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  • Author: Judd Devermont, Catherine Chiang
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana warned of the repercussions of escalating U.S.-China trade tensions on African nations. Although largely absent from the discourse surrounding the so-called “trade war,” sub-Saharan Africa has suffered from its impacts. Uncertainty hovering over global and African markets has already undermined investor confidence, triggering drops in commodity prices and local currencies. A slowdown in Chinese production and global growth could threaten to throw African markets further off balance. U.S. protectionist measures stand out for their repercussions on African economies and U.S.-Africa relations. Tariff tensions risk indirectly undercutting U.S. goals of promoting African self-reliance, increasing U.S.-Africa trade and investment, and countering China’s expanding influence on the continent.
  • Topic: Development, Hegemony, Conflict, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Assam is the most populous and economically active of the northeastern states and thus acts as the nexus between the mainland and the northeast. Due to insurgencies and armed conflict spanning several decades, Assam struggled to deliver many basic services to its citizens, including electricity, and failed to attract major industries. Coupled with the state’s unique topography of Himalayan foothills, forests, and a massive floodplain dominated by the mighty Brahmaputra River, infrastructure development in the state has not been easy. However, with the settling of several conflicts, the state is poised to be the economic engine of India’s northeast and take its place as India’s gateway to southeast Asia. To do so, it is focusing on agriculture, led by a thriving tea industry and energy resources—the state accounts for 15 percent of India’s total crude oil and 50 percent of onshore natural gas output. On the power sector side, Assam has increased the share of its population with electricity access from 44.57 percent in 2015 to 100 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Assam’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 24.2 percent. Under the state’s Power for All plan formed with the central government, the state’s utility Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) would target AT&C losses of 18.15 percent in 2019. As of August 2019, this goal has virtually been met—APDCL’s AT&C losses are currently 18.2 percent. Under the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme, which aims to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, Assam has a target of 150,000 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption between 200-500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) by December 2019. As of August 2019, the state has deployed 15,567 smart meters for these customers, 10 percent of its goal. The state also had a target to deploy 31,000 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption of over 500 kWh per month by December 2017, but to date has only deployed 11,881 smart meters, 38 percent of its goal. Assam has a target to install 663 megawatts (MW) of solar power in the state to contribute to the central government’s target of 100 gigawatts by 2022. As of May 2019, data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy indicate it has installed 22.4 MW, 3.38 percent of its goal.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Electricity
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Judd Devermont
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It has recently become fashionable to host a regional summit with African leaders. The Arab states, China, the European Union, France, India, Russia, and Turkey all established high-profile diplomatic forums with African counterparts. Japan has been one of the pacesetters, inviting African governments, as well as multilateral institutions, to attend TICAD since 1993. TICAD’s seventh iteration, which was staged in Yokohama from August 28- 30, 2019, welcomed 42 African presidents, vice presidents, and prime ministers and witnessed the signing of 110 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with African countries and private-sector companies.1,2 The United States chaired one such event, the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in August 2014. While it represented a milestone in U.S.-African diplomatic engagement, the United States has not attempted anything on the same scale since. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce with Bloomberg Philanthropies chaired a second U.S.-Africa Business Forum. President Trump met with eight sub-Saharan African leaders on the margins of the UN General Assembly in 2017 and separately invited Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House in 2018. If the U.S. government decides to resume the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, it has the potential to deepen ties between the United States and African counterparts, as well as promote trade and investment and advance signature initiatives.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Leadership, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Romina Bandura
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is a small independent federal agency whose mission is to help American “companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.” USTDA links American businesses to export opportunities in emerging markets by funding activities such as project preparation and partnership building in sectors including transportation, energy, and telecommunications. Since it was established 25 years ago, the agency has generated a total of $61 billion in U.S. exports and supported over 500,000 American jobs. In connecting American business to such opportunities, USTDA also links American technology’s best practices and ingenuity with U.S. trade and development policy priorities. USTDA is an instrument to enable American-led infrastructure development in emerging economies and, therefore, frequently sees increasing competition from government-backed Chinese firms and the challenge they can pose to American commercial engagement under the flag of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). OBOR is paving the way for Chinese engineering, procurement, and construction companies to prepare and develop infrastructure projects in OBOR countries in a way that favors Chinese standards, thereby exerting significant pressure to select Chinese suppliers. This creates a potentially vicious cycle—the more China builds, the faster their standards become the international norm, and, ultimately, this cycle could foreclose export opportunities for U.S. businesses and harm American competitiveness in global infrastructure development. U.S. exporters are increasingly requesting USTDA intervention at the pivotal, early stages of a project’s development, to compete in markets, such as the OBOR countries, where they frequently face Chinese competition. Of note, 40 percent of USTDA’s activities in 2016 were in OBOR countries across South and Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Although there are other agencies that may seem to do work similar to USTDA, there are various aspects that make it a unique agency. This paper provides a brief description of USTDA, its origin and evolution, the impact on the U.S. economy and its proactive collaboration across U.S agencies. Finally, it offers a set of recommendations for USTDA on how to improve its operations and strengthen its role in the developing world.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Communications, Infrastructure, Trade, Transportation
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Asia, North America