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Nouakchott

Nouakchott is the capital and largest city of Mauritania. It is one of the largest cities in the Sahel; the city serves as the administrative and economic center of Mauritania. Nouakchott was a mid size village of little importance until 1958, when it was chosen as the capital of the nascent nation of Mauritania, it was designed and built to accommodate 15,000 people, but drought and increasing desertification since the 1970s have displaced a vast number of Mauritanians who resettled in Nouakchott. This caused massive urban growth and overcrowding, with the city having an official population of just under a million as of 2013; the resettled population inhabited slum areas under poor conditions, but the living conditions of a portion of these inhabitants have since been improved. The city is the hub of the Mauritanian economy and is home to a deepwater port and Nouakchott–Oumtounsy International Airport, one of the country's two international airports, it hosts the University of Nouakchott and several other more specialized institutes of higher learning.

Nouakchott was a fortified fishing village in pre-colonial times and under French rule. As Mauritania prepared for independence, it lacked a capital city and the area of present-day Nouakchott was chosen by Moktar Ould Daddah and his advisors. Ould Daddah desired for the new capital to be a symbol of modernity and national unity which ruled out existing cities or towns in the interior; the village was selected as the capital city for its central location between Saint-Louis, the city from which the colony of Mauritania was governed, Nouadhibou. Its location meant that it avoided the sensitive issue of whether the capital was built in an area dominated by the Arab-descended Moors or Black Africans. Construction began in March 1958 to enlarge the village to house a population of 15,000 and the basics were completed by the time that the French granted independence on 28 November 1960. Nouakchott was planned with the expectation that commerce and other economic activities would not take place in the city.

Nouakchott's central business district was planned with a grid-like structure. During the 1960s, the city obtained its own local government. By the 1970s, these new areas had grown so much that they replaced the old ksar in terms of importance, as they hosted the governmental buildings and state enterprises; the city was attacked twice in 1976 by the Polisario Front during the Western Sahara conflict, but little damage was caused by the guerrillas. The city has had massive and unconstrained growth, driven by the North African drought, since the beginning of the 1970s; the official censuses showed 134,000 residents in 1977 and 393,325 in 1988, although both figures were smaller than reality. The population is now estimated to consist of at least one third of the country's population of 3.2 million and the 2013 census showed a population of 958,399. Located on the Atlantic coast of the Sahara Desert, it lies on the west coast of Africa. With the exception of Friendship Port and a small fishing port, the coastal strip is left empty and allowed to flood.

The coastline includes sandy beaches. There are areas of quicksand close to the harbour. Nouakchott is flat and only a few meters above sea level, it is threatened by the sand dunes advancing from its eastern side. There have been efforts to save particular areas, including work by Jean Meunier. Owing to the rapid build-up, the city is quite spread out, with few tall buildings. Most buildings are one-story. Nouakchott is built around a large tree-lined street, Avenue Gamal Abdel Nasser, which runs northeast through the city centre from the airport, it divides the city into two, with the residential areas in the north and the medina quarter, along with the kebbe, a shanty town formed due to the displacement of people from other areas by the desert. Other major streets are named for notable Mauritanian or international figures of the 1960s: Avenue Abdel Nasser, Avenue Charles de Gaulle, Avenue Kennedy, Avenue Lumumba, for example; the kebbe consists of cement buildings that are built overnight and made to look permanent to avoid destruction by the authorities.

In 1999, it was estimated that more than half of the city's inhabitants lived in tents and shacks, which were used for residential as well as business purposes. The city is broken into nine arrondissements, sub-divided into alphabetised Îlots; these are Teyarett, Tevragh Zeïna, Sebkha, El Mina, Dar Naïm, Arafat and Riad. The Sebkha Arrondissement is home to a large shopping area. Nouakchott features a hot desert climate with hot temperatures throughout the year, but cool winter night temperatures. Due to the city's oceanside location, Nouakchott is not quite as hot as other cities with this climate. Still, the city can experience hot days. While average high temperatures are constant at around 33 °C, average low temperatures can range from 25 °C during the summer months to 13 °C during the winter months. Minimum temperatures can be as low as 10 °C during winter nights in Nouakchott. Average rainfall in the city is 95 mm a year. Nouakchott is divided into three regions, each of which contains three departments: Nouakchott-Nord: Dar-Naim, Toujouonine Nouakchott-Ouest: Ksar, Tevragh-Zeina Noua

Guilé Foundation

Fondation Guilé is a Swiss foundation. This non-profit organization of Swiss private law has been founded in 1997 by the Charles Burrus family headquartered in Boncourt, Switzerland; the foundation’s mission is to promote corporate responsibility in the process of globalization, focusing on human and labour rights, environmental protection and business ethics. The foundation supports and promotes the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact through the engagement with companies about their sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts and by organizing high-level events on the topic; the foundation defines its role as “catalyst in helping companies implement and report on the ten principles of the Global Compact” according to the founders Nado and Charles Burrus. Fondation Guilé has initiated two investment funds to promote its goals; the Guilé European Engagement Fund was set up in 2006 and is independently managed by de Pury Pictet Turrettini in Geneva, Switzerland. The fund is made up of 45 European companies.

The Guilé Emerging Markets Engagement Fund was set up in 2009 and is managed by Comgest in Paris, France. This fund contains 45 companies. De Pury Pictet Turrettini and Comgest are both signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment initiative; the sustainability experts at Fondation Guilé analyse and benchmark the annual Communication on Progress and/or the sustainability reporting of all portfolio companies. The assessments focus on the four topical areas of the UNGC - human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption - and are based on publicly available information only; the assessments are aimed at determining strengths and areas for improvement to help each company further improve its commitment. The portfolio companies receive a detailed presentation of the findings; the assessment and benchmark is offered to each portfolio company free of charge. The costs are borne by the investors through the fund’s management fee. Since 2008, Fondation Guilé has organized and co-hosted a series of private events on the UNGC during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

These meetings bring together high-level representatives of companies, academia, governments as well as the United Nations and aim at strengthening the UNGC and enhancing its impact. In 2011, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Global Compact Office, KPMG and Novo Nordisk co-hosted an event which focused on the UNGC's "Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership". UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was the special guest. Other speakers at the 2011 event included Timothy P. Chairman of KPMG International. During the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012, Fondation Guilé co-hosted the UN Global Compact LEAD Luncheon; the goal of the meeting was to review the LEAD initiative as well as to discuss priorities for the Rio+20 process. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Heads of UN Agencies and Programmes, LEAD Chief Executives and high-level representatives from PRI and PRME were among the participants of the event. Fondation Guilé served in an advisory capacity to the UNGC Office for the development and drafting of the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership.

Official website Fondation Guilé Wikipedia in French Comgest Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership "Investors give new twist to Good Cop/Bad Cop". 12 January 2009. Fondation Guilé de Pury Pictet Turrettini Fondation Guilé Bruggers and Partners

Predatory lending

Predatory lending refers to unethical practices conducted by lending organizations during a loan origination process that are unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent. While there are no internationally agreed legal definitions for predatory lending, a 2006 audit report from the office of inspector general of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation broadly defines predatory lending as "imposing unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers", though "unfair" and "abusive" were not defined. Though there are laws against some of the specific practices identified as predatory, various federal agencies use the phrase as a catch-all term for many specific illegal activities in the loan industry. Predatory lending should not be confused with predatory mortgage servicing, mortgage practices described by critics as unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices during the loan or mortgage servicing process, post loan origination. One less contentious definition of the term is proposed by an investing website as "the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against".

Other types of lending sometimes referred to as predatory include payday loans, certain types of credit cards subprime, or other forms of consumer debt, overdraft loans, when the interest rates are considered unreasonably high. Although predatory lenders are most to target the less educated, the poor, racial minorities, the elderly, victims of predatory lending are represented across all demographics; the continued occurrence of predatory lending can be viewed as a litmus test for the effectiveness of philanthropic lending that aims to foster entrepreneurship. Where such philanthropic lending initiatives are available, loan sharks and other predatory lenders should not continue to thrive. Predatory lending occurs on loans backed by some kind of collateral, such as a car or house, so that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess or foreclose and profit by selling the repossessed or foreclosed property. Lenders may be accused of tricking a borrower into believing that an interest rate is lower than it is, or that the borrower's ability to pay is greater than it is.

The lender, or others as agents of the lender, may well profit from repossession or foreclosure upon the collateral. There are many lending practices which have been called abusive and labeled with the term "predatory lending". There is a great deal of dispute between lenders and consumer groups as to what constitutes "unfair" or "predatory" practices, but the following are sometimes cited: Unjustified risk-based pricing; this is the practice of charging more for extending credit to borrowers identified by the lender as posing a greater credit risk. The lending industry argues; some consumer groups argue that higher prices paid by more vulnerable consumers cannot always be justified by increased credit risk. Single-premium credit insurance; this is the purchase of insurance which will pay off the loan in case the homebuyer dies. It is more expensive than other forms of insurance because it does not involve any medical checkups, but customers always are not shown their choices, because the lender is not licensed to sell other forms of insurance.

In addition, this insurance is financed into the loan which causes the loan to be more expensive, but at the same time encourages people to buy the insurance because they do not have to pay up front. Failure to present the loan price as negotiable. Many lenders will negotiate the price structure of the loan with borrowers. In some situations, borrowers can negotiate an outright reduction in the interest rate or other charges on the loan. Consumer advocates argue that borrowers unsophisticated borrowers, are not aware of their ability to negotiate and might be under the mistaken impression that the lender is placing the borrower's interests above its own. Thus, many borrowers do not take advantage of their ability to negotiate. Failure to and disclose terms and conditions in cases where an unsophisticated borrower is involved. Mortgage loans are complex transactions involving multiple parties and dozens of pages of legal documents. In the most egregious of predatory cases, lenders or brokers have not only misled borrowers but have altered documents after they have been signed.

Short-term loans with disproportionally high fees, such as payday loans, credit card late fees, checking account overdraft fees, Tax Refund Anticipation Loans, where the fee paid for advancing the money for a short period of time works out to an annual interest rate in excess of the market rate for high-risk loans. The originators of such loans dispute. Servicing agent and securitization abuses; the mortgage servicing agent is the entity that receives the mortgage payment, maintains the payment records, provides borrowers with account statements, imposes late charges when the payment is late, pursues delinquent borrowers. A securitization is a financial transaction in which assets debt instruments, are pooled and securities representing interests in the pool are issued. Most loans are subject to being bundled and sold, the rights to act as servicing agent sold, without the consent of the borrower. A federal statute requi