More on the financial crisis (Special Guest Post)

I’m delighted to present another Special Guest Post from our Washington Correspondent (also known as my great friend Katy).

The financial crisis has shaken up all kinds of things, both in DC and throughout the world.  I agree with the previous posts in their assessment that this crisis will both directly and indirectly affect developing countries and their vulnerable populations, including PLWHA [people living with HIV/AIDS].

Yesterday I was at a briefing at the IMF on the impact of increased food and fuel prices over the past year, and it was a startling macro look at the truly global impact of the food crisis, as well as the current financial crisis.  Food and fuel costs to low income, importing countries threaten to push an additional 100 million people into poverty around the world.  The impact of this crisis on PLWHA, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, is devastating.  Their ability to access sufficient healthy food while on ARVs, as well as travel to clinics for counseling, testing and treatment will be severely compromised.

The actions that developing countries have taken in response to this crisis may hurt more than help, by prolonging the financial effects and backtracking on previous progress.  In an attempt to cut costs, and keep inflation under control in compliance with IMF “advice”, education and health care systems are often the first things targeted by recipient governments.  On the flip side, there was much concern at the IMF about the ability and willingness of developed countries to follow through on their humanitarian commitments, both in the immediate and long term.  The IMF projected a $1.3 trillion loss in American markets this year, and even with the $700 billion projected bailout, there is still more to come.

The UN General Assembly this week in New York does have the potential to spotlight these problems, and keep pressure on donors to follow through on their commitments, as well as push for best practices in HIV/AIDS work around the world.  We’ll see!

This guest post is in part a response to a couple previous posts: Trouble for the U.S. spells more trouble for others, and The economy, aid, and AIDS).

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~ by h.e.g. on September 25, 2008.

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