Zoom Expands Developer Platform with Launch of Zoom Apps SDK

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) announced the general availability of the Zoom Apps SDK, which provides developers with the resources and support infrastructure needed to build Zoom Apps within the Zoom client. By building on the Zoom Apps SDK, developers can reach Zoom customers, and users can discover and add new apps within the same client they use every day. Over 100 Zoom Apps have been published by developer partners to enrich meeting experiences ranging from meeting productivity, team collaboration, and social networking to gaming.

"To meet customer expectations, organizations continue to look for ways to evolve their businesses and scale workflows, which leads to an increased need for developers to have access to develop innovative app capabilities and features,” said Brendan Ittelson, Chief Technology Officer at Zoom. “With the launch of the Zoom Apps SDK, the Zoom Developer Platform continues to expand and offer developers new ways to incorporate video communications and collaboration into their creations, transforming business workflows forever.”

“The ability to leverage APIs to enable application integration and innovation is a critical digital transformation need,” says Irwin Lazar, President and Principal Analyst at Metrigy. “More than 84% of IT professionals in our research say that API availability is important for employee and customer engagement use cases. General availability of the Zoom Apps SDK will make it easier, and faster, for developers to deliver business benefits through a variety of ways.”

Zoom Apps SDK broadens developer capabilities by:

  • Increasing the reach of new applications by tapping into Zoom's global and diverse audience, listing apps on the Zoom App Marketplace and in the Zoom client where apps can be installed even during a Zoom Meeting
  • Extending new apps to create collaborative experiences across Zoom Meetings
  • Creating engaging experiences for customers both within and outside of Zoom Meetings

Zoom Apps SDK is a JavaScript SDK that provides access to client features such as setting the Virtual Background while also providing the app context for the interaction. Fundamentally, it uses a method to get the meeting context, with identifiers for the user and meeting. These identifiers can be used with a comprehensive set of API endpoints from the Zoom Developer Platform, including REST APIs and Webhooks to enrich the app experience.

With the Zoom Apps SDK, companies are able to create engaging experiences within Zoom Meetings, and in the Zoom desktop window for asynchronous collaboration.

“In this new era of hybrid work, businesses are using more apps than ever to collaborate and get work done from anywhere,” said Ketan Kittur, Vice President, Product Management at Box. “We know that customers want all of their favorite apps to work securely and seamlessly together. With the Zoom Apps SDK, we created the Box app for Zoom which empowers our thousands of joint customers to work frictionlessly across our two platforms.”

Getting Started with Zoom Apps SDK
Building with Zoom Apps SDK is simple. Here's how to get started:

  1. Build the app: Utilize the Zoom Apps SDK to develop and customize an app.
  2. Complete the submission checklist: Before submitting an app for review, ensure all items are completed in the Submission Requirements. The checklist covers marketing, privacy, legal, support, and technical information.
  3. Submit the app for review: All apps submitted for publication undergo a thorough review, including functional and usability testing, and security and compliance review.
  4. Publish on App Marketplace: Once published, the app will be available to all users through an embeddable button.

To learn more about the Zoom Apps SDK, please read our blog.

About Zoom
Zoom is for you. Zoom is a space where you can connect to others, share ideas, make plans, and build toward a future limited only by your imagination. Our frictionless communications platform is the only one that started with video as its foundation, and we have set the standard for innovation ever since. That is why we are an intuitive, scalable, and secure choice for large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals alike. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ:ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Visit zoom.com and follow @zoom.

Zoom Public Relations
Kim Gaertner
Developer PR Manager

Following 3AC insolvency crisis, OKX launches Custody Trading Sub-Account to “solve trust issue”

  • OKX's newest account mode delivers the investor control, transparency, and risk management that is needed to minimize institutional investor losses in a volatile market environment.
  • The Custody Trading Sub–Account offering involves OKX stepping in to make sure an investor's assigned money manager is fulfilling their fiduciary duties.

VICTORIA, Seychelles, June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OKX, the world–leading cryptocurrency platform, today announced the launch of its Custody Trading Sub–Account product for customers looking to benefit from trading team strategies and institutional and high–net–worth investors.

Custody Trading Sub–Account involves OKX acting as a trusted third party between the investor and their money manager or trading team. The product mitigates the risks investors face by granting them greater control over their investments and delivering multi–layered risk management. It also provides greater transparency by enabling investors to monitor leverage and margin usage in real–time and access and share OKX–verified trading records.

Haider Rafique, Global Chief Marketing Officer, OKX, said: "The recent conspicuous near–insolvencies have taught us that many investors who entrust their funds to market makers or hedge funds don't have control, or even visibility, over how their money manager is trading. These firms provide questionable risk management and transparency and, in some cases, this has even allegedly led to investor funds being used to answer margin calls. We are launching OKX Custody Trading Sub–Account to provide much–needed control and transparency and help everyone in the industry."

When it comes to control, investors are able to configure a range of account trading access rights, while third parties and trading teams are not permitted to move investor funds directly. Comprehensive risk management protocols additionally prevent assets from being collateralized twice and enable investors to access features such as warning level, trade–freeze level, and kill switch. Finally, smart contract auditing from OKX means that due diligence is undertaken by a trusted third party.

Lennix Lai, Financial Markets Director, OKX, said: "After lessons were learned during the recent debacle involving some mismanaged firms, we believe it's fundamentally important that the crypto industry has an independent, trusted third party to play the role of custodian for these types of investments. This custodian would provide both clearing and appropriate risk management. We need to find a way to segregate clients' tokens from managers' in–house wallets while making sure the managers fulfil their fiduciary duties to both their clients and the relevant communities. We also need to ensure that there is transparency for investors and communities as far as how their funds are being staked, traded, or utilized as collateral."

OKX Custody Trading Sub–Account allows the money manager or trading team to access a broad range of products in both the CeFi and DeFi spaces in order to fulfil their obligations to investors. During the custody period, the trading team is also equipped to protect their proprietary strategic trading and position information.

With this launch, OKX builds on the risk management record that saw it protect more than 500 million UST in user funds prior to May's LUNA/UST crash. OKX will continue to incorporate comprehensive risk management strategies to ensure users can invest both safely and responsibly.

Find out more about the OKX Custody Trading Sub–Account here.

For further information, please contact:


About OKX

OKX is a leading crypto trading app, and a Web3 ecosystem. Trusted by more than 20 million global customers in over 180 international markets, OKX is known for being the fastest and most reliable crypto trading app of choice for investors and professional traders globally.

Since 2017, OKX has served a global community of people who share a common interest in participating in a new financial system that is designed to be a level playing field for everyone. We strive to educate people on the potential of crypto markets and how to invest and trade responsibly. Beyond the OKX trading app, OKX Wallet is our latest offering for people looking to explore the world of NFTs and the metaverse while trading GameFi and DeFi tokens.

To learn more about OKX, download our app or visit: okx.com

Tobacco Consumption Slows in the West, Grows in Africa, say Researchers

As cigarette smuggling in Southern Africa becomes big business, researchers have expressed concern that tobacco consumption is increasing in younger people and developing countries. Credit: Ignatius Banda/IPS

As cigarette smuggling in Southern Africa becomes big business, researchers have expressed concern that tobacco consumption is increasing in younger people and developing countries. Credit: Ignatius Banda/IPS

By Ignatius Banda
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe , Jun 21 2022 – Cigarette smuggling has emerged as one of the most lucrative enterprises between Zimbabwe and South Africa, with border authorities seizing contraband worth millions of dollars in recent years.

Last month, South African police confiscated cigarettes worth ZAR1,7 million (about USD105,000) from Zimbabwean smugglers who have taken advantage of porous border controls between the two southern African countries for years.

In November last year, another Zimbabwean was nabbed as he attempted to smuggle cigarettes worth ZAR30 million (about USD1,850,000) into South Africa, where there is a ready and expanding market for cigarettes.

The following month, another Zimbabwean was caught attempting to smuggle cigarettes worth ZAR2,6 million (USD160,300) into South Africa. The escalation of the movement of contraband highlights the complexity of not just border controls but how cigarettes and tobacco are proving to be the new gold for criminal syndicates.

As a global anti-tobacco lobby grows amid concerns of unabated tobacco-related deaths, researchers are training the spotlight on tobacco consumption and its toll on public health and national economies.

In a new report by the University of Chicago, researchers who have created a Tobacco Atlas after surveying 63 countries say global smokers now exceed 1.1 billion people.

While, according to researchers, global smoking prevalence is dropping, from 22.6 percent in 2007 to 19.6 in 2019, Africa and other developing parts of the world are recording an increase in tobacco consumption, the report says.

The findings will likely concern African governments where public health services are already struggling. The Tobacco Atlas researchers raise concerns about tobacco-related diseases and deaths in developing countries.

Tobacco-related diseases are expected to increase in future years in countries with low Human Development Index scores, the Tobacco Atlas researchers predict.

“Some African countries are seeing an increase in adult and youth smoking. What we’ve seen in Africa is the slowest decline in smoking prevalence of any region,” said Professor Jeffrey Dope, lead author of the Tobacco Atlas and a professor of public health at the University of Illinois.

“The tobacco industry is aware of this. They are working very hard to convince governments that tobacco is very important for the economy. Unfortunately, they’re having some success,” Dope said during a Zoom report launch early this month.

Further findings noted that more young girls than boys are taking a puff, with the ubiquity of social media “influencers” being a driver of the trend.

“Global progress is threatened by growing smoking rates among children aged 13 to 15 in many countries and by tobacco industry tactics such as targeting poor countries with weak regulatory environments,” the researchers said.

“We have countries where female teens smoke more than male teens and adult females, which is happening in different parts of the world,” said Violeta Vulovic, senior economist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Chicago.

“The tobacco industry aggressively markets to children, especially through flavour products. And through social media, especially influencers, the industry clear understanding that the peer-to-peer effect is perhaps the most effective way to get kids to try smoking,” Vulovic said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says tobacco causes more than 8 million global deaths annually. More than “7 million of those deaths resulting from direct tobacco use, while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.”

Covid-19 has only added to global health challenges that have pushed the tobacco agenda to the periphery, researchers say.

“In the wake of Covid-19, countries are prioritising public health and investing in strategies to support health and economic growth,” said Nandita Murukutla, one of the contributors to the Tobacco Atlas research.

“For countries that want to recover, tobacco control should be high on their agenda,” Murukutla said.

However, with African countries continuing to rely on tobacco for forex earnings, findings contained in the Tobacco Atlas are not likely to persuade governments to slow down the production of what across the continent has been called “green gold.”

One way to deal with the increase in smoking, the University of Chicago researchers say, is to “raise taxes on tobacco.”

“This is so that kids cannot afford to smoke. We know from decades of research that young people are extra sensitive to price,” Vulovic said.

The researchers say this has worked in other African countries to stem the illicit cigarette trade.

“Countries should look to Kenya as an example of a country that is keeping its tobacco taxes high and controlling its supply chain – little illicit trade – successfully,” Dope told IPS. “These modest investments in tax administration in Kenya have reaped huge rewards in terms of increased tax revenues, which they then reallocate to social programmes such as health and education, among others.”

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Expensive Energy from Cheap Sources Hampers Brazil’s Economy

President Jair Bolsonaro launched the sale of shares of Eletrobras, the largest company in the electricity sector in Brazil, which will be privatized through its capitalization. The State will remain as a minority partner, in a privatization process approved by Congress, conditional on the construction of gas thermoelectric power plants in the interior of the country, far from gas fields and pipelines. CREDIT: Alan Santos/PR-Public Photos

President Jair Bolsonaro launched the sale of shares of Eletrobras, the largest company in the electricity sector in Brazil, which will be privatized through its capitalization. The State will remain as a minority partner, in a privatization process approved by Congress, conditional on the construction of gas thermoelectric power plants in the interior of the country, far from gas fields and pipelines. CREDIT: Alan Santos/PR-Public Photos

By Mario Osava
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 21 2022 – Brazil has abundant low-cost energy, but by the time it reaches the consumer it is one of the most expensive in the world. This contradiction hinders the country’s human and economic development and the “solutions” found have actually aggravated the problem.

The rise of hydrocarbon prices on the international market, intensified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, unleashed a battle by the government to curb energy prices, as the rising costs hurt the administration’s hopes for reelection in the October elections. Lower taxes were the chosen formula.

“It is positive, it mitigates the problem, but it does not improve energy efficiency,” said Paulo Pedrosa, president of the Association of Large Industrial Energy Consumers and Free Consumers (ABRACE), whose members are responsible for the consumption of 40 percent of the electricity and 42 percent of the natural gas used in Brazil.

Now that the debate on the subject has been sparked, the opportunity should be used to bring about structural changes, aimed at “removing from energy the costs of public policies, of many extra costs that should not be in the electricity bill,” he argued.

Energy is expensive in Brazil due to numerous subsidies, charges, taxes and various contributions that drive up prices, especially the cost of electricity. They account for half of the total cost paid by the consumer, according to ABRACE.

This is what puts the cost of energy in Brazil among the two or three most expensive in the world, along with Germany and Colombia, according to the International Energy Agency, even though the country is an oil exporter and 60 percent of its electricity comes from an abundant, cheap source: water.

The Itaipu binational hydroelectric power plant, shared with Paraguay, was the last large, low-cost plant to be located close to major consumer markets. Inaugurated in 1984 on the Paraná River, on the border with Paraguay and close to Argentina, its installed capacity is 14,000 megawatts. Brazil's hydroelectric potential since then has been limited to rivers in the Amazon rainforest, with more expensive construction costs and the need for long transmission lines to large consumers. CREDIT: Itaipu Binacional

The Itaipu binational hydroelectric power plant, shared with Paraguay, was the last large, low-cost plant to be located close to major consumer markets. Inaugurated in 1984 on the Paraná River, on the border with Paraguay and close to Argentina, its installed capacity is 14,000 megawatts. Brazil’s hydroelectric potential since then has been limited to rivers in the Amazon rainforest, with more expensive construction costs and the need for long transmission lines to large consumers. CREDIT: Itaipu Binacional

Industry suffers the consequences

This paradox reduces the competitiveness of the national economy, especially in energy-intensive industries, and hinders growth and human development, said Pedrosa.

As a result, the deindustrialization that Brazil has been suffering for at least three decades has accelerated.

The situation “has worsened in the last 10 years, when decision-making has been captured by particular interests in the industry’s chain, politicians and local economies,” he said in a telephone interview with IPS from Brasilia.

The Court of Accounts, responsible for public expenditure oversight, identified 16 types of subsidies included in the monthly bill that electricity distributors pass on to consumers.

All consumers are charged for the cost of fossil fuels to generate electricity in remote areas of the Amazon, for the losses suffered by distribution companies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even for subsidies to give polluting coal-fired power plants a longer lifespan, until 2040.

“Irrigated agriculture receives the subsidy, it does not pay for part of its consumption under the pretext of producing food. But what is the point of subsidizing the production of soy, most of which is destined for export?” asked Roberto Kishinami, head of energy questions at the non-governmental Climate and Society Institute.

Navy Admiral Bento Albuquerque was removed from his post as minister of mines and energy by President Jair Bolsonaro on May 11, 2022 for failing to impose fuel price containment on state-owned Petrobras. Bolsonaro is trying to prevent the oil hike from affecting his popularity and his slim chances of reelection in October. CREDIT: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Navy Admiral Bento Albuquerque was removed from his post as minister of mines and energy by President Jair Bolsonaro on May 11, 2022 for failing to impose fuel price containment on state-owned Petrobras. Bolsonaro is trying to prevent the oil hike from affecting his popularity and his slim chances of reelection in October. CREDIT: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Social policy

Some subsidies could be justified because of their social purpose, but it shouldn’t be energy that should be taxed, but the national budget, he argued. “An income transfer program like the Bolsa Familia would be better,” he said.

Kishinami was referring to the program that since 2004 provides a subsidy of about 80 dollars a month to poor families, which was renamed Auxilio Brasil by the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

“Lowering the price of energy is also a social policy,” said Pedrosa. “Brazil has a vocation to produce cheap and clean energy, something that the world values more and more every day, and wasting this advantage harms everyone, not only industry,” he argued.

On Jun. 14, ABRACE released a study on “The impacts of electricity and natural gas prices on growth and economic development”, commissioned from the economic consultancy Ex Ante.

If a “competitive price” for electricity were achieved, with a reduction of 23 to 34 percent for industries that vary in terms of energy consumption, Brazil could raise its annual economic growth from the expected 1.7 to 4.8 percent on average over the next 10 years, and generate 6.74 million additional jobs, according to the study.

The country could thus move up 10 positions in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index ranking, from 84th place in 2019 to just under Mexico, which ranked 74th.

The study is aimed at broadening and guiding the energy debate, which is in the interest of the whole country, not just the industry and politicians, Pedrosa said.

In this South American country of 214 million people, energy represents 17.1 percent of the total cost of living for families, and an even higher proportion among the poor. This includes direct spending on electricity, gas and other fuel.

It also takes into account the cost of energy embedded in the goods and services consumed by the family, or indirect energy consumption. Bread, for example, contains 27.2 percent of energy in its final price, milk and meat 33.3 percent and school notebooks 35.9 percent.

In a family’s basic food basket, the study estimated the share of energy in the total cost at 23 percent.

In other words, rising energy prices cost everyone different amounts, depending on their consumption of goods and services. This is also the case for companies. The construction industry spends 14 times more on energy included in supplies and machinery than in the plant where it operates.

The timing is opportune for the debate on energy prices and their social and economic effects, because Brazil will elect its president, state governors and national and state legislators in October.

Another reason is that the rise in oil and gas prices provoked a strong reaction from the government and pro-government parliamentary leaders. Bolsonaro has tried to blame the state-owned Petrobras oil giant for increasing its prices according to international prices, a rule adopted by the company with the endorsement of the government, its majority partner, since 2017.

The Itá Hydroelectric Power Plant, on the Uruguay River in southern Brazil, is also one of the last low-cost plants due to its proximity to the consumer market. It is a concrete face rock-fill embankment dam, a low operational cost structure, with the reservoir at the top of the mountain, which was favored by the topography. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

The Itá Hydroelectric Power Plant, on the Uruguay River in southern Brazil, is also one of the last low-cost plants due to its proximity to the consumer market. It is a concrete face rock-fill embankment dam, a low operational cost structure, with the reservoir at the top of the mountain, which was favored by the topography. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Legislators of chaos

On Jun. 15, Congress approved a law that caps the maximum merchandise circulation tax charged by state governments on fuel, energy, mass transit and telecommunications, considered essential services, at 17 percent.

This tax varied greatly among the 26 Brazilian states and the Federal District, from 25 to 34 percent, for example, on gasoline, and from 12 to 25 percent on diesel, the most important fuel for the transportation of cargo.

The same legislators who are now seeking to curb energy prices, with the risk of generating serious fiscal problems for the states, with ineffective measures, according to analysts, passed several laws in recent years that incorporate undue costs in energy.

The privatization of Eletrobrás, the largest company in the sector in Brazil, was approved conditional upon the construction of natural gas thermoelectric power plants that would produce a total of eight gigawatts of power. The costs will be high because areas were chosen far from the natural gas fields and without gas pipelines for the plants.

Pedrosa and Kishinami believe the measures were taken with the elections in mind and do not correct the tangle of errors and expenses accumulated in Brazil’s energy system. Both are betting on Bill 414, already approved in the Senate and pending in the Chamber of Deputies, which would reform the sector.

It will be the first step in separating infrastructure from electricity sales and establishing a system of competition, with the supply of different types of energy from a variety of sources, renewable or not, Kishinami told IPS in Rio de Janeiro.

Education Cannot Wait: 222 Million Crisis-Impacted Children in Urgent Need of Educational Support According to New Study

By External Source
GENEVA, Jun 21 2022 (IPS-Partners)

The United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), released a shocking new report today that indicates the number of crisis-impacted school-aged children requiring educational support has grown from an estimated 75 million in 2016 to 222 million today.

Of the 222 million crisis-affected children and adolescents in need of urgent education support, the study indicates that as many as 78.2 million are out of school, and close to 120 million are in school, but not achieving minimum proficiency in math or reading. In fact, just one in ten crisis-impacted children attending primary or secondary education are actually achieving these proficiency standards.

The analysis indicates that 84% of the out-of-school crisis-impacted children are living in areas with protracted crises. The vast majority of these are in countries specifically targeted through ECW’s ground-breaking multi-year investments, including Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. The war in Ukraine is pushing even more children out of school, with recent estimates indicating the conflict has impacted 5.7 million school-aged children.

These alarming new figures are released against the backdrop of a recent ECW study showing that the response to education in emergencies and protracted crises remains chronically underfunded, and that the funding gap appears to have gotten even worse since the COVID-19 pandemic.

To respond to this pressing global education crisis, ECW and strategic partners launched the #222MillionDreams resource mobilization campaign in Geneva today. The campaign calls on donors, the private sector, philanthropic foundations and high-net-worth individuals to urgently mobilize more resources to scale up ECW’s investments, which are already delivering quality education to over 5 million children across more than 40 crisis-affected countries.

The campaign rallies together donors and other strategic partners in the lead up to the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference ¬- co-hosted by ECW and Switzerland, and co-convened by Germany, Niger, Norway, and South Sudan – taking place 16-17 February 2023 in Geneva.

“The financial resources to ensure that every child and young person can receive a quality education exist in the world. Now, we need to take responsible action for the 222 million children and youth in emergencies and protracted crises. Governments, private sector and foundations can and must unlock these resources. Only then can we empower them to reach their potentials and realize their dreams,” said The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group.

“This is a global call to action: we speak of the 222 million dreams representing each of the 222 million children and adolescents sustaining the extreme hardship of emergencies and protracted crises. Their dreams are profoundly driven by their experience of wars and forced displacement. This is our moment to empower them to turn their dreams into reality. While the world struggles with the devastating impacts of armed conflicts, COVID-19 and climate change, 222 million children and adolescents live through these horrific experiences. They dream to become their full potential rather than a victim. Do not let them down. It is our duty to empower them through quality education and to help make their dreams come true,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait.

“In times of crisis, children experience uncertainty with regard to their future and are faced with a total disruption of their routines. Going to school provides children with protection, a sense of normalcy and hope and is a means to provide longer-term perspectives. We know that after school disruption and closures, many children will not continue their education. Switzerland is committed to contribute to reducing the risk of lost generations through its support to education in emergencies. We are thus partnering with Education Cannot Wait and look forward to co-hosting the High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva,” said Patricia Danzi, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Global leaders have committed to “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all” through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG4). The new estimates indicate that COVID-19 and other factors have derailed two decades of education gains. According to UN reports, basic school infrastructure is lacking in many Least Developed Countries. Only 54% of schools have access to safe drinking water, 33% have reliable electricity and 40% have handwashing facilities.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is convening the “Transforming Education Summit” in September 2022. The Summit seeks to “mobilize political ambition, action, solutions and solidarity to transform education: to take stock of efforts to recover pandemic-related learning losses; to reimagine education systems for the world of today and tomorrow; and to revitalize national and global efforts to achieve SDG4.”

On the heels of the Summit, the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference is the opportunity for leaders to turn commitments into action, by making substantive funding contributions to ECW that will help turn dreams into reality for the children left furthest behind in crises.

Read UN Secretary-General António Guterres Statement.

#222Million Dreams
The #222MillionDreams campaign encourages people everywhere to call on world leaders and world-leading businesses to address the concerning rise in the number of crisis-impacted children requiring educational support. Join the campaign by making a $222 individual donation to Education Cannot Wait, and by sharing your support on social media with videos, posts and calls to action to support #222MillionDreams.


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“Around the world, 222 million children are having their education cruelly interrupted. We need governments, businesses, foundations & individuals to support the vital work of Education Cannot Wait. Help us place education within reach of every child, everywhere. Help us keep 222 million dreams alive.” ~ UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Zahid Industries: World Defense Show

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zahid Industries, a Zahid Group company, recently participated at the World Defense Show in Riyadh from 6 "" 9 March 2022.

The General Manger of Zahid Industries, Mr. Alaa Akra, stated that the localization of defense industries will have a direct positive impact on the GDP of KSA due to the transfer of knowledge and technology from International companies to local companies that will contribute to the development of the entire industrial sector to align with the best industry standards and comply with International quality standards.

Mr. Akra also thanked the General Authority of Military Industries for their exceptional efforts in managing the offset programs between international companies and local manufacturers.

Mr. Barig Siraj, Vice President of Zahid Group, commented: "This participation is in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and the direction of His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to localize 50% of the defense military industries. We are pleased with the signing of a 12–year localization contract between Zahid Industries and Raytheon Technologies, as well as Zahid Industries becoming a globally approved supplier of General Dynamics Land Systems. This is only the beginning of building cooperation for future strategic partnerships for the defense industries, and we are proud to be a part of this success."

Zahid Group have developed strategies on how to participate in this sector through Zahid Industries, a company that has now been licensed by the General Authority of Military Industries. The Group invested in special tools and dedicated facilities, attracted global expertise to train and empower Saudi cadres to become the future leaders in this sector and to become an integral part of protecting the homeland.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ea657fd1–d62a–4eb1–a36c–13664486a1e7

OECD’s Regressive World Corporate Income Tax Reform

By Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 21 2022 – After decades of rejecting international tax cooperation under multilateral auspices, rich countries have finally agreed. But, by insisting on their own terms, progressive corporate income tax remains distant.

Tax avoidance and evasion by transnational corporations (TNCs) are facilitated by ‘tax havens’ – jurisdictions with very low ‘effective’ taxation rates. Intense competition among developing countries to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) makes things worse.

Anis Chowdhury

Developing countries need tax revenue most, but they will lose more, as a share of GDP, than wealthy countries. But a global minimum corporate (income) tax rate (GMCTR) can become a “game changer” undermining tax havens.

Minimal minimum rate
TNCs exploit legal loopholes to avoid or minimize tax liabilities. Such practices are referred to as ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ (BEPS).

Tax havens collectively cost governments US$500–600bn yearly in lost revenue. Low-income countries (LICs) will lose some US$200bn, more than the foreign aid, of around US$150bn, they receive annually.

Corporate income tax represents 15% of total tax revenue in Africa and Latin America, compared to 9% in OECD countries. Developing countries’ greater reliance on this tax means they suffer disproportionately more from BEPS.

A GMCTR requires TNCs to pay tax on their worldwide income. This discourages hiding profits in tax havens. The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT) recommended a 25% GMCTR.

This 25% rate was around the current GDP-weighted average statutory corporate tax rate for 180 countries. Slightly below the OECD countries’ average, it is much less than the developing countries’ average. So, a GMCTR below 25% implies major revenue losses for most developing countries.

To reverse President Trump’s 2017 tax cut, the Biden administration proposed, in April 2021, to tax foreign corporate income at 21%. In June, the G7 agreed to a 15% GMCTR, endorsed by G20 finance ministers in July. This poor G7 rate is now sold as a “ground-breaking” tax deal.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Unsurprisingly, the World Bank President also rejected 21% as too high. The Bank has long promoted ‘race-to-the-bottom’ host country tax competition. Embarrassingly, its Doing Business Report was ‘suspended’ indefinitely in 2021 after its politically motivated data manipulation was exposed.

The OECD also wants to distribute taxing rights and revenue by sales, and not where their goods and services are produced. Critics, including The Economist, have pointed out that large rich economies would gain most. Small and poor developing economies, particularly those hosting TNC production, will lose out.

The OECD proposals could reduce small developing economies’ (SDEs) tax bases by 3%, while four-fifths of the revenue would likely go to high income countries (HICs). Hence, developing countries prefer revenue distribution by contribution to production, e.g., employees, rather than sales.

Undemocratic inclusion
Developing countries have never had a meaningful say in international tax matters. G20 members should have asked multilateral organizations, such as the UN and the IMF, which the G7 dominated OECD has long blocked.

Instead, the G20 BEPS initiative asked the OECD to work out its rules. After decades of keeping developing countries out of tax governance, its compromise Inclusive Framework on BEPS (IF) promotes lop-sided international tax cooperation.

Developing countries were only involved “after the agenda had been set, the action points were agreed on, the content of the initiatives had been decided and the final reports were delivered”.

Developing countries have been allowed to engage with OECD and G20 members, supposedly “on an equal footing”, to develop some BEPS standards. To become an IF member, a country or jurisdiction must first commit to the BEPS outcome.

Thus, the non-OECD, non-G20 countries must enforce a policy framework they had little role in designing. Unsurprisingly, with little real choice or voice, the 15% GMCTR was agreed to, in October 2021, by 136 of the 141 IF members.

FDI vs taxes
The proposed OECD tax reforms are supposed to be implemented from 2023 or 2024. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Investment Division recognizes it will have major implications for international investment and investment policies affecting developing countries.

UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2022, on International tax reforms and sustainable investment, offers guidance for developing country policymakers to navigate the complex new rules and to adjust their investment and fiscal strategies.

Committed to promoting investments in the real economy, especially by FDI, UNCTAD recognizes most developing countries lack the technical capacity to address the complex tax proposal. Implementing BEPS reports and related documents via legislation will be difficult, especially for LICs.

Existing investment treaty commitments also constrain fiscal policy reform. “The tax revenue implications for developing countries of constraints posed by international investment agreements (IIA) are a major cause for concern”, the Report notes.

Although tax regimes influence investment decisions, tax incentives are far from being the most important factor. Other factors – such as political stability, legal and regulatory environments, skills and infrastructure quality – are more significant.

Nonetheless, tax incentives have been important for FDI promotion. Such incentives inter alia include tax holidays, accelerated depreciation and ‘loss carry-forward’ provisions – reducing tax liability by allowing past losses to offset current profits.

With the GMCTR, many tax incentives will be less attractive to much FDI. Tax incentives will be affected to varying degrees, depending on their features. UNCTAD estimates productive cross-border investments could decline by 2%.

Hence, policymakers will need to review their incentives for both existing and new investors. The GMCTR may prevent developing countries from offering fiscal inducements to promote desired investments, including locational, sectoral, industry or even employment-creating incentives.

Investors rule
With generally lower rates, ‘top-up taxes’ could significantly augment SDEs’ revenue. Top-up taxes would apply to profits in any jurisdiction where the effective tax rate falls below the minimum 15% rate. This ensures large TNCs pay a minimum income tax in every jurisdiction where they operate.

However, host countries may be prevented by IIAs – especially Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions – from imposing ‘top-up taxes’. If so, they will be imposed by TNCs’ mainly rich ‘home countries’.

Thus, FDI-hosting countries would lose tax revenue without benefiting by attracting more FDI. Existing IIAs – of the type found in most developing countries – are likely to be problematic.

Hence, the GMCTR’s implications are very important for FDI promotion policies. Reduced competition from low-tax locations could benefit developing economies, but other implications may be more relevant.

As FDI competition relies less on tax incentives, developing countries will need to focus on other determinants, such as supplies of skilled labour, reliable energy and good infrastructure. However, many cannot afford the significant upfront financial commitments required to do so.

Many important details of reforms required still need to be clarified. Thus, developing countries must strengthen their cooperation and technical capabilities to more effectively negotiate GMCTR reform details. This is crucial to ‘cut losses’, to minimize the regressive consequences of this supposedly progressive tax reform.

IPS UN Bureau


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