When the first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was launched in 2000, it was hardly a high-profile meeting. It was held at the ministerial level, hosting heads of governments rather than heads of state as in later summits. As such, the first FOCAC flew relatively under the radar in terms of international media coverage. We recall the iconic (and infamous) cover photo of the Economist in 2000 defining Africa as an “hopeless continent”.
On the night between April 7th and 8th, the chief of the Polisario Gendarmerie, Addah Al-Bendir, was reportedly killed under unclear circumstances by an alleged airstrike in a Polisario-controlled desert area in the disputed Western Sahara territory near Tifariti, according to an official press release by the Sahrawi Ministry of Public Defence then quoted by several media outlets, though it was alm
Saudi Arabia’s rebalanced alliances within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are producing recalibrated power relations in Yemen, too, as the new United Nations Special Envoy — the Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg — has been appointed. In fact, three external factors contemporarily affect Yemen’s peace prospects and war dynamics, which could alter the diplomatic stalemate that paralysed negotiations in the last couple of years, though the mediation outlook remains complicated.
For the past two years, while Lebanon was dealing with a deep economic crisis, a deadly pandemic, and a ruinous explosion at Beirut port, its rulers have failed to solve their ongoing power struggle and, if anything, have made things worse.
In October 2019, thousands of protestors swept the country demanding an end to sectarian politics, incessant backdoor dealing, and corruption. None of the demands have been met thus far.
The Kuwaiti political situation has reached a deplorable stage, marred not only by bureaucratic infighting between government branches, but also by outbreaks of fisticuffs in the parliament hall. As early as January 2021, the first cabinet under Emir Nawaf submitted its resignation amid brewing legislative-executive tensions, prompting many to speculate on Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khalid’s return.
The armed forces of Myanmar, also known as Tatmadaw, originated when former Burma was at war with Great Britain. The story goes that at a ceremony in Bangkok in 1941 a so-called group of "Thirty Comrades" decided to establish an army to liberate Burma from the British, giving life to the armed resistance that ultimately led the country to independence in 1948. A historical moment that has been memorialized in the Military Museum of Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, where there are stories and testimonies of the event.
The geostrategic scenario around the Gulf monarchies has significantly changed, a phenomenon that is reflected by shifting American and Chinese approaches to military outposts in the area. As such, a new security season has opened in the Gulf: for the monarchies, pursuing autonomous capabilities in the defence field is, and will be, all the more strategic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undermined the stability of the international financial architecture while exacerbating existing issues within the global financial system. On the one hand, it has pushed public debt levels around the world to historic high. In the G7 advanced economies, the debt-to-GDP ratio will reach 138% in 2021. In emerging Asian markets, this ratio will get almost to 72%, while in Latin American and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, it will inflate up to 75,6% and 56% respectively.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected countries globally regardless of regime type. Nonetheless, for an extended period throughout this pandemic, non-democratic regimes seemed to have performed better than democracies.
Looking back at how major international magazines commented on Xi Jinping’s rise as General Secretary in 2012 is a helpful exercise in understanding what the international community was expecting.