Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Volkswagen bombshell shows RBC is crucial to the bottom line

Volkswagen AG's share price collapsed after the uncovering of VW's "defeat devices" that conceal massively non-compliant emissions during testing of diesel cars like the Jetta (pictured below) in the United States. CEO Winterkorn has lost his post as a result. Reputational damage is likely to spread not only to other companies in the VW stable but to the whole German motor industry, to German industry in general and to diesel car manufacturers in other countries. Nor will this damage be limited to the US: regulators in Europe and Asia are already checking to see what has been happening in their own jurisdictions. First estimates of VW's liability total USD 18 billion, but the potential loss via reduced sales could be many times higher.

This is the clearest demonstration of the failure of current procedures for ensuring good behavior in major companies, despite the plethora of "CSR" and other corporate conduct standards to which most of them claim to adhere.

What companies need is a thorough RBC (responsible business conduct) audit and business plan. The costs of such a program are a minute fraction of the potential losses from such masssive reputational damage. CEOs who want to keep their jobs should heed this lesson.




Tuesday, August 4, 2015

World Investment Report 2015

This year’s UNCTAD World Investment Report, the 25th in the series, aims to inform global debates on the future of the international policy environment for cross-border investment.



Following recent lackluster growth in the global economy, this year’s Report shows that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in 2014 declined 16% to $1.2 trillion. However, recovery is in sight in 2015 and beyond. FDI flows today account for more than 40% of external development finance to developing and transition economies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Article on China's new investment rules

An article by Ken Davies on China's new investment rules, published on 20 February 2015, is on the Chinability blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014 Human Development Report launched today

The 2014 Human Development Report - Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience.
According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with USD1.25 or less a day. However, according to the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index, almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And although poverty is declining overall, almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur. Many people face either structural or life-cycle vulnerabilities.
You can download the complete report as a PDF here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What do you think?

There are plenty of (my) opinions in the posts below.

But what are your ideas on global development?

Look through historical and recent posts and see if you agree with what I have said there.

You can respond by appending a brief comment to the post.

You are also welcome to send me a think piece -- a paragraph or a page -- for me to publish on the blog.

Feedback is welcome...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Economic outlook for 2014: domestic policies will be paramount

The economic outlook for the world in 2014 is the brightest since the crash of 2008-2009. Global GDP growth will be at least as high as in 2013. However, unemployment will remain stubbornly high, especially in the European periphery, and the expansion will be constrained by the struggle to control government indebtedness. Unlike in previous recoveries, there is no identifiable “locomotive” to drag the rest of the world on to a high growth path. So it is imperative that every country tackle its own obstacles to growth, especially by investing in human capital.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Transforming life through music in Hong Kong

Article by Ken Davies in China Daily, Hong Kong edition on November 22, 2013


The Greeks were right — children need to be educated in music so they can learn to live in harmony with others. This principle is starting to be applied here in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Human development is the key to sustainable growth

Article by Ken Davies in China Daily, Hong Kong Edition on November 1, 2013

Some of the poorest countries in the world are sitting upon a fortune in natural resources. Instead of squandering these overnight in a failed development attempt, they should follow Hong Kong's -- and China's -- examples of diversification and investment in human capital.

Friday, September 6, 2013

G-20 Endorses G-20/OECD Principles on Long-Term Investment Financing


On September 6, 2013, G-20 Leaders endorsed an OECD-launched initiative to encourage the flow of institutional investment towards longer-term assets, such as infrastructure and renewable energy projects, in order to strengthen the global economy.

Global Value Chains Report Launched for G-20 Meeting

On August 6, 2013 the OECD, the WTO and UNCTAD launched their joint report entitled Implications of Global Value Chains for Trade, Investment, Development and Jobs.

The report was prepared for this week's G-20 Leaders summit in Saint Petersburg at the request of G-20 leaders at their Los Cabos Summit in June 2012.


Value chains have become a dominant feature of the world economy, involving countries at all levels of development, from the poorest to the most advanced. The production of goods and services is increasingly carried out wherever the necessary skills and materials are available at competitive cost and quality. This growing fragmentation of production across borders has important implications for trade and investment patterns and policies and offers new prospects for growth, development and jobs. 

Highlights of the report:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Toward a multilateral framework for investment

The essay below is published as part of the continuing discussion on the feasibility and desirability of a multilateral framework for investment.

Nicolle Graugnard, ‘Toward a multilateral framework for investment’ Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 103, September 2, 2013. Reprinted with permission from the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (www.vcc.columbia.edu).

Toward a multilateral framework for investment

Nicolle Graugnard*

Friday, August 23, 2013

An argument against a multilateral framework for investment

“Axel Berger, ‘The futile debate over a multilateral framework for investment,’ Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 102, August 26, 2012, is reprinted with kind permission from the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (www.vcc.columbia.edu).

 The futile debate over a multilateral framework for investment
by
Axel Berger*

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Five dangers the internet poses to a sustainable world

It's time to slay the sacred cow that the internet is a force only for good


by Chandran Nair

[This article was published in The Guardian on Friday August 9th, 2013. It represents the opinion of the author and is published on the Growing Capacity Blog unchanged by permission of the author.]

In recent months the world has been consumed by the tit for tat internet spying allegations between the US and China.

Then came the news that the NSA has worked with some of the internet's leading companies to not only spy on American citizens but those of Europe and Hong Kong as well.


Much of the ensuing debate has thus been about the erosion of privacy by the state and by large corporations increasingly using big data to "understand" customers and the behaviour of their staff.


But in the midst of this obsession with the privacy issue there has been little attention to other equally corrosive impacts of the internet revolution. Part of the problem is that until very recently, but hopefully no longer, the debate was framed in such a way as to cast any and all critics of the internet as either luddites or somehow anti-freedom.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

World Development Report 2014 will focus on risk

The World Bank's World Development Report 2014, due out later this year, will be subtitled Managing Risk for Development.

Everyone who runs a country or a business has to deal constantly with risk. If you think risk is only a problem for gamblers, think again.

Attempts to evade risk, for example by detailed central planning of an economy, have often increased, instead of decreased, risk.

Risk needs to be recognised. It needs to be investigated, analysed and understood. Strategies then must be devised for managing it.

The World Development Report 2014 promises to show how this can be done, not only to "reduce the negative impacts of shocks and hazards", but also "to enable people to pursue new opportunities for growth and prosperity."

We shall see.

Watch this space.