International Press Syndicate

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Photo: Japan’s senior vice-minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries Taku Eto tries out a Japanese-made tilling machine in Cameroon. Credit: The Government of Japan

Analysis by Kingsley Ighobor

NEW YORK (IDN | Africa Renewal) - To many Africans, Japan is a country acclaimed for economic and technological prowess. Johnson Obaluyi in Lagos, Nigeria, says Toyota, the ubiquitous automotive manufacturer, comes to mind whenever Japan is mentioned. For Kwesi Obeng, a Ghanaian living in Nairobi, Kenya, it is technology. Beageorge Cooper, a consultant for the World Bank in Monrovia, Liberia, says she thinks of Japan as “a former world economic power”.

But it’s a different matter when Africans are asked about Japan-Africa relations. “I will have to read up on that,” says Cooper. “I think we are importing their Toyotas,” recollects Obaluyi. “They support research into tropical diseases in Africa,” says Obeng.

Photo credit: Jeffrey Moyo

Analysis by Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE (IDN) - The third Pan African Capacity Development Forum organized by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), in partnership with the organisation’s Pan-African and international partners, has vowed to boost industry together with infrastructure, in order to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation in line with the ninth goal of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As such, the organisation says it has invested more than $1 billion, building institutions in 45 countries on the African continent and supporting regional economic communities as well as continental organisations.

The SDGs were built on the eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015, dubbed the Millennium Development Goals.

Photo: David Nabarro. Credit: Africa Renewal

Masimba Tafirenyika interviews David Nabarro

David Nabarro is the new special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on sustainable development goals (SDGs), a plan of action for ending poverty adopted by UN member states in September 2015 to replace the Millennium Development Goals. Dr. Nabarro will work with member states to implement SDGs by 2030. The following are excerpts of his interview with Masimba Tafirenyika for Africa Renewal. IDN-InDepthNews is republishing the interview by arrangement with Africa Renewal.

Photo: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, addressing the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, 25 September 2015. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - A woman for the next secretary-general of the United Nations? Well, it’s a lot more complicated than that. There are other criteria in play – tthere is an unwritten rule that the regions of the world should take it in turns to occupy the UN’s top job. The east Europeans are saying it is their turn.

Ironically, since eastern Europe is now part of western Europe, the EU, the would-be candidates are in effect appealing to Russia to vote for them, since only as geographically part of the old Soviet alliance can they be regarded as an entity separate from western Europe.

How about a South Asian? Now that would make sense, since there has never been a secretary-general from there before and the subcontinent contains 1.7 billion people. However, no-one has put themselves forward.

Habitat III

By WBGU*

More than 2-3 billion people worldwide will move from the country to the cities within the next few decades, doubling the population of the world's slums. It will be the biggest migration of our time. The power of this urbanization surge will be the key driver of global change in the 21st century. This is highlighted by the report 'Humanity on the move – Unlocking the transformative power of cities', which was presented on April 25, 2016 by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU).

BERLIN - "Urban growth is so immense that it must urgently be channelled in new directions," said WBGU Co-Chair Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute. If more and more new settlements were to be built with cement and steel in the cities of the developing countries and emerging economies, the energy-intensive production of this building material alone could release such huge quantities of greenhouse gases by 2050 that the world's emissions budget of the 1.5°C target would already be virtually exhausted.

Photo: In Aleppo, Syria, four-year-old Esraa and her brother Waleed, three, sit on the ground near a shelter for internally displaced persons. Credit: UNICEF/UN013175/Al-Issa

By Bretton Woods Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. - At the Civil Society Forum at the Spring Meetings, the Arab Network for Development & the World Bank MENA Team organised on April 14, 2016 a panel discussion on the socio-economic impacts of the Syrian crisis, the outgoing flow of migration and the World Bank’s model on how to tackle these issues following its new report. Highlights of the discussion are reflected here.

Speakers were: Björn Rother, Advisor Middle East & Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund; Samir Aita, President of the Cercle des Economistes Arabes: Rabie Nasser, Researcher at the Syrian Center for Policy Research; Ahmad Awad, Director of the Phenix Center, Jordan; Shanta Devarajan, MENA chief Economist of the World Bank; and Michel Samaha, Affiliated Researcher at the Arab NGO Network for Development (moderator)

Photo: U.S. Marines from 1st Battalion 7th Marines enter a palace during the Fall of Baghdad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - President Barack Obama has observed, “ISIL [Islamic State] is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion – which is an example of unintended consequences- which is why we should generally aim before we shoot”.

Many of us, looking at the horror of the Iraq war, waged by the U.S. and the UK against the regime of Saddam Hussein when 200,000 civilians died and a total of 800 billion U.S. dollars was spent on the campaign, need little to be persuaded that there was a Machiavellian plot to find an excuse to make war. Yet there are many in the circles of power in Washington who believe the U.S. should shoot on sight and to kill whenever danger is thought to have appeared- in Iraq, Syria, Libya and, before that, in Vietnam.

Photo: President Lula giving a speech to recipients of Bolsa Família and other federal assistance programs in Diadema in June 2005. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (IDN | INPS) - If worst comes to worst and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is deposed and her widely beloved predecessor, Luiz “Lula” da Silva, is discredited they will long be remembered for the “Bolsa Familia”.

This is a government program that has cut Brazil’s once appalling poverty rate by half and reduced the number of poor very sharply to 3% of the population. It reaches 55 million people and 36 million have been lifted out of poverty. It has been such a winner that around sixty countries have sent their experts to study it.

Indeed, it has been so successful politically that we shouldn’t be surprised that if Rousseff is felled by the shenanigans of Congress masses will go out on the street and riot.

Photo: Ordination of Thein Sein into the Sangha. By IwaizumiOikawa HajimeTooru - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

By Special Arrangement with The Buddhist Channel*

YANGON - Myanmar's retired junta General Thein Sein has become a monk. He has been ordained as U Thandi Dhamma. According to reliable sources, it was the well known Dhamma teacher Dr. Ashin Nyanissara or better known as Sitagu Sayadaw who implored him to take up monkhood.

Thein Sein is widely regarded as the junta head who opened up Myanmar. After taking over from military dictator Senior General Than Shwe in 2011, he was expected to carry on as an opaque and isolationist ruler, much like his feared predecessor. After all, in 1998 he was personally named by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar for directly ordering his soldiers to commit human rights abuses.

Records have indicated that his history in brutality was no less than previous junta heads, such as Ne Win and Than Shwe.

Photo: Dilma Rousseff with Lula during the 2010 presidential campaign. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

LUND, Sweden (INPS) - The Brazilians have an elected president. They must keep her. If Dilma Rosseff is pushed to resign democracy has failed.

Two years ago she won re-election handsomely. That is the source of her mandate. From that she derives her legitimacy. The only thing that could topple her is if hard evidence emerges that she is crook- in her case supposedly stole millions of dollars from the Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras, of which she was once head of the board. Then Congress would be within its rights to discuss her impeachment.

But there is no evidence of her personal corruption – although there is evidence aplenty that her party, The Workers’ Party, has received a lot of black money, not just from Petrobras.