank’s president Jim Yong Kim declared Tuesday that the measures will include a startling US$100 billion increase lending capacity of the Bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries over the next decade.The World Bank Group president noted that the Bank will take advantage of new innovations in financial management and a boost in the institution’s ability to provide private sector support. The Bank’s announcement follows the record US$52 billion replenishment of International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, in December, 2013. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington D.C in advance of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Kim outlined how the Bank is positioning itself to better achieve its goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the lowest 40 percent in developing countries.“We now have the capacity to nearly double our annual lending to middle-income countries from US$15 billion to US$26 to $28 billion a year. This means that the World Bank’s lending capacity will increase by $100 billion to roughly US$300 billion over the next ten years,” said Kim. “This is in addition to the largest IDA replenishment in history, with US$52 billion in grants and concessional loans to support the poorest countries.” It is estimated that those living in extreme poverty were estimated at 21 percent in the developing world, and 17.7 percent globally in 2010. Boosting IBRD’s Margins for ManeuverIn addition to the previously announced $400 million in cost savings over the next three years that can be reinvested, Kim described a series of measures at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)—which provides financing, risk management products, and other financial services to middle-income countries—that have the potential to transform IBRD by substantially increasing its ability to serve its clients.These include: increasing IBRD’s Single Borrower Limit by US$2.5 billion for Brazil, China, Indonesia, India, and Mexico, with a 50 basis point surcharge on the incremental amount; revising IBRD’s minimum equity-to-loan ratio to reflect improvements in portfolio credit risk, enabling more efficient utilization of shareholder capital while remaining financially prudent; changing IBRD’s loans terms, including restoring the 25 basis point commitment fee charged on undisbursed balances, and offering longer maturities with increased maturity differentiation.This will allow IBRD’s annual lending commitment capacity to expand immediately from the current US$15 billion in annual lending to more than US$25 billion per year. Therefore, the Bank’s clients over the next 10 years can see IBRD’s capacity, in terms of the maximum loan book it can prudently support, increase from about US$200 billion to nearly US$300 billion, which would also boost the Bank’s countercyclical crisis-response capacity. With an infrastructure financing gap currently estimated at US$1.2-1.5 trillion per year in emerging market and developing economies, additional resources that remain attractive relative to bond markets should continue to be in demand.“New Innovations at MIGA move further toward “One World Bank Group”Mr. Kim also described how separate arms of the World Bank Group are working even more closely together to achieve greater efficiencies. For example, he explained that the Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is entering into an innovative MIGA/IBRD exposure exchange agreement to improve the diversification of each organization’s portfolios, thereby freeing up capacity to support additional business. The first exchange will be of an IBRD exposure to Brazil for a MIGA exposure to Panama, under a MIGA contract for non-honoring of sovereign financial obligations. Both Panama and Brazil will see benefits, as IBRD and MIGA will have more headroom to do additional business in each country.The World Bank boss also noted that MIGA is planning to increase its new guarantee extension by nearly 50 percent over the next four years.Harnessing the private sector to help end povertyKim described how IFC is looking to enhance its support in achieving the global lender’s twin goals, with an expectation that it will close to double its financing over the next decade.“IFC, the largest provider of multilateral financing for the private sector in developing countries, expects it will nearly double its portfolio over the next decade to US$90 billion. In 10 years, we believe its annual new commitments will increase to US$26 billion.” said Kim.The World Bank Group has seen its financial support to developing countries double over the past ten years, from US$25.8 billion in FY04 to US$52.6 billion in the last fiscal year. The cumulative effect of the additional lending capacity at IBRD, the largest-ever IDA envelope, and growing business at IFC and MIGA will be significant, Kim noted.“Taken as a whole, the World Bank Group’s annual commitment, which today is around US$45 to US$50 billion, is expected to grow to more than US$70 billion in the coming years. This increased financial firepower represents unprecedented growth for the World Bank Group. We are now in a position to mobilize and leverage, in total, hundreds of billions of dollars annually in the years ahead.”Enhancing the World Bank’s Equity Management FrameworkIn his speech at CFR, Kim noted, “We are strengthening our financial house to make sure that we have the capability and financial firepower to scale up our revenue and build our capital if we are going to meet some of the great needs in the developing world.”Another such measure is to stabilize and protect income generated from IBRD equity to improve the Bank Group’s financial sustainability. An enhanced Equity Management Framework will allow management to respond with more flexibility to changing market and macroeconomic conditions, within agreed rules and risk parameters. The Framework is designed to reduce the interest rate sensitivity of IBRD’s equity income, which accounts for a major portion of revenues, and aims to achieve income stability and protection by applying prudent governance and careful risk oversight.‘A Better ‘Solutions Bank’Kim asserted that the World Bank Group is now on a better footing to help countries meet their development challenges going forward.“Today, we are now better positioned to be the ‘Solutions Bank.’ We are aligning our programs and our talent to help countries grow more inclusively, which will help the poor and vulnerable, to lift themselves out of poverty.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
President Weah’s nominees (from left), Moses Owen Browne (IMO) and Neved Kortu (National Lotteries Authority)IMO case remains on holdPresident George Weah through Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean on yesterday admitted, during an argument before the Supreme Court, that he had circumvented the Act that created the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) that the founders put in place for transparency and accountability by appointing a deputy director general of operations there.Under the Act that created the NLA, the board of directors has the power and authority to appoint a deputy director general for operations as the principal deputy to the director general for an initial term of two years. Consistent with the mandate, the chairman of the board of directors of the NLA, Claude J. Katta, pursuant to a resolution of the board upon review of the record, appointed Madam Agnes Effiong on September 20, 2016, as deputy director general.However, President Weah in complete disregard of the act of the NLA, in early June this year appointed Neved Kortu to Effiong’s position, while she still had three months left to the expiration of her tenure.It was President Weah’s nominations that resulted to Effiong’s lawyer Stanley S. Kparkillen praying for a Writ of Prohibition, challenging President Weah’s appointment of Kortu to her position as illegal and unconstitutional.Kparkillen then argued that the President, consistent with democratic values, must be seen to preserve, protect, defend and faithfully execute the laws of the country, “and not to violate its provisions.”Based upon that request, Justice–in-Chambers Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie mandated the parties to stay all proceedings and to return to status quo ante, pending yesterday’s deliberation on the matter.At yesterday’s hearing of the writ of prohibition, Minister Dean conceded that President Weah’s appointment of Kortu as deputy director general was in violation of the act that created the NLA.The Justice Minister’s admission suggests that Madam Effiong would retain her position as deputy director general at the NLA until the expiration of her two-year tenure, which ends on September 19, 2018.And if she were to still gain the confidence of the board of directors, then she may likely be reappointed to that post.Meanwhile, Justice Wolokolie on yesterday ruled that her stay order prohibiting Moses Owen Browne and Neved Kortu from assuming their posts remains in place indefinitely.President Weah on June 19 this year appointed Moses Owen Browne, the former public relations officer at the Civil Service Agency (CSA), to replace Isaac W. Jackson at the IMO.President Weah’s decision was, however, challenged by lawyers representing the two individuals, terming it as “an act of excessive abuse and overuse of presidential powers, which fundamentally violates Articles 54 and 89 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, as well as the statutory law of Liberia and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) Act of 2010.”Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had, on September 13, 2016, appointed Jackson to the post of deputy commissioner and permanent representative to the IMO, the position that Browne has been nominated by President Weah to assume.In their argument, Justice Minister Dean said that the position of permanent representative was not equivalent to that of deputy commissioner that carried a five-year tenure post under the 2010 Act of the Liberia Maritime Authority. Minister Dean further contended that President Weah was not in violation of the Act, having appointed Browne to the deputy commissioner position.Lessons from LEITIIt can be recalled that President Weah, on March 5, announced former Montserrado County Lawmaker Gabriel Nyenkan as the new head of Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI), replacing Konah Karmo, who was appointed by the Multi-Stakeholders Steering Group (MSG) of that governs the LEITI. Karmo was appointed in 2014, following a competitive recruitment process in which several other individuals and institutions participated.That appointment was greeted with mixed reactions, especially from Global Witness, an international watchdog that declared the removal of Mr. Karmo and his replacement by Nyekan as illegal and called for the withdrawal of Nyekan’s appointment.The mandate of the NLI appointment, by law, is not very different from that of the law governing the LEITI. Director and deputies are appointed by a governing board; the governing board, being appointed by the President of Liberia.Amid Nyenkan’s militaristic takeover of the position, there is no indication that Karmo or the MSG sought legal redress.However, President Weah did not pay attention to that call and subsequently maintained Nyekan as LEITI Head of Secretariat.The LEITI Act of 2009 requires the President to appoint members of the Multi Stakeholders Group (MSG), and “shall designate one of them as the Chairperson and another as the Co-Chairperson”.“The power to recruit the Head of Secretariat, Deputy and other staff members of the LEITI Secretariat therefore lies with the MSG, which should comprise of members of the legislature, CSOs and the Executive,” according to Section 6.3 (d) of the Act.Though Section 6.5 of the LEITI Act of 2009 ascribes the appointment of members of the MSG to the President, while Section 6.3 (d) grants the MSG the “power to recruit and dismiss the Head of Secretariat, Deputy and approve the recruitment of other staff members.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The local contingent of Avinash Persaud, Rakesh Harry and Lakram Ramsundar made tremendous strides on Day 2 of the annual international Republic Bank Invitational golf tournament held at Golf Club Paramaribo, Indira Gandhiweg, Paramaribo, Suriname.Some members of the team from Guyana, from left Avinash Persaud, Rakesh, Eureka Giddings, Dr Philbert London, Shanella London, Lakram Ramsundar, LGC President Aleem Hussain, Representative of Sponsor, and Avinda KishoreNewcomer Rakesh Harry, playing in the B Flight, emerged as the undisputed B Flight champion at the end of Day 2, and in the process, producing the Best Net Score in the tournament and thus winning the Male Tournament Champion honours for Guyana.Current 9-time Guyana Open Champion Avinash Persaud showed his class as he romped home in the final day to win Best Gross overall honours, narrowly missing the A Flight Net Title when he went out-of-bounds on the last hole.‘Panko’ Ramsundar shocked his rivals by storming back from a dismal first day to emerge Best Gross Champion in the B Flight and third Best Net in the B Flight.In the A Flight, Avinash Persaud, advanced from 8th place in Day 1 to 2nd place overall at the end of Day 2. A similar feat was performed by Panko Ramsundar in the B Flight, where he moved from 9th place in Day 1 to 3rd place overall at the end of Day 2.Avinash Persaud won the Tournament Overall Best Gross, and Shanella London won the Longest Drive in the Ladies category for both Days 1 and 2, while Avinda Kishore won the Longest Drive in the Male category on Day 2The Surinam Invitational, played under the Stableford Format, is essentially a Net performance tournament so Guyana came home with great positions in the categories. Other golfers from Guyana did well as in the B Flight Dr London and George Bulkan also brought home prizes for their 4th and 6th places respectively.Troy Cadogan and Shanella London placed 3rd in their Flights with great performances, Eureka Giddings 8th place performance in her first appearance in an international tournament was commendable. Defending 2018 Ladies Champion Dr. Joaan Deo fell short of her bid to repeat and vowed to focus her efforts on the Guyana Open scheduled for October 26-27.