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One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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The impact of a global value chain in South India on the rural areas in its vicinity

02 Jun 2017 04:26:45 GMT

The expansion of garment manufacturing in Tiruppur has transformed the surrounding countryside as well as the town, both as garment manufacturing has spread into the countryside and through the knock-on effects of having a dynamic and relatively labour intensive industrial sector nearby. It has provided a valuable alternative to agriculture as agriculture has been running into problems. Many of the people previously employed in agriculture have moved into garment manufacturing and associated activities as the garment sector has expanded. There have been new opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as for labour, not only directly in garment and other manufacturing but in trade and services, transport, construction, et al. as well. The paper uses data collected in 2008/9, and in 1981/2 and 1996, in villages 20-30 km north west of Tiruppur to show how the expansion of the garment sector has changed the local rural economy, and how access to the new opportunities in the garment sector has been structured by gender, caste, and age.

What emerges from these data is that ‘Tiruppur’ has provided direct employment to large numbers from less well-placed households, many of whom now commute to work in Tiruppur and elsewhere. It has also pushed wages up in agriculture and other occupations, including those that are not directly related to the expansion of the garment sector. Considerably more than half of the working population is still engaged in agriculture however. Roughly half of the remainder work in the garment sector, and half in non-agricultural occupations other than garments. The paper shows that more women are now ‘housewives’ staying at home as their husbands are earning more. Labour is strongly supported by welfare measures introduced by the state – programmes such as the PDS (public distribution system) which supplies subsidised food and essential commodities, mid-day meals in school, and now also the NREGS (national rural employment guarantee scheme).

All of these state interventions have had a significant effect on the local economy. Educational provision has expanded very considerably too and is now beginning to produce returns for members of the lowest social strata as well as for those that are better off. One of the worrying factors is that women still receive very substantially lower wages than men however. Caste is still also a major source of differentiation. This is all still very much a ‘low road’ path of development which may have been appropriate in a period in which soaking up surplus labour was a priority. It is no longer appropriate in the Tiruppur region now. The tightening of the labour market might be expected to lead to some upgrading of skills and productivity. It is difficult to see the shift to higher productivity happening without substantial state support of a kind that does not seem to be on the cards. Tamil Nadu is a state that is championing a private sector-led development path – as elsewhere in India, if not more so – right now.

Labouring for global markets: CSR lessons from a South Indian textile export cluster, Global Insights Briefing, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex.

02 Jun 2017 04:18:55 GMT

This briefing explores the ways in which Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies affect labour regimes and the lives of workers at manufacturing sites in the Global South. It describes workers’ reactions to these policies, and the choices they make when faced with different regimes of work. The briefing calls for a recognition by labour standard interventions of the variety of employment regimes and the diversity of the workforce, and it addresses some possible ways to improve the particular conditions of women workers and migrant workers employed in large export industries in the Global South. In particular, it points to the importance of addressing workers’ needs and vulnerabilities outside the factories and in the urban neighbourhoods where they reside.

Labouring for global markets: Conceptualising labour agency in global production networks

30 May 2017 05:39:01 GMT

This article starts with the recognition that labour has received less than its fair share of empirical and analytical attention in scholarship on global production networks. Little is known about how jobs for export markets fit into workers’ wider livelihoods strategies, or how workers react to new employment opportunities available to them. Based on evidence from the Tiruppur garment cluster in Tamil Nadu, South India, the article takes labourers, their livelihoods and their social reproduction as its starting point. It reviews relevant labour geography and GPN literature, and suggests that labour agency has been almost solely conceptualised in terms of collective forms of organised worker resistance.

The article then draws on material from South India to examine how people enter garment work as well as the multiple and everyday forms of agency they engage in. We follow a ‘horizontal’ approach that accounts for gender, age, caste and regional connections in the making and constraining of agency. Such an approach reveals how labour agency is not merely fashioned by vertically linked production networks but as much by social relations and livelihood strategies that are themselves embedded in a wider regional economy and cultural environment. The article argues that labour’s multiple and everyday forms of agency not only help to shape local developments of global capitalism but also to produce transformative effects on workers’ livelihoods, social relations and reproductive capacities.

Economic integration and development partnerships: Southern perspectives

28 Mar 2017 12:16:17 GMT

As part of its work programme on capacity-building among developing countries on global and regional economic issues RIS has been conducting its flaghship Capacity-Building Programme on International Economic Issues and Development Policy (IEIDP) under the ITEC/SCAAP programme of the Ministry of External Affairs.
The programme is aimed to inculcate in participants enhanced understanding on challenges and opportunities associated with the processes of globalization and development. It is also designed to expose the participants to the growing complexities of global economic issues and negotiations and to build their analytical skills to deal with them. In this year’s programme, conducted from 13 February-10 March 2017, 33 participants from 25 countries took part.
The participants enthusiastically engaged in technical sessions and group discussions. They identified critical areas to deliberate upon and eventually come up with status papers highlighting regional and global contexts and country experiences.
Based on individual areas of expertise and inclination, they formed five thematic groups. This report comprises of contributions from each group:
  • Drivers and Experience of Regional Integration in Asia and Africa
  • South-South Cooperation: Select Country Experiences
  • Financing for Development: Developing Countries’ Perspectives
  • Economic Growth of Developing Countries in the Globalization Context:  Lessons from some Developing Countries
  • SDGs in Post-Truth: Do SDGs Matter for Developing Countries?

Our collective interest: why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action

05 Jul 2016 11:21:13 GMT

The period to 2020 offers a real opportunity for transformation towards a more inclusive, peaceful, prosperous and equitable world - and Europe has a central role to play. The basic building blocks are in place and include the Lisbon Treaty, the Europe 2020 strategy, the 2005 European Consensus of Development, and the 2012 EU Agenda for Change.
The authors identify five global challenges which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and in relation to which the EU’s performance as a global actor can be judged. These are:
  • The world economy. Is the world economy becoming more equitable, resilient and democratic? Is the EU contributing to better and more inclusive trade and finance regimes which allow for full participation by all?
  • Environmental sustainability. Is the world set on a more sustainable path, in which the EU is playing its part internally and externally, especially with regard to climate change and the necessity of a green economy?
  • Peace and security. Is the world becoming more peaceful and secure? And is the EU contributing to the prevention of violent conflict and to peaceful societies?
  • Democracy  and  human  rights.  Is  the  world  better  governed  and  more  democratic?  Is  there  greater respect for human rights around the world? And is the EU acting effectively to understand and support democratic political change?
  • Poverty  and  inequality.  Have  poverty  and  inequality  declined?  And  is  the  EU  acting  effectively  to understand and tackle the drivers of poverty and inequality?

The international economic environment and the Philippine economy

18 Mar 2016 02:11:02 GMT

This paper focuses on two important developments in the international economic environment facing the Philippines: openness, integration and globalisation and the rise of China and Asia Pacific. The paper highlights that the Philippines is in the midst of a region where its neighboring countries are on their way to greater economic openness and deeper economic integration. The country has followed suit and is in fact a member of various international trade organisations. 

The Philippines in the global trading environment: looking back and the road ahead

16 Mar 2016 11:34:19 GMT

The government of the Philippines has implemented substantial trade and investment policy reforms during the last two decades following a th ree-track approach involving unilateral, regional and multilateral modalities towards freer trade and investment. The reforms resulted to improvements in domestic resource allocation, increased productivity, increased competitiveness of manufacturing industries, expansion of exports and the increased integration of the country in th e global market. Yet the growth of the industry sector, particularly manufacturing, has not been as robust as many had expected, leading some sectors to question the reforms. This requires some hard thinking but at the same time pose a great challenge to policymakers. The experience of the country during th e past two decades shows that getting the most out of international trade is not just a matter of shift away from exports of primary commodities to exports of manufactures .

This paper argues that the effect of international trade on the country’s economic growth depends largely on how much of that trade is linked to the domestic economic activity. In effect, the fundamental policy issue for the government is not one of more or less trade liberalization, but how best to extract from the country’s partic ipation in the global trading system the elements that will promote economic development, especially now that the global trading environment is becoming much more complex than what it was two decades ago. This paper addresses this issue, including the opportunities as well as the challenges that lie ahead for the country under the emerging more complex global trading environment.

Globalization and state sapacity: the Philippines

15 Mar 2016 10:00:59 GMT

The arrival of globalization has brought about a lot of challenges for nations to meet. This paper takes a look at the capability of the Philippine state to cope with the demands of globalization. It documents the rules, laws, regulations, institutions and agencies that underlie the administrative capacity of the Philippines to promote trade and investments, and thereby achieve economic growth. A review and analysis of Philippine practices and experience is undertaken to determine the state’s readiness for globalization.

The study will cover three aspects of state capacity that contribute to the promotion of trade and investments:

  • administrative capacity
  • systems of transparency and accountability, and
  • legal and judicial frameworks

Finally the paper recommends areas wherein the Philippine government must focus on based on the three aspects as well as suggests follow up in-depth studies on issues covering: capacity to promote healthy competition; regulatory framework and capacity; capacity to develop industries, sectors, and regions; policies for social development, redistributive justice, and poverty reduction; policies to promote performance, productivity, and competitiveness; and policies to protect the environment.

Islamic economy: its relevance to the globalization of economy in the Muslim Filipino areas

14 Mar 2016 12:12:30 GMT

This study confines on the relevance of Islamic economy to global trade, investment and industry in Muslim Filipino areas. It is useful, valuable and a reference material in the formulation of economic policies, plan and strategies. Islam encourages legitimate economic activities. It condemns usury, hoarding, business monopoly and speculative business and believes in free trade. Its basic principles (truthfulness, honesty, and justice) and other significant elements are acceptable to the Muslims and adoptable in the Philippine setting. It is suggested that orientation programs on the global business be conducted in the Muslim areas. Capital must be available to Muslim businessmen by way of responsive financial institution. Communication, transportation and tourism facilities be provided and improved. Accreditation of Islamic organization to examine goods and commodities in accordance with Islam. Peace and order must be maintained. Establishment of Islamic pawnshops.

SMEs in the Philippine manufacturing industry and globalization: meeting the development challenges

03 Mar 2016 11:44:20 GMT

In recognition of their substantial contribution to the economy both in terms of number of enterprises and workers, the Philippine government has put in place a number of policies and programs designed specifically to boost SME productivity and competitiveness in the country. However, the performance of SMEs in the last decade has not been vigorous enough to boost the Philippine manufacturing industry. As such, the deepening of high technology industries in terms of the creation of backward linkages has remained weak. While the country’s exports of high technology products have grown rapidly, the value added of these exports is very low due to the limited links of large domestic and foreign companies to the domestic economy. Rapid changes in the international trade and the growing complexity of global production system, pose a significant challenge to Filipino SMEs.

This paper reviews existing government SME policies as well as recent developments in the manufacturing sector, within the context of the emerging global production network. The paper draws on the findings of a survey interview of SMEs in the automotive, electronics, and garments sectors. The paper highlights the importance of creating a separate government office that would coordinate SME policies and programs to support the integration of SMEs in the global production chain.

Globalization and the need for strategic government-industry cooperation in the Philippine automotive industry

03 Mar 2016 11:18:57 GMT

The industry’s lack of competitiveness, absence of economies of scale and a weak supply base are the fundamental issues that must be addressed in order to strengthen the industry and integrate it with regional production networks of foreign automakers. The entry of cheap, smuggled second-hand vehicles has put tremendous pressure on the industry. Immediate government action to address smuggling and design a coherent set of policies and a comprehensive strategy to improve industry competitiveness is urgently needed. A temporary adjustment program is necessary to help both assemblers and parts makers face competition in the future and more importantly, in preparation for the implementation of zero tariffs under the AFTA in 2010. If smuggling continues and our competitiveness remains weak, the auto industry may just be a thing of the past as auto companies shift from CKD to CBU operations. This is the reality of doing business under the globalisation age.

Increasing globalization and AFTA in 2003: what are the prospects for the Philippine automotive industry?

02 Mar 2016 01:27:42 GMT

The Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme represents the main mechanism to remove barriers to intra-ASEAN trade. Its adoption will entail intraregional tariffs ranging from zero to five percent. AFTA and the increasing globalization (which occurs through trade and foreign direct investment) of the automotive industry poses both risks and opportunities for us. The opportunities would come from the effects of a bigger market and liberalization combined with the cost advantages that firms in the country may offer. However, some sectors fear that the AFTA-CEPT plan would precipitate the industry's total demise as domestic firms would not be able to compete in a more liberalized environment.

This paper traces the government policies that have shaped the development of the Philippine automotive industry. It assesses the performance and industry structure that evolved in response to the changing government policies. It also examines the strategies of firms in anticipation of the liberalized environment brought about by AFTA 2003.

Liberalization and regional integration: the Philippines' strategy to global competitiveness

02 Mar 2016 01:17:28 GMT

Globalization and the rapid development of information and communication technology have resulted to the deepened economic interdependence of nations and regions around the world. Markets are opened allowing producers to penetrate more markets and consumers to have greater choices. The new competitive setting requires greater competitiveness so that each nation can participate in and benefit from globalization.

The paper examines the policies pursued by the Philippines in response to the increasing economic integration and interdependence of nations and regions around the world, focusing in particular on the country’s multi-track approach to trade and investment liberalization. The country’s experience points to the importance of domestic policies that foster domestic efficiency and competitiveness before one can participate in regional integration and face global competition. The country first pursued trade and investment liberalization policies in the 1980s and 1990s to eliminate the inefficiency of domestic industries arising from its past protectionist regime. The unilateral liberation efforts resulted to a better allocation of resources and improvement in the overall competitiveness of domestic industries. The improved competitiveness enabled the country to participate in the 1990s in regional trading arrangements, AFTA and APEC, and in the much bigger WTO.

The challenge facing the country now is how to deepen and expand its participation in regional integration as the proliferation of regional trading arrangements has brought forth many new competitors for the country, both for its export markets and sources of foreign direct investment. Areas where further reforms are necessary are identified to enable the country to realize the full gains from economic integration

From deprivation to distribution: is global poverty becoming a matter of national inequality

11 Feb 2016 01:24:26 GMT

The majority of the world’s poor, by income and multi-dimensional poverty measures, live in countries classified by the World Bank as middle-income countries. Such patterns matter beyond the
thresholds of low-income countries and middle-income countries (LICs/MICs) set by the World Bank, because they reflect a pattern of rising average incomes and although the thresholds do not mean a sudden change in countries when a line is crossed in per capita income, substantially higher levels of average per capita income imply substantially more domestic resources available for poverty reduction.

This paper asks the following question: does the shift in global poverty towards middle-income countries (MICs) mean that global poverty is becoming a matter of national inequality? This paper argues that many of the world’s extreme poor already live in countries where the total cost of ending extreme poverty is not prohibitively high as a percentage of GDP. And in the not-too-distant future, most of the world’s poor will live in countries that do have the domestic financial scope to end at least extreme poverty and, in time, moderate poverty. This will likely pave the way for addressing poverty reduction as primarily a domestic issue rather than primarily an aid and international issue; and thus a (re)framing of poverty as a matter of national distribution and national social contracts and political settlements between elites, middle classes and the poor.

Globalisation lived locally: new forms of control, conflict and response among labour in Kerala, examined through a labour geography lens

09 Feb 2016 04:19:30 GMT

With the support of the labour geography framework, this study tries to analyse how the economic geography of capitalism is shaped by the spatial practices of labour. We look into a model, not upon a global scale but at a very local scale of organisation and show how organising locally can, in fact, be an effective strategy during confrontation with social actors organised at the global and other extra-local scales. The study raises the need for going against the grain by questioning global stereotypes with regard to expected economic responses to globalisation.

This paper argues that labour has been actively involved in the very process of globalisation itself and the expansion of capital in general. In this paper I take up this particular thread of argument and empirically show how it is important and relevant in the globalisation literature. I deal specifically with one region – Kerala – and particularly the processes in its labour markets, taking the case of apparel workers in two units in an export promoting industrial park in Kerala.

Women's livelihoods, global markets and citizenship

09 Feb 2016 03:59:03 GMT

The underlying assumption of the economic integration epitomised by
globalisation was that it would lead to greater economic participation and an enhancement of livelihood opportunities, which in turn would have positive impacts on citizens and their practice of citizenship. This integration would open new spaces and create new mechanisms for interaction between various actors in governance processes.

Economic participation in the global economy manifests in two principal ways: the export of local products for global marketing through multinational corporations (MNCs), or the local marketing of goods that are globally produced by MNCs. Both models have the potential to increase livelihood
opportunities for the poor and those hitherto excluded from the market. If the second model is followed, what avenues for market integration might create more sustainable livelihoods for rural women? Can this model provide a sustainable source of income for such women? As rural women are integrated into global markets, what are the implications for their identities? Do they see themselves as an integral part of the global marketplace, with important links to the global economy? Or do they continue to maintain local, regional or maybe national identities? When these women claim rights, to whom do they turn? Do they ask governments to mediate on their behalf? Do they consider the medium of their integration, the MNCs, as their obligator? What kinds of organising efforts evolve for such claim-making purposes?

This paper examines Project Shakti, an initiative promoted jointly by the
government of India and Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the Indian division of Unilever, a large multinational corporation. It looks at the ways in which changing patterns of power and governance affect the meaning, experiences and practices of citizenship in a globalising world.

Impact of the global recession on migration and remittances in Kerala : new evidences from the Return Migration Study (RMS) 2009

09 Feb 2016 02:59:03 GMT

This study has brought to light some of the broad dimensions of the problems created by the global recession on Kerala emigrants – the number of emigrants who became unemployed, the number who lost
jobs abroad, the number who were forced to return to Kerala, the countries in which the returnees had been working, the districts they hailed from, the sector of economic activity they were engaged in before the recession, and their demographic and socio-economic characteristics.

The study also gives a rough estimate of the number of households that
received smaller amounts as household cash remittances in 2009
compared to what they received in 2008; and the number of households
that received remittances in 2008, but not in 2009.

Groups that deserve special consideration in combating the adverse impact of the recession:

  • families in Kerala of the 56,000 emigrants abroad who lost their jobs
  • families in Kerala of the unknown number of emigrants abroad who suffered loss of income due to salary cuts and increase in the cost of living
  • 173,000 emigrants who returned home during the recession
  • 63,000 emigrants who returned in 2009 as a direct result of the recession
  • 28,000 return emigrants who are still unemployed
  • 431,000 Kerala households that received smaller amounts as remittances in 2009 compared with what they received in 2008
  • 90,000 Kerala households that received remittances in 2008, but no remittances in 2009


Addressing the defaults of globalization

18 Jan 2015 09:35:08 GMT

Globalisation is not a new and recent phenomenon. Globalisation started right way at the beginning of the history of mankind, as soon as people began to communicate and trade with each other, to visit land beyond the horizon of their own livelihoods and to migrate to areas that promised better chances for survival and economic progress. So, globalisation is of all times. However, it got new dimensions in the first half of the previous century.

Politics did not steer development, growth, welfare, poverty reduction or the protection of the environment. Politics followed the market and aimed at improving the workings of market mechanism by creating a level playing field for market forces, ensuring the world wide mobility of information, technology, capital, money and goods. Technological breakthroughs had given a major boost to worldwide information and communication. For the first time in world history the world economy became a true world market. Transnational financial and economic corporations became bigger and bigger, entered into mergers and became conglomerates with activities in many different economic sectors, whereby also the distinction between the financial sector and the real economy became less significant. Decisions concerning investment, production, marketing and trade in the real economy were taken in the same circles which decided about money and finance, buying and selling shares and companies, transferring short term and long term capital all around the globe, taking risks and assessing these risks.

So, globalisation got a new face again. In the 1990s the framework of the United Nations, in the Bretton Woods institutions and WTO was discussed. The negotiations resulted in a further facilitation of globalisation. The aim was to create a worldwide level playing field for production, finance, insurance, trade and capital movements. The world market should work as efficiently as possible.

Local Exchange Systems – Designing Community Incentives: A Discussion on Alternate Economics to Strengthen Local Economy and Facilitate Sustainable Adaptation

08 Dec 2014 10:56:15 GMT

This discussion paper argues that economic globalisation in its current form is a ‘centralising juggernaut’ which often causes large-scale resource depletion in remote eco-systems, unpredictable price variations in essential commodities and lead to macroeconomic upheaval. It argues that together with the potential of widespread impacts of climate change, the vulnerability of human settlements and the resource poor who live there are at increased risk. The paper argues that localisation appears to be the most systemic response mechanism – the manifestation of a decentralised, democratised economy that allows communities to develop ecosystems based Climate Resilient Economies.

I know. I want. I dream. Girls’ insights for building a better world

10 Sep 2014 04:00:38 GMT

In 2013, a multi-country research effort was initiated to ensure that girls’ voices would guide the global development agenda. Implemented by the research firm 2CV, in close collaboration with local research partners and NGOs, the goal of the Post-2015 Adolescent Girl Consultations was to create a platform for girls to voice their unique insights, opinions and ideas. More than five hundred girls, ages 10–19, representing the poorest and most vulnerable of their communities, participated in consultation groups spread through fourteen countries. In the form of interactive workshops, these girls shared their greatest challenges and hopes, and informed the world’s decision makers what should be done differently. Their diverse voices have been summarised into ten themes, which are categorised into three overarching categories in this report: identity; environment; assets and opportunities.

Of all topics raised, the girls discussed the importance of education most frequently and passionately. Girls spoke about education as a channel for accessing opportunities, although they still faced many obstacles to accessing and completing a quality education. They also discussed frustrations with the quality of their own education. Girls of all ages in every country expressed the desire for more education, explaining that it extends their childhoods, protects them from harm and gives them an opportunity to develop the skills and assets to be productive and empowered adults and citizens.

The report shows that there is an urgent need for legal and policy standards that are explicitly designed to respond to girls’ unique needs and vulnerabilities, while investing in campaigns and programmes to change harmful gender norms. Girls’ environments must be made safer, healthier and more supportive. Furthermore, girls have knowledge and ideas that can transform their environments, if they are provided with the space, support and resources to share and implement them.

Finally, the Girl Declaration is presented, consolidating input from two parallel efforts: the Post-2015 Adolescent Girl Consultations, and a Technical Working Group composed of experts and advocates from a range of disciplines and institutions. The Girl Declaration—written with girls, for girls—prioritises adolescent girls’ voices and needs, and is intended to directly inform preparation of the post-2015 development agenda. The declaration includes guiding principles—along with recommended goals and measurable targets—to give decision-makers and global leaders critical input to help guide action and investment, in order to maximise impact on the lives of girls in poverty. The goals in the Girl Declaration include education, health, safety, economic security, and citizenship.

[adapted from author]


The globalized world and gender rights in Nigeria: the gains, the losses

24 Aug 2014 04:21:14 GMT

There are fears that globalisation is creating increased gender inequalities worldwide. This article appraises globalisation and its effects (positive and negative) on gender equality and rights in Nigeria. The authors remind us that the deep-rooted gender inequality in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries was not brought on by globalisation. However, they posit that the situation of Nigeria’s women is progressively deteriorating due to globalisation.

Structural adjustment and the opening up of the Nigerian economy have resulted in particularly harsh effects on women, which the authors underline by showing that the overwhelming majority of poor people in Nigeria are women. The authors also show that built into globalisation are many biases that further cause gender inequality.

There are positive effects on women, however, such as increased freedom and frequency of migration, diversification of women’s interests, and a new globalised attention to the situation of women in countries like Nigeria. The authors make several recommendations to ensure that the positives outweigh the negative effects of globalisation, including the following: better research, better monitoring of women’s rights and law enforcement, and improvements in education.

Africa and the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean

13 Mar 2014 03:14:58 GMT

Throughout the history of the Indian Ocean, littoral, island and extra-regional states have vied to secure their trade routes, which in turn affects Africa. By reviewing the stakeholders’ dynamics in the Indian Ocean, the implications and challenges for Africa can be analysed.

This stakeholder review analyses the attributes and constituency of the Indian Ocean, develops a common position for definitions and gives a select history of the world’s third-largest ocean. Countries that have historically frequented the Indian Ocean continue to do so, but the intensity of their activities has increased, as their objectives centre on the common denominator of ensuring energy security and advancing maritime trade. These issues are critical not only for their survival in a world of diminishing resources and increased globalised competition, but also for emerging countries’ economies to continue to grow exponentially.

In contrast to the Indian Ocean’s increased dynamics, continental Africa’s position appears to be characterised by a passive approach. This inert position does not allow Africa to set the agenda for events that are changing the dynamics in its zone of influence, yet for which there are normative developmental imperatives. It is critical that Africa change its attitude and determines its own schedule for maritime development. Africa needs to manage these challenges pro-actively at various levels – continentally, regionally and bilaterally. By partnering with those powers that affect the forces in the Indian Ocean, Africa can be more in charge of its destiny.

Emerging powers and the changing global environment: leadership, norms and institutions

11 Mar 2014 01:48:29 GMT

The rise of economically influential countries from the developing world is still a relatively new area of research, which is receiving increasing focus from international business actors, foreign policymakers and international relations scholars.

Countries such as Brazil, China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam and the re-emerging Russia are remapping the geography of economic power. However, it is still uncertain whether these countries have sufficient political weight and policy traction to change the structure of power in multilateral processes.

Emerging powers are asserting their influence in various multilateral institutions and seeking to amplify their unified voice on critical global policy issues. Some, notably Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), have gone a step further and formed a bloc to institutionalise their growing influence and augment their bargaining capacity. This paper examines the extent to which this new phenomenon of rising powers is reshaping the global order today. It looks at how emerging powers are positioning themselves in relation to the system of global governance, the ideas they articulate, and the extent to which their rise constitutes a counter-narrative to that which is presented by the West.

The paper considers whether the rise of emerging powers signals the decline of the West, and suggests that claims about this decline are exaggerated. Research and indices developed by various international organisations are reviewed to underline several institutional weaknesses, which should be taken into account when building relations with the BRIC countries in particular, and emerging powers in general. Finally, South Africa’s place in the context of these global transformations is discussed.

The hegemony cracked: the power guide to getting care onto the development agenda.

20 Feb 2014 05:04:19 GMT

Numerous factors have played their part in keeping care of the development agenda: silence from government allows them to pass on the costs to families and communities rather than financing care as a public good; self-interest and peer-group dynamics have contributed to development practitioners avoiding the issue; and those most affected - the caregivers themselves - are often those who are most voiceless, and with least capacity to engage politically. This Institute of Development Studies working paper by Rosalind Eyben uses power analysis and the notion of hegemony to examine the historical neglect of care in the international development sector. Aimed at feminist practitioners and scholar-activists, the paper discusses how power kept care off the agenda, how cracks are emerging in the hegemony of power, and suggests strategies for operating within the present policy environment. Since the start of the economic crisis care issues have become more visible, presenting opportunities to get care onto the development agenda. Eyben argues these opportunities come in the form of ‘cracks’ in the current economic hegemony into which feminist activism can reach. A number of suggestions are made regarding policy strategising, including the need for a reflexive approach to policy change, and the advantages of ‘small wins’ through the process of naming, framing, claiming, and programming care issues. Eyben notes that one of the reasons as to why care stays invisible is because it seems to fit nowhere, impacting as it does on a broad swathe of sectors and issues. Yet this does not mean that it should be ignored; conversely, it also means that care can fit everywhere, gifting many potential opportunities for progress. The conclusion of the paper reminds us not to underestimate the challenge of getting care into development policies and practice, tied as it is to deep-rooted neoliberal policies wedded to the idea of austerity and cutting back the state. Additionally, the global nature of the industry, together with the socioeconomic barriers to political participation of caregivers themselves, have hidden care from national discourse and policy agendas. Feminists in the international development sector must engage with global economic justice and development movements to persuade them of their self-interest in promoting care issues.

Seen, heard and counted: rethinking care in a development context

19 Feb 2014 06:15:02 GMT

This is a diverse collection of contributions covering various aspects of care from around the world, from Chinese women’s burdens under economic reform, to the political and social organisation of childcare in Argentina. Razavi is also the author of the introductory chapter which provides a general background to the special issue, before exploring the institution of ‘family’, its relationship within wider development contexts, and reflections on the politics of care. Most of the contributions to the book provide country-based analyses of the social economy of care and relevant policy developments, with a focus on national-level processes. This includes the institutional dynamics of care provision, its gendered and class character, its intersection with policy processes, and its interactions with broader trends. Following the introduction, Ito Peng writes on the political economy of social care expansion in South Korea; a legacy of family disruption in South Africa is discussed; and a care regime examined the context of an exclusionary social policy context (Nicaragua). Other contributions include ‘A Perfect Storm? Welfare, Care, Gender and Generations in Uruguay’, which examines the mature but increasingly inefficient welfare system in place that defies evolutionary progress, as well as a look at the care regime in India through the lens of childcare. Finally, childhood education, mother’s employment and care service expansion in Mexico and Chile, and a chapter on the transnationalisation of care, conclude the volume.

Best investments in emerging markets: MINT is the next BRIC

03 Jan 2014 11:09:50 GMT

A catchy new acronym is gaining traction and points to the next big opportunity in emerging markets. Four emerging markets - Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey - make up the MINT economies. Like BRIC before them, these four are expected to outpace the developed world over coming years.

Like BRIC, MINT is the creation of former Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O'Neill. Originally, MINT was MIST; O'Neill dropped South Korea in favour of Nigeria in October 2013. This briefing introduces the new acronym.

From rhetoric to rights: global response to human trafficking

28 Nov 2013 09:47:25 GMT

Globalization is a double-edged sword for human rights, pushing people out of place while giving them a global voice to protest their plight, slicing some traditional bonds while weaving new ones (Brysk ed. 2002). While globalization liberates some from traditional economies and cultures, the worst victims of globalization are usually those whose domestic disempowerment makes them vulnerable to new forms of transnational. Exploitation – all too often, women and children. The emerging international human rights regime, crafted to restrain inter-state abuses like war crimes and governments’ abuse of their own citizens, is challenged to cope with “private wrongs” in which non-state authorities violate vulnerable “people out of place.” (Brysk 2005, Brysk and Shafir 2004) For problems like human trafficking, the best response to this new threat to human rights is to harness the information politics and global civil society dimensions of globalization against the economic displacement and weakening of state protection it generates. But since human rights campaigns operate by “framing and shaming,” the rhetoric of monitoring, scholarship, and advocacy both enables and constrains an effective response. (Brysk 2009)

The problem of human trafficking is one of the best cases of gaining significant international response by framing a complex human rights issue that affects an especially powerless population in simple and powerful rhetoric. It is an issue that literally provides poster children; archetypal innocent victims evoking humanitarian protection. Moreover, attention and policy increased vastly when advocates linked the growing problem to the well-established, powerful frame of slavery. Framing was slightly slowed because trafficking is perpetrated predominantly by non-state actors, but the malefactors are usually identifiable and the causal chain is not complex. Although there are a variety of perpetrators, framing as sex slavery concentrated attention on pariah criminal networks rather than complicit kin. Similarly, the solution component of the frame was sufficient because while leverage over non-state perpetrators is more limited than freeing political prisoners held by a government, states do have a responsibility and theoretical capacity to protect the victims, and are charged with negligence rather than covert sponsorship. Finally, the sex slavery frame provides a match with an unusual coalition of relatively well-positioned transnational religious, feminist, and human rights organizations, bypassing the relatively weaker advocates for other kinds of migrants. But the cost of this effective frame has been to selectively emphasize those aspects of the problem that fit – coercive cross border sexual exploitation of children and chaste women – diminishing attention and response to other affected populations and interrelated abuses and root causes.

Land ceilings: reining in land grabbers or dumbing down the debate?

28 Feb 2013 10:41:53 GMT

Governments in a number of countries are trying to address concerns about land grabbing by closing their borders to foreign investors. Are these restrictions effective?

Not really, says GRAIN. They give the impression that something is being done at the highest level and appeal to nationalist or pro-sovereignty sentiments. But they are very narrow approaches to a complex problem and often full of back doors and loopholes.

The service sector in Asia: is it an engine of growth?

24 Feb 2013 07:54:24 GMT

This study argues that the underdeveloped service sector in Asia has the potential to become a new engine of economic growth for developing Asia, though the region has traditionally relied on export-oriented manufacturing to power its growth.

The paper reveals that its analysis provides substantial cause for optimism about the role of the service sector as an engine of growth in Asia. In this sense, it highlights that:
  • the analysis of 12 Asian economies indicates that the service sector already contributes substantially to the region’s growth
  • furthermore, in the past, the service sector made the biggest contribution to national GDP growths comparing with other sectors
  • a number of Asian countries have been able to achieve substantial labour productivity gains in the service sector
  • in addition, the share of service sector output that is exported tends to rise over time in most Asian countries, and that is higher than developed countries

The authors conclude that services are set to play an even bigger role in the future, underlying particularly that the lower the per capita GDP, the greater the scope for labour productivity growth in the service sector.

However, the document stresses that a wide range of internal impediments—e.g., excessive regulation and state monopolies—and external impediments—e.g., barriers to services trade and FDI—shackle Asia’s service sector. The paper argues that removing those obstacles will unleash the full potential of Asia’s service sector to generate jobs and growth.

Global Financial Crisis and it’s Impact on overseas employment and international remittance of Bangladesh

23 Feb 2013 09:02:30 GMT

International remittance is an important source of foreign exchange income for the developing countries including Bangladesh. The remittance has become a focal issue in economic literature over two or more decades for its increasing volume and important role in poverty reduction.Global financial crisis started in July 2007, deepened with a collapse in global trade and finance at the end of 2008.Being a global player in the world economy especially in the garments export and wage earners as foreign expatriate, Bangladesh is no exception with this chain reaction. In the miliieu of current global economic slowdown and unprecedented uncertainty,the challenge for the country is to explore domestic market and focuses on some key sectors to robust the growth of the economy.This article presents a brief outline of global financial crisis;its impacts on overseas employment and international remittance inflow of Bangladesh;the government initiatives declared so far to counter the slowdown.

Is growth in Asia and the Pacific inclusive?

23 Feb 2013 05:29:55 GMT

The concept of inclusive economic growth (growth coupled with equality of opportunity) offers new directions in the pursuit of development. This study assesses the growth experience of 22 developing economies in Asia and the Pacific region.

The document demonstrates that to understand if inclusive growth is achieved, it is necessary to examine changes in opportunity and in the distribution of opportunity.

The study finds that:
  • in Asia, access to opportunity is generally on the rise, and inequality in opportunity is generally in decline
  • in this respect, it is evident that growth of 11 Asian economies has become more inclusive
  • furthermore, a number of Asian economies have achieved the target of equality in the provision of key, basic opportunities
  • there is nonetheless considerable room for further gains, particularly in some South and Southeast Asian economies, where inequality in opportunity is high
  • in addition, inequality in opportunity is generally lower in the Pacific economies studied
  • evidence of inclusive growth is found in a number of Central Asian economies, but the key challenge is to achieve a high, sustainable rate of economic growth

Conclusions are as follows:
  • comparisons across countries of the inclusiveness of growth face a challenge in identifying indicators that are sufficiently meaningful in all countries
  • therefore, the basis for measuring inclusive growth should ideally be tailored to each country
  • a larger study which examined a broader range of indicators drawn on wider views of how surveyees interpret inclusive growth would help deepen the understanding of the inclusiveness of economic growth

Poor governance, good business: how land investors target countries with weak governance

16 Feb 2013 09:01:05 GMT

Investors are buying up vast tracks of land across the developing world in a modern day ‘land rush’. This analysis by Oxfam explores where land is changing hands and why. It finds that investors appear to be targeting countries with weak governance in order to secure land quickly and cheaply. It is revealed that over three quarters of the 56 countries where land deals were agreed between 2000 and 2011 scored below average on four key governance indicators. Moreover, in countries where national governments are more accountable to their citizens and where rule of law and control of corruption is strong, local people and communities will have a better chance to have their voices and interests represented in land deals. Oxfam urges the World Bank to announce a temporary freeze on its agricultural investments which involve large scale land acquisition so it can review its advice to developing countries, help set standards for investors and introduce more robust policies to stop land-grabs.

Infrastructure in the comprehensive development of Latin America: strategic diagnosis and proposals for a priority agenda

14 Feb 2013 07:49:10 GMT

In coming decades, Latin America will have the opportunity of consolidating its progress toward comprehensive development. However, this paper argues this will be confirmed only if countries are able to achieve just and equitable societies that promote opportunities and inclusion, and a more diversified insertion in the world economy with greater value added.

The author thinks that to confront these challenges, there need to be substantial improvements in a number of factors such as education, innovation capacity, the quality of institutions, and the quality of infrastructure and its associated services. However, the document notices that infrastructure in Latin America lags behind that of other regions of the world and the lags are more acute in some sectors and countries.

Conclusions contain:
  • the strategic agenda for infrastructure in Latin American countries must be based on an understanding of the situation of the infrastructure sectors to extend and improve their services
  • investment efforts in infrastructure must be aimed at increasing the coverage and quality of water and sanitation services, promoting and supporting urban public transportation and developing infrastructure for regional integration
  • the main required elements are financing, improvements in policies, and an adequate consideration of environmental and social aspects
  • the use of multiple financing sources and modalities should be optimised, the use of infrastructure should be rationalised, and the capacity for project preparation in the short term should be strengthened
  • the exchange between governments, regions, and cities should be promoted – the region’s bilateral and multilateral fora constitute valuable initiatives in this direction

The Micronesian exodus

03 Feb 2013 06:35:07 GMT

Micronesia has the highest per capita net emigration rate in the world. This paper provides an overview of the Micronesian migration experience, and shows that a range of public policies can shape a country’s experience with migration.

The paper presents the following findings:
  • the exodus of citizens further complicates the region’s development challenges, not just in terms of ‘brain drain’ but also the impacts on population growth and inward migration
  • pull factors include potential for improved living standard, safety and security, political and religious freedom, family reunification and return to ethnic homeland
  • all things considered, there is very good reason to believe that the Micronesian exodus will continue

However, the author argues that governments can do more to balance the outflow of migrants, by investing more in education and growing the local economy at home.

Conclusions are as follows:
  • the primary policy aim should be to develop attractive employment prospects locally, and ensure school leavers are equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demands of a growing local labour market
  • investing in quality and fee-free higher education may also provide more options for young people to stay in the region
  • on the other hand, improved options for choice migration not only serve the personal interest but may also contribute to the national interest through more and higher remittances
  • furthermore, developing and maintaining links with the population living overseas would enable local governments, business and institutions to draw on the expertise of the diaspora

In the final analysis, the document states that there is no need to apply artificial brakes on migration. Integrating education, employment and migration policies can grow the domestic labour force, and ensure individuals can migrate with better skills thus opening more opportunities in overseas labour markets.

Applying the concept of human security to research on the consequences of mining-induced displacement and resettlement

01 Feb 2013 12:07:36 GMT

The development of international mining projects is one of the most visible consequences of globalisation. But developments in the mining industry are the cause of about 10.3 percent of all displacements in the world. This means that more than a million people per year may be resettled as a result of resource extraction in various parts of the globe. Countries displaying the greatest growth rate of this phenomenon include India, China, Ghana, and many other African counties. The most burning issue is the establishment of large open-pit mines in developing countries, such as the Tarkwa Mine in Ghana, and the Tedi and Porgera Mines in Papua Island.

The impact of mining on the dynamics of internal displacements remains a topic rarely analysed research. Authors are more concerned with displacements induced by the construction of large dams and the creation of national parks or by ongoing urbanisation processes. Instead of contributing to the well-being of local communities, the extraction of resources leads to a growing number of resettlements, environmental destruction, and a deterioration of the situation of marginalised groups.

The consequences of the aforementioned problem do not diverge significantly from other categories of development-induced displacements such as oil-induced displacement, dam-induced displacement, or conservation-induced displacement. The analysis of internal displacement has become the focus of different fields of study. Sociology, social anthropology, human rights and development studies, and even philosophy are amongst disciplines particularly useful in the exploration of the consequences of development induced displacement.

Research into this category of displacements, now under development for more than 40 years, has prompted the creation of specific theoretical concepts (i.e. the IRR model). The notion of human security also appears to be a useful scientific tool for more in-depth social analyses. Classification included in the Human Development Report published in 1994 distinguishes seven basic aspects of human security: economic security, food security, personal security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security. Extraction of mineral resources leads to substantial threats to each of these aspects. An application of the aforementioned classifications to the research on the consequences of mining-induced displacement and resettlement helps to understand the broader context of problems encountered by the displacees. However, it should also be supplemented by two specific categories: gender security and cultural security.

Another BRIC in the wall? South Africa's developmental impact and contradictory rise in Africa and beyond

11 Jan 2013 09:01:51 GMT

Globalisation is transforming the nature of authority in international relations, as hegemony is replaced by geo-governance, involving a more varied set of actors. However, private authority over markets and resources is still often constituted and refracted through states. Much has been written in this respect about China and India’s rising role in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but South Africa remains a significant regional political and economic player. Facilitated through its regional leadership, it has also recently acceded to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) cooperation mechanism, reflecting its growing international influence and the transforming nature of global governance. This article explores South African geo-governance and its impacts in SSA to consider the nature and construction of South African state power and its international influence. It concludes with some reflections on the way the South African case informs international relations and development theory.

On climate migration and international trade

08 Jan 2013 09:00:55 GMT

Climate migration is plagued by vagueness, both in terms of the numbers of potential migrants, as well as their legal rights. This article provides a legal analysis of climate migration and examines its potential impact on international trade. The paper argues that although climate migration has become one of the most widely discussed areas of climate change adaptation, there is, as yet, no solid understanding or agreement of its potential scope. The article first explores the legal options for climate migrants and then provides an analysis of the potential link between climate migration and international trade. It concludes that even though recent trends show cause for optimism with regard to the World Trade Organization's adjudicatory bodies' approaches, true security would lie in the agreements themselves embodying specific exceptions aimed at accounting for the implications of climate change-induced migration, rather than existing frameworks being extended to address these issues.

Competition and cooperation between Europe and China in the wind power sector

19 Dec 2012 09:00:59 GMT

This paper uses a value chain lens to examine the prospects for competition and cooperation between Europe and China in the global wind power sector. Drawing on insights from fieldwork conducted in 2010, combined with secondary industry data, the study finds that Chinese and European industries are developing distinct models of industrial-technological organisation. It argues that the usual headlines emphasising Sino-European competition or conflict fail to capture the complexity of current reality. While competition among lead firms is increasing, there are also considerable prospects for increased collaboration between firms across the value chains. China, Europe and the world can benefit from such collaboration to drive down the costs of the technology, improve quality, enhance innovation capabilities and make wind power a more credible energy option for the world.

Trilateral development cooperation between the European Union, China and Africa: what prospects for South Africa?

18 Dec 2012 05:43:23 GMT

This discussion paper aims at advancing the debate around trilateral development cooperation between the European Union (EU), China and Africa. The discussion on trilateral development cooperation between these three actors considers the role of the EU as a traditional donor and that of China as an emerging donor, while failing to grasp the potential of African actors. This paper addresses this analytical gap by examining the role of South Africa in a potential trilateral development partnership with the EU and China. Analysing the case study of South Africa, this paper also discusses whether trilateral development cooperation could possibly emerge as an alternative policy tool to existing bilateral and multilateral collaboration efforts between the EU and China in fostering African development.

Embracing the dragon: African policy responses for engaging China and enhancing regional integration

14 Dec 2012 09:01:17 GMT

This paper seeks to shift focus from the debate on the pros and cons of China-Africa relations to arguing that time is auspicious for Africa to develop common policy measures to manage China and making provisional policy proposals on how to do that. The paper’s argument is twofold: (1) the initial African disenchantment over China provides an incentive to compile an African ‘Chinese policy’ to manage China-Africa relations; (2) if widely adopted, an African ‘Chinese policy’ would not only refine a coordinated continental response to China, but also enhance consolidate regional convergence in key policy areas in Africa. This paper proposes pragmatic policies for embracing China – beyond praise or criticism.

The understanding and practice of development in China and the European Union

14 Dec 2012 09:01:06 GMT

China’s role in international development rose to prominence in the mid-2000s, when new Chinese actors began engaging in public and private activities in the global South. This has implications for low income countries for which China offers an alternative model of partnership and development, for the policies and practices of international aid, and the relationships between China and established donors. Failure to understand and engage with these implications could result in missing an opportunity to reverse the fortunes of countries in the global South. This paper is the first of a two-part series on China as a rising power and what this means for low income countries and the international development community. It explores the different understandings and practices of development in China and the European Union, reflecting on differences and similarities between the old and new powers in relation to development, aid and the interests, actors, policies and practices involved.

The developmental impact of Asian drivers on Ethiopia with emphasis on small-scale footwear producers

14 Dec 2012 09:00:55 GMT

This paper examines the developmental impact of China and India on Ethiopia by examining macro-level trade, investment and aid relations, and micro-level impacts on local small-scale footwear producers in Ethiopia. Both secondary and primary data were used in the study. At the macro level, there is clear evidence of an increase in trade between Ethiopia and China and India. However, the trade balance disfavours Ethiopia and China has displaced other countries as export destinations for Ethiopia. At the local level, Chinese imports of footwear have forced local enterprises to downsize their activity and lose assets and money. The paper underlines that the Ethiopian government, non-government organisations and local producers should work together in order to withstand the negative impacts of footwear imports by raising the competitiveness of the local producers.

India-east Africa ties: mapping new frontiers

08 Dec 2012 09:01:13 GMT

This edition of ‘Africa Quarterly – Indian Journal of African Affairs’ delves into India’s engagement with east Africa in all its myriad dimensions. The contributions to the journal take a critical look at areas and issues that need to be addressed, if the India-Africa relationship is to flourish to its full potential. The journal focuses on how the east African countries are becoming more and more important to India and China, due to their development curve and the conducive business environment they offer.

The elephant in the corner: reviewing India-Africa relations in the new millennium

08 Dec 2012 09:01:10 GMT

As countries of the global South seek to challenge existing uneven architectures of economic, political and institutional power, now under different circumstances to those prevailing during the Cold War, relations between African countries and various rising powers have drawn a great deal of academic and public attention. This paper reviews India’s contemporary relations with sub-Saharan Africa on four thematic points: changing geographies of Indo-African relations; trade and foreign direct investment; development cooperation; and geopolitics and diplomacy. It notes that India’s confidence as a global political and economic actor is apparent in its African diplomacy and economic engagements, but its claims to exceptionalism in such relations are not self-evident. Moreover, whether recent shifts in relations between African nations and India will work in the interests of less privileged citizens, workers and consumers in Africa and in India also remain unclear.

Rising regional powers and international institutions: the foreign policy orientations of India, Brazil and South Africa

07 Dec 2012 09:01:01 GMT

Whilst rising powers from the South emerge as key players in international politics, they confront a highly institutionalised world order established and maintained by and for the United States and its allies. Traditional perspectives identify three major patterns of behaviour for rising powers in international institutions: balancing, spoiling, and being co-opted. This article uses these perspectives to ask how the redistributive aspirations of three rising regional powers – India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) – impact on international institutions in the fields of trade, money and security. The findings indicate that there is strong variation across issue areas. Trade provides support for the spoiling perspective, while the areas of money and security exhibit aspects familiar both to the balancing and co-optation perspectives, according to the article prepared for the International Studies Association’s Asia-Pacific Regional Section Inaugural Conference, held in Australia, 2011.

Globalisation: a shifting context for development policy

07 Dec 2012 09:00:54 GMT

The chapter on globalisation from the ‘Development co-operation report 2009’ of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) builds upon the urgent call made at the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: the development community needs to make clear improvements in the co-operation instruments. It notes that the aid effectiveness agenda can, and already is, addressing many of the problems arising from the rapid changes in the development landscape by, for example, recalibrating the development co-operation system to a clear client perspective. To a certain extent, however, this means treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem. The paper urges stakeholders to start looking at the roots of the problem, learning lessons – and acting on them – to gain essential impetus and momentum from the aid effectiveness agenda and its key principles.

Charting new directions: Brazil's role in a multi-polar world

02 Dec 2012 09:00:58 GMT

Brazil has successfully and peacefully managed the transition to a democratic polity, a stable economy and an increasingly middle class society. These transitions have been based on gradual and hybrid economic, and social and international policies, which defy easy categorisation. As the contributions to this publication make clear, the refusal to be bound by the constraints of a specific paradigm brought considerable achievements to Brazil, both at home and abroad. However, in order to consolidate and further its achievements, Brazil will need to complement its creative, but sometimes piecemeal, ad hoc policies with a bolder and more strategic approach. This publication analyses Brazil’s recent economic growth and development, rise and role in the world by focusing on three core issues: sustainable growth; social cohesion; and the international emergence of Brazil.

Brazil as a development actor: South-South cooperation and the IBSA initiative

30 Nov 2012 09:01:17 GMT

This report looks at Brazil as a development partner, its external perception as an important and crucial country for regional stability, and projection of its global identity as a ‘voice’ for the developing world in crucial international debates. The report notes that, although Brazil has less economic, demographic and territorial resources than other rising powers, like China and India, it is an interesting partner for triangular development cooperation projects as it shares key values with the European Union and countries like Canada (for example, in the fields of democracy, human rights and its approach to multilateralism). It also has special know-how thanks to its domestic experiences in combating underdevelopment, hunger and health problems, and it has the added value of local, historical (post-colonial) and cultural proximity to the developing world, especially South Africa, the Caribbean and lusophone countries in Africa and Asia.

Rising powers, reforming challenges: negotiating agriculture in the WTO Doha Round from a Brazilian perspective

30 Nov 2012 09:00:54 GMT

This article examines the history of the WTO Doha Round agriculture negotiations from 2001 to 2011 in light of the shifting global balance of economic power. It shows that the rise of China, Brazil and India, among other developing countries, had an impact on the negotiations and affected the negotiating structure, processes and decision-making. The article reveals how the process of reforming the multilateral trade regime changed from past bipolar economic world of the GATT (the United States and European Union preponderance) into a multipolar economic world with the rise of emerging powers. It argues that in the past, asymmetries of power were a necessary component to the updating of the trade regime; today, reforms need to take place in the shadow of an increasingly more symmetric balance of geo-economic power and interests. The article warns that the multilateral system should not be taken for granted: it requires leadership and continuous adaptation to be preserved.

Globalisation with a twist: stability, volatility and fragility all in one

20 Nov 2012 11:44:44 GMT

It is repeatedly thought that globalisation has not made the world a more stable or equitable place. This brief explores two specific critical risks posed by globalisation for conflict-affected and fragile countries.

The paper demonstrates that:
  • globalisation has primarily enabled a vast expansion of the global marketplace for illicit goods and services that offers easy access to various resources
  • in this context, globalisation has facilitated the use of violence, and the export of arms and security services has become a thriving business
  • on the other hand, globalisation has enabled dominant economic and political ideas to be more intrusively ‘imposed’ on societies without adequate consent
  • for instance, the ‘export of democracy’ in the context of conflict has acquired a strong focus on holding elections, and it has on occasion fuelled violence

The document argues that these two risks have generated long-term volatility that manifested itself in cycles of conflict and fragility. Therefore, a strong international agenda to stabilise this dimension of globalisation is desirable.

As a result, the authors suggest the following three elements for such an agenda:
  • changing course in the current approach to the global war on drugs: the current approach characterised by criminalisation and supply-side reduction is inefficient and may have adverse effects
  • halting the spread of radical Islam as a global factor that fuels conflict: a more balanced approach is required than hunting down terrorists and freezing assets
  • better regulation of the international provision of security services: markets in security services need to be guided by a legally binding framework that establishes the conditions under which they can be provided

All things considered, the authors deem that sustainably benefiting from the gains of globalisation requires addressing its unintended effects on the basis of shared responsibility.