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Economy CSS Blog

Economic Weight and MDB Voting Power of Leading States (2019)

This graphic compares the economic weight of the world’s leading States, as well as their voting power in multilateral development banks (MDB). China has widely funded and built infrastructure in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and its own national banks play a key role in financing these large-scale projects. However, China’s policy banks also face problems of corruption, poor lending practices and repayment problems. MDBs, by contrast, tend to have higher standards and can help improve the way China engages abroad and shares the risks with other member countries.

For more on how China’s recent foray into multilateral banking brings the country multiple financial and geopolitical benefits, read Chris Humphrey & Linda Maduz’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here.

Categories
Conflict Peace

Can International Organizations Help Prevent Civil Wars?

Image courtesy of Victorgrigas/Wikimedia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 25 April 2018.

At the recent Kuwait International Conference on Reconstruction of Iraq, countries and international organizations pledged US$30 billion to reconstruct Iraq after years of war, falling well short of the US$80 billion estimated necessary by the Iraqi government. As this case aptly demonstrates, civil wars create lasting damage that can take decades to overcome. Despite such huge costs, the international community struggles to find effective ways to prevent conflict escalation, relegating their involvement to the post-conflict reconstruction phase. But might there be ways to address conflicts before they erupt into all out war?

Categories
International Relations Business and Finance Development

China’s Domino Tactics Boost Infrastructure Bank

President Jacob Zuma receiving the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping in Pretoria in March of 2013. Image: GovernmentZA/Flickr

This article was originally published by the CIPS Blog, hosted by the Centre for International Policy Studies on 22 March 2015.

China is looking ever the experienced super-power. In a week it has scooped up all the important European dominos, humiliating a U.S. government which has lobbied hard to block the launch of China’s new $50b Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The dominos have fallen quickly. Last week it was the UK’s turn to join, preferring its commercial interest and geo-political judgment over its friendship with the U.S. Now it is a coordinated set of EU announcements from France, Germany and Italy. The driver was their desire to be well-connected economic partners in Asia, but there was also an element of blowback on U.S. geo-political arrogance, be it spying on Angela Merkel or military jingoism towards Russia.

Categories
International Relations Business and Finance Development

The BRICS Are Back, With a Bank

Image: Presidential Press and Information Office/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the East Asia Forum on 2 August 2014.

The BRICS countries met for their sixth annual summit in Brazil this month, setting out to establish a counterweight to Western-dominated global financial institutions.

The summit’s key achievement was the establishment of the long-awaited BRICS New Development Bank. The bank will press for a bigger say in the global financial order — which is centred on the IMF and the World Bank. While China won the race for the bank’s headquarters, set to be located in Shanghai, India secured the presidency. The bank is a sign of the growing influence of the BRICS which together account for 18 per cent of world trade, 40 per cent of the global population and a combined GDP of US$24 trillion.

Categories
Security Global Voices

Zambia Fixes Maize Price Again, Flustering World Bank

A giant Nshima pot
A giant Nshima pot, Zambia 2008. Photo by Mark Hemsworth (used with permission)

Nshima, the stodgy porridge-like substance cooked out of maize-meal, has divided families and triggered food riots in Zambia at one time or other. This is why subsequent governments have kept a keen eye on the growing, harvesting, buying and selling of maize-meal to consumers.

The production of maize — or corn as it is known in other parts of the world —  is an even bigger issue in the mining region of the Copperbelt and metropolitan areas like the capital, Lusaka, where large working populations rely on the commercial supply of the product. Accordingly, maize determines the political direction of the nation.

In May, the World Bank urged the Zambian government not to interfere in determining the floor prices of maize sold by farmers to the Food Reserve Agency and other interested parties in the agri-business chain. Despite such calls, the Ministry of Agriculture announced this year’s floor price of maize at K65, 000 (about $13 USD) per 50 kilo bag.