Latest Developments, March 8

Parasols

In the latest news and analysis…

Working women
To mark International Women’s Day, the Globe and Mail highlights countries, including a number of African ones, that are leaders in certain areas of gender equality:

“Egypt, where the World Economic Forum says the gender wage gap is 18 cents – so women can expect to earn 82 cents for every dollar a man gets.
(Canadian women, by comparison, can expect to earn about 73 cents, placing us 35th in the ranking.)

Rwanda. In the African country, as of February, women held 45 of the 80 seats in Parliament. By comparison, in Canada, which ranks 45th in the Inter-Parliamentary Union study, men outnumber women in Parliament by a ratio of 3 to 1.

Burundi. According the World Economic Forum, 92 per cent of female citizens in Burundi have paid work – compared with 88 per cent of men.”

Notable abstention
Inter Press Service reports that the US has opted not to vote on whether or not the World Bank should help fund a controversial mining mega-project in Mongolia:

“In abstaining, the U.S. representative cited concerns over the potential environmental consequences and an inadequate impact study of the mine plan.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine, a 12-billion-dollar project, is looking to massively expand copper-and-gold extraction in the South Gobi Desert. Its parent company, the London-based Rio Tinto, is currently fielding funding proposals from multiple international investors, including the World Bank Group.”

Democracy’s price
The Canadian Press reports that Export Development Canada, a government-owned entity that provides political risk insurance to its corporate clients, may ask the people of Arab Spring countries to compensate Canadian companies for business disruptions resulting from the overthrow of dictators:

“A number of Canadian companies, including oil firm Suncor Energy and SNC-Lavalin, the engineering firm, operate in the Middle East, but the EDC would not name the countries involved or the firms who made claims.

[EDC’s Ken] Kember said paying out claims does not end the story for the EDC, adding the agency often attempts to reclaim losses from the governments involved.

Much-needed debate
Now that “the architect of Barack Obama’s aggressive drone policy” has cleared the last hurdle to becoming the new head of the CIA, Time’s Michael Crowley considers what good came out of the confirmation process:

“The focus on the extremely narrow question of targeting American citizens may have been misplaced. But good questions were raised along the way about expanded presidential power, the drawbacks of heavy reliance on drones, and whether it’s time to reassess the basic legal framework governing the war against al Qaeda, its allies, and other terrorist groups.”

April-ish troop withdrawal
Reuters reports that a day after French President Francois Hollande set a new date for his country to begin withdrawing troops from Mali, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke of a more fluid timeline on a visit to the West African nation:

“ ‘We are in the last phase, the most decisive phase,’ Le Drian said. ‘This phase entails some very violent combat. When the liberation of the whole country is complete, then we will hand over responsibility to African forces.’
President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that France would start to draw down its forces in Mali from April, a month later than previously forecast.”

Questionable company
The Council on Hemispheric Affairs’ Frederick Mills explores alleged links between the recipient of a World Bank loan and a series of murders in the Bajo Aguán Valley of Honduras:

“With regard to the money trail, the Bird Report indicates that the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and a number of other institutions have made loan commitments to the Dinant Corporation. This corporation is owned by Miguel Facusse, who runs one of the three big African Palm Oil plantations in the area. This is important because the Bird Report links a security firm (called Orion Private Security Corporation) in the pay of Dinant and at least one other agribusiness to some of the acts of violence against campesinos associated with several vicitimized coop organizations. These lenders have an ethical obligation to further research and reevaluate any loan commitments to questionable agribusinesses that are alleged to engage in murder for hire and other notorious crimes.”

Fortress Europe
In a piece for Africa is a Country, Serginho Roosblad looks at the contrast between China’s and Europe’s current attitudes toward migrants from Africa:

“[Ian] Goldin, the former Director of Development Policy at the World Bank and now Director at the Oxford Martin School paints a clear picture for Europe: ‘I predict that in 2030, Europe will be saying desperately: “we want more Africans”.’ A pretty grim picture for those political leaders in Europe who in recent years have been working hard to build the European fortress.
A lot of the analysis and facts Goldin presents about the economic dawn of Europe are not new. However the connection he draws between the liberal economic policies that have enabled free flow of people and goods in Europe for the economic good of the continent and the liberal politicians that have drafted these policies while also being the ones responsible for the strict immigration laws might be the most interesting.”

Existential risks
Cambridge University’s Martin Rees draws attention to “the downside risks of powerful new cyber, bio, and nanotechnologies”:

“A few individuals, via error or terror, could ignite a societal breakdown so quickly that government responses would be overwhelmed.

In a media landscape saturated with sensational science stories, end-times Hollywood productions, and Mayan warnings of apocalypse, it may be hard to persuade the public that potential catastrophes could arise as unexpectedly as the 2008 financial crisis did – and with a far greater impact. Existential risks receive disproportionately little serious attention. Some suggested scenarios can be dismissed, but we should surely try to assess which ones cannot – and study how to mitigate them.”

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Latest Developments, March 26

In the latest news and analysis…

NATO secrecy
The New York Times’ C.J. Chivers writes that NATO is withholding information regarding civilian casualties of its Libyan campaign.
“In previous statements, [NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh] Rasmussen had said that there were no ‘confirmed’ civilian casualties caused by NATO in the entire war. That ringing denial overlooked two points: NATO’s definition of a ‘confirmed casualty’ is a casualty that has been investigated by NATO; and because the alliance has refused to look into credible allegations of the scores of civilian deaths that independent investigations have found it caused, it is impossible for the official tally to rise above zero.”

Nominee controversy
The Financial Times reports the US nominee for World Bank president is “under fire” over a 2000 book he co-edited, which was highly critical of “neoliberal” economic policies.
“But colleagues of Dr [Jim Yong] Kim and officials at the US Treasury said that when taken in context he was simply arguing that the distribution of gains from economic growth decides whether it makes life better for the poorest. They pointed out that such criticisms were widespread in the late 1990s and the World Bank had since changed its practices to take account of them.
‘Jim Kim is a brilliant man and fully understands the need for economic growth. What we have said in the book is that economic growth, in and of itself, is insufficient and will not automatically lead to a better life for everyone,’ said Joyce Millen, one of the co-editors of Dying for Growth, and associate professor of anthropology at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.”

Mining claims
The CBC reports that a coalition of human rights groups has filed for Canada’s highest court to hear a lawsuit against a Canadian mining company for its alleged contributions to a massacre of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The groups allege that Anvil Mining Limited provided logistical support to the Congolese military who raped and murdered people as it crushed a rebel uprising in 2004, killing as many as 100 people in the port city of Kilwa.
That support allegedly included planes, trucks and drivers instrumental in ending the conflict. The port was key to the operation of a copper mine, the exit point for $500,000 worth of copper and silver every day.”

German apology
The Namibian reports on the growing pressure on Germany’s parliament to make amends for crimes committed in its former colony – now called Namibia – during the early 20th Century.
“More than 100 German NGOs have now signed the ‘No Amnesty to Genocide’ appeal to the German parliament joining the demand for a formal apology for the genocide and reparations.
The Left Party’s motion was debated in the Bundestag last Thursday, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green Party had also introduced similar motions, the latter of which [No Amnesty to Genocide’s Christian] Kopp said made no mention of payments of reparations.
Instead, said Kopp, the SPD and Green Party in their motions simply focus on demanding for the revival of the reconciliation initiative in the context of intensive development aid, and initiative he said was from the start unilaterally implemented with limited success so far.”

Private security boom
The BBC reports on the growing presence of foreign private military firms in and around Somalia.
“Another rapid growth area is the business of armed contractors hired to protect ships in Somalia from on board – a practice officially sanctioned for British ships by Prime Minister David Cameron in October.
Prof Chris Kinsey, a security expert at King’s College London, says Britain’s private security firms were “following the cash cow” much like they did in Iraq in 2003.

He predicts the recent discovery of oil in the region will generate even more work as “huge capital assets” like tankers and drilling ships need protection.”

Internet inequality
The Atlantic reports on new findings that suggest the “lion’s share” of online content still comes from the US and Europe.
“ ‘Many commentators speculated that [the Internet] would allow people outside of industrialised nations to gain access to all networked and codified knowledge, thus mitigating the traditionally concentrated nature of information production and consumption,’ [the Oxford Internet Institute’s Corinne Flick] writes. ‘These early expectations remain largely unrealised.’ ”

Speed kills
The Brookings Institution’s Kevin Watkins writes that Western actors bear some of the blame for the huge number of fatal road accidents in poor countries.
“The global nature of the crisis is epitomised by the road linking Kenya’s capital Nairobi to the port of Mombasa. Upgraded into an eight-lane superhighway with support from the World Bank and other donors, speed is up and journey times are down.
Pity they forgot about the children, hundreds of whom cross the road to get from their homes in the sprawling slum of Kibera to primary school. ‘It makes me scared every single day,’ Mary Kitunga, 12, told me.

Car companies talk about road safety, but people come a distant second to profit when they spot a market opportunity. That’s why major multinational companies operate one set of vehicle standards for the US and another for Brazil.”

Co-development
The Overseas Development Institute’s Jonathan Glennie makes a case for moving beyond aid and its one-way approach to sharing solutions.
“In 2010 Nigel Crisp, a former chief executive of Britain’s National Health Service, published an extraordinary book called Turning the World Upside Down: The Search for Global Health in the 21st Century. Like this [Global Health Strategies Initiatives] report, he argues that the solutions to global health problems are now at least as likely to come from unexpected sources in the developing world as from the west. But he goes a step further, bringing out lessons that rich countries can learn from poorer ones, and treating health similarly in rich and poor countries alike.
Crisp’s talk of ‘co-development’ rather than rich-poor international development resonates in this era of shifting power, and with a blog I wrote a few years ago arguing something similar. When western audiences start to look to poorer countries for solutions in health and in other sectors, they will finally have moved on from the era of aid.”

Latest Developments, December 4

In the latest news and analysis…

Subsidizing Walmart
A new World Development Movement report alleges that so-called climate aid is being used to provide subsidized power to the world’s largest retailer.
“The report, ‘Power to the people?’, details how money taken from the UK aid budget has been used by the World Bank to finance wind farms in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, built without the consent of the indigenous people who own the land. The project produces enough electricity to power 160,000 homes, but is instead being sold at a discounted rate to Walmart. The project is 99 per cent controlled by French electricity giant EDF.”

Disagreement over cluster munitions
The Economist reports on the recent failure of US-led efforts to negotiate a new agreement on cluster munitions that would be less restrictive than the current ban that has been signed by 109 countries and, therefore, more acceptable to the countries that account for 85 percent of the world’s stocks of such weapons.
“The 50-plus countries that opposed the draft protocol, and the campaigners who egged them on, complained that the text still allowed the use of cluster munitions known to cause unacceptable harm. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the American proposal would simply stimulate the development of devices that met the new standards but might still be lethally unreliable; and backsliding from the Oslo rules would set a bad precedent.
The big countries were cross. America (which has argued that a total ban on cluster munitions would make life impossible for NATO) expressed “deep disappointment”. Russia grumbled that opponents were “irrational” and China said they would bear indirect responsibility for future cluster-bomb casualties.”

Outsourcing military missions
Researcher/journalist Jody Ray Bennett argues that the US State Deparment’s awarding of a contract to the controversial DynCorp private security company in the Democratic Republic of Congo is very much in keeping with recent American foreign policy.
“When asked why DynCorp had been awarded a contract back in 2004 to operate in the Sudan, an anonymous US government official told CorpWatch: ‘The answer is simple. We are not allowed to fund a political party or agenda under United States law, so by using private contractors, we can get around those provisions. Think of this as somewhere between a covert program run by the CIA and an overt program run by the United States Agency for International Development. It is a way to avoid oversight by Congress.’”

Blue Helmet mercenaries
Daivd Isenberg, author of Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq, looks into the pros and cons of using private military contractors for UN interventions and uses a Stephen Wittels quote to support his point that such troops are only as good as their contract.
“Because the State Department failed to build into Blackwater’s contract strong incentives to treat Iraqis respectfully, the company did not. Indeed, Blackwater had every reason to shoot first and ask questions later with regards to Iraqis since any civilian could, in theory, have been an assassin, and contractors were, for the first few years of the war, immune to prosecution. It should also come as no surprise that in this consequence-free environment, Blackwater employees adopted excessive aggression as their default disposition, even when it served no apparent purpose. Had their assignment and their conduct been properly engineered in their contract from the outset, a strong argument can be made that Blackwater would not today be known as a collection of ‘cowboys.’”

African leadership
Voice of America reports that African leaders are calling for changes in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
“African Union Social Affairs Commissioner Bience Gawanas says it is time the continent has a greater say in how the fight against sexually-transmitted diseases is fought. Gawanas told a World AIDS Day observance at AU headquarters that the continent most affected by the epidemic must take ownership of the battle to eradicate it.”

African generosity
Globe and Mail columnist Gerald Caplan writes about how much of the West’s wealth has come at the expense of Africa.
“There is not a single African nation that does not suffer from a dearth of trained teachers, health workers and public servants. Meanwhile there are hundreds of thousands of highly trained Africans now working in the West and more are coming as rich countries increasingly demand well-trained immigrants. Like that of other rich countries, the Canadian immigration model, as The Globe’s editorial puts it, “aims to attract the best and brightest from around the globe.” So while International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announces “new CIDA initiatives for Africa … focused on helping Africa fulfill its future potential,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is wooing Africans who could make Africa’s potential a reality.
Is this bureaucratic carelessness or rank hypocrisy? Canada’s case is typical of most rich countries. African governments spend preposterously large sums hiring foreign consultants on short costly contracts to perform the work that could have been done by their own lost experts. Is it necessary to point out that those sums often come out of the foreign aid that we, the so-called “donor” countries, provide? So a nice chunk of our aid goes to pay our own citizens to do work in Africa that Africans are doing in our own countries.”

Manifesto of the appalled economists
The Inter Press Service reports on the growing number of “appalled economists” who are calling on world leaders to change course in the current battle against sovereign debt.
“Although the ‘manifesto of the appalled economists’ was first intended to serve as a basis for debate amongst economists on European economic policies, it has rapidly become a manifesto for thousands who have signed it, not just in Europe, but also across continents and countries from Australia to Brazil. The manifesto is also being discussed in numerous forums.
In the paper, [André] Orléan and his co-authors complain that ‘the neoliberal paradigm is still the only one that is acknowledged as legitimate, despite its obvious failures.’”

Capitalism’s future
Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff asks if capitalism is sustainable and how it can be improved.
“It is ironic that modern capitalist societies engage in public campaigns to urge individuals to be more attentive to their health, while fostering an economic ecosystem that seduces many consumers into an extremely unhealthy diet. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, 34% of Americans are obese. Clearly, conventionally measured economic growth – which implies higher consumption – cannot be an end in itself.”

Latest Developments, November 1

In the latest news and analysis…

Commitment to development
The Center for Global Development’s David Roodman presents his organization’s latest Commitment to Development Index which assesses donor countries based on policies that go beyond aid levels, but he expresses concern over the US’s skyrocketing ranking as a result of its increased number of troops in Afghanistan.
“The approach in the security component to military activities is shaped by three ideas: some interventions, such as the NATO-led war to stop the serves from potentially committing genocide in Bosnia, seem like contributions to development; other interventions are much harder to defend; and the rule used to distinguish between the two kinds should be mechanical, to limit bias—”objective,” if you will. It was Michael O’Hanlon who years ago suggested the presence-of-an-international-mandate criterion. (As mentioned, the Afghanistan war has such a mandate.) But even O’Hanlon argued for exceptions, at the time having Iraq in mind. The Security Council did not sanction the invasion of Iraq, but it did sanction post-invasion activities, so a strict implementation of the criterion would have rewarded the latter. O’Hanlon argued against rewarding the occupation of Iraq since it was so thoroughly motivated by national security rationales, not ‘commitment to development.’”

Private police
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Indonesian police have admitted to receiving money from US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan to protect the world’s most profitable gold and copper mine in the face of labour unrest.
“Accusing the workers of ‘anarchy’ and threatening a national asset, local police chief Deny Edward Siregar warned the police would take ‘stern action’ if the site of the picket line wasn’t moved by today. Union officials responded by saying they were going nowhere, setting the scene for possibly more violence.
Police spokesman Wachyono defined the foreshadowed ‘stern action’ as ‘opening further negotiations with union management’. However, five striking workers have already been shot dead by police, raising accusations of a heavy-handed and hostile attitude of security personnel towards workers exercising their legal rights to industrial action.

‘How can they enforce the law [impartially] if they receive bribes?’ said Samsul Alam Agus, [human rights group] Kontras deputy co-ordinator.”

Private soldiers
The UN News Centre reports that an expert panel is calling for the regulation of the “ever expanding” activities of private military and security companies.
“‘And it is not just governments who take advantage of their services, but also NGOs [non-governmental organizations], private companies and the United Nations,” [Faiza Patel, the current head of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries] added.
For the Working Group, ‘the potential impact of the widespread activities of private military and security companies on human rights means that they cannot be allowed to continue to operate without adequate regulation and mechanisms to ensure accountability.’”

Record deportations
The Inter Press Service reports on the increasingly hostile environment for immigrants in the US, where a million people have been deported since the start of Barack Obama’s presidency.
“The Alabama law [House Bill 56], passed by the state legislature in June 2011, is described as one of the country’s harshest anti-immigrant bills. It requires that police demand identity documents of anyone who they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country unlawfully, and requires public schools to determine the immigration status of primary and secondary school students, while authorising school officials to report children or parents who may be in the country illegally.
It also establishes penalties, even jail time, for people who hire, rent to or even assist undocumented immigrants, by giving a ride to a neighbour, for instance.”

Toothless watchdog
The CBC reports on the record to date of Canada’s mining watchdog, a position which one critic has described as “a bogus PR job, as a cover for business as usual.”
“In October 2009, the federal government appointed a corporate social responsibility counsellor to probe complaints about Canadian companies committing abuses in developing countries.
The Toronto-based office, however, has only received two complaints in the past two years — one of which was recently dropped because the mining corporation chose not to undergo the voluntary investigation.”

Super companies
Oxfam’s Duncan Green blogs about a new scientific analysis of 43,000 transnational corporations that suggests a group of 147 interconnected companies was “able to control 40 per cent of the entire network.”
“The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere. But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs).”

Global tax rules
ActionAid’s Martin Hearson calls on the G20 to deal with tax havens which cost poor countries three times as much in lost tax revenues as they receive through international assistance.
“ActionAid’s report, Calling Time: Why SABMiller should stop dodging taxes in Africa, demonstrated how one multinational beer company shifts £100 million of profits per year – the taxes on which could educate 250,000 children – out of Africa and into the tax havens of Mauritius, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Capacity building in African tax authorities is important, but without more fundamental reforms to increase transparency and change global tax rules, it will never be enough to prevent this kind of tax dodging.”

Helpful aid
Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has called on G20 leaders to help Africa improve its infrastructure while making it clear not all assistance is necessarily helpful.
“The pressure is on how to translate the plan into purposeful action for November and avoid the pitfalls of past efforts – including short-term thinking, destabilizing capital surges, and carbon-heavy construction. Success will be measured by the amount of capital generated, and the number of projects realized, as well as by the extent to which G20 activities complement and synergize existing efforts without supplanting or fragmenting them.”

Latest Developments, October 12

In the latest news and analysis…

Hunting W
Amnesty International is calling on Canada to arrest former US president George W. Bush when he visits the country next week.
“Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture,” according to AI’s Susan Lee.
“As the US authorities have, so far, failed to bring former President Bush to justice, the international community must step in.  A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the UN Convention against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights.”

Enforcing neutrality
The Associated Press reports the Swiss government has proposed a new law that would impose a number of restrictions on private security companies based in the country, including preventing them from taking part in foreign conflicts.
“The bill was prompted by the decision of Aegis, one of the world’s biggest private security contractors, to set up a Swiss holding company in 2010. Such holding companies are explicitly included in the proposal, meaning Aegis would have to report its activities to Swiss authorities if the bill is passed.”

A prescription for helping Africa
The UN News Centre reports Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro believes that although aid is still important for Africa, the continent’s needs also include improved market access for its exports, affordable access to foreign technologies and “more policy space” for its countries to chart their own paths.
“‘However, what Africa needs most, is to be recognized as a new investment frontier – where the returns are among the highest in the world,’ she said, noting that the continent has some of the largest known reserves of mineral resources including diamonds and gold; growing oil potential as Ghana and Uganda join the list of exporters; and the largest amount of unexploited arable land, a strategic asset in a world where food crises are becoming recurrent.

The dangers of foreign capital
On the other hand, the UN Development Programme’s Selim Jahan argues that both rich and poor countries must do more to reduce the latter’s over-reliance on foreign capital in order to reduce their vulnerability to global economic shocks.
“For instance, countries can reduce their dependency on exports by recalibrating growth strategies away from a narrow range of exports and by boosting demand from domestic sources. The international community can help reduce the susceptibility of developing countries to volatile commodity prices with the development of new international commodity agreements or funds to compensate countries for the loss in income due to falling prices.”

A call for decency, if not fairness
ECONorthwest’s Ann Hollingshead resists the temptation to project her cause – global tax reform – onto the Occupy Wall Street protestors, arguing instead that they stand for something far more fundamental: decency.
“The Occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t have pithy slogans, quick sayings, or easy solutions because it isn’t about any one problem. It isn’t about offshore finance, or bailouts, or CEO pay, or tax evasion. All of these events are the symptoms of an underlying problem—the status quo. It is a status quo that allows 25% of the FTSE 100′s subsidiaries to lie in tax havens. The status quo that allows the same person to hold both positions of CEO and president of the board. That allows Warren Buffet to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. And that allows the average American to earn 1/10,800th of the average Forbes 400 earner.”

A very low bar
The Overseas Development Institute’s Jonathan Glennie suggests, given “the west has systematically ruined Haiti’s chances of emerging from destitution,” it might be time for traditional donors to “humbly walk away” and see if other nations can do more good for a devastated country that is still in need of assistance.
“Not that there is any space for naivety about south-south solidarity. Big brothers such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela may well engage in the right kind of rhetoric, but there are internal pressures in these countries to act in their own interests rather than Haiti’s – especially on agricultural issues – just as the west has always done. After all, Brazil instigated Minustah in its attempt to look important enough for a permanent security council seat, although it quickly became a Washington-directed intervention. It is not, then, geography that matters, but politics and attitude.
Nevertheless, these countries have also suffered exploitation at various points in their history. They are therefore more likely to understand what is going on and less likely to engage in it. Will they do any better? They can hardly do any worse.”

Afghan minerals
Global Witness’s Eleanor Nichol calls for cautious planning regarding Afghanistan’s huge mineral wealth which has the potential to lift the country’s people out of poverty and end its dependence on foreign aid or could become “a fresh axis of conflict and instability.”
“This means embedding clear processes for the award of extractive concessions; requiring extractive companies to disclose revenue paid to the state on a project-by-project basis; setting up sound legal, regulatory and contractual frameworks that safeguard social, environmental and human rights; publishing beneficial ownership details of companies engaged in the sector; and ensuring Afghans are consulted on, and can monitor, mining activities.”

Paying taxes for selfish reasons
The European Network on Debt and Development’s Alex Marriage argues it is actually in the best interests of transnational companies to integrate tax policy into their approach to corporate social responsibility.
“Research has shown that direct investors in low income countries tend to value political stability, the rule of law and human capital more than effective tax rates when deciding whether to invest. Sufficient, predictable tax revenue is needed to foster all of these conditions. High public investment is something companies need but some are not prepared to pay for.”