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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
In 2017, Donald Trump dominated the year by using US clout to change many aspects of global relations, and not for the better.
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.
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.
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.
The Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization will be held on December 10-13 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting of this highest decision-making body of the WTO, which meets at least once every two years, is taking place at a critical moment of the free trade movement. WTO and free trade are threatened by the emergence of protectionist and anti-trade sentiments amongst many of the organisation's 164 members, and squabbling among the world's largest traders, including the USA, China, and even the generally free-trade oriented European Union. If countries lower the tariff rates against imports and refrain from imposing non-tariff barriers against trade, it benefits free trade and promotes growth.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have emerged in recent years as the development ‘flavour of the decade’ in place of aspects of the old Washington Consensus. Instead of replacing the role of government or consigning it to the garbage bin of history, corporations are increasingly using governments to advance their own interests through PPPs.
“There are new challenges to all states: among them, the real threat to multilateralism... South-South and triangular cooperation can contribute to a new multilateralism and drive the revitalisation of the global partnership for sustainable development.”
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are essentially long-term contracts, underwritten by government guarantees, with which the private sector builds (and sometimes runs) major infrastructure projects or services traditionally provided by the state, such as hospitals, schools, roads, railways, water, sanitation and energy.
In the run-up to the fifth EU-Africa summit in Côte d'Ivoire, the future of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between Europe and its former colonies looks bleaker than ever. While most of Europe’s trade partners around the world keep refusing to sign the deals, the African Union’s Commissioner for Trade will most likely announce a moratorium on all EPAs.
“Maybe many of us thought that this project was a dream six years ago, but not anymore. The geography has completely changed, because of everything that has been built and the investments that have been approved," said Nathaly Suárez, director of Construction Management at the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is increasingly touted as the elixir for economic growth. While not against FDI, the mid-2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA
) for financing development also cautioned that it “is concentrated in a few sectors in many developing countries and often bypasses countries most in need, and international capital flows are often short-term oriented”.
Have demonetisation and the GST aggravated income inequality?
With the Gujarat State elections barely a few weeks away, the debate on the Indian economy has become increasingly polarised. While the official view of demonetisation unleashed in November 2016 elevates it to a moral and ethical imperative, the chaos caused by the goods and services tax (GST) launched on July 1, 2017
, is dismissed as a short-run transitional hiccup. Both policies, it is asserted, are guaranteed to yield long-term benefits, unmindful of large-scale hardships, loss of livelihoods, closure of small and medium enterprises and slowdown of agriculture. Critics of course reject these claims lock, stock and barrel. Lack of robust evidence is as much a problem for the official proponents of these policies as it is for the critics. Hence the debate continues unabated with frequent hostile overtones.
Economists of all persuasions recognize the critical role of finance in economic growth. The financial sector’s stability and depth are widely considered important in this connection.
Emerging market governments often draw lessons from previous financial crises – or at least claim to do so – to prevent their recurrence. However, such preventive measures are typically designed to address the causes of the last crisis, not the next one. Hence, some measures adopted may inadvertently become new sources of instability and crisis.
Although quite selective, targeted, edited and carefully managed, last year’s Panama Papers highlighted some problems associated with illicit financial flows, such as tax evasion and avoidance. The latest Global Financial Integrity (GFI)
report shows that illicit financial outflows (IFFs) from developing countries, already at alarming levels, continue to grow rapidly.