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Democratizing Development in a Transforming World




Caroline Anstey, Managing Director, World Bank
Warsaw, National Bank of Poland,

Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a pleasure to be here and speak to such a distinguished gathering of leaders and opinion makers in Poland. My thanks to the National Bank of Poland for providing this opportunity. We are grateful for the partnership that we have been able to develop with NBP, and for the leadership provided by Marek Belka, including in our institution, with his election as Chair of our highest policy making body, the Development Committee.

Tectonic Plates are Shifting
Some simple statistics illustrate some major economic shifts around the globe.
In 1944, the year of the birth of the IMF and WB, developed economies’ share of global GDP was about 80 percent, with the United States alone accounting for over 40 percent. Back then, developed economies accounted for over two thirds of world’s trade.
Today, the drivers of global growth are the developing countries, which attract about 45 percent of global investment. Over the past ten years, developing countries have grown nearly four times faster than developed countries, and it is a trend that is expected to continue.
Some forecasts estimate that by 2025, six major emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation – will collectively account for more than half of all global growth.
Already we live in a world where, if China’s 32 provinces were countries they would be among the 33 fastest growing countries in the world. Today, China is consuming over 1/2 world’s cement; almost 1/2 world’s iron ore, steel, and pigs; 1/3 of the world’s eggs. Today, China is also the world’s biggest consumer of minerals such as copper, aluminum, and nickel.
If China reaches $16,000 in income per person by 2030 (up from today’s $4,000) – the effect on the world economy would be equivalent to adding 15 South Koreas.
But in China today, policy makers are grappling with the question of how to avoid the “middle income trap” – making a successful transition to a high income country.
It’s a different debate here in Europe, with concerns about debt and how the developments in the eurozone will affect the global economy. As you would know, a recently released World Bank report, sponsored by the Polish Presidency of the European Council documents the impressive achievements of the European economic model. It made the point that over the last five decades, Europe created a convergence machine that has helped poorer countries reach high income levels; became a global brand instantly identifiable with a unique combination of design and engineering, and grew to become the world’s “lifestyle superpower” by facilitating the highest quality of life on the planet.
The Scottish philosopher, Thomas Guthrie, wrote that nature and art have shown that it is rough treatment which gives shiny stones and shining souls their luster. This may also be true for economics. Europe is getting rough treatment these days, but it is too early to write Europe off. FDR once told the US public “You have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The same thing can be said about Europe. You have nothing to fear from loss of confidence except loss of confidence itself. This would be a mistake.
In the Middle East, the conversation is different: it is about the unfolding of the huge political upheavals that started last year, which are so rich in promises and yet fraught with risks. And of course in respect to the United States, there are questions about public debt and creating jobs for nearly 13 million people.
In Africa, growth rates were at 5-6 percent in the years leading up to the crisis. I recall at a G-20 Sherpas meeting before the Pittsburgh summit over 3 years ago saying Africa could become a pole of growth. One of my Sherpa colleagues responded "Not in my lifetime." But since the crisis many African countries have bounced back, growth is strong, and Africa as a pole of growth is a possibility. And yes, well within my lifetime.
As we rush from one emergency to the next, it is easy to lose sight of some of the more fundamental trends that are transforming our world.
What I would like to discuss today is what these trends mean for economic development – and for the international aid community.

Let me highlight in particular three developments, which I believe will largely shape the environment in which we will be living our lives in the coming decades.

As just discussed, we are now living in a multi-polar world. Growth in developing countries increasingly matters for global growth. We have now a tremendous opportunity, with the emergence of a variety of successful development models. The flow of knowledge is no longer North to South, West to East, rich to poor. Rising economies, including Poland, bring new approaches and solutions and the peer to peer dialogue has intensified. There is a growing body of evidence on what works — in New Delhi, in Sao Paolo, in Beijing, in Cairo, and here in Warsaw. The days of the “third world”, of “the West vs. the rest”, of North to South, West to East, top- to-bottom development are gone.

Second, the world is increasingly interconnected. Globalization is not only an economic phenomenon. It is not only about trade and finance. It is about people learning about other parts of the world, and realizing what happens in one country can affect all of us. It is a world where there are global public goods, public commons that we need to manage together. The sense that what happens on the other side of the Globe can affect us can be disorienting or disempowering. But it provides us with unique opportunities. People can learn from a much larger pool of experience. They can take heart from seeing how efforts are paying off elsewhere. They can find hope in others’ progress. This can help quench the thirst for knowledge in even the most isolated parts of the Globe.

Third, new technologies are driving significant social changes. The internet and social media have transformed the way information is communicated and shared globally. Information flows at the speed of light – and is more easily accessible than ever. Technology is driving development. I was recently in Kenya where I saw how new apps are being developed to provide small-scale farmers with real time price information at different markets and locations – so that they can maximize the value of their sales. In Korea, the government is using social media to get citizens’ feedback on public policies, budgets, and other initiatives. Such technologies are used to reach citizens in the most remote places, bringing into the national community those who were traditionally marginalized.

Transforming citizen engagement
All over the world, from the isolated rural areas to the booming urban centers, in all continents, a new generation is emerging. It's a generation that does not want to be governed as subjects, but as citizens, as empowered and participating citizens. It’s a generation that is looking for pragmatic solutions. It’s a generation for whom the concepts of openness, of transparency, of accountability, of voice are critical. And these are not theoretical issues. These are not political issues. These are issues about good development outcomes, and so central to the remit of a development institution – albeit a non-political one – like the World Bank.
Openness, transparency, accountability, voice – these are the pre-requisites for democratizing development. Openness and transparency breeds accountability and a focus on results – for the citizen a sense that monies are being put to good use and being used wisely.
It is about moving from a textbook blue print, one-size fits all, technocratic approach to true development solutions, customized for particular situations and particular challenges. And we've seen it happen: from increasing transparency in financial management in Rwanda to developing a citizen-to-government portal in Singapore; from participatory budgeting in Southern Brazil to engaging with Romas in Central Europe. These cases are all different, they reflect each country’s specific situation and traditions. They also signal a willingness to adjust and respond to today’s changing world.
Poland’s commitment to supporting democracy is well known. Less well known, but equally important, is the way your country is determinedly engaging in a process to harness the power of new technologies and the energy of the “facebook generation”, recently exemplified with the launch of the Congress on Freedom in the Internet to work on a chart on the use of internet.
Between 6 and 7 million Poles now own smartphones, with half of that number bought in the last year. In Kenya, smartphones are being used to purchase groceries, pay for taxis, monitor project outcomes and keep a check on corruption. And Kenya is just the beginning.
Implications of technology use for economic development
What does this mean for economic development – for the international aid community? And for the World Bank, for the Polish bilateral aid, for the non government organizations active overseas?
Let me highlight three areas in which I believe we need to make continued adjustments to respond to the emerging challenges.
First, we need to broaden our approach to foster economic development. We need to help countries face the social transformations that are at work. This is not limited to getting the macro right, improving infrastructure, or enhancing social services delivery. We need to also focus on supporting institutional and social changes – on transforming the institutions, and the governance systems to help give more space to the new concepts of openness, transparency, voice, and accountability.
Second, we need to recognize the importance of knowledge, of sharing experiences. Aid and loans are not the main drivers of development. Good policies and good institutions are – and good policies and good institutions are the product of experience and knowledge. The challenge is to identify what works, to transfer this experience, to adapt it to new environments, and to apply it in new contexts. Traditional aid projects remain useful, but the transformational impact can only be achieved by influencing policies, institutions, and mindsets.
And third, we need to focus on results – and to be able to measure them. We need to know what works if we are to provide sound policy advice. We need strong monitoring and evaluation systems that can allow us to measure the results and impacts of our programs, and to learn from them. Such systems also demonstrate to the people in the developing countries and in the donor countries that the moneys they entrusted to development organizations are put to a good use, that they yield results. And we need the fundamental data to allow us to benchmark progress, design effective interventions and hold policymakers accountable. In too many countries around the world, critical decsions are made on the basis of old or non-existent statistics.
Now, of course, we also need to hold ourselves to the same standards that we are encouraging other countries to adopt. We encourage them to be open – we need to be open ourselves. We encourage them to be transparent – we need to be transparent ourselves. We encourage them to provide a voice to all – we need to do the same. We encourage them to be accountable – we need to be accountable ourselves. What is right for developing countries is right for multilateral institutions, bilateral donors, or NGOs.
In the World Bank, our Open Development agenda started with opening up the Bank. Two years ago we launched an Open Data Initiative opening up 7,000 data sets online and for free. A revolution for the Bank. Our Access to Information policy, which went into force in July 2010, broke again new ground. Just this week we launched the Open Knowledge Repository (OKR), a new online site which will release over 2,000 research works under an Open Access Policy with the most liberal Creative Commons license. For the first time, anyone can distribute, reuse, and build upon our research, including commercially.
So, let me move to perhaps a provocative question: how is this all relevant to Poland ? As a country, Poland is a relatively small donor…. The question you may ask is – should you not focus on economic growth at home before talking about democratizing development overseas?
The answer is simple. In good and even in tough times – and especially in times of fiscal consolidation, governments should ensure an effective use of public resources. This applies also to resources devoted to development assistance.
We are already partnering with you in this agenda. Poland is an active member of the World Bank, a voice that is listened to at our Board. Poland is also a contributor to IDA, our fund for the world’s 79 poorest countries. Poland has a direct interest in ensuring that the resources that have been entrusted to us yield results, that IDA remains one of the most efficient ways to channel development resources so that your country can consider increasing its contribution in the next replenishment of IDA funding in 2013.
The answer lies also in Poland’s legitimate ambition to further strengthen its voice within the EU, and to play a greater role on the global stage. Poland has made efforts in this direction – by showing diplomatic leadership in several instances, most recently during the eurozone crisis and with some of its neighbors. Providing development assistance, especially when it is focused on supporting sound policies and institutions and on sharing the country’s experience, is a powerful way to complement such efforts, and to project influence beyond borders.
In conclusion, a country like Poland has a special role to play. Poland has the knowledge and experience. Poland has the expertise. Poland has a track-record of transformation and transition that is unrivalled. There are not many countries that have so successfully managed their development efforts, that have seen living standards rise at a fast pace without undermining the social fabric of the nation, that have combined economic and political transformation. Poland’s experience shows how sound policies and strong political leadership can deliver success. Poland has become a role model for many struggling nations. This is especially true for countries who shared Poland’s experience of a socialist past. And this is increasingly true for some of the young democracies which are emerging on the southern side of the Mediterranean Sea. These countries are looking for relevant experience, for lessons that they can learn from. And with the crisis hitting large swaths of the European Union, Poland’s experience appears increasingly robust and relevant. This experience – the “Polish know how” – is an important ingredient for others to learn from, and only Poland can provide it.
So let me finish with a request – that we work together to meet the challenges and opportunities of transforming development assistance from charity to investment in multiple poles of growth, sharing knowledge and experience, and harnessing the power of openness, transparency, voice, and accountability. We need to rise to these challenges. We need to listen and democratize development.
We at the World Bank look forward to working with Poland on this ambitious agenda.
Thank you.

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Taking control of compliance: how FS institutions can keep up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape



Taking control of compliance: how FS institutions can keep up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape 1

By Charles Southwood, Regional VP – Northern Europe and MEA at Denodo

The wide-spread digital transformation that has swept the financial services (FS) sector in recent years has brought with it a world of possibilities. As traditional financial institutions compete with a fresh wave of challenger banks and fintech startups, innovation is increasing at an unprecedented pace.

Emerging technologies – alongside the ever-evolving concept of online banking – have provided a platform in which the majority of customer interactions now take place in a digital format. The result of this is a never-ending stream of data and digital information. If used correctly, this data can help drive customer experience initiatives and shape wider business strategies, giving organisations a competitive edge.

However, before FS organisations can utilise data-driven insights, they need to ensure that they can adequately protect and secure that data, whilst also complying with mandatory regulatory requirements and governance laws.

The regulation minefield

Regulatory compliance in the FS sector is a complex field to navigate. Whether its potential financial fraud or money laundering, risk comes in many different forms. Due to their very nature – and the type of data that they hold – FS businesses are usually placed under the heaviest of scrutiny when it comes to achieving compliance and data governance, arguably held to a higher standard than those operating in any other industry.

In fact, research undertaken last month discovered that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a greater impact on FS organisations than any other sector. Every respondent working in finance reported that the changes made to their organisation’s cyber security strategies in the last three years were, at least to some extent, as a result of the regulation.

To make matters even more confusing, the goalpost for 100% compliance is continually moving. In fact, between 2008 and 2016, there was a 500% increase in regulatory changes in developed markets. So even when organisations think they are on the right track, they cannot afford to become complacent. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), the requirements for central clearing and the second Payment Service Directive (PSD2), are just some examples of the regulations that have forced significant changes on the banking environment in recent years.

Keeping a handle on this legal minefield is only made more challenging by the fact that many FS organisations are juggling an unimaginable amount of data. This data is often complex and of poor quality. Structured, semi-structured and unstructured, it is stored in many different places – whether that’s in data lakes, on premise or in multi-cloud environments. FS organisations can find it extremely difficult just to find out exactly what information they are storing, let alone ensure that they are meeting the many requirements laid out by industry regulations.

A secret weapon

Modern technologies, such as data virtualisation, can help FS organisations to get a handle on their data – regardless of where it is stored or what format it is in. Through a single logical view of all data across an organisation, it boosts visibility and real-time availability of data. This means that governance, security and compliance can be centralised, vastly improving control and removing the need for repeatedly moving and copying the data around the enterprise. This can have an immediate impact in terms of enabling FS organisations to avoid data proliferation and ‘shadow’ IT.

In addition to this, when a new regulation is put in place, data virtualisation provides a way to easily find and access that data, so FS organisations can respond – without having to worry about alternative versions of that data – and ensures that they remain compliant from the offset. This level of control can be reflected even down to the finest details. For example, it is possible to set up access to governance rules through which operators can easily select who has access to what information across the organisation. They can alter settings for sharing, removing silos, masking and filtering through defined, role-based data access. In terms of governance, this feature is essential, ensuring that only those who have the correct permissions to access sensitive information are able to do so.

Compliance is a requirement that will be there forever. In fact, its role is only likely to increase as law catches up with technological advancement and the regulatory landscape continues to change. For FS organisations, failure to meet the latest legal requirements could be devastating. The monetary fines – although substantial – come second to the potential reputation damage associated with non-compliance. It could be the difference between an organisation surviving and failing in today’s climate.

No one knows what is around the corner. Whilst some companies may think they are ahead of the compliance game today, that could all change with the introduction of a new regulation tomorrow. The best way to ensure future compliance is to get a handle on your data. By providing total visibility, data virtualisation is helping organisations to gain back control and win the war for compliance.

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TCI: A time of critical importance



TCI: A time of critical importance 2

By Fabrice Desnos, head of Northern Europe Region, Euler Hermes, the world’s leading trade credit insurer, outlines the importance of less publicised measures for the journey ahead.

After months of lockdown, Europe is shifting towards rebuilding economies and resuming trade. Amongst the multibillion-euro stimulus packages provided by governments to businesses to help them resume their engines of growth, the cooperation between the state and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters has perhaps missed the headlines. However, this cooperation will be vital when navigating the uncertain road ahead.

Covid-19 has created a global economic crisis of unprecedented scale and speed. Consequently, we’re experiencing unprecedented levels of support from national governments. Far-reaching fiscal intervention, job retention and business interruption loan schemes are providing a lifeline for businesses that have suffered reductions in turnovers to support national lockdowns.

However, it’s becoming clear the worst is still to come. The unintended consequence of government support measures is delaying the inevitable fallout in trade and commerce. Euler Hermes is already seeing increase in claims for late payments and expects this trend to accelerate as government support measures are progressively removed.

The Covid-19 crisis will have long lasting and sometimes irreversible effects on a number of sectors. It has accelerated transformations that were already underway and had radically changed the landscape for a number of businesses. This means we are seeing a growing number of “zombie” companies, currently under life support, but whose business models are no longer adapted for the post-crisis world. All factors which add up to what is best described as a corporate insolvency “time bomb”.

The effects of the crisis are already visible. In the second quarter of 2020, 147 large companies (those with a turnover above €50 million) failed; up from 77 in the first quarter, and compared to 163 for the whole of the first half of 2019. Retail, services, energy and automotive were the most impacted sectors this year, with the hotspots in retail and services in Western Europe and North America, energy in North America, and automotive in Western Europe

We expect this trend to accelerate and predict a +35% rise in corporate insolvencies globally by the end of 2021. European economies will be among the hardest hit. For example, Spain (+41%) and Italy (+27%) will see the most significant increases – alongside the UK (+43%), which will also feel the impact of Brexit – compared to France (+25%) or Germany (+12%).

Companies are restarting trade, often providing open credit to their clients. However, there can be no credit if there is no confidence. It is increasingly difficult for companies to identify which of their clients will emerge from the crisis from those that won’t, and whether or when they will be paid. In the immediate post-lockdown period, without visibility and confidence, the risk was that inter-company credit could evaporate, placing an additional liquidity strain on the companies that depend on it. This, in turn, would significantly put at risk the speed and extent of the economic recovery.

In recent months, Euler Hermes has co-operated with government agencies, trade associations and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters to create state support for intercompany trade, notably in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. All with the same goal: to allow companies to trade with each other in confidence.

By providing additional reinsurance capacity to the trade credit insurers, governments help them continue to provide cover to their clients at pre-crisis levels.

The beneficiaries are the thousands of businesses – clients of credit insurers and their buyers – that depend upon intercompany trade as a source of financing. Over 70% of Euler Hermes policyholders are SMEs, which are the lifeblood of our economies and major providers of jobs. These agreements are not without costs or constraints for the insurers, but the industry has chosen to place the interests of its clients and of the economy ahead of other considerations, mindful of the important role credit insurance and inter-company trade will play in the recovery.

Taking the UK as an example, trade credit insurers provide cover for more than £171billion of intercompany transactions, covering 13,000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers. The government has put in place a temporary scheme of £10billion to enable trade credit insurers, including Euler Hermes, to continue supporting businesses at risk due to the impact of coronavirus. This landmark agreement represents an important alliance between the public and private sectors to support trade and prevent the domino effect that payment defaults can create within critical supply chains.

But, as with all of the other government support measures, these schemes will not exist in the long term. It is already time for credit insurers and their clients to plan ahead, and prepare for a new normal in which the level and cost of credit risk will be heightened and where identifying the right counterparts, diversifying and insuring credit risk will be of paramount importance for businesses.

Trade credit insurance plays an understated role in the economy but is critical to its health. In normal circumstances, it tends to go unnoticed because it is doing its job. Government support schemes helped maintain confidence between companies and their customers in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.

However, as government support measures are progressively removed, this crisis will have a lasting impact. Accelerating transformations, leading to an increasing number of company restructurings and, in all likelihood, increasing the level of credit risk. To succeed in the post-crisis environment, bbusinesses have to move fast from resilience to adaptation. They have to adopt bold measures to protect their businesses against future crises (or another wave of this pandemic), minimize risk, and drive future growth. By maintaining trust to trade, with or without government support, credit insurance will have an increasing role to play in this.

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What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us?



What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us? 3

By Ted Sausen, Subject Matter Expert, NICE Actimize

On September 20, 2020, just four days after the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a much-anticipated Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the financial industry was shaken and their stock prices saw significant declines when the markets opened on Monday. So what caused this? Buzzfeed News in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released what is now being tagged the FinCEN files. These files and summarized reports describe over 200,000 transactions with a total over $2 trillion USD that has been reported to FinCEN as being suspicious in nature from the time periods 1999 to 2017. Buzzfeed obtained over 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and over 2,600 confidential documents financial institutions had filed with FinCEN over that span of time.

Similar such leaks have occurred previously, such as the Panama Papers in 2016 where over 11 million documents containing personal financial information on over 200,000 entities that belonged to a Panamanian law firm. This was followed up a year and a half later by the Paradise Papers in 2017. This leak contained even more documents and contained the names of more than 120,000 persons and entities. There are three factors that make the FinCEN Files leak significantly different than those mentioned. First, they are highly confidential documents leaked from a government agency. Secondly, they weren’t leaked from a single source. The leaked documents came from nearly 90 financial institutions facilitating financial transactions in more than 150 countries. Lastly, some high-profile names were released in this leak; however, the focus of this leak centered more around the transactions themselves and the financial institutions involved, not necessarily the names of individuals involved.

FinCEN Files and the Impact

What does this mean for the financial institutions? As mentioned above, many experienced a negative impact to their stocks. The next biggest impact is their reputation. Leaders of the highlighted institutions do not enjoy having potential shortcomings in their operations be exposed, nor do customers of those institutions appreciate seeing the institution managing their funds being published adversely in the media.

Where did the financial institutions go wrong? Based on the information, it is actually hard to say where they went wrong, or even ‘if’ they went wrong. Financial institutions are obligated to monitor transactional activity, both inbound and outbound, for suspicious or unusual behavior, especially those that could appear to be illicit activities related to money laundering. If such behavior is identified, the financial institution is required to complete a Suspicious Activity Report, or a SAR, and file it with FinCEN. The SAR contains all relevant information such as the parties involved, transaction(s), account(s), and details describing why the activity is deemed to be suspicious. In some cases, financial institutions will file a SAR if there is no direct suspicion; however, there also was not a logical explanation found either.

So what deems certain activities to be suspicious and how do financial institutions detect them? Most financial institutions have sophisticated solutions in place that monitor transactions over a period of time, and determine typical behavioral patterns for that client, and that client compared to their peers. If any activity falls disproportionately beyond those norms, the financial institution is notified, and an investigation is conducted. Because of the nature of this detection, incorporating multiple transactions, and comparing it to historical “norms”, it is very difficult to stop a transaction related to money laundering real-time. It is not uncommon for a transaction or series of transactions to occur and later be identified as suspicious, and a SAR is filed after the transaction has been completed.

FinCEN Files: Who’s at Fault?

Going back to my original question, was there any wrong doing? In this case, they were doing exactly what they were required to do. When suspicion was identified, SARs were filed. There are two things that are important to note. Suspicion does not equate to guilt, and individual financial institutions have a very limited view as to the overall flow of funds. They have visibility of where funds are coming from, or where they are going to; however, they don’t have an overall picture of the original source, or the final destination. The area where financial institutions may have fault is if multiple suspicions or probable guilt is found, but they fail to take appropriate action. According to Buzzfeed News, instances of transactions to or from sanctioned parties occurred, and known suspicious activity was allowed to continue after it was discovered.

Moving Forward

How do we do better? First and foremost, FinCEN needs to identify the source of the leak and fix it immediately. This is very sensitive data. Even within a financial institution, this information is only exposed to individuals with a high-level clearance on a need-to-know basis. This leak may result in relationship strains with some of the banks’ customers. Some people already have a fear of being watched or tracked, and releasing publicly that all these reports are being filed from financial institutions to the federal government won’t make that any better – especially if their financial institution was highlighted as one of those filing the most reports. Next, there has been more discussion around real-time AML. Many experts are still working on defining what that truly means, especially when some activities deal with multiple transactions over a period of time; however, there is definitely a place for certain money laundering transactions to be held in real time.

Lastly, the ability to share information between financial institutions more easily will go a long way in fighting financial crime overall. For those of you who are AML professionals, you may be thinking we already have such a mechanism in place with 314b. However, the feedback I have received is that it does not do an adequate job. It’s voluntary and getting responses to requests can be a challenge. Financial institutions need a consortium to effectively communicate with each other, while being able to exchange critical data needed for financial institutions to see the complete picture of financial transactions and all associated activities. That, combined with some type of feedback loop from law enforcement indicating which SARs are “useful” versus which are either “inadequate” or “unnecessary” will allow institutions to focus on those where criminal activity is really occurring.

We will continue to post updates as we learn more.

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