Uncertainty Hangs Over Post-Meles Ethiopia

By Jerome Mwanda
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) – Some three months after the death of Ethiopia’s strogman Meles Zenawi, uncertainty prevails over the country’s political stability and economic development under his successor Hailemariam Dessalegn, says a new study by the British Institute of Development Studes (IDS).

In particular, Ethiopia’s economic challenges are dominated by the need to find secure livelihoods for what is now the second largest population in Africa and by the acute vulnerability of its major economic sector – rainfed agriculture which is dominated by small plots that are leased by the government.

Africa: Plea for Reducing Foreign Aid Dependency

By Jerome Mwanda
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) – Whether and how African countries could reduce their dependency on foreign aid – if not do without it altogether – was a major subject of debate at the African Economic Conference in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. It was the first time since the 2011 Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, that the issue was discussed.

Convened by the Economic Commission for Africa, (ECA), the African Development Bank, (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the four-day conference  from October 30 to November 2, 2012 focussed on the theme ‘Inclusive and Sustainable Development in an Age of Economic Uncertainty’.

Africa Can Avoid Food Crises and Earn Billions

By Jerome Mwanda
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) – Some 19 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region are living with the threat of hunger and malnutrition, though the potential to increase agricultural production in Africa is enormous. Poor people in the slums of Nairobi pay more for their maize, rice, and other staple food than wealthy people pay for the same products in local supermarkets.

Such asymmetries are surmountable – if only African leaders would agree to improve inter-regional trade so that food can move more freely between countries and from fertile areas to those where communities are suffering food shortages, says the World Bank in a new report.

Asian Countries Easing Access To Cheap Drugs

By Martin Khor*
IDN-InDepthNewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – Recent government actions by Indonesia and India to issue compulsory licenses are extending the trend in Asia to increase access to cheaper medicines to treat serious ailments, especially HIV/AIDS, cancer and hepatitis B.

The supply of generic medicines, either through import or local production, has been the major method of reducing prices and making the drugs affordable to more people.

India Overrides Party Politics For A Change

By Shastri Ramachandaran*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Sections of New Delhi’s diplomatic circuit have been abuzz with two topics. One – in the aftermath of Brajesh Mishra’s demise on September 28, his transformation of India’s foreign policy and its security architecture – was predictable.

As principal secretary and national security adviser (from November 1998 to May 2004) to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mishra radically re-engineered India’s foreign policy, cleared the decks for the 1998 nuclear tests and, in dealing with its international fallout, re-wrote nuclear India’s terms of engagement with the world.

First Arab Watch Report Chides Governments

By Bernhard Schell
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BEIRUT (IDN) – Though legally bound by their respective constitutions to honour basic economic and social rights, Arab government usually violate such rights in practice, which partly explains the socio-political eruptions in the region, widely known as the Arab Spring. This is the upshot of the first Arab Watch Report by civil society organizations of ten Middle East and North African countries.

Japan Braving the Quake and Tsunami Debris

By Ramesh Jaura and Katsuhiro Asagiri
IDN-InDepth NewsFeature

SENDAI (IDN) – While the Fukushima nuclear disaster marks yet another wake-up call to re-think energy policy, the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku, the north-eastern region of Japan, has not only left behind a trail of pain and suffering but also an indefatigable resolve of survivors to abandon despair and transform their agony into strength.

African Economies Resilient But Vulnerable

By J C Suresh
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORNOTO (IDN) – A new report by the World Bank highlights the resilience of African economies despite global slowdown caused by the Euro-zone crisis and decline in growth in emerging economies, particularly China – an important market for the continent’s mineral exports.

In fact, new oil, gas and mineral wealth offer an opportunity for inclusive development. But strong growth rates could yet be vulnerable to deteriorating market conditions in the Euro-zone, the report warns.

So far, consistently high commodity prices and strong export growth in those countries which have made mineral discoveries in recent years, have powered economic activity and are expected to buttress Africa’s economic growth for the rest of 2012, according to the World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse. African countries’ share in global reserves and annual production of some minerals is sizeable.

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