Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good News, Except for the Bad News

The IMF put up a couple posts this week with very similar themes: the global economy is doing better than expected ... except where it isn't; banks are doing better than expected ... except where they aren't. Global growth projections are up, but OECD country growth is more tepid than expected and far too slow to get us back up to trend. Bank write offs are smaller than originally anticipated, but there's plenty of blood still in the water so that "we run the very real risk of undermining the recovery and extending the financial crisis into a new phase." The handy phrase for things not going as desired everywhere is that there are "pockets." Deep pockets, but the wrong kind. The Poverty News Blog tells us more:

One of the "pockets" is Fiji where poverty has increased 10% to 45% despite increased anti-poverty spending. The government hopes to drop kick that 15 percent in the next ten years. A rather more ambitious national goal than the MDG it will have missed.

One of the "pockets" is Haiti, to no one's surprise. "May 1 marks the start of Haiti’s rainy season, which threatens to unleash a torrent of mudslides and flash floods on the Valley’s makeshift communities. The UN has determined that 9,000 of Bourdon Valley’s residents are at immediate risk of losing their lives in this area due to dangers posed by the rains." NGOs and UN programs are constructing new makeshift facilities with santitation, but many people aren't willing to leave for the next settlement. They're building the foundations for homes and restarting businesses.

And, demonstrating that "pockets" is a highly relative term, the Washington Post is concerned that Colombia has reduced poverty more slowly than its neighbors: 8 percentage points over 6 years (down to 43%) compared to almost 20 percentage point drop in Peru. Inequality has increased in Colombia.

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