道听途说

五月 28th, 2015

Reuters: China, India likely to be biggest shareholders in AIIB

AIIB said in a statement that it expected to be operational by the end of the year. It said the meeting in Singapore finalised the articles of agreement, which are expected to be ready for signing by the end of June, but did not give details.

No details of the ownership structure were disclosed, but delegates told Reuters that China would likely take a 25-30 percent stake in the bank, and India was likely to be the second-largest shareholder.

China’s share in the $100 billion lender would be less than 30 percent, an Asian delegate told Reuters. A second delegate said India’s share would be between 10 and 15 percent. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

In all, Asian countries are expected to own between 72 and 75 percent of the bank, while European and other nations will own the rest.

Another delegate said each country representative would take the proposals back to their governments for a final decision.

Some were skeptical of the timeline for the bank to start running, as each member will need to obtain cabinet and legislative approvals at home.

“It is uncertain if we can start from early next year,” said one of the delegates.

“China hopes that members will get such approvals by year-end and the operations start from the next year. But I wonder if it is possible, given domestic political situations in each country.”

A total of 57 countries have joined AIIB as its prospective founding members, throwing together countries as diverse as Iran, Israel, Britain and Laos.

The United States and Japan have stayed out of the institution, seen as a rival to the U.S.-dominated World Bank and Japan-led Asian Development Bank, citing concerns about transparency and governance, although Tokyo for one is keeping its options open.

AIIB’s launch is coming at a time when the space for infrastructure lending is already crowded due to the presence of major multilateral lenders and Japan’s latest move to provide $110 billion for Asian infrastructure projects.

The amount of Japanese funds, to be invested over five years, tops the expected $100 billion capitalization of the AIIB.

Jahangir Aziz, head of emerging market Asia economics at JPMorgan, said spending on infrastructure was a great idea on paper, but it was unclear how the AIIB or the New Development Bank, a lender promoted by China and other members of the BRICS group of nations, would be structured.

“We will have to wait for the actual structure of governance before we can see how successful these (institutions) will turn out to be,” he said. “The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.”

 

Local government 2035: Strategic trends and implications

The Internet has modified our daily behaviors, jobs, interests, and the way we communicate with one another. Today a new set of technologies is similarly transforming society, including local government. The Local government 2035: Strategic trends and implications of new technologies report highlights a handful of technologies that are already shifting the way that cities and municipalities govern. Local governments’ success in adopting and adjusting to these technologies will depend on their proactive efforts and preparedness.

Technology is already changing governance. The report highlights some of the varied impacts from these changes. For example, driverless cars will fundamentally alter transportation, safety, and infrastructure. Cryptocurrencies are frictionless and anonymous banking interactions. Artificial intelligence will enable robots to perform more complex tasks that could displace human workers.

Future challenges

Consider the following technologies that will arrive soon. In 2015, Japan’s magnetic levitation (MagLev) passenger train broke world speed records. MagLevs are wheel-less trains that levitate above tracks suspended by an electromagnetic field. They are expected to connect all of Japan by 2045, cutting down trips that take three hours down to less than an hour. Other developers are creating wireless electricity, which will eliminate the challenge of keeping our phones charged and offer electricity to some of the world’s poorest individuals. Scientists around the country claim that they are close to helping us find a way to regrow our teeth naturally, which would prevent tooth decay, gum disease, fillings, and root canals. Now, imagine how other innovators will improve upon these technologies.

Some might assume that because technologies are life improving that the challenges for government will be small. For instance, the Environmental Work Group estimates that food supplies will need to double by 2050 to meet growing needs. In 2014, geneticists announced that they made a major advancement in engineering rice to carryout photosynthesis more efficiently in a process called C4 photosynthesis. This process supercharges plant growth by capturing carbon dioxide, which improve the efficiency of photosynthesis. They calculate that this will have the ability to boost crop yields (mainly rice and wheat) by about 50 percent. This process should be operational in 10 to 15 years. However, the proliferation of these technologies may have unintended consequences.

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drones have numerous nonmilitary purposes. Industries and individuals want to use drones for surveying crops, photographing weddings, and delivering packages. The founder of AeriCam has developed the Anura, a quadcopter drone that can be folded up and taken on the go. The drone connects with a smartphone and shows the view from the drones camera. Local government will struggle to regulate this new technology both to prevent accidents and privacy invasions.

Corporations are providing more data than ever before to private companies like Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, and Google. This trend presents issues for local government. Currently governments are responsible for gathering most data available for large populations. Citizens are required to submit information such as taxes, birth and death certificates, car registration, marriage licenses, and the like. In the future, policymakers will have to make decisions without access to data that exists in the private sector, which will become increasingly important.

Implications

Simple technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are spurring movements and revolutions that local governments cannot control. Large numbers of people are able to organize quickly because of social media. In Ferguson and Baltimore, protestors were able to quickly mobilize. To deal with different demands from their citizens, local governments will need access to data to perform services such as law enforcement and service delivery; however, they could become dependent on private entities’ data. Local governments might need to start purchasing data from private entities to conduct their operations.

Another threat is from computers that replace unskilled laborers such as postal carriers, data entry clerks, and cashiers because. MIT Professor Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee called this the “great decoupling” where, beginning after World War II, productivity and employment were closely related. In essence, as business gained more productivity from workers, economic activity was fueled, and more jobs were created. However, this trend shifted in 2000, and by 2011, the relationship between productivity and employment were incongruous. They contribute this to the growth of technology, which helped productivity but weakened job growth.

Undoubtedly, new technologies will challenge local government. There is no way to foresee exactly how technology will grow and modify the landscape of the future. We have no idea of the next game-changer, Internet-sized innovation, so local leaders must be on notice. The evolution of technology will force government to act; how well government acts is a decision that can be made now. This report identifies a few trends to take note of. It should also help spark dialogue amongst city leaders on how they will reimagine their role and tap in to other stakeholders who will be impacted to build their capacity to confront these challenges.


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