Economy & Trade

Frugal Innovation is Key to Advancing the UN’s Global Goal for Education

The world needs tens of millions of new teachers by 2030, according to UNESCO – an order of magnitude that requires “frugal innovation.” I’ve studied frugal innovation for more than a decade, and it holds a vital key to this global challenge. A model created by BRAC in Bangladesh deserves special attention in this worldwide pursuit.

Neo-Colonial Currency Enables French Exploitation

Colonial-style currency board arrangements have enabled continuing imperialist exploitation decades after the end of formal colonial rule. Such neo-colonial monetary systems persist despite modest reforms.

Introducing Hope Over Fate: the Story of Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and BRAC

About seven years ago, I started working on a project with Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder of BRAC. It was originally supposed to be a memoir: the story of Abed, the mild-mannered accountant who would rid the world of poverty, as told by the man himself. I was privileged to be Abed’s speechwriter for the last several years of his life, and I would sit for hours listening to stories from his remarkable life: of his boyhood in British India, his love life in London in the 1960s, his three marriages, and how, in 1972, with a few thousand pounds from the sale of his flat in Camden, he launched a small nonprofit organization to aid refugees, originally called the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee. Many people would go on to call BRAC, which Abed led until his death in 2019, the world’s most effective anti-poverty organization.

Salvadoran Farmers Learn Agricultural Practices to Adapt to Climate Change

With the satisfaction of knowing he was doing something good for himself and the planet, Salvadoran farmer Luis Edgardo Pérez set out to plant a fruit tree on the steepest part of his plot, applying climate change adaptation techniques to retain water.

Sidestepping Hunger & Boosting Food Security

Until Russia went to war on Ukraine in February, Ukraine was known as the “breadbasket of Europe”. One of the largest grain exporters in the world, it provided about 10 per cent of globally traded wheat and corn and 37 per cent of sunflower oil, United Nations figures show. The yellow and blue of its flag mimic its rolling golden fields under blue summer skies.

Pandemic and Poverty Fuel Child Labor in Peru

In the afternoons he draws with chalk on the sidewalk of a downtown street in the Peruvian capital. Passersby drop coins into a small blue jar he has set out. He remains silent in response to questions from IPS, but a nearby ice cream vendor says his name is Pedro, he is 11 years old, and he draws every day on the ground for about four hours.

Historic WTO Deal Could Threaten Subsidies, Lifeline for Jamaican Fishers

In the 21 years it took the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to agree on a historic deal on fishing subsidies, the lives of fisherfolk in Rocky Point, Clarendon, have seen many ups and downs.

Not a World for Young People

Many of us assume that an identification with a certain gender, race, nation or even age makes us particularly knowledgeable. When it comes to age, it is in most cultures of the world assumed that age and experience favour wisdom. I am not entirely sure about that, though I am convinced that as we grow older we tend to overestimate our own knowledge and importance. An arrogance that might burden and even marginalize the youth.

Fear Returns to Argentina, Once Again on the Brink

Darío is a locksmith in Flores, a traditional middle-class neighborhood in the Argentine capital, who will have to stop working in the next few days. "Suppliers have suspended the delivery of locks, due to a lack of merchandise or because of prices," he laments. His case is an illustration of an economy gone mad in a country that once again finds itself on the brink of the abyss.

Both UK & Congo Think They’re Climate Leaders – COP26’s Fallout Shows How Far Adrift They Are

From the fall-out of the pandemic to the interlocking cost of living and energy security crises currently gripping the world, it has been fascinating to see the world’s richest governments bending over backwards to help fossil fuel companies.

Africa Taken for ‘Neo-Colonial’ Ride

Like so many others, Africans have long been misled. Alleged progress under imperialism has long been used to legitimize exploitation. Meanwhile, Western colonial powers have been replaced by neo-colonial governments and international institutions serving their interests.

Unleashing Mangrove Superpower Through Soft Coastal Engineering

The swish of calm waters followed by unexpectedly high tides and violent waves is now too familiar for the fisher community along Kenya’s 1,420-kilometer Indian Ocean coastline.

Zimbabwe Turns to Boreholes Amid Groundwater Level Concerns

Faced with cyclical droughts and low water levels in supply dams, Zimbabwe is turning to boreholes for relief, raising concerns about already precarious groundwater levels across the country.

The Africa We Want is Still Within Reach – & a Priority for the United Nations

The “Africa We Want” - as outlined in Agenda 2063 - embodies the African Union’s bold vision of an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful continent.

East African Countries Seek Cross-border Cooperation to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

For many years, East African countries were considered wildlife trafficking hotspots. Now conservation organisations have started to mobilise all stakeholders to combat the illegal trade that targets animals – some to the edge of extinction.

Smallholder Farmers in Uganda Recruit Black Soldier Fly for Green Fertiliser

The conflict in Ukraine has led to an increase in fertiliser prices in Uganda and neighbouring Kenya. Amidst the shortages, some farmers are shifting to a more sustainable way of enriching their soils using frass from the Black Soldier Fly.

Reject CPTPP, Stay out of New Cold War

Joining or ratifying dubious trade deals is supposed to offer miraculous solutions to recent lacklustre economic progress. Such naïve advocacy is misleading at best, and downright irresponsible, even reckless, at worst. TPP ‘pivot to Asia’ US President Barack Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ after his 2012 re-election sought to check China’s sustained economic growth and technological progress. Its economic centrepiece was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Clean Energies Seek to Overcome Obstacles in Argentina

The multitude of solar panels stands out along a dirt road in an unpopulated area. Although located just an hour's drive from Buenos Aires, the new solar park in the municipality of Escobar is in a place of silence and solitude, symbolic of the difficulties faced by renewable energies in making inroads in Argentina.

Achieving the SDGs in Extraordinary Times

The start of the “Decade of Action” to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has also marked the start of an unprecedented period of overlapping crises.

“Made in Chile” Electric Buses, Another Stride Towards Electromobility

The manufacture in Chile of an electric bus christened Queltehue, a wading bird native to the country, is another step towards electromobility and in the fight against pollution that triggers frequent environmental crises and smog emergencies in Santiago and other cities.

Hundreds of Millions of Human Workers Treated Worse than Robots

While the world’s big private business pours billions of dollars in producing automatic machines and assuring their optimal functioning, bareley no money has been invested in the hundreds of millions of human workers, who are left shockingly unprotected, treated like cheap robots, or even worse.

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