As the international community wades into the political discussions regarding the alternatives to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as mandated by the Rio+20 conference, it is timely to consider the question of whether development is a matter mostly of individual effort on the part of nation-states or whether there are elements in the international economic system that could serve as significant obstacles to national development efforts.
If you want to know what ‘sea traffic’ looks like, just go down to the Karachi Harbour. Built in 1959, the dockyard houses close to 2,000 big and small boats anchored in the grey sludge at the edge of Pakistan’s southern port city, which opens into the Arabian Sea.
In the 1960s, there were high hopes for the development of the newly-independent sub-Saharan African countries but these hopes were quickly dashed following a series of shocks which began in the mid-70s, with the first oil price spikes, followed by a severe decline in growth and increase in poverty in the 80s and early 90s.
In the past 15 years, China has gone from being a relatively insignificant economic partner in Latin America to the number-one trading partner of some of the largest economies in the region.
Switzerland has eased its restrictions on arms exports - in order to save a few thousand workplaces. Critics fear that Switzerland's credibility as an international peace broker will now suffer.
To maintain its trade surplus, Argentina continues to control imports – a strategy that has bolstered its national industry but is questioned by importers, partners in the Mercosur trade bloc, and rich countries.
It took world leaders some time to realise that the financial crisis initiated by the collapse of the subprime mortgage segment of U.S. financial markets in 2007 would not exhaust its effects in an ordinary recession.
Edson Godinho, a truck driver with 35 years' experience, was lucky this time. When he reached the southeastern port of Santos in early April, the line of waiting trucks was much shorter than it had been earlier, so he only had to wait 12 hours to unload his soybeans.
The European Union (EU) is Pakistan's largest trading partner, with overall trade between the two countries topping eight million euros in 2011.
Bangladesh has begun to shed its image as one of the world’s poorest nations and make a reputation for itself as a major exporter of cheap generic drugs to over 85 countries.