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Jan-March foreign direct investment in China up 5.5%

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China increased 5.5 percent in the first three months of the year despite faltering in March, the government said Thursday, though outbound investment slumped. FDI, which excludes investment in financial sectors, totalled $31.55 billion in the March quarter, the commerce ministry said in a statement. However, investment in March declined 1.47 percent to $12.24 billion, it said. "Major Asian countries' and regions' investment in China generally maintained a steady growth momentum," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said.

Famine threatens people of South Sudan, UN chief warns

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Wednesday that more than one million people in South Sudan were at risk of famine. "Without immediate action, up to a million people could face famine in a matter of months," Ban said on welcoming the European Union's aid commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva. "Millions are going hungry today -- and we are seeing evidence of extremely high levels of malnutrition among hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the conflict, especially women and children," he stressed.

'Super tax' on African remittances hurts development: thinktank

By Katie Nguyen LONDON, April 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Africans face the highest remittance fees globally, regularly paying a "super tax" to send money home at a cost that hurts families and holds back development in the world's poorest continent, a thinktank said on Wednesday. The London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said reducing remittance charges to global average levels would generate $1.8 billion, enough to put 14 million children through primary school, or provide clean water to 21 million people.

US housing effort in Haiti falls short

A US project to provide badly-needed housing for hundreds of thousands of Haitians left homeless by a 2010 earthquake has failed to live up to its promise and went over budget, a government audit said Tuesday. The Office of the Inspector General for the US Agency for International Development said only 816 of the planned 4,000 houses had been built as of August in Haiti's devastated capital Port-au-Prince. The USAID/Haiti mission had initially expected the construction to be completed by December 2012 and cost $55 million.

Remittance 'super tax' costs Africa $1.8 billion a year

Africans are losing $1.8 billion (1.3 billion euros) a year due to high fees levied on funds sent from abroad by relatives, Britain's leading think tank on development said Wednesday. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that Africans face some of the highest charges in the world for international transfers, but global leader Western Union insisted that the fees were down to a range of local factors.

Charity urges Spain to boost fight against child poverty

The charity Save the Children launched a petition Tuesday urging Spain to do more for deprived children in the crisis-hit country, where one in three minors lives at risk of poverty. "The situation is urgent and it requires urgent measures," the director of the Spanish branch of the organisation, Andres Conde, told a news conference. The petition calls on the government to extend child benefit payments to all families living below the poverty line, increase the amount that is paid and move to monthly instead of twice-yearly payments.

CORRECTED: Philippines unveils new plan to fight persistent poverty

The Philippines Monday announced plans to spend more on infrastructure and introduce other reforms to try to lift millions out of poverty. The revised Philippine Development Plan sets more ambitious economic targets to address persistent concerns that poor Filipinos are not enjoying the benefits of the country's recent dramatic economic growth. Among the new targets is the lowering of the poverty incidence from 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 to 18.0 to 20.0 percent by 2016, economic officials said.

Colombia foreign investment dips but capital inflows up

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Foreign direct investment in Colombia fell 5.1 percent in the first quarter versus the same period a year ago, preliminary central bank data showed on Monday, while inflows destined for investment in financial assets doubled. The Andean nation received $3.64 billion from January to March, down from $3.84 billion in the same three months of last year, the data showed.

Philippines unveils new plan to fight persistent poverty

The Philippines Monday announced plans to spend more on infrastructure and introduce other reforms to try to lift millions out of poverty. The revised Philippine Development Plan sets more ambitious economic targets to address persistent concerns that poor Filipinos are not enjoying the benefits of the country's recent dramatic economic growth. Among the new targets is the lowering of the poverty incidence from 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 to 16.6 percent by 2016, economic officials said.

Making a financial stretch is key to saving for college

By Liz Weston LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Parents who aren't saving for college could learn a lesson or two from low-income parents who do.
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