Like beauty, the value of the United Nations lies in the eye of the beholder. Case in point, David Rothkopf’s recent screed on ForeignPolicy.com against the world’s largest multilateral organization, the latest in a long line of vitriolic — and largely misinformed — attacks on the institution. Only a few years ago, John Bolton, at the time the U.S. ambassador to the body, declared that lopping 10 floors off the secretariat would make little difference in its operation. Superfluous or not, those 10 floors managed to survive Bolton’s U.N. tenure largely unscathed. Although Rothkopf’s rant, too, will likely dissolve away […]

Omar Bongo, the 73-year-old president of Gabon, in West Africa, died of natural causes on June 8, after 42 years in office. He was the world’s longest-serving, elected head of state, as well as one of its wealthiest — having carefully tailored the nation’s laws to both keep himself in office and fatten his many foreign bank accounts. Bongo left behind a country so accustomed to his rule that his death sparked a nationwide security clamp-down . . . as well as a furious scramble, by his scores of close relatives, to pilfer Bongo’s stashes of cash and to position […]

Indonesian workers at Duta Text sarong factory in Pekalongan, Indonesia, March 12, 2018 (Photo by Dadang Trimulyanto for Sipa via AP Images).

As we approach the 15th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, better known as the 1995 Beijing Conference, gender-equality advocates around the world are taking stock to assess what should come next. An honest reckoning that recognizes accomplishments, challenges and opportunities suggests that while progress has been made at policy levels, difficulties persist in translating policy into practice. Nevertheless, resources at the implementation level, if recognized, offer opportunities for gender equality to contribute not only to the well-being of women and girls, but also to more effective social and economic development. A Pervasive & Persistent Challenge: Defining Gender […]

Foundations are stepping up their engagement in Sub-Sahara Africa. But will that fundamentally alter the dynamics on the ground? When Warren Buffett donated $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a few years ago, many observers heralded the arrival of a new age of private philanthropy in the Carnegie and Rockefeller tradition. Particular attention has been paid in recent years to the growing engagement of philanthropic foundations in international development, and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Enthusiasts have pointed out that foundations offer a new and significant source of financing for development, with the potential to outstrip official development […]

China’s rapid rise as a global economic power was brought into sharp relief during the March 2009 G-20 finance ministers meeting when, for the first time, pundits speaking about the event used the label “G-2” to signal that the world — economically speaking — now had two contending powers: China and the United States. China’s rise has, in turn, sparked enormous interest in its development model and the contrast that presents to much of the “Washington Consensus” on development policy. At the same time, the Chinese have sharply increased their foreign assistance, most visibly in Sub-Saharan Africa, after a lull […]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Last January, a group of World Bank scientists withdrew from the Guarani aquifer region in South America, after almost nine years spent elaborating a detailed picture of the water table there. Located beneath the surface of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, the Guarani is not only the world’s third-largest aquifer. It is also the only uncontaminated one of those three. With a volume of almost 55,000 cubic kilometers, it could supply drinking water to the world’s entire population for 200 years. The aquifer’s four countries decided not to renew the World Bank’s investigation license, which had […]

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Harvard professor and Kenya native, Calestous Juma spoke at U.S. Africa headquarters. “I would like to argue, and I have publicly argued that in fact the militaries in African countries need to play a much bigger role in providing the foundation for economic transformation. A lot of it has to do primarily with the first part, which is infrastructure development. Secondly, the ability to safeguard trade routes; and thirdly I think that really there is a very important part to play in the area of technology transformation,” Juma said.

In April, the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort sailed from Virginia with 900 doctors, nurses, engineers and civilian volunteers aboard. Comfort’s mission: to deliver humanitarian aid to seven Latin American countries over a four-month period, “building relations with many countries, and strengthening already-strong bonds,” in the words of mission commander Bob Lineberry, a Navy captain. In the first two months of their tour, Comfort’s staff treated 29,000 patients, including performing more than 500 surgeries. They also helped rebuild hospitals and conducted medical training with local health professionals. Operation Continuing Promise is aimed at reinforcing existing U.S. ties with Antigua, Colombia, […]