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Corruption Perception Index 2016
Corruption Perception Index 2016
February 7, 2017
 

No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.

Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year’s index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector. Top-scoring countries (yellow in the map below) are far outnumbered by orange and red countries where citizens face the tangible impact of corruption on a daily basis.

This year’s results highlight the connection between corruption and inequality, which feed off each other to create a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.

In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt…

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Aleppo: Russia-Turkey ceasefire deal offers hope of survival for residents
December 14, 2016
 

Aleppo: Russia-Turkey ceasefire deal offers hope of survival for resident – An agreement has been reached to evacuate civilians and opposition fighters from the besieged eastern districts of the city of Aleppo, a senior Turkish official and rebel officials have told the Guardian.

But as dawn broke in the city on Wednesday, reports from Syria said nobody had yet been able to leave.

Syrians leave a rebel-held area of Aleppo to go to the government-held side.

The deal offers some hope of survival to the people of east Aleppo, who the United Nations said on Tuesday had endured a brutal “meltdown of humanity” as forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, rampaged through newly reclaimed districts reportedly carrying out extrajudicial killings.

The agreement, which has effectively ended the battle for Aleppo after four years of fighting, capped…

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If the US Federal Government Won’t Lead on Climate Action, Who Will?
December 8, 2016
 

If the US Federal Government Won’t Lead on Climate Action, Who Will?To say the results of the US election cast a pall over climate negotiations in Marrakech is like saying Indonesian forest fires make Singapore a little hazy. In the appropriately named Blue Zone of the conference venue, participants went through the motions of formal talks and side events, while private huddles dwelled on the new shocking reality of a US President-elect who has pledged to withdraw the United States from the historic Paris Agreement, which concluded last year and which has already entered into force.

Implementation of that agreement was the theme of COP22 (short for the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the climate convention), with banners around the city of Marrakech proclaiming “A Time for Action.” Not surprisingly, a theme of post-election conversations there was how US action on…

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Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns after referendum defeat
December 5, 2016
 

Matteo Renzi was roundly defeated in a referendum to change Italy’s constitution, marking a major victory for anti-establishment and rightwing parties and plunging the eurozone’s third largest economy into political chaos.

The prime minister conceded defeat in an emotional speech at his residence, Palazzo Chigi, and said he would submit his resignation to Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, on Monday afternoon.

“My experience in government ends here … I did all I could to bring this to victory,” Renzi said. “If you fight for an idea, you cannot lose.”

It was a not an unexpected defeat but it was nevertheless a humiliating one, with about 60% of Italians voting against the proposed reforms, which would have made sweeping changes to Italy’s constitution and parliamentary system. Pointing to the high voter turnout – about 68% of eligible voters cast ballots in the referendum – Renzi…

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Three more reasons why US education is ready for investment
Three more reasons why US education is ready for investment
December 1, 2016
 

Shifts in the education landscape are opening doors for investment.

The US market for educational products and services, across K–12, higher education, and corporate learning, is more than $1.75 trillion, and growing. While that figure alone warrants attention from investors, much of this market has historically been difficult for investors to access. K–12 and higher education are largely seen as public goods for the government to provide. Corporate learning has been the responsibility of employers, which often have little appetite for innovation. For-profit companies and investors have mainly played supporting roles and have found a few opportunistic ways to provide resources where providers of learning required support.

Today, because of stagnation in learning outcomes and other shifts in the education landscape, schools and corporations are rethinking how they teach and train—opening the door for private investors and for-profit education providers. In 2015, deal activity involving education companies hit an all-time…

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GE Africa and The USADF Launch 2017 Off-Grid Energy Challenge For Women in Energy
November 25, 2016
 

A lack of financial support for Africa’s power generation needs has several negative ramifications for the continent, with the most significant one being that it stalls Africa’s long-term economic development and growth, according to a recent McKinsey report.

Although the African continent is  well-resourced with fossil fuels and renewable energy resources, most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have electrification levels below 30%. Only seven countries – Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Cote d’IVoire, South Africa, Namibia and Senegal have electricity access rates that exceed 50%. At a grass-roots  level, there are still 600-million people in Africa who lack reliable access to electricity and this means that school children are unable to read after dusk, clinics cannot stock medication that needs refrigeration and small businesses cannot do business after sunset.

It is for these reasons that GE  Africa and the United States African Development…

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Empowering the 40% of young Latin Americans not in formal jobs, education or training could spark new growth engines, says latest Latin American Economic Outlook
November 21, 2016
 

Cartagena, Colombia, 28 October 2016 – Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) GDP will shrink by between 0.9% and 1% in 2016, according to the latest estimates, the second consecutive year of negative growth and a rate of contraction the region has not seen since the early 1980s. According to the Latin American Economic Outlook 2017, the region should recover in 2017, but with modest GDP growth of between 1.5% and 2%, below expected growth in advanced economies.

According to the report, jointly produced by the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC) and the Development ‌Bank for Latin America (CAF), this prolonged economic deceleration could jeopardise the continent’s socio-economic progress. Seven million Latin Americans became poor in 2015, and 25 to 30 million vulnerable Latin Americans risk falling…

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With Trump, how will the US and the rest of the world cope after COP22?
November 18, 2016
 

 

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In the wake of the newly elected President of the United States – Donald Trump on November 9, 2016, a major fraction of the world populace covering a large spectrum of people awoke to a dwindling future. They are those who have come to terms with the fact that climate change is real and human activities emanating from the industrial revolution is also responsible for global warming.

Success in and after Paris

The Paris Agreement remains a historical accomplishment as far as international development is concerned.  World leaders and climate negotiators accepted the vision to peg global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels while working towards reducing temperature increase to “1.5°C.” As at September 2016, there have been great signals to proof that the dedication to the Paris agreement is beyond mere rhetoric.

The full effect of the Paris agreement counts on ratification by a…

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What to Expect: COP22 Climate Summit in Marrakech
November 15, 2016
 

Today, world leaders and climate negotiators are reconvening in Marrakech, Morocco, less than a year after they hammered out the Paris Agreement to reduce global greenho

use gas emissions through the United Nations process. Over the next two weeks, they will work out the logistics of their climate goals at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22).

While celebrating what was accomplished in Paris, this year has also sobered negotiators under the realization that the real work of the Paris Agreement begins now — and delegates hope to keep up the momentum at COP22.

We’re calling this a COP of action,” said Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, in a press call on November 3.

A Global Climate Agreement in Effect

In Paris last year, negotiators embraced a vision to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to…

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The US has elected its most dangerous leader. We all have plenty to fear
November 11, 2016
 

People in Times Square, New York

We thought the United States would step back from the abyss. We believed, and the polls led us to feel sure, that Americans would not, in the end, hand the most powerful office on earth to an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar.

People all around the world had watched and waited, through the consecutive horrors of the 2016 election campaign, believing the Trump nightmare would eventually pass. But today the United States – the country that had, from its birth, seen itself as a beacon that would inspire the world, a society that praised itself as “the last best hope of earth”, the nation that had seemed to be bending the arc of history towards justice, as Barack Obama so memorably put it on this same morning eight years ago – has stepped into the abyss.

Today the…

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Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment
November 9, 2016
 

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Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy.

The surprise outcome, defying late polls that showed Hillary Clinton with a modest but persistent edge, threatened convulsions throughout the country and the world, where skeptics had watched with alarm as Mr. Trump’s unvarnished overtures to disillusioned voters took hold.

The triumph for Mr. Trump, 70, a real estate developer-turned-reality television star with no government experience, was a powerful rejection of the establishment forces that had assembled against him, from the world of business to government, and the consensus they had…

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How does the US presidential election work and which swing states will determine whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will win?
November 8, 2016
 

On Tuesday Nov 8 2016, 120 million people go to the polls to decide whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will become the 45th President of the United States.

As always, it’s a simple choice between a Republican and a Democrat – although Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, will be hoping to sweep up some votes too.

The system itself, however, is far from simple. Here we make sense of how the US election works. Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton at the first presidential debate

How does the electoral college work?

All 50 US states and Washington DC have a set number of “electors” in the electoral college – roughly proportionate to the size of each state.

California, the largest state, has 55 electoral votes, while sparsely-populated Wyoming and tiny Washington DC only get only three each.

There are 538 electors and to win a majority…

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Why Africa should ratify the Paris Agreement
November 1, 2016
 

At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. Richard Munang and Robert Mgendi write that the terms of the deal present Africa with an opportunity for long-term sustainable economic growth.

The Paris Agreement is now open for signatures and ratification by member states and as other countries ponder their next move Africa has taken the lead in signing the landmark climate change deal. Over 40 African countries signed the agreement on the very day it was opened for signing in New York and are on course to ratify it. This certainly is the right approach. The continent is the most vulnerable region to climate change and The Paris Agreement requires all countries across the globe to take action against climate change in line with their respective capabilities. It also requires developed countries to support developing…

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Will Hillary Clinton lose the US election because of the FBI email investigation?
October 31, 2016
 

A week ago, the US election looked to be over. Hillary Clinton was riding so high in the polls after a disastrous series of gaffes by Donald Trump that few could conceive of a Republican path to victory on 8 November. Friday’s shock intervention by the FBI may not be enough to change that outcome on its own, but it has certainly set political imaginations running wild.

The worry for Democrats is that fresh inquiries regarding Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state come at a difficult time. Not only is it hard to prove a negative and re-establish her innocence with barely a week to go until the election, but the letter to congressional officials from director James Comey capped a tricky run of news that was already making a sizable dent in her polling lead.

Momentum…

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Africa’s presidents are struggling to meet their own ambitious anti-corruption targets
October 27, 2016
 

Africa’s presidents are struggling to meet their own ambitious anti-corruption targets

 

Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta was last week roundly criticized by his country men and women after admitting, in startlingly frank terms, his helplessness in fighting against endemic corruption. Kenyatta said he had tried everything in his power including sacking cabinet ministers and others implicated in corruption to no avail.

“Show me any one administration since independence that has taken action on corruption like I have done, the president said. “I have removed everybody. I have done my part, at great expense also, political, by asking these guys to step aside.”

His frustration is a classic tale of failed attempts by different African governments in their relentless struggle to fight the vice that has plagued the continent for…

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