Stories written by Hilaire Avril
Hilaire Avril écrit sur l'Afrique, l'actualité du Développement, et de la Société Civile et Gouvernance internationale pour IPS depuis 2008. Il partage son temps entre l'Europe (Paris, Londres) et le continent.
Hilaire Avril has been reporting on Africa, development, governance and civil society for IPS since 2008. He shares his time between Europe (Paris and London) and the continent.
Twelve years after a global campaign successfully advocated the cancellation of some of the world’s poorest countries’ public debt, developing economies are again facing unsustainable debt burdens. Only this time, it is the private sector’s debt in developing economies that is inflating dangerously.
As several African governments examine the possibility of setting up their own "offshore" financial centres, the trade name for tax havens, campaigners are calling for transparency and fair tax regimes.
"Eco-label fatigue" is setting in as green logging certification schemes are undermining proper government management of forest resources while "greenwashing" private ownership of these public resources, critics say.
Tourism as a concern found its way onto the agenda of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro because of its potential for development but also due to its adverse effects on some populations and natural resources, particularly in Africa.
A half a century after U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower named and denounced the military-industrial complex’s ever-increasing influence on world affairs, the arms trade thrives more than ever, with African states frequently being the destination.
After weeks of rumours sparked by the leaking of a draft World Bank position paper on so-called land grabs in poor countries, the international financial institution has officially released its report on the surge in farmland purchases and leasing which have elicited controversy for over two years.
The United Nations declared 2010 the Year of Biodiversity. But 17 years after the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the issue of biopiracy is still pitching North against South.
Despite its minuscule share of world trade, fair trade is a booming business, importing certified foodstuffs and products from all over the world to Northern supermarkets. But there is increasing concern that this growth is yet to benefit poor countries in Africa.
The World Bank has described its recent increase of 3.13 percent in the voting power of emerging economies as a reform "to enhance voice and participation of developing and transition countries". But the shift has actually decreased a third of African countries’ share of votes.
Between 30 and 40 percent of taxes that should be collected by developing countries end up in countries operating as tax havens. Overall, these "clandestine passengers of globalisation" contribute to capital flight from developing countries to the tune of 1,000 billion dollars a year.
West Africa is one of the world’s regions most affected by pirate fishers. Illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing has been devastating local livelihoods and ecosystems for decades. National fisheries management authorities are often helpless to protect their maritime resources.
The European Commission is demanding that the French government pays back 500 million euros spent on aid to French farmers. The scheme is in breach of European competition law as it financed competition with France’s neighbours by providing vegetable and fruit producers with hefty subsidies for more than a decade.
For years, fishing communities along Africa’s 30,000 km-long coastline have been raising the alarm on the depletion of their fish stocks, to no avail. Over- fishing by foreign vessels has been wiping out the livelihood of West African fishers, contributing to desperate migration attempts into Europe.
In 2007, the French corruption watchdog Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (known by its French acronym CCFD) issued a first report on the colossal sums stolen by corrupt heads of states and hidden in mostly Western secret bank accounts. Figures are hard to come by, given the secrecy that shrouds such looting of public funds.
The food crisis in African states will not be solved by investment to spur agricultural production because the problem is not food output but poverty that is making food unaffordable for urban Africans.
Earlier in the decade, biofuels were hailed as the energy panacea, the silver bullet to solve oil shortages and abide by environmental concerns. The European Union recently took the lead in imposing the use of these liquid or gaseous fuels made from plants.
Experts agree the current financial crisis is largely due to economic deregulation. But despite the downturn’s dramatic effects on developing countries, the European Union (EU) is still pushing for the trade liberalisation deals called economic partnership agreements (EPAs) to be signed by African governments.