Turkey-Iran central banks ‘agree to trade in local currencies’

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) and Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri (L) shake hands as they hold a joint press conference at Cankaya Palace in Ankara on October 19, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Turkey-Iran central banks ‘agree to trade in local currencies’

ISTANBUL: Turkey and Iran’s central banks have formally agreed to trade in their local currencies, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday in a move aimed at increasing bilateral trade.
Under the deal, the Iranian rial and Turkish lira will be easily converted to help reduce the costs of currency conversion and transfer for traders. The countries had been using euros.
“Trading with local currencies is the most significant step to improving economic ties. The central banks of both countries agreed on this issue and they will inform other banks about how the deal will be applied,” Yildirim told a joint news conference with Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.
“Trading in local currencies will be encouraged and this will contribute to making trading easier and increase the trade volume and diversity,” Yildirim added.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the deal was aimed at raising Turkish-Iranian trade volume to $30 billion from current $10 billion.
The deal is in line with Iran’s efforts to dodge unilateral US sanctions, which remain intact despite the lifting of international financial sanctions on Tehran last year under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers.
US banks are still forbidden to do business with Iran.
European lenders also face major problems, notably with rules prohibiting transactions with Iran in dollars — the world’s main business currency — from being processed through the US financial system.
Iran has secured banking ties with only a limited number of smaller foreign institutions as major foreign banks are wary of the US sanctions.
“This is an important step to expand the level and volume of trade cooperation between Iran and Turkey,” Jahangiri told the joint news conference.


Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 27 April 2018
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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.