With an economy dependent on oil exports and reserves, which are beginning to show signs of depletion, Yemen is betting on the international price of crude going up in order to finance its budget. The country is one of the most backward in terms of development, but official socialpolicies are not based on serious economic studies and their application is increasingly chaotic. A corrupt minority makes use of the State’s resources and wealth, which do not reach the needier sectors of the population.
Vietnam has translated socialist principles into action by achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) well ahead of time. However, it is not immune to the multiple global crises. There is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, and rising sea levels due to climate change are already having negative impacts. Although civil society organizations still do not have much of a presence in the country, some groups have taken the lead to respond collectively to the issues.
In the midst of sharp political polarization, discussion regarding the impact on the country of the international economic crisis has been postponed. A series of plans promoted by the Government attempt to ensure food security as well as universal access to health, housing and education. However, there have been complications involving the distribution of food, cutbacks in health plans and an insufficient response to the demand for housing. Results come closest to those hoped for in education.
The unemployment crisis underscores the reality of a system that does not recognize or guarantee essential social or economic rights. Since December 2007, the number of unemployed has risen to 13.1 million – 5.6 million more than at the start of the recession. Movements for human rights, green jobs, fair trade, healthcare and housing are advancing proposals and stepping up demands for real and structural change. The U.S. cannot afford to squander this opportunity for real change.
The financial crisis will hamper efforts to reduce poverty in Uganda. Foreign aid, remittances and revenues derived from exports are already shrinking. The Government must develop new strategies to help identify the root causes of poverty, exclusion and poor social conditions at home, while joining other countries at both regional and international levels in pushing for reform of the global financial architecture. Various efforts from civil society, if supported, might help to tackle the crisis.
The Government has issued a prompt response to the crisis under the usual shape of stimulus packages. However, a more sustainable vision becomes mandatory: one that brings into the solution the environmental and food security concerns the country and the world are currently facing. If change is to happen, it will have to come from an invigorated social movement, backed by solid support from academics and entrepreneurs.
Although its financial system has not yet been severely affected by the global economic crisis, the decrease in exports, remittances and aid will imperil Tanzania’s progress in eradicating poverty. Basic services, such as the provision of clean water, sanitation and health, must be extended, as well as credit and instruction to farmers. For all this, it is essential that aid is not discontinued.
The calamitous conditions in this war-torn country are being exacerbated by the global systemic crisis. With the means of production, finance and the provision of basic services in the hands of a few, the cost of living has soared. Currency devaluation has been coupled with hyper-inflation and increased food prices; unaffordable energy is further limiting the delivery of services such as education, health and sanitation. Moreover environmental degradation is reducing the availability of water, grazing and bio-diversity, thus negatively affecting livelihoods.
The effects of the global crisis are beginning to be felt in this export-oriented country. They translate into rising food and energy prices, unemployment and poverty, and require a systemic response. This creates an opportunity to focus on human rights and environmental concerns, as well as on civil society issues that have been gaining momentum nationally. Slovenians therefore need to demand more from their Government than a mere boosting of the market.
Slovakia successfully reformed its economy to enter the EU. Growth is slowing down, however, and the car industry – the country’s industrial pride and joy – is already reducing production. To tackle the crisis the Government has taken various measures, many designed to boost employment and regulate the market. For their part, NGOs must immediately address their lack of preparedness for the crisis. Discrimination against Roma and women persists, as does the authoritarian way in which the Government tries to ignore its political opponents. Overseas development assistance (ODA) has been legally institutionalized and is growing; nevertheless it still remains below EU standards.
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