By Chandran Nair, Global Institute for Tomorrow
The idea that a world of limitless connectivity, spreading democracy and freer markets promotes convergence and endless possibility may be fashionable, but it is far from the complete picture.
There is little appreciation that this idea is instead leading to a great “era of divergence,” as we see an expanding split between the lofty ideals of Western liberal thinking and the reality in much of the developing world. Possibility may be “limitless”, but the question remains: “limitless possibility” for whom? Read more
It was perhaps fortuitous that this month’s 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki followed so soon after the announcement that Iran had reached a deal with the US and others to step back from the nuclear brink. Whatever the critics say, the world’s most serious proliferation threat has been averted for now. By agreeing to reduce stockpiles of enriched uranium and accept stronger verification, Iran has extended the breakout period needed to build a nuclear weapon from two or three months to around a year, reducing the temptation for other countries in the region to take pre-emptive military action or acquire nuclear capabilities of their own.
This news is particularly welcome because elsewhere the nuclear arms control agenda has stalled and important agreements that defined the end of the Cold War have started to fray at the edges. Without a concerted diplomatic effort there is a danger that the world will slide unwittingly into a new era of nuclear competition. There is a pressing need for new multilateral initiatives and agreements that strengthen norms of restraint, co-operation and trust in the field of nuclear weapons policy. Read more
By David McNair of the ONE Campaign
While the newswires are dominated by the threat of Isis, a critical opportunity to cut the support networks that fuel terrorism, criminality and tax evasion is passing unnoticed.
Terrorists rely on financial support – money channelled through the shadows of the western financial system. Secret companies and trusts, perfectly legal in many countries, allow criminals to fuel trillions of dollars through our financial system, evading tax while keeping their identities secret, building a virtual brick wall against law enforcement agents working to follow the money. Read more
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and the continent’s most populous state, but a recent spate of violence raises questions about the government’s ability to provide security within its borders. The FT’s Vanessa Kortekaas reports on the battle for power in Nigeria.
After a 23 year-old student was brutally raped in New Delhi in December 2012, women’s safety has been at the centre of public debate in India. A year on, the US-based Pew Research Centre conducted a survey and found that nine out of ten Indians feel rape is a “very big problem” in the country. Read more
Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment group, has long been blacklisted in the US on suspicion of stealing trade secrets from local companies and posing a wider security threat.
Now the group is under investigation in India, following allegations that it hacked state-run telecoms carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). Read more
Africa is looking increasingly risky for investors and global supply chains. Or at least, that’s the judgement of the latest Global Risks and Resilience Atlas published on Thursday by Maplecroft.
Worldwide, 21 countries saw an increase in their exposure to risks, of which 15 are African, including: Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Eritrea. Read more
China is not known for its moral scruples or sensitivity when it comes to investing in dangerous countries. It may help to build schools, hospitals and railways as a quid pro quo for getting access, but what it mostly seems to want is to get in and out with its raw materials and without interfering in local politics.
Erik Prince and China could be made for each other. The former Navy Seal who founded the hugely controversial private security group Blackwater is pitching to run logistics for Chinese mining and energy companies in Africa. Read more
As some Chinese companies operating overseas are becoming the target of kidnappings and violent attacks, many are turning to private security companies staffed by former People’s Liberation Army personnel. The FT’s Ben Marino reports on the growth in China’s private security contractors.
If the Westgate crisis wasn’t enough to show that security is still a major issue for even Africa’s most advanced economies, there are some new numbers to prove it.
While things are looking up for economic and human development, Africa has actually backtracked on issues of safety and rule of law since 2000, according to this year’s Ibrahim Index of African Governance. In that time, less than half of the 52 measured economies have shown any safety improvements at all. Read more
It has been quite a fortnight for Colombian mining.
First, small-scale, informal miners staged demonstrations demanding provisions be made for them in the country’s mining code. Then, miners at the Colombian operations of US coal miner Drummond went on indefinite strike.
To crown it, Canada’s Braeval Mining, a gold miner, said it was pulling the plug on an option to acquire a mining area citing “unfavorable market conditions”, after one of its geologists was kidnapped by the country’s second largest rebel group early this year. Read more
Nicholas Watson of bne
John Chambers is true to his word. Just weeks after the Cisco Systems chief executive said he had written a blank cheque to beef up its security business, the US technology giant has acquired the Czech Republic’s little-known but highly promising Cognitive Security.
The deal is further proof of central and eastern Europe’s growing clout in technology, in particular cyber security. Read more
After the fatal assualt and gang-rape of a 23 year-old woman in Delhi last month, Tech Mahindra – a technology and consulting company in the Mahindra Group – has made free to the Indian public an application designed to “help make our streets safer for women”. Read more
Investors don’t seem to mind North Korea’s missile threat that much. South Korean shares rose to a six-week high on Monday, despite North Korea’s announcement that it will fire a rocket in December for the second time this year.
The latest threat from North Korea may affect the country’s upcoming presidential election by boosting the popularity of the conservative candidate Park Geun-hye – but has failed to make an impact on the country’s financial markets. Read more
Not every company would be happy to have a prominent right-wing extremist on its roster of clients. But for Topsgrup, India’s largest private security company, Bal Thackeray – leader of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena political party and one of the most powerful men in Mumbai before he died this month – was just an ordinary Joe. Read more
Huawei has not yet digested the last US public relations crisis as the next challenge is hitting.
Just ten days after a US Congress report called the Chinese telecom gear maker – and its smaller Chinese peer ZTE – security risks and proposed barring them even more strictly from the US market, Reuters reports another probe. Read more
G4S, the global security company that came a cropper over its London Olympics contract, could be forced to sell off a chunk of its important South African subsidiary.
A new bill aims to curb the power of multinational private security companies operating in South Africa – by requiring them to have at least 51 per cent of the local subsidiary’s shares into South African hands. Read more
The ‘Ahrlac’ jet may not be an aircraft that you have heard of, but it has its place in aerospace history: it’s the first defence aircraft to be completely designed and manufactured in Africa.
Ivor Ichikowitz, founder and chief executive of its maker, Paramount Group, says proudly: “It’s 100-per-cent homegrown – it’s a big story for Africa, for realising that we don’t have to rely on the west to do things.” Read more
G4S took a heavy blow in the UK this week, losing a £50m contract following its botching of Olympic security. With its reputation tarnished, worse may follow. However, even in the unlikely event that the UK government restricts the firm’s access to its proliferating outsourcing opportunities, G4S is much more than a UK company. Read more
In a five-star hotel in Ikoyi, the smartest part of Lagos, a few hundred suits tuck into sausages and egg over breakfast. The love flows. Peter Grauer, special guest and Bloomberg chairman, tells them how impressed he is with Nigeria. The head of the Nigerian stock exchange expresses his fondness for Grauer’s terminals.
Nigeria is rising, all seem to agree. There’s a problem though. As Arunma Oteh, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission points out, when people think of Nigeria today, the thing that springs to mind is not opportunity but insecurity. Read more