According to a recent United Nations report, global public debt reached a record high of $92 trillion in 2022, primarily due to governments borrowing money to combat crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Developing countries are particularly affected by this burden. Over the past two decades, both domestic and external debt worldwide have increased more than fivefold, surpassing the rate of economic growth, which has only tripled since 2002. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the adverse impact on people, especially in the world’s poorest nations, who are faced with the dilemma of servicing their debt or meeting the needs of their citizens.
Developing countries account for nearly 30 percent of the global public debt, with China, India, and Brazil representing 70 percent of that share. Among these nations, 59 face a debt-to-GDP ratio exceeding 60 percent, indicating high levels of debt. The report emphasized that debt has become a significant burden for developing countries due to limited access to financing, rising borrowing costs, currency devaluations, and sluggish economic growth.
The UN also criticized the international financial system, stating that it provides inadequate and expensive financing options for developing countries. The report highlighted that net interest debt payments exceed 10 percent of revenues for 50 emerging economies worldwide. Notably, in Africa, interest payments on debt exceed spending on education or health. Approximately 3.3 billion people live in countries where debt interest payments outweigh investments in essential sectors like health and education.
Private creditors, including bondholders and banks, hold 62 percent of developing countries’ total external public debt. In Africa, the involvement of private creditors increased from 30 percent in 2010 to 44 percent in 2021. Latin America has the highest ratio of private creditors holding external government debt among all regions, at 74 percent.
To address this crisis, the United Nations called for multilateral lenders to expand their financing and suggested measures such as temporarily suspending International Monetary Fund (IMF) surcharges and granting increased financing access to countries in debt distress. The report also emphasized the need for a debt workout mechanism to expedite progress on the G20 Common Framework, which was adopted by major economies and official creditors in October 2020 and aims to include non-Paris club members, including China, in debt relief efforts. However, the report did not provide specific details on how this mechanism should operate.
UK Inflation Crisis Threatens Lives and Widens Wealth-Health Gap, Study Warns
The United Kingdom finds itself ensnared in an inflation-driven cost-of-living crisis, a predicament that, according to a recent study in the open-access journal BMJ Public Health, could have dire consequences, including premature deaths and an alarming exacerbation of wealth-related health disparities.
The study, underpinned by meticulous modeling, presents a grim prognosis. It anticipates that the percentage of individuals meeting an untimely demise (before the age of 75) will surge by an unsettling 6.5% owing to the prolonged period of elevated price levels. What’s particularly disconcerting is the disproportionate impact on the most economically disadvantaged households. The research predicts that these vulnerable segments of society will witness a fourfold increase in mortality rates compared to their more affluent counterparts. This grim disparity is exacerbated by the fact that the less privileged must allocate a larger share of their income to grapple with soaring energy costs.
The study’s focus was on the impact of inflation on mortality rates in Scotland during the years 2022-3. It took into account scenarios with and without potential mitigating measures, such as government interventions aimed at alleviating household financial burdens.
Analyzing the collected data, the researchers constructed models to explore the potential ramifications on life expectancy and socioeconomic inequalities for the entire United Kingdom if varying degrees of mitigation were enacted. The unmitigated scenario paints a bleak picture, projecting a 5% increase in mortality rates in the least deprived areas and a staggering 23% surge in the most deprived areas. However, with the implementation of mitigation measures, these figures diminish to 2% and 8%, respectively, albeit still contributing to an overall increase of approximately 6.5% in mortality rates.
This grim outlook extends to overall life expectancy, which is expected to decline in all scenarios. The study underscores a crucial point: the economy’s performance directly impacts public health. It highlights the detrimental consequences of inflation and reductions in real-term income, underlining the stark disparities in how these challenges affect different segments of the population.
In a sobering conclusion, the researchers emphasize that public policy responses, as currently formulated, are insufficient to safeguard public health and prevent the deepening chasm of inequality. The situation remains grim, despite a slight unexpected slowdown in UK inflation to 6.7% in August, though it still maintains its position as the highest among G7 nations. This inflation surge is attributed to a combination of factors, including the enduring impact of coronavirus lockdowns, Brexit, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Amazon Commits $4 Billion Investment in AI Firm Anthropic
Amazon has announced a substantial investment of up to $4 billion in the artificial intelligence company Anthropic. This move signifies Amazon’s entry into the fiercely competitive AI arena, which has thus far been dominated by major players like Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI.
Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy, expressed admiration for Anthropic’s team and foundational AI models, emphasizing the potential to enhance various customer experiences in both the short and long term through deeper collaboration.
Emirates and SriLankan Airlines Forge Interline Agreement for Seamless Travel Connectivity
Emirates and SriLankan Airlines have recently entered into a reciprocal interline agreement, aiming to enhance connectivity and convenience for passengers of both carriers. This strategic partnership facilitates seamless travel experiences, allowing passengers to access additional destinations on each other’s networks via Colombo and Dubai, all while utilizing a single ticket and enjoying the ease of baggage transfers.
For Emirates passengers, this interline collaboration provides access to a network of 15 regional destinations operated by SriLankan Airlines through Colombo. This expanded network includes new Indian destinations such as Madurai and Tiruchirapally, along with Gan Island in the Maldives. Furthermore, travelers can explore Far East and South Asian destinations, including Cochin, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Malé, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Seoul, and Tokyo, as detailed in a press release.
SriLankan Airlines’ customers will also reap the benefits of this partnership, gaining access to Emirates’ extensive global network. They can conveniently connect to 15 cities across the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the United States, all operated by Emirates beyond Dubai. Notable destinations include Bahrain, Amman, Dammam, Medina, Cairo, Muscat, Nairobi, Moscow, Tel Aviv, as well as several key U.S. cities like New York JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Houston.
Travelers can already book their itineraries through various channels, including emirates.com, srilankan.com, and preferred online and offline travel agencies. In addition, Emirates has expanded its service to Dhaka, now offering 21 weekly flights and convenient connections to nearly 140 destinations spanning six continents.
- President Shahabuddin Encourages Youth to Embrace Modern Knowledge and Patriotism
- Bangladesh Celebrates Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s 77th Birthday
- Eid-e-Miladunnabi: A Day of Spiritual Significance and Reflection
- DSE Performed Mixed
- Bay Leasing & Investment declares no Dividends
- eGeneration declares its Dividends
- BBS Cables declares 2% Cash Dividends
- Nahee Aluminum Composite Panel Recommends Cash Dividend for Shareholders
- Apex Footwear discloses its Dividends
- Bangladesh Building Systems Announces No Dividends
- Sluggish Turnover ends Day Trading at Tk 450cr
- Justice Obaidul Hassan Sworn In as 24th Chief Justice of Bangladesh
- IMCB Mourns the Loss of Esteemed Senior Member, Prabin Behari Barua
- UK Inflation Crisis Threatens Lives and Widens Wealth-Health Gap, Study Warns
- Asian Stock Markets Slump as Investors Brace for Prolonged Rate Hikes