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
Moscow seems intent on re-engaging with the international community after being relegated to the sidelines following the conflict in Ukraine. The Kremlin is not necessarily becoming more accommodative to the west, but there are changes in several areas that suggest President Vladimir Putin wants to play a more active role internationally.
The fight against global terrorism is the most recent and perhaps most significant example of how Putin has re-emerged as a key player. His role at the recent G20 meeting in Ankara stands in stark contrast to the meeting in Brisbane a year ago when he left early after being shunned by the other leaders. Russia has also tried to play a more active role in the Middle East. Moscow proved productive in the Iran negotiations over the summer and that Russia is now circulating a proposed constitutional reform plan for Syria in the UN points in the same direction. Read more
The tragic crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Sinai, killing 224 people, looks increasingly to be the result of foul play by Isis. This has troubling implications for Egypt and the broader region and highlights key structural shifts in the “War on Terror”.
In a previous column for beyondbrics we highlighted our fears that Egypt was on a road disturbingly similar to that of Algeria in the 1990s, when hundreds of thousands died in a civil war. We identified the Egyptian tourism sector, which makes up over 11 per cent of GDP, as a prime target for Isis. 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
Nigeria looks set to become Africa’s biggest economy in the medium term, and with its large population and growing consumer spending power, the west African country is top of the list for many investors looking to tap African growth. But 2014 will ask searching questions about the country’s political climate. Read more
Foreign investors can be fickle. They often lack the vested interests that local pension funds and others have in maintaining a market and can have few qualms about rushing for the exit when sentiment sours – or something goes badly wrong.
So it says something for their faith in Kenya’s institutions that overseas equity investors stayed put in the country on Monday, given the shocking and ongoing terror attack at a Nairobi shopping centre. Read more
After years of inaction and with just days to spare, Turkey has finally passed a law on terror financing that has been the subject of bitter criticism at home and ever more urgent demands abroad.
Whether the measure will satisfy anyone, however, has still to be seen. Read more
Turkey may finally be hitting the accelerator pedal now that it has less than a month to resolve a dispute that could hit the country’s ability to raise funds internationally.
The dispute in question concerns a decision by the 36-member Financial Action Task Force, which includes many of the most important financial jurisdictions in the world, to suspend Ankara from membership if it does not implement anti-terror financing legislation by February 22. Read more
Poor service, patchy infrastructure, shoddy marketing, low value: all these have been challenges for tourists in Bulgaria. But not terrorism. Not until this week.
International attention has rightly focused on the tragedy that left eight Israeli holidaymakers dead and dozens injured, and the implications for the Middle East. But the bombing also leaves Bulgaria, a peaceful and peaceable country, deeply shaken. 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
The offices of ThisDay, the Nigerian newspaper, following a bomb attack on Thursday
Bomb attacks at the offices of ThisDay newspaper in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and the northern city of Kaduna have killed at least eight people, according to reports.