Trade & Investment

What’s Limiting Our Potential?

Whenever there is a discussion about trade, investments, exports and economic growth, quite often much focus is placed upon infrastructure as the core challenge of our export growth. But is it the only hurdle?

Village Savings: Helping Small Farmers Weather Climate Shocks

In the past, Lameck Sibukale only knew savings in the form of rearing chickens, goats and more importantly, cattle—a long cherished cultural heritage of the Tonga-speaking people of southern Zambia.

Intellectual Property Regime Undermines Equity, Progress

Over the last few decades, people in the developing world have been rejecting the intellectual property (IP) regime as it has been increasingly imposed on them following the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) including its trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs) regime. IP rights (IPRs) have been further enforced through ostensible free trade agreements (FTAs) and investment treaties among two (bilateral) or more (plurilateral) partners.

Stock Market Turmoil May Expose Flaws in Global Finance

Was last week’s global stock market sell-off only a “correction” or does it signify a new period of financial instability, caused by major flaws in the world financial system?

Bangladesh’s Garment Industry Boom Leaving Workers Behind

Although Bangladesh has made remarkable recent strides like building green factories and meeting stringent safety standards, garment workers here are still paid one of the lowest minimum wages in the world.

Look to India

It’s really time the Philippines pays serious attention to how India solves Third World problems in a practical and inexpensive but ingenious Third World way. And follow suit.

Renewed Partnership to End Hunger in Africa by 2025

After a period of prolonged decline, world hunger is on the rise. Africa has the highest rates of hunger in the world, and they are increasing. Agricultural and livestock productivity in Africa is under threat. This is largely due to conflict and climate change.

Wealth Concentration Continues to Increase

As the ‘masters of the universe’ gather for their annual retreat at Davos, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has just published its Inclusive Development Index (IDI) for the second time.

PPPs Likely to Undermine Public Health Commitments

The United Nations Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is being touted in financial circles as offering huge investment opportunities requiring trillions of dollars. In 67 low- and middle-income countries, achieving SDG 3 — healthy lives and well-being for all, at all ages — is estimated to require new investments increasing over time, from an initial $134 billion annually to $371 billion yearly by 2030, according to recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in The Lancet.

Expansion of Soy Resurrects Key Railway Line in Brazil

The railroad can contribute to the economy, making transportation cheaper, but it is unlikely to foment equitable development in and of itself, apart from facing complex construction obstacles in countries like Brazil.

Argentina Pursues the Lithium Dream

The government of Mauricio Macri dreams of Argentina becoming the world leader in lithium production. But it does not seem so clear that this aspiration, underpinned by the interest of multinational corporations, would also drive the development of local communities.

Digital Infrastructure

Millennials are the natives of the digital infrastructure. They have the privilege of having been born in a time when everything is within reach through the click of a button. Having worked in Dubai in the 1970s, I learned that there are three kinds of infrastructure: progressive, hard, and soft. Progressive infrastructure refers to the international airports and the seaports. The hard infrastructure are the roads, highways and the like. Lastly, the soft infrastructure refers to the ease of doing business. Back in the day, the Sheikh of Dubai would mention, what is good for business is good for Dubai. Later, I added two more; these are sustainable and institutional infrastructure. Even if you have the best plans in the world, without the right institutions to implement these, these plans would not come to fruition. Lastly, infrastructure should be sustainable in order to last for generations. With the advancement of technology, this is the Age of Digital Infrastructure.

The Data Revolution Should Not Leave Women and Girls Behind

If there is one political principle that has been constant throughout the history of human civilization it is the fact that land is power. This is something that is particularly true, and often painfully so, for women who farm in Africa.

Tourism Should Be Regulated, Before It Is Too Late…

This year, we will have 3 million tourists each day wandering the world. This massive phenomenon is without precedent in human history and is happening (as usual), with only one consideration in mind: money. We should pause and take a look at its social, cultural and environmental impact and take remedial measures, because they are becoming seriously negative if things are left as they are.

Uncertainty Surrounds Renegotiation of NAFTA and Its Consequences for Mexico

The first few months of 2018 will be key to defining the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), whose renegotiation due to the insistence of U.S. President Donald Trump has Mexico on edge because of the potential economic and social consequences.

Trade Multilateralism Set Back yet Again

As feared, the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 10-13 December 2017, ended in failure. It failed to even produce the customary ministerial declaration reiterating the centrality of the global trading system and the importance of trade as a driver of development.

Billionaires, Fiscal Paradise, the World’s Debt, and the Victims

Among Bloomberg's many profitable activities is a convenient Bloomberg Billionaires Index that has just published its findings for 2017. It covers only the 500 richest people, and it proudly announces that they have increased their wealth by 1 trillion dollars in just one year. Their fortunes went up by 23% to top comfortable 5 trillion dollars (to put this in perspective, the US budget is now at 3.7 trillion). That obviously means an equivalent reduction for the rest of the population, which lost those trillion dollars. What is not widely known is that the amount of the circulation of money stays the same; no new money is printed to accommodate the 500 richest billionaires!

Goodbye to 2017, a Trump-dominated Year

In 2017, Donald Trump dominated the year by using US clout to change many aspects of global relations, and not for the better.

Money Talks at One Planet Summit in Paris

As funding to combat climate change has lagged behind lofty words, the One Planet Summit in France this week invited governments and business leaders to put money on the table.

Arming Poor Countries Enriches Rich Countries

Although the Cold War came to an end over a quarter century ago, international arms sales only declined temporarily at the end of the last century. Instead, the United States under President Trump is extending its arms superiority over the rest of the world.

Central America Builds Interconnected Clean Energy Corridor

Countries in Central America are working to strengthen their regional electricity infrastructure to boost their exchange of electricity generated from renewable sources, which are cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

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