December 10, 2017

The Geopolitics on Central Asia’s Petroleum Riches

Central Asia’s share of the world’s reserves of natural gas is somewhat higher at 11 per cent; still, it falls short of the Middle East’s share, 43 per cent. Hydrocarbon rents have enabled the authoritarian regimes in Central Asia to provide the welfare services that ensure their populations’ acquiescence in their government. Read More »

A Better Yardstick for Measuring Inequality

Just 85 of the world’s billionaires, the anti-poverty group Oxfam reported earlier this year, hold as much wealth as the entire bottom half of the world’s population, 3.5 billion people in all.   Seven of every ten people on earth today, Oxfam added, live in nations where inequality has jumped since the 1980s. Our richest global 1 percent currently own a whopping ... Read More »

Africa Loses $50bn a Year in Plundered Resources

Africa is losing 50 billion dollars or 5.7% of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) each year due to unending plunder of its forests, fisheries and other resources by corrupt officials and foreign investors, says a major new report on the continent.   Africa’s rich natural resources offer a unique opportunity for a breakthrough in improving the lives of Africa’s citizens ... Read More »

The Secret to Alibaba’s Success

When Yahoo released its first-quarter financial results, the most keenly-watched figures were not about the company itself but instead those of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which Yahoo partly owns. Yahoo’s shares surged as much as 9 per cent in heavy trading after Alibaba revealed its fourth-quarter earnings.   Traders scrambled to buy Yahoo’s shares as a proxy for Alibaba, which ... Read More »

Electrifying Africa, But at What Cost to Africans?

As families in the United States steel themselves for the possibility of another sweltering summer with rolling blackouts triggered by high demand for air conditioning, it’s a good time to remember that many families throughout Africa work and live in buildings with no electricity. In areas that do have the utility, frequent power outages are a constant reminder of the ... Read More »

PPPs Can Close Infrastructure Expense Gap

If one wants to feel dizzy she may walk over the Grand Canyon’s suspension bridge, climb to the top of the Three Gorges Dam hydroelectric power station in China or just picture the Mecca’s high speed rail crossing the desert. Perhaps one only may need to feel dizzy having a look to the breach of global spending on basic infrastructures: ... Read More »

End of the Lime

My first inkling of the Great American Lime Crisis of 2014 came when I ordered a vodka tonic in Washington, D.C., recently. I didn’t think much about it when my server told me the restaurant was out of limes and offered to garnish my drink with a lemon instead (pass). But when the same thing happened at a bar in ... Read More »

US Dreams of Energy Independence

When Americans talk about ‘energy independence’ they are talking about oil and the Middle East. Forecasts that the US may become close to energy self-sufficient in net terms by 2035 have once again made this verbal icon of US energy policy a popular ‘sound bite’. But its use is both inaccurate and misleading, and without a seismic shift in American’s attitude towards ... Read More »

How America’s CEOs Are Getting Rich

It’s proxy season again, and we will soon be deluged with news profiles of CEOs living in high style as our ongoing debate on CEO pay ramps up. Last week, the floodgates opened when the New York Times released its annual survey of the 100 top-earning CEOs. Lawrence Ellison from Oracle Corporation led the list again with over $78 million in mostly stock options ... Read More »

Can the World Really End Poverty by 2030?

The slogan “make poverty history” has been used by development pundits and pop star philanthropists for years. Now, in a bid to turn words into deeds, it is being discussed as a universal global target to be met within a generation.   The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight poverty-reduction targets that were signed during a world summit in 2000, will ... Read More »