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Canada and the global ‘Great Recession’

The National Post reports this morning that, “The world economy is likely to shrink to ‘below zero’ this year, in what many are now referring to as the ‘Great Recession’, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.”

CONCERNS ABOUT CIVIL UNREST IN AFRICA
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told African political and financial leaders that, “This is not only about protecting economic growth and household incomes — it is also about containing the threat of civil unrest, perhaps even war. It is about people and their futures.”

SOCIAL-ECONOMIC GAINS IN AFRICA AT RISK
Additionally, the article reports that, “Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said the crisis poses the greatest danger to Africa in recent history and threatens to reverse, even wipe out, hard won social-economic gains.”

The full article can be read at http://www.nationalpost.com/m/story.html?id=1373364&s=Home

ASIA HARD HIT BY GLOBAL CRISIS
Yesterday, the CBC reported that, “The global crisis wiped a staggering $50 trillion US off the value of financial assets last year, including $9.6 trillion of losses in developing Asia alone, the Asian Development Bank said Monday…A sprawling region, developing Asia includes 44 economies from the central Asian republics to China to the Pacific islands.”

That report is at http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/03/09/asia-losses.html

CANADA HAS ENTERED THE GLOBAL RECESSION
CBC reports this morning that, “(Prime Minister Stephen) Harper has previously stated Canada entered the global recession later than most other countries and that its effect has not been as deeply felt. The Canadian economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2008, with its gross domestic product shrinking at an annualized rate of 3.4 per cent, as reported by Statistics Canada last week.”

CANADA FARING BETTER THAN OTHER COUNTRIES
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper will remind Canadians that Canada’s economy is faring far better than those of other countries in his first major speech on the recession, says a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office.”

HARPER ARGUES SMART DECISIONS ON BANKS AND TAX CUTS HAVE SOFTENED THE IMPACT
“Harper has reportedly written the full 3,000-word address himself and is expected to use visual aids to illustrate his arguments. The speech will argue that smart government decisions on banks and tax cuts have helped soften the economic impact on Canadians, the PMO said.”

The full CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/03/10/harper-speech.html

THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION
On February 27, the International Labour Organization reported that, “The global economic crisis is expected to lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed, working poor and those in vulnerable employment…” The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues. Unlike other United Nations specialised agencies, the International Labour Organization has a tripartite governing structure — representing governments, employers and workers.

50 MILLION PEOPLE COULD BECOME UNEMPLOYED
“Its annual Global Employment Trends report…says global unemployment in 2009 could increase over 2007 by a range of 18 million to 30 million workers, and more than 50 million if the situation continues to deteriorate.”

1.4 BILLION COULD BECOME ‘WORKING POOR’
“The number of working poor – people who are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the US$2 per person, per day, poverty line, may rise up to 1.4 billion, or 45 per cent of all the world’s employed.”

200 MILLION COULD BE PUSHED INTO EXTREME POVERTY
“The ILO report also said that in this last scenario some 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty.”

ILO RECOMMENDATIONS
The ILO recommends:

“i) wider coverage of unemployment benefits and insurance schemes, re-skilling redundant workers and protecting pensions from devastating declines in financial markets;

ii) public investment in infrastructure and housing, community infrastructure and green jobs, including through emergency public works;

iii) support to small and medium enterprises;

iv) social dialogue at enterprise, sectoral and national levels. If a large number of countries, using their own accumulated reserves, emergency IMF loans and stronger aid mechanisms, put in place coordinated policies in line with the ILO Decent Work Agenda, then the effects of the downturn on enterprises, workers and their families could be cushioned and the recovery better prepared.”

Their full release can be read at http://www.ilo.org/global/About_the_ILO/Media_and_public_information/Press_releases/lang–en/WCMS_101462/index.htm