Myanmar can flourish by sowing seeds of agricultural prosperity

By Deirdre May Culley and Martha Baxter, policy analysts at the OECD Development Centre

MyanmarDEVmattersOn 30 March, Htin Kyaw, a long-time adviser and ally of Aung San Suu Kyi – whose National League for Democracy party achieved a historic victory in recent electionsbecame the first elected civilian to hold office in Myanmar since the army took over in 1962.

The NLD won the democratic battle and enjoys unparalleled political capital and legitimacy. It must now deliver on exceedingly high expectations, build a cohesive multi-ethnic state and improve citizens’ lives. Economic progress will be indispensable if the country is to overcome years of ethnic armed conflict and move towards a common future. So what can the new government do?

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China’s economic slowdown: Good or bad news for Europe and Central Asia?

By Maurizio Bussolo, Europe and Central Asia Chief Economist Office, The World Bank Group

 

China-Dev-MattersChina’s economy looms large in global markets. After decades of sustained economic growth, the country became the world’s largest exporter in 2007 and today sells abroad 60% more goods and services than the United States and 75% more than Germany – the second and third largest exporters, respectively. In addition, China is the second largest importer of goods and services in the world, after the United States.

Because of China’s importance in the global economy, news of its economic slowdown and financial sector turmoil have caused many observers to worry. In fact, at the beginning of 2016, some were explaining the plummeting of stock markets as anticipating a growth collapse in China (also reflected in very low oil prices). Continue reading

Integrating the local and global urban agendas

By David Simon, Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

In October, world leaders will gather in Quito for the Habitat III summit to launch the New Urban Agenda. This is on top of the start this year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is odd that to date these two vitally important global urban initiatives led by the United Nations have been kept separate. It would be far more logical and extremely valuable, however, to link them by using SDG 11, the urban goal, as a monitoring and evaluation framework for the New Urban Agenda. A specific comparative urban experiment conducted last year could serve as a model for achieving just such a link.

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How China’s Rebalancing Affects Africa’s Development Finance … and More

By Helmut Reisen of Shifting Wealth Consulting and former Head of Research at the OECD Development Centre

 

Africa-globe2015 has been a challenging year for Africa. Average growth of African economies weakened in 2015 to 3.6%, down from an average annual 5% enjoyed since 2000. Total financial flows have decreased 12.8% to USD 188.8 billion, including UNCTAD estimates for foreign direct investment. Africa´s tax-GDP ratio tumbled to 17.9%, down from 18.7% in 2014.

Three core factors have underpinned Africa’s good economic performance since the turn of the century: high commodity prices, high external financial flows, and improved policies and institutions. Now, China´s decline in investment and rebalanced growth is depressing commodity prices and producing headwinds for Africa. Such macroeconomic headwinds for net commodity exporters also imply that Africa’s second pillar of past performance — external financial inflows — have suffered as well.

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Developing countries and the renewable energy revolution

By Prof. John A. Mathews, Professor of Strategy at Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia and author of Greening of Capitalism

There was a time when arguments about development and energy were seen as different discourses. They came together in the familiar call for poor people in developing countries to have access to electricity. As for energy needed for industrialisation, fossil fuels – with all their burdens on the balance of payments and geopolitical entanglements – were tapped to fill the need.

To be sure, the Western world as it industrialised over the past 200 years enjoyed enormous benefits from fossil fuels. The transition to a carbon-based economy liberated economies from age-old Malthusian constraints. For a group of select countries representing a small slice of the global population, burning fossil fuels enabled an era of explosive growth, ushering in dramatic improvements in productivity, income, wealth and living standards. Continue reading

EU-Latin America: Post-Occidental relationship?

By Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Former EU Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, Former Foreign Minister of Austria and former President of the EU-LAC Foundation

Today more than ever, the European Union and Latin America face the opportunity to advance a post-Occidental partnership. Already, the two regions share the same culture, speak the same language in part and promote the same values and principles enshrined in democracy, the rule of law, human dignity and peace. Such mutual bi-regional respect and tolerance serve as a clear counter-ideology to the surge of extremism and religious fanaticism that we see.

Alain Rouquié, academic, Latin America expert and former French ambassador to Brazil, referred to Latin America as Europe’s “Far West.” Yet, the many changes in the relationship between the European Union and Latin America no longer reflect this definition of the “West.” Thus, building a new enhanced post-Occidental strategic partnership is timely. Indeed, Europe and Latin America could be much stronger allies, politically, socially and economically. What does this mean in concrete terms? Continue reading

Hacia una nueva asociación América Latina y China

Por Mario Pezzini, Director del Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE y Angel Melguizo, jefe de la Unidad de América Latina y el Caribe del Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE

América Latina y China han protagonizado un auge comercial impresionante en los últimos 15 años. Los flujos comerciales entre ellos se han multiplicado 22 veces, mucho más que con la Organización para la Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) – dos veces – la Unión Europea -tres veces- ó Estados Unidos -dos veces. China es hoy el principal socio comercial de Brasil, Chile y Perú. China ha aumentado su participación en cadenas globales de valor de América Latina. Está más integrada en las cadenas de valor con China que a nivel regional. Sin embargo, hoy los vínculos entre América Latina y China están tomando un nuevo rumbo, planteando nuevos desafíos y abriendo oportunidades. Continue reading