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Taxation, which has been a Cinderella subject in development, has finally been invited to the ball, but the arguments that have helped to push taxation up the finance-for-development agenda may also be in need of clarification.
Rich countries’ anti-money laundering rules are “causing a great deal of hardship” by making it very costly for migrants to send money home. So testified Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen before lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee in Washington this week. It’s a problem a CGD Working Group is looking at right now: the de-banking of remittance organizations by many banks that cite burdensome compliance requirements.
It’s a worry for manypeople that legitimate cross-border transactions - including vital remittances sent home by migrant workers - are becoming prohibitively expensive and burdensome because of over-zealous enforcement of anti-money laundering rules. Would cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin be able to help with this problem?
Agglomeration theory holds that clustering firms together allows them to share of knowledge and ideas, access a larger labor pool, and benefit from lower costs of production and transportation. How does that hold up in the real world?
De-banking is an ugly word, but it’s the focus of a new working group launched by CGD in Europe. Banks in rich countries, under pressure from anti–money laundering and counterterrorism enforcement efforts, are increasingly “de-banking” money transfer organizations that operate in poor countries. In other words, to prevent criminals transferring their ill-gotten gains around the world electronically, they are denying banking services to legitimate companies that are a vital route for millions of people and businesses. And we are talking huge sums of money.
In Burkina Faso, where most live on less than $2 a day, people want better infrastructure even more than they want jobs. In Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania – some of Africa’s poorest nations – it is the same. In fact, the cry for more and better basic services is heard in nearly every African country.
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck close to the densely populated city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing over 200,000 people and reducing the city to rubble. Five years later, I still cannot figure out where all the money has gone.