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Lecture examines development challenges, economic prospects

first_imgRosie LoVoi | The Observer Bart W. Edes, the Asian Development Bank’s representative in North America, addresses challenges and advancements that affect developing Asian countries. He lectured in Jenkins Nanovic Hall on Monday to promote an awareness of the Asian Development Bank’s mission, which involves reducing poverty.The ADB, Edes said, does not work the same way many other banks do. “We’re a bit of a mix between a commercial bank and a program like the United Nations Development Program,” Edes said. “Our overarching mission is not to make money and give the dividends to our shareholders but to fight poverty and promote inclusive, sustainable development in developing nations.” To this end, he said the ADB is involved in financing development all across Asia in a variety of ways, from reforming education in Nepal to implementing clean energy initiatives in the Philippines to building railways in Bangladesh to constructing infrastructure for safe water in Uzbekistan. While most of what the ADB does has to do with funding projects, its employees also conduct research on economic trends of development in Asian countries over recent years.  “In the latest estimates for 2018 for developing Asia — so not including countries such as Japan — we’re looking at about a 6.3 percent increase in gross domestic product,” Edes said.Meanwhile, the United States achieved 2.4 percent growth over the same period, Edes said. The Asian economic sector appears to be one of the most quickly growing and developing that there is, Edes said.“Asian countries are working in ever more integrated and cooperative ways,” he said. When it comes to tourism, for instance, 60 percent of Chinese travelers stay inside the region, which is incredibly important to small Asian countries with large tourism industries, Edes said. The Maldives, for example, attribute 83 percent of its gross domestic product to the tourism industry, he said. While the region is experiencing rapid economic growth and development in some areas, it is still also facing a number of challenges such as poverty, climate change — which can exacerbate monsoons, storms, mudslides and other natural phenomena common to the region — and an aging population. “Asia is among the most vulnerable areas of the world when it comes to climate change,” Edes said. “This could lead to a real humanitarian crisis. We are responding in part by doubling down on our investments on climate change mitigation.” Edes said the ADB is currently committed to putting six billion dollars into countering climate change by 2020. With longevity going up and fertility rates going down across the board in Asia, the aging population may soon create a problem in some Asian countries. Edes said. A similar trend is occurring in other countries across Asia, which could lead to economic trouble as a diminishing workforce has to work increasingly hard for a growing body of dependent citizens. “By 2030, we will have almost 30 percent of Japan’s population at an age of 65 or older,” he said. Tags: ADB, Asian Development Bank, Bart W. Edes, development, Jenkins Nanovic Hall The North American representative for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) — an institution seeking to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific — Bart W. Edes, spoke in Jenkins Nanovic Hall on Monday about his experience working for the ADB for the past 16 years and the lessons he has learned about economic growth, development and challenges facing some developing Asian countries.last_img read more

Syntrus Achmea wins Shell pension fund administration contract

first_imgLast week, Tom van der Spek, director of old-age provision at Syntrus, said the company would now focus on corporate and occupational pension funds, as well as on the new general pension fund (APF) of insurer Centraal Beheer, which is part of Achmea Group.Shell and Syntrus have been co-operating since 1 July 2013, when the oil company closed its defined benefit scheme SSPF to new entrants, who had to start saving in a new defined contribution scheme, SNPS.Since then, Syntrus has managed pensions administration for SNPS, while SSPF kept its own pensions bureau SPN as its provider.Janwillem Bouma, director of both schemes, said Syntrus would also deliver bespoke pension management for SSPF’s participants against low costs.He added that pensions communication “had to comply with the most recent digital standards”.Van der Spek said Shell’s choice had reinforced Syntrus’s position as a “market leader for company pension funds”.In other news, Hibin, the €761m sector scheme for the building materials industry, which is to leave Syntrus, has said it will start carrying out its pensions administration in-house.According to Gijs Alferink, the scheme’s chairman, the new arrangement will allow Hibin to save €400,000 in costs and VAT annually.He said the decision to leave Syntrus had been taken last summer due to a desire to cut costs, as well as growing dissatisfaction with the service provided. Hibin has 13,200 participants and pensioners affiliated with 850 employers. Shell’s closed €26bn pension fund in the Netherlands (SSPF) is to outsource pensions administration for its 40,000 participants to Syntrus Achmea Pensioenbeheer.The new contract, effective from 1 January 2018, will also include all communication with participants.The announcement comes soon after Syntrus disclosed that it would stop providing services to industry-wide pension funds, as its new IT system struggled to cope with their disparate arrangements.At present, industry-wide schemes account for about two-thirds of Syntrus’s business.last_img read more

Ogier closes in on title

first_imgSebastien Ogier moved a step closer to defending his World Rally title on Sunday as Volkswagen secured the manufacturers’ title with a podium clean sweep at Rally Australia. It was Ogier’s 22nd career win – his sixth of the season – and extended his advantage over team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala to 51 points with three rounds of the championship remaining. The 30-year-old Frenchman headed into the final day with an 11.8-seconds advantage and won SS16 and SS18 to hold off Latvala by 6.8secs in New South Wales, with Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top three a further 1min 11.2secs adrift. Ogier, who could clinch the crown at his home rally in the Alsace region of France next month, acknowledged his win had not been as comprehensive as he managed last year but said he was just happy to have got the job done. “This year it wasn’t possible to have that. Jari-Matti was strong but today I knew that without mistakes I would be okay,” he said on www.wrc.com. “I tried to stay concentrated, pushing when it was clean and being more cautious in the tricky parts. It wasn’t a big winning margin, but enough to win the rally and another crucial step towards winning the title.” Latvala had held a narrow lead after Saturday morning’s opening loop, but was left to rue his tyre choice on Saturday afternoon when the forecast rain failed to materialise, and appeared resigned to missing out on the title after Ogier’s latest victory. “It has been a great fight, a really great fight. I enjoyed it a lot,” the 29-year-old Finn said. “But of course I am annoyed about Saturday’s wrong tyre choice – that is where I lost it. “Overall, though, a good event – these are the sort of results I need to have if I am going to win the title myself one day.” Norway’s Mikkelsen edged Northern Irishman Kris Meeke (Citroen DS3) for third place, with Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen ( Ford Fiesta RS) fifth and New Zealander Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) a career-best sixth. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more