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  • Author: Stein Sundstol Eriksen
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2017–2018, NUPI (the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs) headed a project where political economy analyses were undertaken in eleven of Norway’s partner countries. These analyses were published as eleven separate reports. The reports focused on power relations and political developments in the partner countries, but they also analyzed the nature of governance. After the publication of the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators for 2019, the MFA approached NUPI and requested that we summarize the findings of this report for Norway’s eleven partner countries and assess these findings in light of the political economy analyses. We were also asked to investigate whether there were any connections between the nature and quality of governance on the one hand, and the nature of social policies and the human rights situation on the other. This report presents the findings of this assessment of the governance scores in the light of the above-mentioned political economy analyses. The report is structured as follows: Firstly, after briefly describing the governance indictors used by the World Bank, we summarize the eleven countries’ scores on the various governance indicators. Secondly, we assess the evolution of governance in the eleven countries, by comparing the scores in the 2019 report with those from 2011. Thirdly, we summarize the findings of the political economy analyses of the eleven countries and discuss how they fit with the governance scores. Finally, we present the eleven countries’ expenditure on social policies, as reported in the ILOs World Social Protection Report, and the human rights situation for the partner countries, and then describe how these findings relate to the governance scores.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Political Economy, Governance, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Norway
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy is emerging from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain growth and at the same time achieve climate and technology goals, the Biden administration is pushing large socio-economic programmes. To pass them in Congress, the administration will be forced to reach compromises with factions within the Democratic Party. Biden also will need some Republican support. In foreign policy, these programmes aim to strengthen the U.S. position in its rivalry with China, something that also opens greater possibilities for closer cooperation with the EU.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, COVID-19, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Engin Yüksel
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This report assesses the impact of Turkish-Qatari cooperation between 2002 and 2020 on conflict and geopolitical competition across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa based on close examination of its drivers. The report notes that neither ideological nor economic drivers adequately explain the recent blossoming of Turkish-Qatari relations. Converging political interests and pragmatism offer a more compelling explanation. On the one hand, Turkey aspires to play a regional leadership role and uses its cooperation with Qatar to strengthen its soft power claim to leadership of the Sunni world. On the other hand, Qatar seeks to ensure its territorial and dynastical safety from Saudi Arabia and its allies – the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain (the Quartet) – by working with Turkey, the recent thaw of the Al-Ula declaration notwithstanding. Turkish-Qatari collaboration is therefore best seen as a pragmatic partnership enabled by compatible geopolitical perspectives, particularly regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, Partnerships, Geopolitics, Conflict, Muslim Brotherhood
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Author: Jos Meester, Johannes Claes, Claire Elder, Guido Lanfranchi
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This report explores SME growth and resilience in the fragile Somali context during the COVID-19 pandemic, including its relation to wider political-economic developments. The pandemic has demonstrated how Somali businesses have continued to be resilient and at times even thrive during crisis, but it has also exposed the sizeable vulnerability associated with the Somali territories’ trade, import dependence and financing system. The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply and trans-shipment of goods. This has created shortages and price fluctuations for Somalia’s import-based economy and hampered the country’s payment system. It has also reduced remittances, buying power, access to finance and tax revenues. Shifts in funding streams have realigned political financing patterns and created price instability as political actors seek new ventures through which to move funds. Although the economic shock brought about by COVID-19 has not structurally changed the Somali political economy, it has exacerbated existing patterns of inequality. The contribution of the private sector to the COVID-19 response has likely supported a range of livelihoods throughout the Somali territories, yet the preferential access to governance and strong competitive position that allowed this also highlights a worrying level of inequality and market concentration, and raises questions regarding government legitimacy. It seems likely that the COVID-induced economic crisis has therefore reinforced rather than destabilised those dynamics that prevent small businesses from competing on an equal footing and fragile situations from developing and stabilising.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Politics, COVID-19, Fragile Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Aldo Ferrari, Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, Maxim Matusevich, Marianne Belenkaya, Andrei Kolesnikov, Alicja Curanović, Alexander Graef, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: What drives Russia’s foreign policy in Vladimir Putin’s times? Why did the Kremlin decide to annex Crimea, occupy South Ossetia, intervene in Syria, or give its blessing to Nord Stream II? When explaining Russia’s foreign policy, the consolidation of Putin’s autocratic tendencies and his apparent stability despite many economic and political challenges have contributed – at least in the West – to an excessive “Putin-centrism” and the relative neglect of other agents of domestic politics. As a result, many facets of the country’s foreign policy decisions are misunderstood or shrouded under a thin veil of vagueness and secrecy. This Report attempts to fill this gap, exploring the evolving distribution of political and economic power under the surface of Putin’s leadership to assess the influence of different “lobbies” on Russia’s foreign policy. Who decides what in Moscow? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not always “Vladimir Putin”. All of the contributions in the volume underline the complexity of Russia’s decision-making process beneath the surface of a monolithic and increasingly personalistic government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Politics, Authoritarianism, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Kaan Sahin, Tyson Barker
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Technological leadership has become a central dimension of geopolitical power. In this development, the primary front in the emerging tech power rivalry is between the US (United States of America) and China (People’s Republic of China). The European Union (EU) has fallen behind and needs to catch-up. The stakes in this race are high and will have an impact on economic competition, national security and broader values-based notions of political order. This study sheds light on Europe’s approach to technological mastery. This study looks into the progress of the EU and its member states across selected technological fields and their global entanglements with other nations and technology actors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Markus Jaeger
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Although President Biden has made US foreign policy more predictable, its medium- and long-term direction and concomitant implications for transatlantic relations are less certain. This report presents three scenarios of how US strategy might evolve. They provide insight into how the United States behaves in the spheres of security and international economy under different conditions and why, suggesting ways for the EU and Germany to preemptively mitigate risks and positively influence future policy.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Grand Strategy, Risk, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Claudia Schmucker
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The European Union must position itself in a new geo-economic environment in which the United States and China are increasingly using their economies to shape international relations, as well as regional and global regulatory structures. Although the EU has a good grasp of the challenges that this new environment poses, it does have vulnerabilities in its bilateral and multilateral channels that require attention.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Environment, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Geopolitics, Regulation, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: David Uren
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: hat if China were to attempt to seize Taiwan by force and the US and allies responded militarily? One consequence would be the disruption of China’s trade with many countries, including Australia. While strategic analysts have been working over such scenarios for years, there’s been little study of the likely economic consequences. This study is focused on the short-term shock to Australia’s economy. The objective is to contribute to an understanding of the nature of Australia’s economic relationship with China and the likely paths of adjustment should that trade be severed. It also explores the options available to the Australian Government to ameliorate the worst of the effects of what would be a severe economic shock. The conclusion of this report is that the disruption to the Australian economy would be significant. There would be widespread loss of employment, along with consumer and business goods shortages that would be likely to necessitate rationing.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Economics, National Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Aleksandre Kvakhadze
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The recent Covid19 pandemic has disrupted Georgia’s economy and social life. Among the regions suffering most from these disruptions is Marneuli municipality. During the first wave in the spring of 2020, the Georgian authorities introduced a strict lockdown in Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities. Several weeks of lockdown resulted in local farmers coming out in protest at being unable to sell their agricultural goods, an event which attracted the attention of the Georgian media. Other affairs in Marneuli that have received extensive media coverage are tensions or violent acts accompanying electoral campaigns, and the series of bride kidnappings and arranged marriages occurring in the rural communities of the region. The remainder of regional developments tend to be neglected by the national media, meaning wider Georgian society knows little about the social, political and cultural aspects of the region. This limited knowledge creates fertile soil for the forming of various stereotypes and clichés about the local multiethnic population. In fact, Marneuli municipality has been witnessing very dynamic ethno-political processes of late. Moreover, the region has big potential for further economic development, and a unique cultural heritage accommodating different ethnicities, among them Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, as well as several religious communities. Marneuli also represents an important regional transport junction connecting Georgia with Azerbaijan and Armenia.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Rural, Economic Development , COVID-19, Municipalities
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Economics & Peace
  • Abstract: Rather than asking what businesses can do for peace, this study differentiates itself by focusing on what peace can offer businesses. The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) sees this as an important, but missing step in business analysis. In order for the private sector to engage with peacebuilding, investors first need to see the benefits of peace to their investment decisions. This work shows that economic performance can be predicted by movements in the same socio-economic developmental factors that affect peacefulness. These conditions are known as Positive Peace. The global economic impact of violence was $14.4 trillion in 2020. This is broadly equivalent to the entire economy of China. If humanity were to reduce violence by ten per cent per annum, the savings of $1.4 trillion would broadly equate to adding an economy the size of Russia’s or Brazil’s every year to the global fold. The burden of violence on an economy is self-evident. However, this report focusses on the converse perspective: countries that improve their underlying conditions, as gauged by IEP’s measures of peace, create the potential for a significant peace dividend for business.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Business , Peace, International Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Economics & Peace
  • Abstract: The 2021 report is the eighth edition of the Mexico Peace Index (MPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It provides a comprehensive measure of peacefulness in Mexico, including trends, analysis and estimates of the economic impact of violence on the country. The MPI is based on the Global Peace Index, the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness, produced by IEP every year since 2007. Mexico’s peacefulness improved by 3.5 percent in 2020. After four years of successive deteriorations, this marks a change in trend following the sharp increases in violence recorded between 2015 and 2018. This change can be traced to well before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Homicide and firearms crime rates peaked in July 2018 and have since been gradually declining. Other crime rates began to fall in mid-2019, which also preceded the pandemic. While improvements were occurring prior to the onset of COVID-19, further reductions in specific types of violence in 2020 followed the implementation of public health measures and stay-at-home orders. Crimes typically associated with people’s everyday movements — such as robberies, assaults, kidnappings and extortion — all recorded notable improvements in 2020.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Mexico
  • Author: Yehuda Shaffer, Stefan D. Cassella
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the past few years, a number of European banks have been implicated in money laundering scandals in countries such as Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, and, most recently, Scandinavia. Although European and international voices are putting pressure to take further action by all including the banks against this, the issue continues to emerge in the continent. In this short article, we attempt to explain this trend and how might it be resolved.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Finance, Business , Financial Crimes, Banks, Currency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Latvia, Scandinavia, Cyprus, Malta
  • Author: David Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Civilian governance in Pakistan has never lasted longer than eleven years. 2019 is the eleventh year since General Pervez Musharraf resigned the presidency and fears of a coup may exist, but one is not probable—at least not in the near-term future. In fact, two recent Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS)—Generals Kayani and Raheel in 2009 and 2014, respectively—considered taking, but decided not to take, direct control of the government. These decisions demonstrate that military rule is no longer necessary because the Army has already attained its major goals of de facto control of the country’s nuclear and missile programs, key foreign relationships, the military budget, and national security decision-making. In effect, the military has achieved what I have previously termed a “coup-less coup.” Instead of the traditionally fraught civil-military relationship, it seems that, for the first time in Pakistan’s turbulent history, the government and military agree on the three major issues facing Pakistan: domestic politics, the economy, and India. However, key variables, such as economic stability, could quickly change the course of this relationship.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Governance, Conflict, Civilians, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Michael A. Carrier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Big Tech is in the news. At the center of our political and economic dialogue is the effect that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have on our lives and what, if anything, governments should do about it. In this article, I explain how Big Tech has come under scrutiny, the antitrust implications of the industry’s behavior, and the potential remedy of breaking up the companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Science and Technology, Regulation, Internet, Social Media, Business
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Sergio Martinez, Mauricio Garita
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Central America is a region in the Americas with potential for higher economic growth. For the regional economy to grow in a sustainable manner in the years ahead, policymakers must act on three fronts: economic diversification, workforce upskilling, and intra-regional cooperation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty, Income Inequality, Economic Growth, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Central America
  • Author: Reza Hasmath
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China’s implementation of new ESG practices suggests a serious shift towards meeting global standards and domestic-level sustainable development objectives. The new ESG regime also has the potential to be a tool for Chinese foreign policy in the 2020s.
  • Topic: Economics, Environment, Governance, Business , Sustainability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Maya Mirchandani
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The cauldron of conflict in South Asia has been bubbling since August 5, 2019 when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Indian government diluted the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, giving special status to the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, control over which remains at the core of the international dispute between India and Pakistan. Three of the four wars fought between India and Pakistan have been over Kashmir, and the separatist movement (backed by Pakistan) demanding independence has spawned the growth of both insurgent and terrorist groups waging war against the Indian state. India’s sudden, unilateral decision to withdraw Kashmir’s special provisions drew sharp reactions at home and abroad. The Indian government subsequently trifurcated the state, shut down the internet in Kashmir, and detained much of Kashmir’s political leadership without charges in the interest of “public safety.” Muscular action in Kashmir, against a backdrop of what many economists are now calling a structural economic decline in India have led to strong disruptions in India’s diplomatic ties, especially with the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Rights, Business , Trade
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Kashmir, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Adam Moe Fejerskov, Meron Zeleke
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants return to Ethiopia from abroad, many of them forced. The arduous irregular journeys that many Ethiopian migrants take, particularly men, expose them to extreme levels of physical, psychological and sexual violence. Building on interviews with Ethiopian male returnees, this new DIIS Report documents both the inhuman conditions of migration that most of these men are faced with during their travels, but also the difficulties of returning to a place that may not be felt as ‘home’ anymore. The report shows how processes of returning are neither easy or pleasant as most returnees are faced with social stigma, economic hardship and traumas from their migration journeys. The report questions the very notion of re-integration. The life-altering and irreparable effects of migration for Ethiopian men, seldom for the better, means that what was before will never be again. As such, there are no processes of development, forms of treatment or possibilities of employment that can bring one back to how things were. That does not mean that support in adjusting to a new life after migration journeys is not possible, it simply means that the objective can never be to reinstate migrants ‘back’ into their communities with any expectation that they can resume social relations or positions like things were before. The report is financed by the Danish Red Cross.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Migration, Men
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Maurice Obstfeld, Adam S. Posen, Olivier Blanchard, Chad P. Bown, Cullen S. Hendrix, Ana González, Simeon Djankov, Anne-Laure Kiechel, Anna Gelpern, Sean Hagan, Adnan Mazarei, Christopher G. Collins, Simon Potter, Edwin M. Truman, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The world's leading economic powers must cooperate more to combat the health and economic shocks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a new PIIE Briefing, Peterson Institute experts outline how collective action by the Group of Twenty (G20) nations can make a difference. The PIIE agenda includes removal of trade barriers impeding the flow of medical supplies and food, and more money for research, testing, and disease control, especially for debt-burdened low-income countries. The World Bank and the World Health Organization need more resources to relieve suffering, and the International Monetary Fund must step up to stabilize the world financial system.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G20, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus