By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
PARIS (IDN) - A new report finds that international donors are not doing enough to help fragile states increase their domestic revenue though they had pledged as far back as 2002 to make it a priority to help poor countries mobilise more internal revenues.
Subsequently, fragile states still collect less than 14% of their gross domestic product in taxes on average, well below the 20% UN benchmark viewed as the minimum needed to meet development goals and ameliorate poverty. Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Pakistan have tax collection rates below 10% of GDP, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a report titled Fragile States 2014: Domestic Revenue Mobilisation,
By Murray Hiebert and Phuong Nguyen* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - Cambodia’s foreign relations map has undergone dramatic shifts in the past six months. In the aftermath of Cambodia’s elections in July 2013, Beijing promptly recognized the results and congratulated Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party for their victory. However, as anti-government protests led by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party grew in the weeks that followed, with protesters condemning the elections as fraudulent and calling on Hun Sen to step down, China has since largely remained silent and kept the prime minister at arm’s length.
By Bernard Schell | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
ABU DHABI (IDN) - Internet is known to have played a crucial role in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ aimed at overthrowing autocratic regimes and ushering in opportunities for majority of the people to shape their own future. Now a new World Bank report reveals that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries lag behind other regions in use of a technology that is as crucial as the steam engine was as a driving force behind the Industrial Revolution.
But there is no need to despair. “The Middle East and North Africa region has been the cradle of science and technology and can again use modern technology to address the contemporary problems faced by the region,” says Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the MENA region. "We at the World Bank Group are committed to working closely with all countries in MENA to improve access and quality of broadband internet connection.”
By Misha Boutilier* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - The Central African Republic (CAR) is in the throes of an extreme political crisis that exploded in early December 2013 with mass killing in the streets of the capital Bangui. Despite a French military intervention under UN auspices, an increase in aid funding for the CAR, and the accession of a new president committed to national reconciliation, the situation is still dire.
UN officials warn that there is a “high risk of crimes against humanity and genocide,” and the French Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud has emphasized that the 6,000 peacekeepers currently deployed are insufficient to quell violence between Muslim Seleka fighters and Christian anti-balaka militias.
By Gaurav Dixit* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW DELHI (IDN) - India and Sri Lanka share a long historic relationship. The relation saw a new multi-faceted phase post Eelam War IV in 2009, after the complete elimination of the Sri Lankan rebel group LTTE. The new phase represented extensive economic and political cooperation for the comprehensive development of the Northern and Eastern provinces. India today is one of Sri Lanka’s largest trading partners and has been the first to make foreign direct investment.
Income from Indian tourists forms a large part of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector that is developing its economy. India plays an important role in developing the war torn provinces and has been assisting in reconstruction and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BARCELONA (IDN) - Last December, the Catalonian parliament adopted a resolution that a referendum be carried out in November 2014, to decide whether the region remains part of Spain, or proclaims its independency. To say that the resolution constitutes a major challenge for the central government in Madrid is a euphemism.
Because, on the one hand, the Spanish constitution does not envisage referendums; and on the other, given the present climate of animosity reigning in Catalonia against Madrid, it is likely that a majority of the Catalonian population follows the 'separatists' – I use that term for lack of a better one: Catalonians rallying for independency claim they are not nationalists, but that they simply don’t feel as Spaniards – among the political leaders and proclaims the region as a new independent state, and thus opens the way for other separatist movements in Spain, such as that of the Basque country. Finally, most Catalonians reject the monarchy and would prefer to ground a republic.
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - The general elections for 543 seats in the 16th Lok Sabha (the Lower House of Parliament) in India are due in May 2014 and are of indisputable importance. It is also a gigantic electoral exercise with about 800 million voters, 150 million voting for the first time, in the world’s most populous democracy. Consequently, analyzing the trends and the likely outcome is of crucial importance globally.
By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
GENEVA (IDN) - Several developing countries are now being engulfed in new economic crises as their currency and stock markets are experiencing sharp falls, and the end is not yet in sight. The “sell-off” in emerging economies has also spilled over to the American and European stock markets, thus causing global turmoil.
Countries whose currencies were affected of late include Argentina, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Chile. A hike in interest rates by Turkey and South Africa has so far failed to stem the depreciation of their currencies. An America market analyst termed it “emerging market flu” and several global media reports tend to focus on weaknesses in individual developing countries.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - New data launched by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that sales of arms and military services by the world's largest arms-producing companies, which amounted to $395 billion in 2012, has increased by 29 per cent in real terms since 2003. But compared to 2011 the 2012 data represent a 4.2 per cent decrease in real terms and follow a 6.6 per cent cut in that year.
The report released at the Munich Security Conference on January 31, 2014 points out at the same time that the decrease in arms sales in 2012 was not uniform: "while sales by companies in the United States, Canada and most West European countries continued to fall, arms sales by Russian companies increased sharply, by 28 per cent in real terms".
By Daniela Estrada | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
SANTIAGO DE CHILE (IDN) – Latin American and Caribbean countries registered an average global deficit of 2.4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, but their fiscal revenues rose and kept their public debt situation stable, giving them more room to increase investment and social spending, according to a new study by the UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
By Brian M. Downing* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN) - The Iraqi province of Anbar, which lies to the west of Baghdad and leads to the border with Syria, has been the scene of momentous historical events over the last decade. It was the site of fierce resistance to US forces and later a short-lived alliance between the insurgents and the US. Today Anbar is the site of Sunni opposition to the Shia government in Baghdad and of al Qaeda organizations that are fighting Shia governments in both Syria and Iraq. Initial stages of the campaign for Anbar are underway in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, with broader operations to follow for weeks if not months to come.