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A new issue of the South Bulletin places a focus on the US “border adjustment” tax being planned, a new protectionist device that could devastate the exports of developing countries and cause American and other foreign companies to relocate.

Recent disturbing trends in international finance have particularly problematic implications, especially for developing countries. The recently released United Nations report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (WESP 2017) is the only recent report of a multilateral inter-governmental organization to recognize these problems, especially as they are relevant to the financing requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In order for Africa to assume responsibility for its own transformation and elevation, and be able to undertake self-reliant development and create secure domestic prosperity, it must create its own specific ideology and strategy of self-development. To do this there are 5 irreducible components that have to be designed and put in place.

In the period since independence in the 1950s, Africa has undergone profound social, cultural, economic and political changes. Some inherited and historically rootless colonialist political and social systems have collapsed, been transcended and reconstituted. Different political systems – single party rule, personal rule and military governments - have come and gone. New post-independence political and social systems, economic institutions, professional associations and labour unions, various types - traditional and new - and varied cultural expressions have all emerged. Creative efforts to foster effective nation-building, develop a sense of belonging and manage diversity productively have also been made.

Corporate tax has fallen dramatically (tens of percent) in most countries. In addition, large multinational companies engage in aggressive tax planning, which further reduces tax revenues by at least a hundred billion euros a year in the EU. The EU has not been of any assistance in overcoming the tax war between member states. If anything, the tax “competition” has been more severe in Europe than elsewhere or globally. At the same time the EU itself is in a legitimation crisis and its disintegration threatens to continue. The EU would need full fiscal capacity and proper fiscal policies in order to improve economic developments and make a real and positive difference to the lives of its citizens. A common European corporate tax could be an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone.

There’s nothing novel these days about pointing out the ways in which the Trump administration is departing from a norm. But there’s been surprisingly little attention paid to the unusual timing and nature of White House comments about the federal budget this week. The fact is, the administration is still deep in the internal negotiation process with federal agencies over what will ultimately be the president’s budget submission to Congress sometime this spring. So when White House officials decided to talk publicly about just a few elements of that budget this week—a big boost in defense spending and big cuts for EPA, the State Department, and foreign assistance—they did so for political reasons, making a direct case to voters devoid of any clearly stated policy rationale.


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