IFC: using development funds for profit

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a part of the World Bank Group which invests money in projects involving private companies. It openly promotes privatisation in many sectors. Recent activity invcludes:

US: Renewable Electricity Standard to Create 300,000 Jobs

25-Percent-by-2025 National Renewable Electricity Standard Would Create Nearly 300,000 Jobs, Save Consumers Billions, Science Group Says (WASHINGTON, March 24, 2009) – A federal standard requiring all utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 would create 297,000 new domestic jobs and save consumers $64.3 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills, according to a new analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Publicly funded NGOs in California pay chief executives over $500,000 per year

The state of California pays 'non-profit' organisations to run some public services instead of directly employing public servants to do the work. A report by a union-funded research body in October 2009 showed how some of these NGOs are using their income to pay their chief executives over $300,000 per year - more than the salary of the superintendent of schools who is responsible for the public education service in the whole of Los Angeles.

The NGOs include:

70 banks collapse in USA in 2009

BBC 14 August 2009

Colonial BancGroup has become the biggest US bank to collapse this year. Colonial, a property lender based in Montgomery, Alabama, had about $25bn of assets, said the US regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). The collapse is expected to cost the FDIC about $2.8bn. The total number of bank failures is now over 70 in 2009.

King County Wastewater Treatment Department (US) - Wastewater Management Authority and Municipality of Krabi (Thailand)

In 2008 USAID initiated a twinning partnership between Thailand's Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division in the US State of Washington to strengthen the capacities of WMA and select local government authorities (LGAs) to better manage and sustain wastewater treatment facilities. Over the last 20 years the Royal Thai government has supported the construction of wastewater management systems in 87 locations throughout the country, but a survey in 2003 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment revealed that over 75% of these systems are in poor condition or are inoperable. During 2009 King County is currently sharing its best practices and helping develop manuals/operating procedures for operating and maintaining these facilities. WMA will in turn institutionalize the new approaches and apply them when working with future LGAs to ensure sustainable services delivery.

WMA -Thailand and King County twinning

USAID's ECO-Asia is facilitating a twinning partnership between Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) of Thailand and King County (US) to transfer best practices and practical solutions to strengthen WMA's capacity to better manage, operate, and maintain wastewater treatment plants throughout Thailand. Funded by WMA, the WMA Board visited King County's Wastewater Treatment Division during July 28-29, 2008 and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a one-year twinning partnership, discussed twinning activities, and visited wastewater treatment plants to understand King County polices and practices in providing wastewater services. Through this partnership, WMA and King County will develop and institutionalize a toolkit on wastewater management and operation and maintenance in Krabi, an ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City, and replicate lessons learned throughout Thailand.

Case study: USA property taxes

This could be a case study about local property taxes in the USA

Contractor donations banned in USA states

Some states in the USA - Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts - are passing laws to limit or ban contractors from making political donations, in an attempt to curb corruption.

Electricity takeovers

December 2008: EDF buys 50% of nuclear business of USA company Constellation
December 2008: EDF bid for British Energy cleared by EC
January 2009: RWE buys Netherlands electricity company Essent from municipalities for €9.3billion

The price paid for Essent is high and financed by debt, which most companies find very hard to raise The FT Lex column says all the deals are explicable as attempts by the big electricity companies to buy the few remaining opportunities for market shares - other markets eg France, Germany, Spain, Italy - are already 'consolidated'.

The Constellation deal is that EDF buys 49.99 per cent of Constellation's nuclear business - five reactors with 3,869MW - for $4.5billion; the rest of Constellation remains an independent company; but EDF already owns 9.51% of Constellation as a whole.

FT extracts below.

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