Greece should get more time, aid: ECB member

Updated 11 November 2012
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Greece should get more time, aid: ECB member

BRUSSELS: Debt-laden Greece should get more time and more aid if necessary to put its financial house in order and remain in the euro zone, a member of the European Central Bank said in an interview published yesterday.
"It is preferable that Greece remains in the euro zone," Jorg Asmussen, a German ECB board member, told the Belgian economic daily l'Echo.
"If that means additional aid for one or two years more, that will be significantly less expensive than it leaving (the euro zone) or a default," he was quoted as saying.
The comments come ahead of a meeting on Monday in Brussels of the euro zone finance ministers, who are due to discuss releasing the latest aid tranche of 31.5 billion euros to Greece, which has been held back since June.
The ministers are not expected to decide to release the aid at their meeting tomorrow.
The euro zone is waiting for the latest report on Greece's finances from its 'troika' of creditors — the European Union, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund.
"We are in the process of completing the analysis of the Greek adjustment program," Asmussen said.
Greece has asked for an extra two years to bring its debt under control and stabilize public finances.
In an interview with the Sunday edition of the Die Welt daily, German President Joachim Gauck said that many Germans think that providing aid to Greece "is costing too much and that we, the Germans, are going to ruin ourselves as a result."
"No, we will absolutely not ruin ourselves. Not as long as we keep the Greeks inside the euro," he said.
Separately, Germany's Der Spiegel weekly reported yesterday that the troika has demanded from Athens a list of names of the 2,000 civil servants to be fired before the end of the year.
"The troika is expecting that some 2,000 civil servants will be fired before the end of the year. And it is no longer content with figures. It also wants the surnames and the names" of those to be let go, the daily wrote on its website citing a source close to the negotiations.
This past week the Greek Parliament narrowly passed the latest austerity package in the face of popular anger at more belt-tightening in a country with soaring unemployment that is facing a sixth year of recession.
Today, lawmakers are due to vote on the 2013 budget, another key test for the embattled Greek government.


Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 15 min 58 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.