Africa’s economic development and the Sustainable Development Goals With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in September 2015, the world shared a new commitment to a future where women and men in all countries can live a decent life with full respect for human rights and dignity. For Africa this is a special challenge due to the large number of people who daily face conditions of vulnerability. The idea of ‘sustainable development’ that led to the SDGs originated from several contributions.
The African continent is a rich mosaic of socio-ecological systems, abundant natural resources, varied agricultural production supported by tropical climates, vibrant and diverse cultures and heritage, and active and growing economic centres. However, high and enduring rates of poverty and social inequality, which have been exacerbated through legacies of neo-colonial development policy (trade liberalizations, land reforms etc.), are underlying causes of limited productivity, land and resource degradation, and the inability of those with the greatest need to fully benefit from natural resources.
Africa and the Middle East are the two regions of the world with the highest conflict burden. Since the mid-1990s, Africa has gradually improved across all measurements of death and war (Figure 1). These positive changes are due to several factors, including greater regional cooperation, decreased intrastate wars, economic growth, and increased democratic governance.
The types of conflicts have also changed: from wars of independence, long term civil wars, and intrastate wars, conflicts are now due to weak governance structures and state presences which are exacerbated by religious and ethnic differences as well as to transnational crime and global governance failures.
The prospects for the North Korean economy meeting Kim’s New Year’s demand that “…we should bring about an upturn in improving the people’s living standards”1 looked dim at the start of 2015. The self-imposed Ebola tourism ban lasted until April, cutting off a major foreign exchange earner.2 In
The agreement reached in Vienna on 14 July, 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom, Germany) has been greeted as an historical achievement. While offering a long-lasting negotiated solution to one of the biggest crises of the last decade, the deal represents an opportunity for a deep recalibration of the balance of power in the Middle East. It also paves the way to some sort of rapprochement between Iran and the United States. But the deal is also likely to have an impact on Iranian domestic politics, not least on its economy, which, after repeated rounds of sanctions, languishes in deep crisis.
This report aims to assess the potential effects of the deal by trying to answer the following question: what’s next for Iran, the Middle East and the countries involved in the negotiations? In particular, the report provides an assessment of the JCPOA agreed upon in Vienna. It also analyzes the impact of the deal on Iranian domestic politics as well as the consequences for its economy. In addition, it examines its effects on the balance of power in the Middle East, as well as on relations between Iran and the United States, and Iran and Russia. Finally a number of policy recommendations for the EU are provided.
Egypt has reappeared again as a leading actor in the Middle East. After the fall of Mubarak, the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood and its ouster, the country has chosen its new ‘strongman’. Following the elections of al-Sisi, Egypt is back to pursuing a pro-active policy not only internally, but also in the neighbourhood.
The restoration of the strategic axis with Saudi Arabia and the struggle against radical Islam are the two pillars of this new political phase.
However, there are critical elements, too, from further deterioration of the political and civil liberties indexes, to the emergence of jihadist groups in the Sinai, to the enduring economic and financial difficulties. As a result of these changes, Europe and Italy should calibrate a new policy aimed at safeguarding their interests,especially from the points of view of security, stability and the fight against terrorism, also promoting more inclusive practices by the Cairo government vis-à-vis the opposition (including the Muslim Brotherhood) and developing policies which can help Egypt to respond to future challenges in terms of economic growth, poverty alleviation, demographic pressure and the creation of employment opportunities.
Egypt still lags behind other southern Mediterranean countries in several social, economic and business development indicators. Not with standing an historically solid growth recorded (4.2 per cent on average in the last two decades, slightly below the MENA region average of 4.7 per cent), per capita income remains one of the lowest in the region (around US$ 10,900 at Purchasing Power Parity - PPP), unemployment is persistently high (again above 10 per cent since 2011) and a large share of the population continues to live in poverty (more than a quarter below the national p
Two years after Xi Jinping was elected President of China, the country is undergoing a profound transformation that will shape its political and economic position over the coming years.
Whether Xi will succeed or fail in pursuing his “China Dream” development plan will ultimately depend upon his ability to successfully manage the end of China’s two decades of astonishing economic growth, and to adapt the country to the so-called economic “new normal”.
Xi’s term will be key to find out whether – and to what extent – China is going to further scale-up its position in the international arena or remain stuck in the middle of a decades-long transition.
How profoundly has China changed since Xi Jinping came to power two years ago? How is the President tackling the country’s internal and external challenges? Will he be able to secure a more sustainable model of development to the country?
This report covers most of the major economic and political changes China is going through, both at the domestic and international level, also with a view to sketching out possible scenarios for the next years.
The ground is shrinking beneath the feet of Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro. Low oil prices have hastened an economic crisis in Venezuela, a country that was already on the brink of financial and political turmoil for more than a year. Not only have low oil prices precipitated a massive credit crunch within the country. They also put Petrocaribe, one of former President Hugo Chávez’s most prized international alliances, at risk.
Stuck in the middle of different as well as relevant regional complexes, the Caspian Sea basin represents a critical geopolitical hub in the heart of Eurasia landmass.
Political, economic as well as strategic considerations contribute to determine the systemic relevance of the Caspian Sea, whose reputation in the West is mainly linked to the vast availability of largely untapped oil and gas resources. However, behind the fierce competition aimed at the exploitation and transportation of the basin's hydrocarbons lies a much more complex picture, consisting of interlinked legal, military and soft power issues and threats.
Aim of the volume – result of a joint research project conducted by the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SAM, Baku) and the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI, Milan) – is to address the relevance of the Caspian Sea in the post-bipolar international system, analyzing both soft and had security threats emerging form the basin, as well as the policies of littoral and extra-regional actors.