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Musings From Abroad

Haiti Prime Minister quits and what IMF has to do with it

The embattled prime minister of Haiti, Jack Guy Lafontant, has announced his resignation following days of violent protests sparked by a now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices

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The embattled prime minister of Haiti, Jack Guy Lafontant, has announced his resignation following days of violent protests sparked by a now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices.

The decision comes on the heels of attempts by Lafontant to implement an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in which Haiti had signed an agreement committing to carrying out economic and structural reforms to promote growth.

“I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic”, who has “accepted my resignation”, Lafontant said on Saturday in the lower house of Haiti’s legislature.

Lafontant had faced a potential vote of no confidence had he not stepped down.

The unrest started after the government unveiled an IMF-inspired proposal to eliminate fuel subsidies which in turn would have hiked fuel prices: 38 percent for gasoline, 47 percent for diesel and 51 percent for kerosene.

Read Also: Ex-Malaysian PM Najib Razak to face probe for stealing

The announcement sparked mass protests, with streets in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities blocked with barricades of debris and burning tires.

At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses looted or destroyed during three days of demonstrations.

Lafontant, who took office in February 2017, later announced the plan would not go ahead, but protesters still demanded his resignation.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Port-au-Prince, said the parliament had been debating whether to give or not Lafontant a vote of confidence for more than three hours.

Following the prime minister’s resignation, Haiti was essentially left with no functioning government, added our correspondent.

Around 60 percent of Haiti’s population lives on less than $2 a day and are extremely vulnerable to increases in the price of goods and services.

Musings From Abroad

CLIMATE CHANGE: Germany to sign climate protection contracts with industries

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As the cry towards a green environment intensifies amidst the increasing effects of climate change, Germany is taking a lead in the climate renewal agenda as it is set to sign climate protection contracts with industrial companies next year.

The Economy Minister, Robert Habeck revealed on Sunday that the agreement will support a transition towards cleaner production and a switch to hydrogen.

Habeck was quoted as saying by Funke media group that  “the aim is to efficiently develop a green industry along the value chain that becomes marketable.”

Reports emerged during the week that Germany was planning to award companies in energy-intensive industries including chemicals and steel 15-year subsidy arrangements that he called climate protection contracts, in return for reducing carbon emissions in their production.

Recall that several world leaders last month, converged in Cairo, the capital of Egypt for the United Nations COP27 Climate Summit, over talks on the “need to deepen cuts in emissions and financially back developing countries already devastated by the effects of rising temperatures.”

According to UNFCCC, the most recent seven years, from 2015 to 2021 were the warmest on record. The 2018–2022 global mean temperature average is estimated to be 1.17 ± 0.13 °C above the 1850–1900 average.

Africa seems to be feeling the heat more as countries across the continent’s East and West have suffered devasting drought and floods beyond what used to be the usual climate pattern.

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Musings From Abroad

Swiss firm, ABB, gets $4.3 million fine over bribery case in South Africa

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Judicial authority in Switzerland has fined engineering and technology group ABB, the sum of 4 million Swiss francs ($4.3 million) in connection with a bribery case in South Africa.

According to the country’s Attorney General, the fine on ABB is for “not having taken all necessary and reasonable organisational provisions in order to prevent bribery payments to foreign officials in South Africa”.

The group was found guilty of improper payments and other compliance issues at the Kusile power station after a wide-scale investigation into state corruption concluded in June 2022.

Earlier in the week, ABB and South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) agreed that the company will pay reparations for its involvement in state corruption.

According to a statement by the NPA, the company agreed to pay 2.5 billion rands ($144.51 million) in punitive reparations to South Africa within 60 days from the first day of December.

The reparation is in addition to 1.6 billion rand ($92.48 million)the company paid back to South African state power utility Eskom in 2020.

The Central Europe country has been fingered in lots of corruption cases involving African countries.

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