Thursday, April 19, 2012

Qatar, Philippines Agree To $1 Billion Investment Fund

Qatar Holding LLC reached an agreement this week with the government of the Philippines to bring a $1 billion investment fund to the country's disposal this year. The project finance fund will help the Philippines pay to open up new trade partnerships and start infrastructure and public works projects the country hopes to bring online in the next few years.

Qatar Holding LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), specializes in strategic private and public equity as well as in other direct investments, according to the agency’s Web site. The company signed a memorandum of understanding along with the investment fund deal declaring that the fund would conduct an investigation into possible investment projects across the Philippines.

“There is a provision there which says that parties would explore investment opportunities in the Philippines in various sectors including but not limited to natural resources, commodities, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, and to study the establishment of the fund,” Philippines Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement on the proposed fund last week.

This fund and the subsequent studies stemming from it will likely open up project financing opportunities across the Philippines for companies and individuals looking to diversify portfolios through international financial management. From infrastructure to alternative energy funds across the world, Qatar will soon begin to look for additional funders interested in getting involved in the Philippine economy.

Not all of the projects the fund will tackle will make immediate money. Many of the projects—infrastructure, agriculture—are not expected to turn a profit in the near future. Whether you are an experienced investor or working with a portfolio management firm, there will likely be competition for the more quick-turn investments. But by planning a long-term financial strategy, your financial advisors can show you a path to long-term growth in these foreign markets. Recommendations are expected to change as more news comes out about funding priorities for the Philippines government.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Challenger For World Bank Presidency Demands Merit-Based Nomination

With the resignation of World Bank president Robert Zoellick coming up in June, the United States nominated Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim to take the top spot at the international financial management agency. But from elsewhere in the world, credible challenges are contesting U.S. supremacy as leader of the World Bank.

Angola, Nigeria and South Africa endorsed the nomination of Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a respected economist and diplomat. Largely responsible for creating emerging economies across Africa with sterling portfolio management and partnering with private investment banking, Okonio-Iweala's supporters say her presidency would support transparency and add a merit-based component to the process.

Brazil has thrown their support behind former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo. While Ocampo's credentials are strong, his country is focusing on nominating a member to the International Labor Organization.

Jim Yong Kim's presidency is thought to be a foregone conclusion, as an American has held the reins of the World Bank since it was established at the end of World War Two.

While there has typically been agreement that America and western powers in Europe vote for an American for the World Bank and a European for the IMF, many financial professionals in public and private sectors have called for a more merit-based system. According to Reuters, Fredrik Erixon, director of the Brussels-based European Center for International Political Economy called for the candidates to be questioned as to what they would do to improve the World Bank throughout their term.

"They should in particular be asked how they want to reform the World Bank to revitalize its role for economic development,” Erixon said.

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