Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna was in Washington last week for the spring session of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank where his series of appointments included a bilateral meeting with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF for discussions on the challenges related to financial digitisation, as well as the consequences of Brexit at European and international levels. In addition, they discussed the implications of political change in the United States, which is the largest shareholder in the fund.
They also took a look at the evolution of international taxation, particularly with regard to the implementation of tax avoidance strategies such as base erosion and profit shifting.
Gramegna and Lagarde signed a bilateral loan agreement between the IMF and Luxembourg marking the continuation of Luxembourg's financial support for IMF resources and underlining Luxembourg's commitment to a strong IMF, based on a quota system and with adequate resources, so that it can preserve its role at the centre of the global financial security system.
In her address to the IMFC on 22 April, Christine Lagarde praised Luxembourg's contribution to the new technical assistance programme in the field of finance.
The finance minister also attended the launching ceremony of the Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, set up by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, with the objective of financing projects related to the fight against Against global warming in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The fund is domiciled in Luxembourg.
In his speech, Pierre Gramegna highlighted Europe's leading role in the fight against global warming and the implementation of the Paris Agreements (COP21). He also highlighted the role of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and the Luxembourg Green Exchange for the development of global green finance.
“As a strategic partner of the Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, Luxembourg highlights the skills of the financial centre and takes its responsibilities in the fight against global warming," he said.
Pierre Gramegna also had a working meeting with Ross Leckow, deputy general counsel in the legal department, in charge of Fintech issues, for an exchange of views on the implications of Blockchain for international payment services. He also had an interview with Anthony Delannoy, Executive Director of the IMF, and Frans Godts, Executive Director of the World Bank, to discuss institutional developments as well as developments at the multilateral level.
The finance minister also held a bilateral meeting with KV Kamath, President of the New Development Bank, to discuss the development of the bank and in particular its focus on green finance, an area in which the Luxembourg financial centre has established itself as a leading player. Pierre Gramegna also held working meetings with EBRD officials, of which he is currently chairing the Board of Governors.
The minister took advantage of the spring session to meet with a number of his African counterparts, saying 'Beyond development aid, economic and financial exchanges should be encouraged. The conclusion of a non-double taxation agreement is an important element in this regard, as it facilitates private sector investment and hence economic growth.
In this spirit, bilateral discussions were held with Adama Kone, minister of economy and finance of Côte d'Ivoire, Amadou Ba, minister of economy, finance and [lanning of Senegal and Henry Yav Mulang, minister of finance of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Finally, on 21 April, on the initiative of Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna and at the invitation of Ambassador Sylvie Lucas, a dinner was held at the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington, bringing together the leaders of the main multilateral development banks , As well as the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
"This high level meeting at the Luxembourg embassy highlights the role of our country as a bridge builder and mediator between cultures. Luxembourg is recognised as an actor and constructive interlocutor within the international organisations of which it is a member. The government's transparency reforms have further strengthened its credibility and confidence in it at the international level,” said Minister Gramegna.
Image: Christine Lagarde with Minister Gramegna last week.
MX1, a global media services company wholly owned by SES, and Vubiquity, a media technology solutions and content services provider, have signed a multi-year linear distribution deal.
The new service offering combines Vubniquity's linear transport portfolio with MX1’s service infrastructure and future-proof content aggregation management and delivery technology. These capabilities offer broadcasters, TV channels, affiliates, rights holders and content aggregators the ability to aggregate content and reach millions of viewers in the US and worldwide, through a single platform.
“We selected MX1 to provide the necessary innovative media technologies to support Vubiquity’s growth. We look forward to continuing to build this relationship,” said Darcy Antonellis, CEO at Vubiquity.
Services are centralised from MX1’s Media Centre in Pennsylvania in the United States and went live in the US at the end of 2016.
“We are delighted to be working closely with Vubiquity and this deal represents a winning combination, bringing together the world’s best content, deliverable to anyone, on any screen,” said Avi Cohen, CEO at MX1.
Police are appealing for assistance in identifying these two men who used a stolen bank card to make purchases at a petrol station in Windhof on 7 August last year.
Anyone with information concerning the two man can contact the police station in Esch, on telephone: 4997-5500.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn is in Ethiopia today and tomorrow as part of the Grand Duchy’s ambitions to strengthen its political-diplomatic and economic relations with the African continent, beyond its traditional partnership for development.
Minister Asselborn will meet first with his new Ethiopian counterpart, Workneh Gebeyehu, in Addis Ababa and will also visit the headquarters of the African Union in order to increase contacts with senior African officials, including the new Vice President of the African Union Commission, Thomas Kwesi Quartey and Commissioner Peace and Security, Smaïl Chergui. The interviews will allow to examine the main issues of African and international news.
Yogashanti has announced a new trimester of Pilates classes in Mersch, running on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The classes work out at €15 per session or €22 for drop-in rates, and are at the Kinésithérapie & Ostéopathie Peters, M9-11 Centre Marisca. Parking is free.
The classes run on Mondays from 11:30 to 12:30, Tuesdays from 09:00 to 10:00 and Wednesdays from 19:15 to 20:15.
Social entrepreneurship is the way to young philanthropists’ hearts, and finance, according to a report published by BNP Paribas Wealth Management together with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Moreover, millennial donors are more interested in projects that are replicable, global, immediate, connected and collaborative than traditional donors, who have long sustained projects focused on long-term, non-profit, regionally based programmes.
Worldwide philanthropy is growing, and millennial preferences are shaping the way it is defined, lending the strength of family legacies through new tools, technologies and strategies, say the authors. Monitoring and accounability are also key fundamentals.
Better travelled and more connected to worlds far away than their parents, millennials’ interest in global causes is an extension of their experience and exposure. They also believe that supporting entrepreneurship is a more sustainable means for achieving their philanthropic ambitions, and particular beneficiaries of this appear to the FinTech, EdTech, renewable energy and food and agriculture sectors.
They're also extremely well-funded, or will be. According to the report's authors, around €30 trillion will be passed down to American millenials over the next 30 years.
The world is a smaller place to millenials, and instead of focusing on a single region, the research showed that millennial want to replicate successes across many places, rather than localising on just one region.
A further reflection of their own culture, millennials are more likely to use social media not only to promote their causes, but also to find grantees, donors, talents and to educate themselves. They also collaborate to find co-investments, co-funding, new ideas, peers and practices.
"Over the past few years, we’ve seen our clients increasingly seek positive impact on society," explained Sofia Merlo, Co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management. “Millennials especially are pushing the boundaries of traditional philanthropy with a stronger collaborative spirit and a greater use of Impact Investing or Social Entrepreneurship and co-funding opportunities."
Millennials do not feel that they have to be necessarily tied to their family legacy. They strike a balance between the seemingly opposing forces of this legacy and of innovation. While some prefer to do it on their own, by setting up independent structures and looking for performance indicators, others stay aligned with their family and parents’ goals but inject modern practices.
In pursuit of impact, millennials adopt a specific approach to their investments. They don’t hesitate to break away from previous generations, using Impact Investing, impact evaluation or hybrid solutions. Millennials blur the lines between their investment initiatives and philanthropic activities, contrary to their elders.
"When I joined the foundation, 40% of the portfolio was in Impact Investment. But I began to question why all our investments weren't Impact Investments," said Stéphanie Cordes, 27 years old, vice-chair of Cordes Foundation in the USA.
Being a result-driven cohort, young philanthropists use digital technologies to capture and monitor key performance indicators that measure impact. Some examples of these technologies are highlighted in the report, including the European Foundation Center Data Map providing key data on how to run a foundation in 80 different countries, or the IRIS Metrics, designed to measure the social, environmental and financial performance of an investment.
“We’ve changed our organisational structure to ensure a more professional management of the foundation, and we measure our performance. We attach great importance to providing clear and transparent information about our strategic goals and performance to our most important stakeholders and the public at large,” said Lavinia Jacobs, 36 years old, chair of the board of trustees for the Jacobs Foundation in Switzerland.
Image: Stéphanie Cordes of the Cordes Foundation, and Lavinia Jacobs of Jacobs Foundation
The April Crafts and Small Business Fair is coming up on the last Sunday of the month at Brasserie Benelux in Strassen, offering unique, high-quality products, with tapas and refreshments created by Brasserie Benelux.
Organised by weorganise.lu, the Fair runs from 11:30 to 16:30 and is free to all.
Luxembourg's bathing season begins again on 1 May and Lake Weiswampach, the Remerschen ponds, and the Haute-Sûre lake will be open for swimmers.
During the season, microbiological quality is monitored at the bathing areas, with the last three years showing excellent quality across the board.
Image: Remerschen Ponds (www.visitluxembourg.com). © Fabrizio Maltese
Cactus has expanded its network of service station outlets to 22 with the opening of a Shoppi in Junglinster, near the main Echternach road.
With 2,500 brands geared towards daily living, Cactus says the focus is on quality products, resisting the “industrial to-go” trend they say is increasingly invading service stations.
Thus, a wide selection of organic and fresh products such as "Cactus hausgemaacht" and "De Schnékert Traiteur", slowfood baguettes by Pains & Tradition, or fresh fruit and vegetables is among the range of offerings.
The station also features a postal point, carwash, and Lux’mBurger Foodtruck, and will be open from 06:00 to 22:00 seven days a week.
Image: The Junglinster team with manager, Pietro Genco.
During his working visit to Japan between 19 and 21 April, Deputy Prime Minister Étienne Schneider met with the Japanese minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, Toshiei Mizuochi and Japan’s space minister, Yosuke Tsuruho, to discuss potential cooperation between Japan and Luxembourg as part of the SpaceResources.lu initiative.
During the meetings, Etienne Schneider called for a multilateral agreement on the exploration and use of space resources.
"Technological progress will give access to sources of energy and raw materials outside the earth's atmosphere, in particular the resources available on millions of asteroids that gravitate around the solar system. In order to avoid in the future any colonisation of space by one or the other world power, the "Outer Space Treaty", the UN space treaty signed in 1967, will have to be adapted to realities by explicitly regulating the exploration and peaceful exploitation of space resources, as well as responsibility for space debris,” said Minister Schneider.
He added that with a view to advancing a review at the UN level, he wants to see an international consensus through the realisation of a multilateral agreement by all the countries sharing the same point of view on the subject.
“The convergence of interests and technological synergies between the different countries will make the development of this new economic branch progress in a sustainable and equitable way,” said the deputy prime minister.
In order to identify opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the exploration and use of space resources, in particular through synergies in the field of research, Minister Schneider met with the president of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), Dr. Naoki Okumura, who invited Luxembourg to participate in the second International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF2), to be held in Tokyo in March 2018.
Image: Etienne Schneider, with Technology Minister Toshiei Mizuochi.