Despite Washington’s efforts to persuade its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies that a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran would serve their long-term interests, most Gulf Arab monarchs remain far from sold. In addition to economic concerns about the potential reintegration of Iranian gas and oil into global markets, the GCC fears that a thaw in U.S.-Iran relations will diminish the council’s strategic value to Washington.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was passed by Congress in 2000. It was intended to boost the global competitiveness of sub-Saharan African nations by giving them duty-free access to the U.S. market for all goods covered under the Generalized System of Preferences, plus an additional 4,000 items. Fifteen years later, however, we haven’t seen huge imports from any of the AGOA countries. Why is that?
Nearly four years after NATO-backed rebels toppled the former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the North African country has plunged into chaotic unrest. The failure of last year’s election to achieve political unity in Libya was most evident when Fajr Libya or “Libya Dawn” — a diverse coalition of armed groups that includes an array of Islamist militias — rejected the election’s outcome and seized control of Tripoli.
The recent story of a Liberian man in Dallas who had Ebola sparked a political conflagration around travel restrictions for countries where there are Ebola cases. The virus does not appear to have spread from him to anyone that did not come into direct contact with him in the Dallas hospital.
President Obama recently hosted the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. He welcomed over 40 African heads of state and their outsized entourages to what was a festive affair. Indeed, even the Ebola virus in West Africa failed to dampen spirits in the nation’s capital. Perhaps it was the billions of dollars in African investment, announced by America’s great private companies, that was so uplifting.
Experts estimate the Chinese have developed more than 1,700 projects in Africa between 2000 and 2011.(1) And National Public Radio recently aired a report detailing China’s growing ambition there, indicating that the continent is not only a place with abundant natural resources, but now a potential giant market for Chinese consumer goods. American businesses should take note of the critical shift in China’s African strategy.
Egypt held its presidential election on May 25, and, as seemed a foregone conclusion, the victor was Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former commander of the armed forces and the leader of the coup that toppled the Islamist government of President Mohammed Morsi in June 2013. The recently retired military leader won 96.9 percent of the vote in a contest with only one other challenger.
The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls has captured international attention and sparked a twitter campaign. Yet few outside of Nigeria paid attention as the terrorist group responsible, Boko Haram, killed thousands of people in previous attacks on churches, schools, police stations, newspaper offices, beer halls, bus terminals, and more. When the organization assaulted a school with male students, it simply murdered them.
As the global economy continues to evolve, world populations continue to shift — and at a rate faster than ever. As a result, an understanding of these trends can help a company determine whether its target markets are growing or shrinking, and where to focus its resources. But that’s not all. Population demographics also can determine the likelihood of civil strife, and economic and political instability.
Senate and local elections held in December reinforced the dominant position of the governing PDG, which won more than 60 percent of the vote nationwide. In January, President Ali Bongo named Daniel Ona Ondo as his prime minister. Ona Ondo’s predecessor, Ndong Sima, came under widespread criticism for his handling of a teachers’ strike in 2013. The new prime minister is an economist by training.
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