Bill Gates says there'll be no poor countries by 2035. Really, Bill? What about the United States of America? Then again, isn't this the same guy who claimed that 64K of RAM was all anyone would ever need?
What Gates overlooks is how tightly poverty is linked to the environment. You simply cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment. And much of the world, especially the most impoverished countries, are in areas that are already being whipsawed by climate change. Just ask them. They'll tell you.
Or, take a look at Nigeria. That would be the Eko Atlantic city project near Lagos on the Atlantic. It's an example of how, around the world, wealth is concentrating and the poor are being excluded from the equation, left to fend for themselves.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, meanwhile, has released a report into corruption leading to the top tier of the Chinese government. ICIJ sleuths have turned up evidence of near relatives of the Top Brass making massive investments in the Cook Islands, the British Virgin Islands and other spots where the rich like to go to hide their riches.
Nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong appear in the files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Among them are some of China’s most powerful men and women — including at least 15 of China’s richest, members of the National People’s Congress and executives from state-owned companies entangled in corruption scandals.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS and other Western banks and accounting firms play a key role as middlemen in helping Chinese clients set up trusts and companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and other offshore centers usually associated with hidden wealth, the records show. For instance, Swiss financial giant Credit Suisse helped Wen Jiabao’s son create his BVI company while his father was leading the country.
The data illustrates the outsized dependency of the world’s second largest economy on tiny islands thousands of miles away. As the country has moved from an insular communist system to a socialist/capitalist hybrid, China has become a leading market for offshore havens that peddle secrecy, tax shelters and streamlined international deal making.
Every corner of China’s economy, from oil to green energy and from mining to arms trading, appears in the ICIJ data.
Perhaps not surprisingly, three of Steve Harper's favourite Chinese partners play prominently in the ICIJ expose.
The country’s three big state-owned oil companies –CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC -- are linked to dozens of BVI companies that show up in the ICIJ files.