From the horrifying scenes in Ivory Coast, Mali and Brussels to the tragic refugee crisis in Lebanon and on Europe’s borders, it is clear the world is at a crossroads. There are a growing number of conflicts becoming increasingly deadly and protracted. There are more displaced people than at any time since the Second World War, and more people than ever are in need of urgent disaster relief. Extremism is on the rise and the effects of climate change are contributing to new crises. Now, more than ever, the world needs a sustained, coordinated response to these challenges. And when necessity dictates, the international community can act. The Syria donor conference in London this year and the subsequent political momentum seen on the ground in Syria is proof enough. Read more
This week, the EU and World Bank met to discuss development financing as a means of tackling some of the root causes of irregular migration. This comes after last month’s Valetta Conference, where European leaders pledged €1.8bn to address the potential causes of migration in Africa. This was a crucial start but we need further direct support for areas under specific threat. In both the Middle East and Africa there are clear crisis spots where a majority of EU bound migrants originate. Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan have been identified but there also needs to be a focus on West Africa, an area bearing the brunt of the continent’s Islamist terror threat.
In Nigeria, terrorist activity has increased significantly since 2013, largely as a result of Boko Haram. In the last week of November the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing of a Shiite Muslim procession near Kano which killed 21 people. Over 100 people remain unaccounted for following a battle near the town of Gulak and eight people were murdered in an attack on the northeast region and neighbouring Niger. Read more
By Nathan Dufour, Polish Institute of International Affairs
Europe’s security services are blinded by their quest to prevent terrorism from striking again. The investigation to root out the perpetrators, launched by French security services following the November 13 attacks in Paris, is well-intentioned, but cracking down on Belgium and the district of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean in Brussels are playing straight into the hands of Isis, the Islamic militant group, and its quest for destabilisation.
Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, one of Brussels’s poorest and most Muslim-populated districts, fell under international condemnation for its role as a support base for the Paris attacks. Many accused Belgium of failures, using it to portray the inadequacies of Muslim integration in western Europe. However, to properly consider the issue and investigate durable solutions, shortcut explanations should be avoided. Instead, consider why Belgium and Molenbeek fit so conveniently in Isis’ broader destabilisation plans. Read more
The mass movement of millions of refugees from Syria and Iraq has been perplexing politicians and exasperating economists for months. Who will take them and how many are questions that now make the Greek debt crisis look like dry rot in a house on fire – and as winter approaches, the situation is getting more serious by the day.
While western leaders quarrel over a solution, they are overlooking a country that earlier this year was the centre of yet another argument: Ukraine. Read more
“Europe is being overrun by millions of people. We are facing a real danger. Those who are besieged cannot take in anyone. Hungary and Europe as a whole are in danger!”
This is how Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, announced a ‘state of war’ in Budapest on September 21. Today, he will deliver a similar message to the UN General Assembly in New York. Read more
India’s biggest resource – a young population, a democratic system, or the large pool of wealthy citizens it sends abroad?
According to a new report from WealthInsight, the researchers, 180,000 Indian millionaires live abroad and they are together worth $634bn – a figure that is expected to grow to $1.1tn in three years. Read more
By Kristina Sandklef of East Capital
The annual National People’s Congress (NPC), which is meeting in Beijing this month, is expected to take steps to deepen the economic reforms required to ensure a sustainable economic development.
While it is still too early to confirm any major changes instigated by the new leaders, we can assume urbanisation will be an important part of the new economic reforms and a building block of fulfilling the Chinese dream, the new mantra of the new party chief Xi Jinping. Read more
Thailand’s attempt to register around 1.5m illegal migrant workers by the middle of next month is causing more problems than it might solve.
The deadline for workers to apply for permits has been extended – but with employers reluctant to apply on behalf of workers, and workers forced to jump through several expensive bureaucratic hoops, there are still 1m yet to complete their registration. Hanging over the process is the threat of deportation – and worries for business. Read more
Globalisation isn’t as simple – or as flat – as you might think. It’s uneven and has been knocked by the financial crisis. In some ways, the world is becoming less globally connected and more regionally-orientated, in contrast to most assumptions.
That’s the findings of the global connectivity index created by academics from the IESE Business School, which sheds light on the current state of globalisation with interesting results. Read more
A surge of remittances during the global financial crisis has helped to support the economies of some of the world’s least developed countries.
But a report published on Monday has underlined the high price such LDCs – including many poor countries in Africa – are paying for these transfers from migrants working abroad – a crippling “brain drain”. Read more
The China-Africa encounter is normally viewed through giant mining and infrastructure projects, multibillion dollar loans, and high-level diplomacy.
But the major state-owned enterprises aren’t the only Chinese businesses making inroads into the continent. Small-scale traders have established themselves as a part of everyday economic life. While Africa offers them opportunities, their presence has frequently generated a backlash. Read more
Do they know something the rest of us don’t? According to Friday’s state-owned Shanghai Daily, more than 1m Shanghainese citizens are living overseas, an increase of 50 per cent over the past eight years. This news comes at the same time as foreigners hit by the global financial crisis have increasingly been seeking their fortunes in Shanghai. Read more
It may have looked like a big rush for the last plane out of Manila’s international airport.
The number of Filipinos leaving for foreign jobs surged by 47.8 per cent on the year in December and 17.3 per cent in November after the government finally allowed deployment to many Middle East and North African countries gripped by violent political conflict, according to officials of the National Statistical Coordination Board. Read more
Not so long ago, anyone in Brazil who wanted to make enough money to support their family was better off getting on the first flight out of there and going to work abroad.
But how things have changed. Now it seems it’s foreigners who are queuing up in Brazil to support their impoverished families back in the US and Europe. Read more
Brazilians are used to seeing their compatriots head abroad to try their luck in Europe or North America. Until recently, they weren’t so used to seeing foreigners coming the other way.
But now that the rich countries are embroiled in crisis as Brazil continues to grow, the direction of migratory flows is changing. For the first time in twenty years, there are more foreigners living in Brazil than there are Brazilians living abroad. Read more
It may not feel like it if you’re walking around London or Miami, but the Brazilians are coming home.
From top football stars to chief executives, Brazilians who emigrated years ago in search of better work opportunities are now discovering that their future may be brighter back in Brazil than in crisis-ridden Europe or the US.
The trainee scheme run by Vale, Brazil’s giant iron ore miner, is a case in point. Read more
Business often finds a way around a bureaucratic barrier. And so it is with the extra visa restrictions the US is placing on foreign software engineers, not least those from India. Ostensibly a victory for the US protectionist lobby seeking to safeguard American jobs? Yes. But in the long run, recruiting more Americans will help the Indian IT services suppliers to establish stronger bases in the US. Like the Japanese carmakers 20 years ago, they will benefit from being closer to their biggest market. Their domestic US rivals had better watch out. Read more
There was bittersweet news this week for the millions of Mexican households that receive remittances from family members working in the US.
These funds, which topped an astonishing $26bn in 2007, have become a vital source of income over the last couple of decades. And they have helped fund everything from garish Disneyland-inspired family homes in the remote Mexican countryside simply to ensuring that there is food on the table each day. Read more