Davos kicks off, while Pakistan mourns: This week in development news

Panelists at The Digital Transformation of Industries session at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photo by: Remy Steinegger / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA

The global elite assemble in Davos, Beijing’s new development bank opens for business, and the rich get even richer. These stories and more in your development news roundup:

It will take more than champagne to quell anxieties over humanitarian crises, economic turbulence and climate-induced risk this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The glitzy gathering of heavy-hitting business and government leaders in a picturesque ski town might seem a far cry from the problems of global poverty, but, as Devex Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar reports, the 2016 WEF has an opportunity to seize this urgent moment and drive “positive competition” to get things done.

World leaders have condemned Wednesday’s terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Militants raided Pakistan’s Bacha Khan University, killing at least 19 people during a campus ceremony at the school outside of Peshawar. Meanwhile, seven crew members of Afghanistan’s news network Tolo TV, which runs the country’s first 24-hour newscast, died when a suicide bomber targeted their bus. “The targeting of journalists reflects a depraved strategy to make media freedom a casualty of the ongoing conflict,” said Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

It’s time to polish your resume, because as of Monday the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is officially open for business and looking to hire. The world’s newest multilateral development bank — seen by many as a competitor to the World Bank and its peers — is set to approve its first batch of loans in the second quarter of 2016, with the total loan portfolio expected to reach between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in the next 12 months. And, as Devex has reported, you don’t even have to learn Mandarin before you apply.

#InequalityIs 62 individuals owning more wealth than half of the world. A new Oxfam report released ahead of the 2016 WEF concludes that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population has declined by 41 percent since 2010, while the wealthiest 62 individuals have gained half a trillion dollars in the same time period. The report coincides with a new Ford Foundation social media campaign called #InequalityIs, aimed at crowdsourcing perspectives on inequality and its consequences.

Sometimes there’s a silver lining to a Congress that can’t get agree on anything. At least that’s how Syrian refugees and their U.S. allies must feel about the Senate’s recent vote to block the American Security Against Foreign Enemies — or SAFE — Act of 2015. The House-supported bill would insert more red tape between refugees from Syria and Iraq and their asylum in the United States. Support for the bill fell apart after lawmakers clashed over proposed amendments. President Barack Obama has also pledged to veto the bill if it ever arrives on his desk.

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About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.