By Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
As G7 leaders meet in Brussels, it’s worth reflecting for a moment on the changes that have occurred since last year’s summit. This year, the G8 will not meet against a backdrop of the Black Sea beaches of Sochi and Olympic glory, as planned. In fact, the G8 will not meet at all given international outrage over Russia’s action in Ukraine. Instead, the G7, sans Russia, will meet amid the medieval spires of Brussels.
The leaders’ agenda will doubtless focus on international crises. Tensions remain high in Ukraine following the Russian annexation of Crimea, and escalating terrorism impedes Nigeria’s path to development. In many ways, these crises are the by-products of corruption and the neglect of people’s fundamental rights, all of which have been allowed to fester in the global system.
The ingenuity of Chinese netizens seeking to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen massacre in defiance of the country’s “Great Firewall” of censorship is reaching new heights.
Armed with little but the remarkable flexibility of Chinese characters, the more daring among 618m internet users are finding an endless string of linguistic ruses to outfox – at least temporarily – the world’s most formidable forces of online control to get their messages out.
With pressure from the east piling up, Kiev’s pro-western government is shifting gears to more swiftly integrate its vast but financially-troubled energy sector with the west.
Arseniy Yatseniuk, Ukraine’s prime minister, said on Wednesday his government had decided to unbundle Naftogaz, the debt-laden state gas and oil company, into separate domestic supply, transit and storage companies.
Within an hour of landing in most Indian cities, visitors see what is holding back Asia’s third largest economy. They get a taste of the packed and potholed roads, and in some cities they might see an empty construction site that promises a new metro.
The business community has great faith in Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, and his ability to improve infrastructure thanks to his track record as chief minister of the state of Gujarat. But the question is: will Modi be able to improve infrastructure as quickly and efficiently at the national level?
It is the monetary equivalent of what Chairman Mao called “bombarding the headquarters”. China’s renminbi is rapidly displacing the US dollar as a trading currency not only in Asia and Europe but now also in the US home market.
The value of renminbi payments between the US and the rest of the world rose by 327 per cent in April this year from the same month a year ago (see chart) as more US corporations switched to using the Chinese currency to pay for imports from China, according to data from SWIFT, the international currency settlement firm.
By Marcin Piatkowski of the World Bank
Today, Poland is celebrating the 25th anniversary of elections that ushered in a new Solidarity-led government, the first democratic government behind the Iron Curtain.
In 1989, the newly democratic Poland faced unprecedented economic challenges. Despite attempts at reforms, the country was bankrupt, inflation was rampant and industry outdated and inefficient, exporting less than $10bn worth of steel, coal and ships. Agriculture employed a quarter of the workforce. Despite the general enthusiasm, many feared economic disaster.
A quarter of a century later, Poland is the most successful economy in Europe.
Nigeria is receiving a large influx in foreign portfolio flows in spite of investors’ unease following the terror campaign of Boko Haram, after a closely-tracked index provider increased significantly the weighing of Africa’s largest economy.
MSCI, whose indices are followed by billions of US dollars from institutional investors, has lifted the weight of Nigeria’s equity market on its popular MSCI Frontier markets to about 19 per cent, up from 12 per cent previously.
** FT News **
* Polish success only part of region’s story | Barack Obama’s solidarity message is timely. Twenty-five years on, eastern Europe’s march to freedom remains incomplete, and by no means irreversible
* Donetsk leader’s mission to restore order | Alexander Borodai dismisses claims he was made the self-appointed prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic with the backing of the Kremlin