Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Poorest Nations Need Help in This Crisis

The world's worst economic crisis in decades is still unfolding, but one thing is already clear. Those who thought the impact of the crisis would remain confined to the rich countries where it originated were completely wrong. The unprecedented speed of the contagion's spread has taken developing countries by surprise, and they are feeling extremely vulnerable.

Even some of the erstwhile fast-growing countries like Brazil, China and India now face severe economic difficulties, with ominous social consequences. In China, an official agency has raised alarm that 20 million jobless rural migrants -- joined by perhaps seven million new entrants to the itinerant work force -- would soon start their long march to the coastal cities for jobs. In India, food retailers and warehouses have been vandalized after a lack of credit left them unable to pay security agencies and staff.

The countries set to suffer most from the meltdown are the migrant-sending poor nations whose economies are heavily dependent on migrants' remittances. Few of them are able to launch robust stimulus plans of their own due to both financial and institutional constraints. In the absence of adequate social safety nets, their poorest people will be the hardest hit. Read more

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