The Promise and Challenges of Africa

By Ian Shapiro* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

CAPE TOWN (IDN | Yale Global) – Is Africa rising? Judging by the buzz and optimism of the young business leaders and political trailblazers from across the continent who gathered for the World Economic Forum on Africa May 8-10, the answer is a qualified “yes.” The African Leadership Network – co-founded by Stanford graduates Fred Swaniker, now the CEO of the African Leadership Academy, and Achankeng Leke, director of McKinsey’s Nigerian operations – is emblematic of a new generation of leaders who brim with sophisticated confidence about Africa’s emergence. They are part of the coming elite whose ideas shaped the discussion in Cape Town.

Solar Trade Wars Affect Climate Change Fight

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – Amidst the gloomy news in the deteriorating climate change situation, is this bright spark – the cost of solar energy has been going down dramatically. This source of clean and renewable energy is seen as one of the major saviours that could help power the world without emitting greenhouse gases.

The drawback is that solar energy has traditionally been more expensive to use carbon-intensive coal or oil. But in recent years solar power has become much cheaper. Energy experts predict that its cost could match that of conventional fuels in the next few years in some areas.

Another Run At Ending Global Hunger

By Ernest Corea* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – Yet another high-level panel has designed yet another “roadmap” to universal prosperity and a hunger-free world – by 2030. A new set of goals is likely to replace the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “Once again, the goalposts of development are being moved instead of the goals being met,” says a jaded observer of international affairs.

The panel was created by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. Its co-chairs were Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Aiding Kachin State Entails Great Personal Risk

By Sushetha Gopallawa* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

WASHINGTON DC (IDN) – While in Myanmar’s Kachin State in May, I visited a number of displacement camps around and I also met with Kachin community-based organizations (CBOs) who deliver aid in both government and non-government controlled areas.

Over 100,000 people have been displaced since conflict between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) resumed in June 2011. While about 35,000 of these individuals are living in government-controlled areas, more than half of the displaced are located behind rebel lines, in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), the KIA’s political wing.

Re-thinking South-South Cooperation

By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

GENEVA (IDN) – On May 7 the idyllic South Pacific island of Fiji became the venue of some political leaders and thinkers of developing countries to brainstorm about the future of South-South cooperation. The island state is chairs the Group of 77, the alliance of over 130 developing countries that operate in the United Nations and beyond.

The Fiji government decided to host “eminent personalities of the South” to reflect on the state of the developing world and on South-South cooperation. The theme may not be original, but the personalities discussing it were colourful, most of them being Presidents or Prime Ministers, and mainly from the South Pacific island countries.

Saudi Arabia Becoming Vulnerable

By Fahad Nazer* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) – Thanks to the bountiful oil under its desert sands and an equally plentiful supply of foreign labour – skilled and non-skilled – Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a booming economy. Prices of crude oil, nearly $100 a barrel for two years running, have largely spared Saudi Arabia the ill effects of the economic downturn that stalled many nations across the globe.

Thanks to the prosperity, the kingdom has also survived, relatively unscathed, the seismic events of the Arab Spring, spurred in large part by feelings of economic deprivation and political marginalization among Arab youths.

Mega Business Leads UN Road to Development

By R. Nastranis | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

BERLIN / MONTEVIDEO (IDN) – All that glitters is not gold would appear to be the core of critique the Social Watch, a network of civil society organizations in over 80 countries, has launched against the United Nations High Level Panel’s suggestions of new development goals to replace the MDGs.

In a document titled ‘A New Global Partnership’ the panel claims that, in preparing it, it “heard voices (…) from over 5000 civil society organizations working in about 120 countries” and “also consulted the chief executive officers of 250 companies in 30 countries, with annual revenues exceeding $8 trillion”.

Inequities and No Jobs Worry Europeans

By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN) – A new poll finds that Europeans are growing dissatisfied with the inequities of the economic system, which are also rooted in the “still rising unemployment” that, as the OECD’s Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan avers, present “the most pressing challenge for policy makers” in the euro area.

The euro area consists of 17 members of the 27-nation European Union: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Report Censures Israel For Demolishing Palestinian and EU Property’

By Bernhard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Hundreds of Palestinian homes and structures have been bulldozed and approvals for illegal settlements have increased despite the 27-nation European Union (EU) asking Israel to stop settlement expansion, forced displacement, and demolition of Palestinian property in an unprecedented statement one year ago, says a new report.

EU foreign ministers adopted on May 14, 2012 some of the most extensive and far-reaching recommendations on the issue of the Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). In particular, the EU ministers approved specific recommendations for developing Area C which constitutes 60 percent of the West Bank and falls under full Israeli military and civil control. An estimated 150,000 Palestinians live there among 325,000 Israelis living in settlements that are illegal under international law.

Arctic Council Honours India’s Alertness

By Shastri Ramachandran* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Even as most Indians continue to rue that, in recent months, the government has achieved little on the foreign front, New Delhi has scored a diplomatic victory by joining the Arctic Council as an observer.

India’s accomplishment came at May 15 meeting of the Arctic Council in Kiruna, Sweden. This is a rare instance of diplomatic alertness and activism paying off, thanks to proactive pursuit of a prospect that could have gone awry had the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) taken things for granted. If the MEA been laid back and assumed that India’s entry in to the Arctic Council would happen as a matter of course, the outcome at Kiruna could have been different.

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