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Showing posts from April, 2017

IMF 2017 Spring Meetings: where we are now

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We attended the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings and heard nothing that would make us revise our 2017 Economic Forecast for Businesses under Trump as noted in my talk to the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce on February 14, 2017. As I noted then, we expect economic growth to continue for most of 2017. The IMF confirmed our forecast: global economic growth is projected to rise from 3.1% in 2016 to 3.5% by the end of 2017. The IMF expects global economic growth to reach 3.6% by 2018. Total global investments are expected to continue to grow from today's $212 trillion. These are stunningly good figures, and mark a complete reversal from the Fund's earlier, pre-Brexit 2016 economic forecast. Recall that the IMF predicted economic doom and gloom were Britain to exit the EU. They have softened their view, to say the least. This is not to suggest that the Fund has suddenly become a champion of the rosy scenario. (We think their growth forecast is too optimistic, by the way.) T…

World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, 2017, Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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In April, 2000, 10,000 protesters gathered outside the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings to express passionate disapproval of globalization and to express concern about growing income inequality.

Chaos erupted and upwards of 1,000 people were arrested. Seventeen years later, at this year’s World Bank meetings, there are no protesters to be found in Foggy Bottom. The World Bank has attempted to incorporate some of the protesters’ concerns into their Spring Meeting event schedule: they have increasingly emphasized income inequality and other issues. This progress was displayed at the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Roundtable on April 18: CSOs posed their questions directly to World Bank executive directors.

The questions were direct, opening with “How can the bank do more to provide relief in wars and other crises?” Executive director Merza Hasan brought attention to the relief efforts of the past, but suggested there was room for improvement. The comments were in line with World Bank P…

Africa Policy Forum on Famine. Kenan Tukes, Howard University, Impact Investing Intern

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The Africa Policy Forum on Famine was held on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at the US Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium, sponsored by the office of Congressmember Karen Bass. This forum discussed the escalating risk of famine on the Horn and the Sahel regions of Africa, and the efforts, unrealized thus far, to stop not only the famine, but its root causes as well.


The Horn of Africa has, for years, experienced many threats. These include drought, famine, and ongoing conflicts - from struggles for power to genocide. In fragile states like South Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia, these threats have, in the present day, created a situation that threatens the lives of millions of refugees and the future of these states.

The Africa Policy Forum on Famine was a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Monde Muyangwa and featuring Gen. William “Kip” Ward (Ret.), John Prendergast, and Jon Brause. The discussion brought into question the roles various Western powers as well as the United States play in the fami…

“Global Economic Prospects-Spring 2017” seminar. Brendan Cody, GWU student and Impact Investing Intern

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Economic forecasters have the unenviable position of consolidating the various policy proposals of the Trump administration and divergent global growth indicators into an all-encompassing and accurate prediction of global growth prospects.

David Stockton, Karen Dynan and Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute took on this task and elaborated on their analysis of the global economy at the semiannual “Global Economic Prospects-Spring 2017” seminar on April 12.

All three believe there is potential momentum in the world economy with some regions expected to fare better than others. In the United States, tax reform, healthcare reform, rolling back of regulations and fiscal spending suggest solid growth prospects in the near future.

This optimism is tempered by concerns in both fiscal and monetary policy. In fiscal policy, the Trump administration has been inconsistent at times on its precise policy objectives and has already had difficulty in passing health care and tax reform.

Monetary p…

The Problem with OneUnited and #BankBlack

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According to the New York Times,

"WASHINGTON — Top banking regulators were taken aback..when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said.

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Water’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board of directors until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the institution. Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators had been intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special as…