World Bulletin / News Desk
World Bank investments in commercial financial institutions are indirectly allowing land-grabs, evictions and pollution in Southeast Asia, a watchdog group charged in a report Friday.
By investing in banks and other so-called financial intermediaries, World Bank funds can increase poverty, social strife and promote projects which hasten climate change, according to a report by Inclusive Development International.
"Once again, we have found that outsourcing the World Bank Group's development mandate to private financial institutions is a recipe for disaster," David Pred, the group's managing director, said in a statement.
Pred's US-based non-governmental organization, which researches the activities of development agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, issued another report in October saying the IFC's investments helped finance a "coal boom" across Asia even though the World Bank had pledged to phase out most support coal-fired power.
An IFC spokesman defended the practice of working with private financial firms, saying they were "essential" to poverty reduction and job creation.
"The multiplier effect of FI investments enables us to support far more enterprises critical to development than we would be able to on our own," IFC spokesman Frederick Jones told AFP.
"We work with our FI clients to improve their environment and social risk management practices."
In 2016, the IFC poured $5 billion into commercial banks, insurance companies, private equity firms and others, representing about half of its new annual long-term commitments, according to an internal IFC watchdog. The investments are aimed at boosting domestic capital and financial markets and supporting development.
But critics have grown increasingly critical of the practice in recent years, saying the financing can support end-users who violate World Bank environmental and social safeguards given the lack of oversight on how the funds are used.
The IFC compliance office said in a report last week that although supervision of these investments was improving, the corporation still lacked a means to assess whether clients met its standards. IFC disputed that report's findings, saying they did not give an accurate view of its performance.
Friday's report singled out IFC support for Raiffeisen Bank International of Austria, which the report said had financed the Thai mining firm Earth Energy, the main underwriter of a coal project in Myanmar's Tanintharyi region that allegedly involved land-grabbing and mining on ancestral lands that could affect as many as 16,000 people.
The report also said IFC bought a stake in Vietnam's state-owned VietinBank, which financed coal power, bauxite mining, rubber plantations and hydropower in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Those including Vietnam's Son La project, which had resulted in the displacement of 91,000 people, and Cambodia's Lower Sesan 2 dam, which threatens Mekong river fish stocks.
Of the major indices, Facebook weighed most heavily on the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which was down 0.9 percent to 7,411.34 about 20 minutes into trading.
Company to release new commercial and defense products, head of company says
EA19's exports and imports rise 9.1 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, year-on-year in January
Micro Focus warned in a statement that year-on-year revenues had fallen by more than anticipated since January, sending its shares slumping 55.88 percent to 831.40 pence.
Economy minister: Ankara 'absolutely' against Russia's limit on number of companies importing Turkish tomatoes
Turkey's assets abroad climb 2.1 pct at end of January 2018, compared with end-2017, according to Turkish Central Bank
BIST 100 opens 0.04 pct lower, Turkish lira loses value against foreign currencies
Listed shares in BIST 100 rise 0.01 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira rate climbs over 3.90; EUR/TRY stands at 4.80
Turkey bridges Muslim world and West, according to General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions
Britain intends to seek free trade deals with its major trading partners once it leaves the EU, as planned, in March 2019.
Net profits at the group rose 33.1 percent to hit 2.36 billion euros ($2.92 billion), higher than the 2.28 billion predicted by analysts.
About 45 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 24,867.00, up 0.4 percent.
Low-cost carrier to offer direct flights to Dalaman from Dublin and Bratislava starting June
"Preliminary national accounts results for 2017 show an increase of 7.8 percent in GDP... compared with 2016," Jennifer Banim, an assistant director general at the Central Statistics Office (CSO), said in a statement.
Unemployment rate falls 2.3 percentage points year-on-year in December to 10.4 pct