June 26, 2019  

Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio.

For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have 8 athletes competing; and a good shot for a medal in women's judo: Majlinda Kelmendi is considered a favorite. She's ranked first in the world in her weight class.

(South Sudan's James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel & coach Joe Domongole, © AFP) South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, will have three runners competing in the country's first Olympic Games.

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus


(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)



Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler



CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au)


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Entries in migration (6)


Tragedy at Sea for African Migrants (News Brief)

Italian rescue workers attend to survivors from the shipwreck off Lampedusa CREDIT: Laura Bastianetto/Croce Rossa Italiana(HN, April 6, 2011) - More than 250 migrants are feared dead after a boat carrying some 300 people sank in the early hours of the morning, some 40 miles off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. 

Forty seven survivors were rescued at sea by the Italian Coast Guard and three by a local Italian fishing boat, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported this morning.

The vessel, which was laden beyond capacity, had left the Libyan coast with migrants and asylum seekers from Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Chad and Sudan. Some 40 women and five children - including a two-month-old infant - were on board. Only two women survived the shipwreck.  
The survivors were transferred to Lampedusa. They told IOM officers who are providing them with first aid and counselling that the boat sank in rough seas. 

They say that when rescuers arrived, the boat was already sinking. Survivors managed to swim towards the approaching Coast Guard ship. Many drowned because they couldn't swim or were dragged down by desperate fellow passengers. 

The journey reportedly took two days in rough seas.

"The survivors are all in a state of shock," says IOM's Simona Moscarelli. "One man told me he had lost his one year old son. One of the two surviving women told me how she had lost her husband."

The Italian Red Cross said the migrants said they hoped for a new life in Europe; among them are tailors, masons and electricians.

The migrants have been transferred to the Loran base, a facility where the Italian authorities are sheltering migrants coming from Libya, in order not to mix them with the migrants arriving from Tunisia.

Since the beginning of February, the island of Lampedusa has been overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 20,000 migrants. The majority of them are Tunisian coming from the Tunisian port of Zarzis, Djerba and Sfax. Over the past ten days, more than 2,000 mostly African migrants and asylum seekers have landed on the island after having sailed from the Libyan coast. 

This latest incident comes as Lampedusa's ability to deal with the large number of refugees "has been stretched to the limit", according to Italian officials.

Since 2006, IOM has been providing assistance to migrants in Lampedusa as part of a project funded by the Italian Government. IOM works alongside UNCHR, Save the Children and Italian Red Cross to monitor reception assistance and to provide legal counseling to migrants who have arrived on the island.

- HUMNEWS staff, IOM


Horror Stories Emerge as Migrants Fleeing Libya Reach Safety (Report)

(HN, March 5, 2011) - UPDATED 0930GMT - As migrants attempt to flee an increasingly dangerous Libya, horror stories are beginning to filter out about desperate measures taken to escape the carnage.

It was previously believed that most of the exodus of more than 100,000 people in the last 10 days consisted of fit young men - but there are also many vulnerable women and children, it has emerged.

On Thursday, 40 particularly vulnerable West African migrants - fearing for their lives given the targeting of Sub-Saharan Africans and desperate to leave Libya - said they had paid a human smuggler to take them to Egypt in a sealed and refrigerated truck.

For African migrants - many from poor, small countries that lack the ability or desire to repatriate their nationals - there are countless bitter tales of targeted treatment in Libya.

Some Eritreans said that in the 160 kms from Tripoli to the Tunisian border, they had been stopped 20 times and totally dispossessed of all their money and belongings.

A Chadian migrant recounted the increasing violence at night-time in Tripoli that had led to great terror among him and others.

Many arrive at border crossing with just a blanket and few belongings. Aid agencies say that as the migrants flee, employers refuse to pay them weeks or months of owed back wages.

"The problem is that there are a number of them arriving at the border without proper documents and without a visa to enter Egypt," said UN  official Roberto Piteo.

But the most horrifying account is that of Ike Emanuel, a 35-year-old Nigerian migrant, who interrupted his journey to bury his 6-month-old baby girl in the desert last week after she died of exposure on a desperate trek to escape Libya.

"I lost my baby. She died and we buried her in the desert," Emanuel told Reuters. "We spent three days in the desert and she was a little baby of six months and she could not endure the cold," he said. "I am going home with nothing, going home again without my baby which can be my future."

Reports also quote many Bangladeshi migrant workers complaining harshly about the lack of any response from their government. In an appeal written on a bed sheet, they urged Tunisia and the world to "save the lives of 30,000 Bangladeshis".

Some returnees have been quoted in the Bangladeshi media as saying that they faced starvation due to the lack of consular assistance.

Shaheed Uddin, a Bangladeshi migrant worker from a camp in Tripoli, said Libyans set fire to a labour camp and looted valuables Thursday night. The camp housed around 1,000 Bangladeshi workers. One Bangladeshi was killed and some others got injured, he claimed.

"Those Bangladeshis then fled wherever they could," he told The Daily Star of Dhaka, adding that such incidents have become regular and his camp housing 300 workers could be next.

In response to an official request from the Government of Bangladesh, the UN has had to step in to fill the lack of responsiveness from Dhaka. There were at least 60,000 Bangladeshis in Libya prior to the uprising.

More than 640 Bangladeshi migrants were evacuated from the Libyan port city of Benghazi Thursday via a road convoy by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and escorted by the Libyan Red Crescent to the Egyptian border crossing at Salum. IOM will then organize for their return home to Bangladesh in the days to come.

Sadly, some African migrants have no hope of assistance from their governments. Giovanni Martinelli—a Catholic bishop and the vicar of Tripoli—says hundreds of Eritreans showed up at St. Francis Catholic Church in Tripoli last Sunday seeking help, according to one published report. Many of the Eritreans are Christians that fled persecution in their home country.

Even for Egypt, which had an estimated 1.5 million of its nationals working in Libya, the sudden burden of hosting the returnees is not an easy task for the interim military governments. What is more, the flow of remittances from these migrants will come to a sudden halt - creating a knock-on effect for vulnerable families back home.

In the past few days, IOM staff had located several thousand migrant workers from many nationalities in the port at Benghazi and the surrounding warehouses with the largest groups comprising Bangladeshi, Indian and Sudanese migrants. This morning, another 500 Bangladeshi migrants arrived at the port compound in a two-hour period.

IOM staff in Ras Ajdir report that an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis already on the Tunisian side of the border, decided to walk the 8km distance to a UNHCR camp today. In a five kms long column, the migrants carried their luggage as best they they can. Some of them, all young men, say they had walked from Tripoli to the Tunisian border.

In Egypt, where IOM is also providing registration and humanitarian assistance to migrants at the Salum border crossing, has so far evacuated 1,079 migrants, mostly Bangladeshi but also including

Ghanaian, Malians and Filipinos.

IOM staff in Ras Ajdir report that an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis already on the Tunisian side of the border, decided to walk the 8km distance to a UNHCR camp today. In a five kms long column, the migrants carried their luggage as best they they can. Some of them, all young men, say they had walked from Tripoli to the Tunisian border.

- HUMNEWS staff, IOM


LIBYA: Mass Evacuation of Nationals From Developing Countries Underway (REPORT)

As Libya falls further into chaos, a mass evacuation of migrant workers is underway(HN, March 1, 2011) - UPDATED 1145GMT - In one of the largest humanitarian exercises of its kind in recent memory, tens of thousands of migrants are streaming towards Libya's borders and ports as humanitarian agencies and governments scramble  to evacuate them from an increasingly chaotic and dangerous environment.

More than 100,000 migrants from many nationalities have escaped into Tunisia and Egypt, with a growing number now stranded at Libya's borders with Egypt and Tunisia. There are reports that thousands are still stranded inside Libya - among them several hundred Nigerians without money or the ability to move.

The trafiic flow is so heavy that aid agencies are finding it extremely difficult to cope.

Said one field worker from the United Nation's High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): "Just as we stabilize thousands of new arrivals - providing food, shelter and blankets - thousands more arrive. Usually the first three days of the crisis are the worst. This seems to be getting worse by the day."

Reports coming in say thousands of Sub-Saharan Africans are holed up inside their homes in Libya without any assistance at various places including Moursouk, Sabah, Misrata, Tripoli and Benghazi, desperately searching for vehicles to escape the targeted violence they feel is coming their way.

The Philippines alone has 13,000 migrant workers stranded in Libya, of which only 2,000 have been evacuated. But, Egypt, by far, has the largest contingent at about 1.5 million.

On Sunday, Nigeria managed to fly two planes into Tripoli to evacuate stranded nationals.

There are reports of chaotic scenes at the border. CNN correspondent Ivan Watson said thousands of refugees are caught in the "no-man's land" between Tunisia and Libya. "The scene on the Libyan border is getting ugly," he Tweeted at 1141GMT.

Field staff from the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) managed to identify other Third Country Nationals (TCNs) in urgent need of assistance, at the borders - including Nepalese, Ghanaians and Nigerians who were sleeping rough in freezing temperatures.

About 12,000 non-Tunisian migrants alone crossed the Tunisian border at Ras Adjir on Sunday. The BBC reports the flow of migrants into Tunisia at an astonishing 1,000 per hour.

Yesterday, the IOM managed to evacuate 900 Egyptian migrants from Tunisia to Egypt through five charter flights. Earlier today, a group of 1,450 Egyptians left overcrowded facilities at Ras Adjir on their way to the sea port of Sfax, where they will board an IOM-chartered vessel that will take them to Alexandria in Egypt.

The Organization is also evacuating a group of 361 Bangladeshi migrants and 174 Malians from Tunisia with more planned for today.

IOM is working with the Bangladeshi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prepare for the arrival of a group of some 2,000 Bangladeshi nationals who remain stranded on the Libyan side of the border. Reports say the Bangladeshis are exhausted and are in urgent need of food, water and shelter.

"With thousands of migrants still awaiting authorization to enter Tunisia, there is an urgent need to decongest the border area which lacks adequate facilities to host large numbers of people," says Marc Petzold, IOM's Chief of Mission in Tunisia. 

Tunisian citizens who had been living in Libya returned to Tunisia at the Ras Jedir border crossing on Wednesday. Other foreigners were heading for Egypt (NYT)A sea evacuation of about 2,000 Egyptian migrants from the port at Djerba has also been planned but bad weather has so far hampered efforts. IOM expects this operation to get underway in the coming days as the weather improves.

In addition, IOM is looking to evacuate thousands of Egyptians stranded in the Libyan port city of Benghazi by sea to Alexandria in Egypt.

"IOM urgently needs donors to fund its initial appeal for US$11 million launched last week as soon as possible. We are using our reserves to provide immediate assistance, so desperately needed by the many tens of thousands of migrants who have already fled and many, many more still inside Libya desperately calling us for help," says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

"We urge all parties in Libya to refrain from targeting migrants who have for decades contributed to the growth and well-being of Libyan economy and to let those who wish to leave, to do so safely and in dignity."

With the large outflows putting enormous strain on the local infrastructure, in Tunisia in particular, it is imperative to be able to evacuate the migrants as soon as possible, IOM says.

IOM is establishing two transit centres for 800 migrants at Ras Adjir to help ease the pressure on another centre currently being managed by the Tunisian Red Crescent.

With very low temperatures at night and strong desert winds, shelter as well as water and sanitation assistance is critical, aid agencies say.

An IOM team found a group of about 600 Vietnamese migrants without papers at the border point trying to find some element of shelter from the elements but in the end forced to sleep in the open. The Organization is making arrangements to evacuate this group of migrants shortly. Although the Vietnamese migrants told IOM another 1,000 of their compatriots were on their way, at least 5,000 Vietnamese of an estimated 10,500 in Libya are still stuck inside the country.

In Egypt, where close to 22,000 Egyptian migrants alone are at a reception and processing centre at the border at Salum and another 7,000 migrants stranded in a compound in no-man's land between the two countries without papers or food or water, the situation is also difficult.
IOM, with teams working on the border at Salum and at Marsa Matroh further inland, has begun registration of the non-Egyptian migrants in no-mans land in order to organize their evacuation.

The majority of the migrants there are Bangladeshi nationals with a first group of over 450 due to depart in the next few days.

In coordination with the Egyptian authorities, IOM is also providing the migrants with humanitarian assistance including blankets, food and water.

Meanwhile, nearly 800 Nigerien migrants have been taken to Agadez in northern Niger from IOM's reception and transit centre in Dirkou. Another 432 Nigeriens have arrived today and will be transferred to Agadez as soon as possible.

With the capacity of the centre fully stretched, IOM is currently working with local authorities and the Nigerien Red Cross to increase it in order to accommodate the new arrivals. Tents will be set up on an adjacent plot of land. However, there is an urgent need for food, water and sanitation assistance.

This will become even more essential as Nigerian authorities in this northern part of the country have told IOM that there are more than 30 trucks carrying more than 2,000 Nigeriens and other Africans on board on Niger's border with Libya. They are expected in Dirkou within the next 24 hours.

The migrants being taken to Agadez have told IOM that they have escaped from Tripoli, Misrata and Sabah.

IOM is regularly receiving calls and messages from migrants and refugees inside Libya in a desperate situation.

The Organization is calling for migrants and refugees in Libya not to be targeted and for the safe passage for all those seeking to leave the country.

"We would urge migrants still in Libya fearing violence against them to stay put for the moment if they are in a safe place and out of sight," says IOM's Director of Operations, Mohammed Abdiker.

--- HUMNEWS staff, IOM


Displaced in Haiti Drops Below One Million, A Year After Earthquake - IOM

(HN. January 11, 2011) - Close to 1-million people are still living in temporary shelters in Haiti one year after a major earthquake struck.Temporary shelter in Haiti CREDIT: IOM

However, according to the International Organization on Migration (IOM), this represents a "significant drop" in the number of Haitians living in displacement camps and is a welcome sign of progress in recovery efforts.

The UN agency said at a media briefing in Geneva today that still remaining is the massive task of finding durable housing solutions in the most challenging aspect of the humanitarian response.

An IOM country-wide assessment conducted between last November and January 2011 found 810,000 people are still living in informal sites in Port-au-Prince and provinces. This is nearly half the figure last July of an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced Haitians. It is also the first time that the camp population in Haiti has dropped to well below one million.

"While these figures seem a positive development, there is a long way to go. The displacement crisis in Haiti is the most visible and intractable issue. Getting people out of camps and into durable housing is key to long term recovery. However, there are many obstacles to doing this quickly and for Haitians, solutions can't come quickly enough," says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

The assessment, part of IOM's work in leading and coordinating camp management efforts in post-earthquake Haiti and regularly carried out, suggests a downward trend in the camp population of about 100,000 people a month. The largest declines are being witnessed in the south of the country in rural or semi-urban areas where housing options are more easily available.

Although an estimated 200,000 people have left the camps for transitional shelters, returned to damaged or rebuilt homes or simply left to live elsewhere, issues over land tenure, rubble, the lack of land preparation for construction as well as environmental concerns and risk mapping, are blocking more significant progress in resolving the displacement crisis.

"We have to acknowledge that life in camps will continue to be a reality for hundreds of thousands of people in the near future. In the meantime, the greatest possible efforts are being made to ensure that the displaced get the continued assistance and protection they need. As more camps continue to close down, this includes helping people without homes or livelihoods into more durable accommodation and into jobs," adds Swing.

Until more permanent houses can be built, transitional shelters which can last up to five years are the best option. IOM is complementing its work to assist the displaced by building 8110 shelters in the most affected areas. To date, 3000 shelters have been completed by IOM.

Although camp management activities have been the least funded of any humanitarian response in Haiti (43%), IOM and partners are regularly monitoring 100 per cent of all spontaneous settlements to track levels of service and to raise awareness on difficulties that the displaced face. For 2011, the camp management cluster of humanitarian agencies has appealed for $93 million.

According to UNICEF, the 12 January earthquake affected 1.5 million children and 63,000 pregnant women. As of 29 December, 3,481 people had died of cholera -- including 210 children below the age of five -- and over 157,000 cases of cholera had been reported, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Also today, Nigel Fisher, the United Nations’ Humanitarian Coordinator, will present a UN report on 11 January in Port-au-Prince, along with the Haitian authorities. And tomorrow, various commemorative ceremonies such as the unveiling of a statue will be held in the capital in memory of the Haitians and the UN staff who had perished in the earthquake.

The UN response is still hobbled by lack of funding. According to UN-OCHA, the $1.5 billion appeal launched in 2010 has been funded to 72 per cent at the end of 2010. The $174 million cholera emergency appeal launched in late 2010, for its part, is only funded to 25 per cent.

- HUM staff, IOM


Central Asian Migrants Facing Uncertain Year in Russia (Report)

(HN, January 7, 2011) - Fardin Saidulayev manages a newspaper kiosk in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where he is one of the few Tajik laborers to hold a coveted work permit. Yet he faces an uncertain new year. As of January 1, new Russian legislation bans foreigners from working in trade. Saidulayev says he now lives in constant fear he will be fired, or even deported.Young Tajik men, returning home on a 97-hour train ride from Moscow, arrive at the main station in Dushanbe in February 2009. Russia is tightening immigration procedures, saying the country only needs skilled, Russian-speaking laborers. The change could have a drastic effect in Tajikistan, where migrant-worker remittances comprise up to half the country's GDP. CREDIT: David Trilling/EurasiaNet.org

“I am not sure what I will do,” Saidulayev, 26, said recently. Originally from the town of Ishkashim in the Pamir Mountains, Saidulayev has been in Russia for three years. “I may try to keep working here or I may have to start working on a building site, but competition for jobs there is fierce and the pay is lower,” he added.

Though its economy is rebounding from the 2008 global financial crisis, Moscow, the scene of recent ethnic rioting, is tightening immigration procedures. Russian officials now say the country only needs skilled, Russian-speaking laborers. The changes could have a drastic effect in Tajikistan, where migrant-worker remittances comprise up to half the country’s GDP.

Around 98 percent of Tajik migrants in Russia work as unskilled laborers, Viktor Sebelev, the head of the Russian Federal Migration Service’s office in Tajikistan, said recently in Dushanbe. Many fail to integrate into Russian society. The Moscow-based Center of Migration Studies says that only 50 percent of labor migrants are literate enough in Russian to complete official documents; 20 percent have no command of the language at all.

In November, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed the decree banning foreign laborers from working as traders in outdoor kiosks and markets and from selling alcohol or pharmaceuticals. Foreigners still have the right to work in markets as loaders, cleaners, wholesalers or managers.

Since Putin signed the legislation, official rhetoric justifying the measure has intensified.

In early December, newly appointed Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced new restrictions on migration to Moscow. The mayor called for “firm control” over immigration and declared the quota of foreign workers in the city would be decreased to 200,000, an almost 50 percent drop in 2011 from the previous year’s total. "I have nothing against migrants, the city needs them. I just want to understand what kind of specialists are needed and in what areas," he said in comments carried by the state news agency, RIA Novosti.

Similarly, the government has cut its migrant work permit quota again this year to 1.5 million, a significantly smaller number than in 2007 when 6 million migrants obtained work permits, RIA Novosti reported.

The Federal Migration Service also announced in early December that it would compile a list of all migrants from the CIS in Russia, a process expected to take two years. Proponents claim that legalizing a migrant’s status guarantees more rights, including access to healthcare. But the number of unregistered migrants far exceeds the number of permits. Some estimates place the number of migrant workers in Russia at 12 million.

A reduction in unskilled labor migration could have serious repercussions for Tajikistan’s feeble economy. In 2009, according to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), 18 percent of the working-age population migrated abroad; their remittances accounted for 49.6 percent of GDP. Tajik government officials estimate that 900,000 Tajiks work in Russia, 30 percent in trade like Saidulayev.

There is skepticism, however, whether Putin’s new decree is enforceable. In Dushanbe, the IOM’s Malika Yarbabaeva expects it "won’t result in the mass return of migrants from Russia." A similar law from 2007 was never effectively implemented, she argues, noting that only 17 percent of all migrants live legally in Russia, highlighting the Moscow’s weak control over the state bureaucracy.

Nevertheless, the new law will simply augments the black market for foreign labor, pushing more migrants into unsafe conditions, said an official from Tajikistan’s migration service. “I do not think we will see many Tajiks return. The migrants will find loopholes in the law and continue to work in Russia. For instance, they will register their stalls in the names of Russian citizens,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of concern for vexing his Russian counterparts. The Tajik official argued that many Tajiks will continue to work illegally in the trade sector.

That is bad news for Saidulayev, who feels that, because he is legally registered, he has a higher profile than many migrants and could be singled out and made an example of. “I am being punished for living here legally when many people from my country live here illegally. I think this new policy will compel many Tajiks to continue living outside the Russian laws,” he said by telephone from Novosibirsk.

“At the moment I am waiting,” Saidulayev said, calling the distinction between skilled and unskilled laborers arbitrary. “I expect the police will come to close me down soon. If this happens, I don’t know what I will do.”

Edward Lemon is a freelance journalist based in Dushanbe. This article originally appeared in EurasiaNet.org


Impact of Economic Crisis on Small Economies "Brutal" - UN

(HN, June 1, 2010) The ongoing economic crisis has dealt a huge blow on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), according to a new study focused on 49 economies that was released today.A global economic downturn often hurts small entrepreneurs, like this woman in Laos

"While overall the LDC group of countries saw improvement in their terms of trade between 2004 and 2008, these were “brutally reversed” in 2009," says the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC).

LDCs have lost 43 per cent of their export earnings with developed nation trade partners and emerging economies such as Brazil and China. The report compares the boom period of 2008 to the bust period of 2009.

During 2009, LDC’s terms of trade had showed average declines ranging from minus 17 per cent to minus 36 per cent, compared to 2006, said Willem van der Geest, Lead Economist of the ITC.

While trade flows with the emerging economies, such as China, had proved more resilient than with developed economies, the LDCs terms of trade had deteriorated significantly with all partners.

 While in 2007 and the first half of 2008, LDCs had made some considerable gains, these had been completely eroded during 2009, said Van der Geest.

Overall, the terms of trade had regressed to levels of 2004. The overall picture for the LDCs remained that they were growing and exporting more but were nevertheless lowering their export-earnings.

The export-levels which might be reached by LDCs in coming years might not afford these countries to buy the same level of imports, said Van der Geest.

ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis said: “This important analysis of the trends in terms of trade for LDCs demonstrates how they are suffering from the fall-out of the global financial crisis. It is particularly disconcerting that South-South trade has not resulted in better terms of trade for the group.

Separately, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) issued a report today in Geneva which examines the social and economic impact of remittances sent by Angolans living in Portugal and South Africa.

The report says that for 16 per cent of the households, remittances constitute 100 per cent of monthly income.

About 67 per cent of respondents said remittances are used to meet basic household necessities, buy consumables and pay for utilities. A further 14 per cent say they use a portion of remittances for business purposes; and only 1 per cent of the respondents claim to invest part of the remittance funds in agricultural activities.

The report suggests ways to maximize their development effect in Angola, said the IOM's Jean-Phillipe Chauzy.