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IMF/World Bank meetings to hold in Marrakech despite devastating Moroccan earthquake

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IMF/World Bank

The managements of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), together with Moroccan authorities have agreed to hold their 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech despite recent devastating earthquake in the country.

This is contained in a joint statement signed by World Bank President, Ajay Banga; IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva; and Kingdom of Morocco Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah Alaoui.

They however said that the meetings, scheduled between Oct. 9 and Oct. 15, would hold by “adapting the content to the circumstances”.

“Since the devastating earthquake in Morocco on Sept. 8, the World Bank and the IMF staff have worked in close coordination with the Moroccan authorities and a team of experts to thoroughly assess Marrakech’s capacity to host the 2023 Annual Meetings.

“In undertaking this assessment, key considerations were that the meetings would not disrupt vital relief and reconstruction efforts, and that the safety of the participants can be assured.

“Based on a careful review of the findings, the Managements of the World Bank and IMF, together with the Moroccan authorities, have agreed to proceed with holding the 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech from October 9 to 15,” they said.

According to them, the meetings would be conducted in a way that does not hamper the relief efforts, and respects the victims and Moroccan people.

“At this very difficult time, we believe that the annual meetings also provide an opportunity for the international community to stand by Morocco and its people, who have once again shown resilience in the face of tragedy.

“We also remain committed to ensuring the safety of all participants,” they said.

The World Bank plays a key role in the global efforts to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Working in more than 100 countries, the bank provides financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.

The IMF is a global organisation that works to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for all of its 190 member countries.

It does so by supporting economic policies that promote financial stability and monetary cooperation, which are essential to increasing productivity, job creation, and economic well-being.

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Putin Registers As Candidate For Russia’s Next Presidential Election

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Russia on Monday officially recognised Vladimir Putin as a candidate for the presidential elections in March, a vote that he is all but certain to win.

The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.

The Central Election Commission said it had registered Putin, who nominated himself, as well as right-wing firebrand and Putin-loyalist Leonid Slutsky as candidates for the vote.

The election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.

Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.

Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers are likely to be barred from monitoring the vote.

While Putin is not expected to face any real competition, liberal challenger Boris Nadezhdin has passed the threshold of signatures to be registered as a candidate.

However, it is still unclear if he will be allowed to run, and the Kremlin has said it does not consider him to be a serious rival.

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Hong Kong court grants Chinese real estate giant reorganisation postponement

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Hong Kong’s Supreme Court has once again granted the highly indebted Chinese real estate giant Evergrande a postponement for its reorganisation plan.

Judge Linda Chan surprisingly postponed the decision until Jan. 29, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

The property developer, which has liabilities estimated at more than 300 billion dollars, is threatened with liquidation.

However, creditors from abroad had taken the company to court because of its missing several payments.

Chan had already said at the previous hearing that this would be the last postponement and that she would very likely agree to liquidation if China Evergrande did not find a plan for restructuring with its creditors.

According to reports, however, the lawyers of the Hong Kong-listed group had now held out the prospect of being able to reach an agreement with the lenders in the coming weeks.

In the case of liquidation, an insolvency administrator would monetise the company and pay out the creditors.

Meanwhile, some experts were of the opinion that liquidation would return less money to creditors than a reorganisation, China Evergrande argued the same in court, according to reports.

The group had been trying to submit a restructuring plan since 2022, without success. Its founder and once China’s richest man, Hui Ka Yan, is being investigated by the Chinese authorities.

Like many other property groups, the company had been in a serious crisis for some time because it is earning significantly less on the slumping property market.

The company is finding it more difficult to obtain state support and is no longer able to service its loans.

“The Evergrande case also shows that the era of large private property developers in China is coming to an end,’’ says Max Zenglein from the Merics China Institute in Berlin.

If Chan decides to wind up China Evergrande, this could also have an impact on other companies.

“One challenge for the government will be to prevent domino effects in the economy caused by major bankruptcies,’’ says Zenglein.

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