Algeria facing Sub Saharan Migration with Difficulty

And it needs a strategy adapted to the new realities
Algeria facing sub Saharan migration with difficulty is currently a very sensitive subject that divides the Algerians and in the opinion of the majority of the experts I consulted it is more complex than it appears. The migration issue would, to paraphrase the military language require having a strategic vision, taking account of the present world’s socio-political mutations. So it will be a matter of posing the real problems in order to perhaps get real solutions away from any demagoguery and one-upmanship. If the security aspect has to be looked at, so be it but as guarantor of national security.

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And it needs a strategy adapted to the new realities

Algeria facing sub Saharan migration with difficulty is currently a very sensitive subject that divides the Algerians and in the opinion of the majority of the experts I consulted it is more complex than it appears. The migration issue would, to paraphrase the military language require having a strategic vision, taking account of the present world’s socio-political mutations. So it will be a matter of posing the real problems in order to perhaps get real solutions away from any demagoguery and one-upmanship. If the security aspect has to be looked at, so be it but as guarantor of national security.

We are in the era of globalization where migration flows are a reality.   Transhumance as it were migration are fundamentally for the same causes of rapid urbanization and metropolization of the world, over-population pressures, sporadic unemployment, rapid spread of news and literally transnationalization of migratory networks.

The categories of migrants and countries have become more complex, the globalisation of migration with a regionalisation of migratory flows. Globally, migrations are organized geographically where complementarities are built between start and host areas. These correspond to geographical proximity, historical, linguistic and cultural ties to transnational networks built by migrants and smugglers that form a formal or informal traffic, with space or no institutional facilities of passage.

Migration has more than tripled since the middle of 1970s: 77 million in 1975, 120 million in 1999, 150 million in the early 2000s, nearly 300 million in 2017. In 2016, immigration from the Africa of 1.2 billion people exceeded the Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghan arrivals in Europe. What will it be when that continent will accommodate 2.5 billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population in 2050?

According to an article by Le Monde of January 6, 2017 citing Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, 93% of those who landed in Italy, came from that continent. This agency estimated that “this reflects the growing migratory pressure on the African continent, and particularly in Western Africa that is responsible for the bulk of the growth in arrivals by this route in 2016”.

African immigration is mixed, consisting of eligible refugees in Asylum Law (Eritreans, Sudanese, Ethiopians), but also economic, particularly from the West African migrants. The main communities arriving in Italy, the Nigerians constituted 21% of the entrants, followed by Eritreans (11.7%), Guineans (7.2%) and the Ivoirians (6.7%). This reflected the factors of mobility for different reasons: discrepancies between the levels of human development, political and environmental crises producing refugees and displaced, decreasing costs of transport, generalization of passports issuance, role of the media, rising consciousness that change to life by international migration is feasible.

Global warming that is already affecting Africa is anticipated to hit it harder by 2025/2030/2040, thus will most certainly accentuate this exodus.

 The reasons are multiple and could be that : a prevailing hopelessness in all those poor countries that are badly governed. It is up to the leaders of the South to take their responsibility instead of always taking advantage of the exceptional wealth of resources of this continent whilst encouraging corruption and enabling purchases of luxury assets deposited in tax havens.

If there is a corrupted, then there must be a corruptor. A recent report by the United Nations shows illegal capital transfers from Africa to the rest of the world between 1980 and 2010 exceeded the current gross domestic product of Africa and all related cumulated aid.  The Valletta summit in November 2015 that brought European and African leaders together was devoted to this topic, but the measures announced are not considered sufficient despite the €1.8 billion cheque signed by the European Union to these countries.

Lack of good governance and total absence of a real fight against corruption, hence demonstrating a certain lack of morality, the African leaders, would go as far as instead of avoid these fratricidal wars for either seizing power or any other objective not always honourable.  The majority of them leaders were unable to lay real development programs, not to mention having a very contemptuous attitude for their elite pushing its members to a certain brain drain, unlike their speeches that under a false guise of “nationalism” that does not carry anymore.

These factors highlight the bipolarization between three worlds that of the wealthy, the emerging and the poor countries that push their people of the latter to a certain and continuous exodus as we can daily witness from this tragic collective suicide of thousands trying desperately to cross seas and land borders for a better and / or safe life. Leaders of the North and equally of the South are largely responsible for this state of affairs.

Faced with this situation, the Algerian leaders must have a different vision because Algeria is no longer considered a transit or passage only, but a country where Africans and others settle permanently.

The agreement between the EU and Turkey, signed in March 2016 and by which Ankara agrees against finance to control the passing emigration to Europe through its territory, is an explanation to what many Africans decide to settle permanently in the neighbouring countries including Algeria.

Today Africans from south of the Sahara represent barely 10% of migrants in the world, and most of these ‘displaced’ just moved into a neighbouring country of their own. According to the IOM, in 2015, I quote from the report: “on the 32 million who took to the road, half of them have asked their bag on their continent.

A new situation is before us and it is that of the African migrants who did not come of their own accord but have fled misery and war, no longer pass but settle permanently at the level of the regions of the Maghreb including Algeria as per international agreements.

This new situation therefore calls for new solutions; certainly not from a vision of xenophobic, racist, or from a behaviour alien to the nature of the Algerian population. It comes from adapting the Algerian legislation, but especially to coordinate all actions with Europe, with neighbouring countries, with all concerned African leaders with any involved repatriation, without devaluing the human person.  Also there is need to establish some of residence and transitional system of identification for a chosen emigration depending on the particular needs of Algeria in agriculture, tourism, building and infrastructure development, etc. all whilst avoiding any demeaning assistance.

The position of Algeria since independence has been a consistent one towards Africa, its natural economic space.  It would be a trial of intention to, as we currently see it through the majority of the international media to misrepresent it as efforts against these migratory flows.  These must be pooled, Algeria being unable to endure the financial weight to it, on its own.

As such I would think that the words of the Chief Clerk of the Presidency, speaking as a supporter as a Secretary General. of a leading party can only be as or poorly formulated and therefore have been widely misinterpreted. It simply belongs to the Algerian leaders to speak with one voice so as to avoid misinterpretation. 

In short, immigration raises the issue of global security that would require quick involvement with an overhaul of international relations based on win/win partnership but also and especially a renewed governance of each and every African country.  Africa is endowed with a high and rich potential but is presently enduring growing hardship with no end in sight.  For as far as Algeria is concerned, his Excellency Mr. the President of the Republic has always paid a particular attention as demonstrated with the NEPAD initiative. 

 ademmebtoul@gmail.com 

 

AFRIPOL meeting in Algiers to face the continent’s issues

Algerian police has become some sort of an international benchmark, following the December 12, 2016 consultative meeting in Algiers of many African Police officials.  It is also hosting today May 14, 15 and 16, 2017, the first General Assembly of AFRIPOL with the participation of 48 African countries. AFRIPOL meeting in Algiers to face the continent’s issues will be a long awaited opportunity for the African police forces representatives to define the general frameworks of cooperation at all national, continental and international levels institutions.

This article is as a matter of fact a summary of my contributions and international interventions between 2010 and 2016 (1).

The Mediterranean and African regions should know between 2017, 2020 and 2025, deep socio-economic, technological, but also security reconfigurations.  Algerian police as an international reference, decided to strengthen the areas of cooperation with its African counterparts by putting its knowledge and experience at the disposal of all peers.

For this purpose and following the signing in 2001 of a memorandum between the African Union and Interpol to define channels appropriate for communication, exchange of information and views between the different parties, establishing an African police (AFRIPOL) mechanism whose headquarters is in Algiers since end of 2015 under the auspices of the African Union, aimed to work towards the coordination of efforts and to support the action of the missions of peace and security keeping within the African Union countries.

AFRIPOL is a communication, consultation, cooperation and coordination in all affairs of the African police. Indeed, focusing first on its own strategic interests, part of the Mediterranean dialogue (MD), Algeria is based on a number of principles and from a proven willingness to contribute to the promotion of security and stability of the continent.

It is the end of the cold war, marked by the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 that represent a crucial turning point in contemporary history. The first event marks the end of a world born half a century earlier and dislocation of international architecture which resulted many decades later on by divisions, heartbreak, and wars that we know.

Today, the threats to security are called terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional crises and disintegration of some States.

However, the new collective challenges are another source of threat; such as concerns about water resources, poverty, epidemics and the environment and these are of course local, regional and global.  Between the distant and very present America and the nearby and distant Europe, between a hegemonic and comprehensive strategy that owns all the means of its implementation and projection, and a strategy to global vocation that is laboriously built and that struggles to become self-reliant and to project into its immediate geopolitical environment, how to behave and what choices are there for Algeria to make?

Called upon and solicited, Algeria questions legitimately itself on the role, the place or the interest of such option or this frame holds or offers, whether it is the Mediterranean dialogue of NATO or of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, in its economic or security dimension.  Adaptation being the key to survival and pragmatism one eminently modern tool in the management of inter-nations relationships, that Algeria together with all in its segment of North Africa as a bridge between Europe and Africa must do with.

Because the current security issues in the Sahel-Saharan area not forgetting that the relationships between the two outer edges of the Sahara do challenge Algeria which must be attentive to the future geo-strategic issues that are emerging in the region.   We have seen, profound changes in geo-politics in the Sahara after the collapse of the Libyan regime and the French intervention following the secession of northern Mali.

The relationship between the Sahel and the Gaddafi Libya having been complex, these are even more complicated with many sub-Saharan migrants settling in the countries of the Maghreb.  In fact, well before and especially since the fall of the regime of Kadhafi, the Sahel region has become a space outside any central authority where armed groups and smugglers settled.

Hence, security of Algeria’s borders is and will be under question with notably that of the 1376 km long with Mali, the 982 km with Libya and the 956 km with Niger and the 965 km with Tunisia to watch; the Moroccan one being closed for some time.

In the short term, tensions in the region especially for the protection of its borders, the situation in Libya, in Mali and incidentally the terrorist actions at its border with Tunisia imposed on Algeria additional expenses. It is understood that included in these would be replacement of most of the obsolete military hardware and acquisition of new equipment for the Armed Forces, not counting all those adaptations of its intelligence.

The cybercrime issue of the 21st century should also be on the agenda for it is required by the economy as cyberattacks tend to increase in volume as electronic services (e-commerce, e-health and e-Government, etc.) are called to develop.

 

Algeria has deployed a task-force to secure its borders and deal with their chronic instability that recent events confirm the continuous worsening.  And this in close cooperation with all neighbouring Maghreb and African countries, assisted by information from Europe including France and the United States of America, as the terrorist threat is a global threat.

For both the U.S. and European governments and because of its strategic location in the Maghreb and its long history of fighting terrorism and violent extremism in its territory, Algeria has become a pillar in the fight against terrorism but also a partner for bringing stability to the region.

Thus, Algeria considered being a key player for the stability of the region has nevertheless to solve its problems of development and at the same time intensify international cooperation against this global scourge.

Now, most of the leaders from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the United States including Russia and China now all agree on the need to cooperate to confront the threat of insecurity and organized crime. It has to focus on the obligation to implement a regional strategy involving all the surrounding countries of the area in addition to the European and international partners, as of the fact that the region has become an open space for various terrorist and  other groups movements that thrive through traffic of weapons or drugs, threatening all regional security, and by extension Europe and the USA.

And as this has been highlighted at different African whether regional or international Interpol conferences, including the one held in Oran, Algeria in September 2013, where resolutions stipulating the urgency of both African that global cooperation against transnational crime with the involvement of each of the NCBs of Interpol member countries, requiring improved data bases in order to effectively combat cross-border crime and terrorism.

So it is to have all constraints removed simply because of the fact that the general corruptibility of institutions weighs heavily on all systems of law enforcement and criminal justice which in general have difficulties adapting to the new challenges posed by the sophistication of organized crime networks. Inter-jurisdictional collaboration is slowed by the heterogeneity of the legal systems notably in North Africa and black Africa.

The porosity of borders as well as coordination between large numbers of agencies responsible for security at the countries’ borders poses major problems.  At the end of the day, it is the strategy aimed to gradually attract users off the informal system onto the formal one and thus isolate the remaining criminal elements whilst decreasing collateral damage for legitimate users.

It is in this context that comes in all those attempts to reinvigorate the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue with two initiatives.  On one hand, the European neighbourhood policy and on the other hand, the strategic partnership between the EU on one side and the Mediterranean and the Middle East on the other in order to somehow stem the emigration including sub-Saharan Africa with as buffer pillar the Maghreb.

In General, on military and geo-strategic grounds it is through the activities of the group of the so-called “5 + 5” that today the reality of such a development can be appreciated.  It is that reading that the Europeans make of the threats and challenges facing the world and our region are primarily based on the need to develop a common strategy for collective and effective response, including international terrorism, human trafficking, organised crime and money laundering.

However for real efficiency and because no country would be able to alone bear the financial costs, without impacting its own development expenditure, pooling becomes strategic imperative to minimize or reduce costs.

 

In short, there is some kind of dialectic link between security and development as without security there would not be any development and vice versa.  The fight against terrorism means or would require putting an end to inequality in both global and / or within any country for if unattended, it would only increase whilst imbuing more misery therefore generating more terrorism.

Because, an all security for security’s sake has limitations as Algerian security officials know very well and that there is an existing dialectical relationship between development and security. It implies tackling the essence (co-development) and not appearances as shown in a study by the World Economic Forum  titled Global Risks 2016 – Reports -.   Security efficiency will also have to fit within a strategic vision that in the face of a world in perpetual motion, both in terms of foreign policy, economics of defense, related actions, with the latest happenings in the Sahel, on the borders of Algeria, arise the urgency of the strategies of adaptation and international and regional coordination, in order to effectively act on major events. These new challenges for both Algeria and Africa would exceed in importance and magnitude those challenges Algeria and Africa have faced so far.

 

Please address any comments to Dr A. Mebtoul  ademmebtoul@gmail.com

 

Notes :

(1) – A study by Professor Abderrahmane MEBTOUL was published by the – Institut français des relations internationales   (IFRI – Paris, France) in French “Maghreb-Europe cooperation in the face of the geostrategic stakes” (November 2011) – chapter III – “The strategy of NATO the geostrategic challenges in the Mediterranean.  Conference of the Pr Abderrahmane Mebtoul ‘development and geostrategic in the Mediterranean and Africa issues’ in Malta, 2012 at the invitation of the European Commission and on the same theme in front of the European Parliament in Brussels-2013 – see “the Maghreb the geostrategic challenges” two works (1050 pages) under the direction of Professor Mebtoul Abderrahmane and Dr. Camille Sari (36 experts Europeans and North Africans)-Edition L’Harmattan Paris 2015-

 

The King reigns over and / or rules Morocco

Mohammed VI in 2011 announced a series of constitutional reforms with the objective to turn the North African country into a constitutional monarchy through plans to adopt comprehensive constitutional changes so as to implement the required transition. [ . . . ]

Morocco has been readmitted to the African Union more than three decades after it left when the continental body voted King Mohammed VI, who had been campaigning since last year to join the bloc, told African leaders at the AU summit in Addis Ababa: “Africa is my home, and I am coming back home.”  Mohammed VI in 2011 announced a series of constitutional reforms with the objective to turn the North African country into a constitutional monarchy through plans to adopt comprehensive constitutional changes so as to implement the required transition. The dilemma that the King reigns over and / or rules Morocco could be the issue that has to be settled once for all.
Pro-democracy activists were and remain skeptical to this day the effectiveness of such proposed roadway. These appear however to be in a better position if compared to their counterparts in the neighbouring countries of North Africa which by the way are all republics. Paradoxically, the monarchies in the MENA have that option not available to the region’s republics of moving from the absolute towards the constitutional in a widely publicised transition in which they have this option of fading away from sight and yet maintain considerable prestige, popularity and relevance through which they really maintain the reigns of power.
In a MARKAZ of Brookings article written by Adel Abdel Ghafar and Anna L. Jacobs and published on Thursday, March 2, 2017, a review of the constitutional transition is proposed.

Morocco: The king’s dilemma

In his 1968 book, “Political Order in Changing Societies,” Samuel Huntington coined the term “The King’s Dilemma.” It highlighted a key problem monarchs face: how to liberalize without losing control. To Huntington, the choices are stark: The monarch could either “attempt to maintain his authority by continuing to modernize but intensify the repression necessary to keep control,” or transform his monarchy into a constitutional monarchy where “the king reigns but does not rule.”

Six years after the Arab uprisings, Moroccan King Mohammed VI faces his own version of the King’s Dilemma. The current deadlock in the formation of the Moroccan government will be a key test. The Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) won the plurality of votes in the October 2016 parliamentary elections, allowing Abdelillah Benkirane to maintain his post as head of government. However, after more than four months of failed coalition talks and obstruction from pro-palace parties, Benkirane’s influence has been weakened.

The political deadlock indicates that the promises of shared power and a constitutional monarchy in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings have not be kept. The divide today could not be starker, as the state continues to function without an active parliamentary government, through the traditional mode of governing in Morocco: the monarchy and the royal cabinet. How did Morocco get here, and what’s next?

MOROCCAN SPRING?

Even with Morocco’s history of economic and political liberalization, the regime could not escape the fervor of the 2011 Arab uprisings. On February 20, 2011, thousands of Moroccans took to the streets throughout dozens of towns in the Cherifian kingdom, demanding political and socio-economic change.

More than 40 associations and parties formed a coalition known as the February 20th Movement, which initially gathered groups across the political spectrum, including secular left-wing parties and more conservative Islamist associations. This alliance led to a swift reaction from the king, as the people’s calls for reform became louder.

After weeks of massive protests, King Mohammed VI gave a televised address on March 9, where he promised sweeping constitutional reforms, including a more powerful parliament and a reduction of the monarchy’s power. He appointed a committee to draft a new constitution, culminating with a referendum on July 1, in which 98.5 percent of voters approved Morocco’s 2011 constitution.

Chief among these constitutional changes related to achieving a better separation of powers, promoting the independent judiciary, and increasing the power of the prime minister (who, thanks to these changes, would come from the party winning the plurality of votes in parliamentary elections).

Like other countries in the region, the aftermath of the popular uprisings ushered in a mainstream Islamist party (with its long-time political leader at the helm). In the case of Morocco, this was the PJD and Benkirane after the November 2011 parliamentary elections.

While there was widespread praise of the constitutional reforms and the swiftness of this process, most members of the February 20th Movement thought the changes did not go far enough. They questioned the centrality of the monarchy in the formation of the new constitution, and they also felt that their demands were not adequately met. The February 20th Movement splintered and lost momentum as the monarchy’s reform process commenced. By the end of 2011, the major question was power sharing between Benkirane’s Islamist-led government on one hand, and the king and royal cabinet on other.

Protesters take part in a rally organised by the February 20 opposition movement in Casablanca July 10, 2011. REUTERS/Macao.

GOVERNING: NOT AS EASY AS IT SEEMS

The Benkirane government went through its fair share of political battles from 2011 to 2016. Morocco has a long history of the palace co-opting and controlling the multiparty political system. Although all major parties that participate in elections must remain close to the palace, there are various degrees of proximity, which also form cleavages in terms of coalition alliances. The PJD initially formed a coalition with the powerful Istiqlal party, the Popular Movement, and the Party of Progress and Socialism when it came to power in 2011.

Eventually, the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) rose to prominence through its leadership of the opposition party coalition. Due to its founding by royal adviser Fouad Ali El Himma in 2008, PAM was perceived as being particularly close to the palace.  The governing coalition changed during this term, and the Istiqlal party pulled out–to be replaced by another major palace ally, the National Rally of Independents (RNI). As party coalitions realigned throughout Benkirane’s term, his powers became more limited: evidenced by the fact that the most important ministries (interior, foreign affairs, finance, and religious affairs) were led by politicians from parties or technocrats close to the palace.

Should the Muslim Brotherhood be designated a terrorist organization?

In spite of these institutional limitations on Benkirane and PJD power, their priorities of economic liberalization, balancing the budget, and anti-corruption seemed to win them popular support in most major cities during the 2015 local elections. The PAM took more seats in rural areas, while the PJD dominated the urban milieu.

After the 2015 local elections secured even greater influence for the PJD at the local level— despite the PAM working as a counter-power in the rural regions—there was a real concern about which of these two parties would win the 2016 parliamentary elections. This concluded with a popular mandate on the role of the PJD, especially the political personality of Prime Minister Benkirane. Even with the continuous onslaught of attacks on Benkirane, the PJD and its governing coalition took 125 seats and the PAM took 102, creating challenges for any implicit power sharing agreement between the palace, the prime minister, and other political parties.

2016: LE BLOCKAGE

While the PJD’s power at the local and national level seemed secure enough to ensure greater power sharing in Morocco’s political system, government coalition talks began on an unequal footing. Rather suddenly, Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch (one of the wealthiest businessmen in Morocco, as well as a close friend of the king) rejoined RNI. This was a signal to the political parties, as well as critical observers, that the palace would take an active role in setting up the next governing coalition.

Now led by Akhannouch, RNI formed a coalition with the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, the Constitutional Union, and the Popular Movement. They pushed various conditions onto Benkirane’s goals for his coalition government, leading to a series of obstacles and over four months without a government. The current crisis, as Moroccan scholar Maati Monjib aptly described it, “is a behind-the-scenes struggle for power between the palace and the PJD.”

 

KING’S DILEMMA: MOROCCO EDITION

What is next? As Morocco’s history of a multiparty system demonstrates, the palace controls and co-opts the system from within.  Keeping palace allies in major political parties, in both the governing and oppositional coalition, remains key to the monarchy’s power over Moroccan politics. In the current situation, Akhannouch—the King’s confidant and friend—is front and center, and it’s highly likely that he’ll enter the governing coalition and influence policy.

This situation reflects the continuation, if not intensification, of the palace’s influence over the political system. Thus, the promises in 2011 that power would be shared amid a constitutional monarchy have not been kept.

If the palace decides to call for another election—and if attempts to sideline the PJD continue—it may tarnish Morocco’s image, as well as the monarchy’s narrative that promotes the country as a democratizing success story of the Arab uprisings. Furthermore, while sidelining the PJD and parliament may work in the short term, this strategy may not work in the long term if the PJD can maintain its momentum at the ballots boxes in local and national elections. On the other hand, by not clipping the wings of the PJD, the party may become even more popular and influential. Hence the king’s big dilemma.

 

Year 2016 Review using 12 Charts

 

The World Bank produced the following article on Year 2016 Review using 12 Charts.  It is written by  Tariq Khokhar  with co-author: Donna Barne on December 22nd, 2016.  We republish the first 7 items of the article here and would seriously recommend reading the rest in its original publication by clicking the article title below.  One would also notice that the video in question in the article can be visualised only in its original bedding.  

Tariq Khokhar

Year in Review: 2016 in 12 Charts (and a video)

 

Between the social, political, and economic upheavals affecting our lives, and the violence and forced displacement making headlines, you’d be forgiven for feeling gloomy about 2016. A look at the data reveals some of the challenges we face but also the progress we’ve made toward a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future. Here are 12 charts that help tell the stories of the year.

1.The number of refugees in the world increased.

At the start of 2016, 65 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homes, up from 60 million the year before. More than 21 million were classified as refugees. Outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, most refugees live in cities and towns, where they seek safety, better access to services, and job opportunities. A recent report on the “Forcibly Displaced” offers a new perspective on the role of development in helping refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities, working together with humanitarian partners. Among the initiatives is new financial assistance for countries such as Lebanon and Jordan that host large numbers of refugees.

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  1. The global climate change agreement entered into force.

The pact negotiated in Paris in 2015 was ratified by 118 of the 194 countries that signed it, triggering new commitments to combat global warming. One of the agreement’s major goals is to promote a shift to low-carbon energy. Demand for renewable energy is picking up in developing countries as prices decline. In May, Africa saw its lowest solar price to date when the winning bid to develop large-scale photovoltaic solar plants in Zambia came in at 6 cents per kilowatt hour – or 4.7 cents/kwh, spread over 20 years.  That followed bids as low as 3 cents in the United Arab Emirates and 4.5 cents in Mexico. Renewables are now cost competitive in many markets and increasingly seen as mainstream sources of energy, according to REN21.

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3.Global trade weakened.

In 2016, global trade growth recorded its weakest performance since the global financial crisis. Trade volumes stagnated for most of the year, with weak global investment playing an important role, as capital goods account for about one third of world goods trade. Trade has been a major engine of growth for the global economy and has helped cut global poverty in half since 1990. A trade slowdown, therefore, could have implications for growth, development, and the fight against poverty.

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  1. More people had access to mobile phones than to electricity or clean water.

Access to mobile phones has surged in low- and middle-income countries, but many of the other benefits of the digital revolution – such as greater productivity, more opportunity for the poor and middle class, and more accountable governments and companies — have not yet spread as far and wide as anticipated, according to the World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report on the Internet, “Digital Dividends.” The report says greater efforts must be made to connect more people to the Internet and to create an environment that unleashes the benefits of digital technologies for everyone.

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  1. A third of all people were under the age of 20.

In around 40 African countries, over 50% of the population is under 20. By contrast, in 30 richer countries, less than 20% of the population is under 20. As the 2015/2016 Global Monitoring Reports notes, the world is on the cusp of a major demographic transition that will affect countries along the development spectrum.

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  1. 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 10 years.

One third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are currently neither in employment, education nor training. Of the one billion more youth that will enter the job market in the next decade, only 40% are expected to be able to get jobs that currently exist. The future of work is changing, and the global economy will need to create 600 million jobs over the next 10 years to keep pace with projected youth employment rates.

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  1. 1 in 3 people did not have access to a toilet.

The UN estimates that 2.4 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation facilities, nearly one billion of whom practice open defecation. Good sanitation is a foundation for development – conditions such as diarrhea are associated with poor sanitation, and left untreated, can lead to malnutrition and stunting in children. This year’s first High-Level Panel on Water brought together world leaders with a core commitment to ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

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Morality of Leaders as factor of stability

For a Happy New Year 2017 in the Maghreb and North Africa,
I often had in the past, to stress on numerous occasions in my counselling activities for the Maghreb and African Governments about how the lack of integration did in fact result in the loss of several points from the region’s growth. This was principally tied with and / or consequent to the prevailing lack of morality in the region’s leadership. And how Morality of Leaders as factor of stability has become a factor of progress or a sine-qua-non condition for a sustainable development.
Any sustainability in development would have to take into account the current ecological challenge amongst many other things, that in this 21st century, should essentially be made through good governance and effectively be knowledge based [. . .]

For a Happy New Year 2017 in the Maghreb and North Africa,

I often had in the past, to stress on numerous occasions in my counselling activities for the Maghreb and African Governments about how the lack of integration did in fact result in the loss of several points from the region’s growth.  This was principally tied with and / or consequent to the prevailing lack of morality in the region’s leadership.  And how Morality of Leaders as factor of stability has become a factor of progress or a sine-qua-non condition for a sustainable development.

Any sustainability in development would have to take into account the current ecological challenge amongst many other things, that in this 21st century, should essentially be made through good governance and effectively be knowledge based.  For the development of whether the Maghreb or North Africa to be competitive in these globalization times and the fourth economic revolution that is looming upon us between 2020/2030, we ought to first remove all productive sectors out of the rentier economy model and incorporate them in the global arena of fair trade.

The Maghreb and Africa hold significant potential, especially in human skills, wealth that is more important than all the reserves of hydrocarbons for Algeria or Phosphate for Morocco and Tunisia.  To overcome the current situation both locally and abroad, in addition to deep sense of morality of the people responsible for running the city, the fight against corruption and illegal transfers of capital, with democratic control mechanisms should be the urgency of the hour.

One cannot ignore the effects of globalization that in the main is positive but could at the same time be perverse if unregulated.  We should for instance inscribe all future projects as part of the integration of the Maghreb, bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Africa, for the stability and prosperity of the whole region.  The Maghreb and Africa being at the crossroads, we must avoid any complacency, and contrary to the daily lives of the vast majority of the population, we should refuse letting it become a source of collective neurosis.  Whilst avoiding gloom, everything achieved in all countries of the Maghreb and Africa is after all not entirely negative, but there are many deficiencies that require to be absolutely addressed.

Would, in 2017, the present rulers of the Maghreb and Africa, toast it by chosing those resolutions that in these moments of great geo-strategic upheavals, help them to both take stock of the situation objectively, avoid running forward and possibly become aware of the gravity of the situation.  They should notably make their cultural mu, with a focus not on their personal interests but rather on the superior interests of their populations.

To meet all challenges of the future, the Maghreb and Africa rulers, need a return to CONFIDENCE through a language of truth in order to secure their respective future.  They should rehabilitate work and intelligence, and gather all political, economic, and social forces whilst avoiding any division on subtopics.  Most importantly, they should learn to respect our different sensitivities, and therefore opinions of others, by spreading a culture of tolerance.

Unanimism is generally source of decadence and confrontation of ideas very often a productive source of mutual enrichment.  The challenge of all nations in the 21st century world that is in perpetual motion would be the mastery of time.  Any country that does not move forward goes necessarily backward.  According to the majority of all international reviews, the stability of the Maghreb and Africa could be a factor of stability of the entire Mediterranean and African continent and any destabilisation would have geo-strategic implications whereby the importance of its development as a dialectic link between security and development.

Hence the importance of a broad inter-Maghreb, African and international cooperation so as to deal with above all else terrorism that is a global threat.  The Maghreb and Africa would continue to have a future with strong potential, presuming sub regional integrations, can achieve sustainable development reconciling economic efficiency, a deep social justice and consolidate unity to which I am deeply attached.

In this New Year 2017, I would like to wish that our region, North Africa and the continent of Africa, all the security and development and face the coming fiscal pressures as a shared equitable sacrifice.  I am entirely convinced that the Maghreb and Africa have all the potentialities to surpass the multidimensional crisis they are presently facing. This would involve new modes of local political, economic and social regulations, based on the Rule of Law, the development of freedoms in the broader sense our world knowing a moral crisis that will be overcome only by a profound change in international relations for a fairer world, as based on better global governance.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR to ALL

from

Dr Abderrahmane MEBTOUL, University Professor on 26/12/2016 ademmebtoul@gmail.com

Year 2016 Review using 12 Charts

The World Bank produced the following article on Year 2016 Review using 12 Charts. It is written by Tariq Khokhar with co-author: Donna Barne on December 22nd, 2016. We republish the first 7 items of the article here and would seriously recommend reading the rest in its original publication by clicking the article title below. One would also notice that the video in question in the article can be visualised only in its original bedding. . . .
Between the social, political, and economic upheavals affecting our lives, and the violence and forced displacement making headlines, you’d be forgiven for feeling gloomy about 2016. A look at the data reveals some of the challenges we face but also the progress we’ve made toward a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future. Here are 12 charts that help tell the stories of the year. [. . .]

The World Bank produced the following article on Year 2016 Review using 12 Charts.  It is written by  Tariq Khokhar  with co-author: Donna Barne on December 22nd, 2016.  We republish the first 7 items of the article here and would seriously recommend reading the rest in its original publication by clicking the article title below.  One would also notice that the video in question in the article can be visualised only in its original bedding.  

Tariq Khokhar

Year in Review: 2016 in 12 Charts (and a video)

 

Between the social, political, and economic upheavals affecting our lives, and the violence and forced displacement making headlines, you’d be forgiven for feeling gloomy about 2016. A look at the data reveals some of the challenges we face but also the progress we’ve made toward a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future. Here are 12 charts that help tell the stories of the year.

1.The number of refugees in the world increased.

At the start of 2016, 65 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homes, up from 60 million the year before. More than 21 million were classified as refugees. Outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, most refugees live in cities and towns, where they seek safety, better access to services, and job opportunities. A recent report on the “Forcibly Displaced” offers a new perspective on the role of development in helping refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities, working together with humanitarian partners. Among the initiatives is new financial assistance for countries such as Lebanon and Jordan that host large numbers of refugees.

 

 

  1. The global climate change agreement entered into force.

The pact negotiated in Paris in 2015 was ratified by 118 of the 194 countries that signed it, triggering new commitments to combat global warming. One of the agreement’s major goals is to promote a shift to low-carbon energy. Demand for renewable energy is picking up in developing countries as prices decline. In May, Africa saw its lowest solar price to date when the winning bid to develop large-scale photovoltaic solar plants in Zambia came in at 6 cents per kilowatt hour – or 4.7 cents/kwh, spread over 20 years.  That followed bids as low as 3 cents in the United Arab Emirates and 4.5 cents in Mexico. Renewables are now cost competitive in many markets and increasingly seen as mainstream sources of energy, according to REN21.

3.Global trade weakened.

In 2016, global trade growth recorded its weakest performance since the global financial crisis. Trade volumes stagnated for most of the year, with weak global investment playing an important role, as capital goods account for about one third of world goods trade. Trade has been a major engine of growth for the global economy and has helped cut global poverty in half since 1990. A trade slowdown, therefore, could have implications for growth, development, and the fight against poverty.

  1. More people had access to mobile phones than to electricity or clean water.

Access to mobile phones has surged in low- and middle-income countries, but many of the other benefits of the digital revolution – such as greater productivity, more opportunity for the poor and middle class, and more accountable governments and companies — have not yet spread as far and wide as anticipated, according to the World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report on the Internet, “Digital Dividends.” The report says greater efforts must be made to connect more people to the Internet and to create an environment that unleashes the benefits of digital technologies for everyone.

  1. A third of all people were under the age of 20.

In around 40 African countries, over 50% of the population is under 20. By contrast, in 30 richer countries, less than 20% of the population is under 20. As the 2015/2016 Global Monitoring Reports notes, the world is on the cusp of a major demographic transition that will affect countries along the development spectrum.

  1. 600 million jobs will be needed in the next 10 years.

One third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are currently neither in employment, education nor training. Of the one billion more youth that will enter the job market in the next decade, only 40% are expected to be able to get jobs that currently exist. The future of work is changing, and the global economy will need to create 600 million jobs over the next 10 years to keep pace with projected youth employment rates.

  1. 1 in 3 people did not have access to a toilet.

The UN estimates that 2.4 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation facilities, nearly one billion of whom practice open defecation. Good sanitation is a foundation for development – conditions such as diarrhea are associated with poor sanitation, and left untreated, can lead to malnutrition and stunting in children. This year’s first High-Level Panel on Water brought together world leaders with a core commitment to ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

 

 

 

TransSaharian Ridge, from Algiers to Lagos

The MENA African region southern flank is bordered by an area labelled by all as the Sahel. It is the Sahara’s southern edge best known for its Touaregs ‘Blue Men’ nomadic inhabitants. Could Algeria as advised by Professor J.L Guigou, think tank IPEMED president, borrow one of the two proposed paths that cross its territory with the first leading to industrialization of the North of Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, with Algeria at the Centre or opt for the second path, that is according to a North-South axis, along the Transsaharian Ridge, from Algiers to Lagos, contributing to the development of the Sahel, while linking North Africa to the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, BROOKINGS produced this article on the Sahel as in a way a vivid reminder that this region is still as dependent as it ever was on international aid. Written by Jaime de Melo and posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2016, pleading for an international action towards helping to secure some decency into the life of people of the region.

The MENA African region southern flank is bordered by an area labelled by all as the Sahel.  It is the Sahara’s southern edge best known for its Touaregs ‘Blue Men’ nomadic inhabitants.  Could Algeria as advised by Professor J.L Guigou, think tank IPEMED president, borrow one of the two proposed paths that cross its territory with the first leading to industrialization of the North of Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, with Algeria at the Centre  or  opt for the second path,  that is according to a North-South axis, along the Transsaharian Ridge, from Algiers to Lagos, contributing to the development of the Sahel, while linking North Africa to the Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Meanwhile, BROOKINGS  produced this article on the Sahel as in a way a vivid reminder that this region is still as dependent as it ever was on international aid.  Written by Jaime de Melo and posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2016, the article is pleading quite rightly for an international action towards helping to secure some decency into the life of people of the region. 

 

Sahel faces poverty and conflict traps: A call for international action

 

Conditions in the Sahel are grim—some say emigration is the only recourse as economic, social, demographic, and environmental vulnerabilities worsen there. The Sahel—Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad—often called the “G-5” in recognition of the group set up to deal with their precariousness—are either in, or are about to fall into, poverty and conflict traps (see Figure 1).  These traps emerged following donor-led structural reforms in the 1990s when tough spending choices meant security was sacrificed for investments in education and other sectors. As a result, the G-5 and neighboring countries have edged toward “failed state” status.

Figure 1: Economic and aid Indicators

Figure 1: Economic and aid Indicators
Figure 1: Economic and aid Indicators

“Linking security and development—A Plea for the Sahel,” a new report by Sylviane Guillaumont, myself, and others from the Fondation pour les études et recherches dans le développement international, summarizes the insights of 17 actors and observers involved in the Sahel, including military personnel, academics, diplomats, dignitaries and former ministers, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives.  All 17 respondents recognized that there is no development without security and vice versa. They spoke to the urgency of the situation, making it clear that the window of opportunity for a much-needed “big push” in foreign assistance is closing fast.

The Sahel: Breeding ground for violence

Violence in the Sahel is caused by complex factors, including the grievances of nomadic Tuaregs, cocaine trafficking that emerged in 2005 on top of other traditional trafficking, and the flood of thousands unemployed soldiers and armed men into the region after the fall of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.  Added to this are family conflicts over land, national grievances, and tensions among traffickers. The situation was compounded when Algeria expelled Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which led bad actors toward the Sahel. Armed banditry spread and day-to-day insecurity grew. Populations in the region, already on the verge of poverty, fell into conflict traps. In the face of such fragmentation, governing became ever more difficult.

Rapid population growth and a youth bulge have contributed to low per capita income growth and widespread vulnerability. Though primary school enrollments are up, time spent in school tends to be brief and the public education system is not equipping graduates for jobs in the agriculture sector. Public-sector jobs are disappearing and employment in manufacturing and services are reserved for those with secondary and higher qualifications. Youth feel excluded and held back by deeply entrenched inter-generational hierarchies. Salafist schools have stepped in to fill voids, especially in the northern Sahel. Many Koranic schools are only preparing their students for entry into a society dominated by religion.

The international response: Delayed and imbalanced

Support for the Sahel, starting with the European Union’s pledge of 5 billion euros in April 2011, has been slow to materialize. A terrorist attack in Mali in early 2013 prompted a mix of grant aid and military interventions. In November 2015, a detailed plan for spending the promised EU funds was adopted. Funding was increased by 1 billion euros through an urgency fund, but no one knows when the money will be disbursed.  While the international community continued to focus on development in the Sahel, France has shifted toward military support (see Figure 2). Following a series of military interventions in Mali, parties to the conflict signed a peace agreement in 2015, allowing a lull that is tenuous at best.  As one interviewee said, “There is no point in building schools or installing water supply points if we’re afraid to go to the market or send our girls to fetch water.”

Figure 2: Country programmable aid and military expenses in the Sahel by donor (2013-2015) (% of G-5 GDP)

figure-2

Notes: Data for 2015 are extrapolated from ratios in 2014
Source:  Laville (2016).

Donors have long been reluctant to fund military or police spending, in part because it cannot be counted as Official Development Assistance (ODA). This amounts to a failure to recognize the need to fund African security forces so they can protect civilians. Also, capacity-building for security forces takes time and donors want to have confidence in overall governance before supporting security building.

The way forward: Boost funding and focus on primary education and agriculture

Insecurity, sociocultural complexity among the G-5, and the imperative to “do no harm” explain donor inaction in the Sahel. In 2014, ODA shares for health were respectable with France at 28 percent, the U.S. at 21 percent, and multilateral donors at 9 percent. By contrast, per capita funds allocated to agriculture and especially to education—the two sectors singled out by respondents in our report—were generally low (see Figure 1). More funding for day-to-day security and for economic development is urgently needed. Everyone we interviewed concurred that the cost of investing in the public good that security and development in the G-5 represents will be far lower than managing the costs of an extended crisis.

All interviewees were also adamant that the sociocultural complexity in the Sahel calls for a multidisciplinary approach (researchers, diplomats, ethnologists, humanitarians, and defense and development experts), with each group working in its respective area of expertise. Success will also depend on close cooperation between the public and private sectors working with local and international NGOs.

Simultaneous progress on security, education, and agricultural development are needed to tackle demographic, economic, social, environmental, and institutional vulnerabilities.

Several success stories offer room for hope. First is in agriculture, where rural development activities in the Agadez and Tahoua regions in Niger as well as an agro-ecology project in Keita, also in Niger, appear to hold promise. A second relates to the reintegration of fighters in Côte d’Ivoire through a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration project. Recovery requires a big push in assistance to reduce day-to-day insecurity as well as a targeting of ODA toward projects with a quick return. For example, initiatives to promote the inclusion of professional content into school curricula and mini-projects in rural areas, combined with projects with longer-run returns (e.g., improvements in the quality of teaching and of security forces) may offer a good starting point.