The second India-Africa Forum summit, held in Ethiopia last week and attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with the leaders of 16 African states, set out a fresh roadmap for further consolidation of the strategic partnership between India and the African Union (AU). Addressing the summit, Singh emphasized clearly, “Africa possesses all the prerequisites to become a major growth pole in the world. India-Africa partnership is unique and owes its origins to history and our common struggles against colonialism, apartheid, poverty [and] disease.” With globalization increasingly shifting the international distribution of economic power in Asia’s favor, India has […]

For all the ways that Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Feb. 17, 2008, was a seminal moment, it changed little. To be sure, it marked the beginning of a fundamentally new phase in Kosovo’s political life and led to material as well as symbolic changes in its international status. Many powerful states recognized Kosovo as independent, and its altered international standing quickly allowed it to reach new heights of political autonomy. Yet many of the underlying political challenges and divisions that made Kosovo such a political flashpoint in Europe in the first place remained in place. Its early post-independence years […]

The U.S.-led economic reconstruction projects in both Afghanistan and Haiti, as well as similar United Nations efforts in Africa, the Balkans and Timor Leste, highlight the dismal track record of post-Cold War efforts to help countries transition from war or other forms of chaos to peace. Despite a few success stories, roughly half of the countries facing such transitions, according to the U.N., relapsed into conflict or chaos, leading to further human tragedy, large number of refugees and internally displaced populations (IDPs), and huge costs in new military interventions and peacekeeping operations. Furthermore, failed states have become incubators for terrorism, […]

JUBA, Sudan — It’s not every day that a new nation is born, even if the prospect is not unheard of in sub-Saharan Africa’s recent history. For south Sudan, the long and bitter struggle for autonomy and freedom from a series of oppressive Khartoum governments has made the looming reality of the Republic of South Sudan — as the state will be known after it becomes independent on July 9 — all the more meaningful for its diverse population. As was evident in the immediate, jubilant aftermath of the January referendum that decided south Sudan’s fate, this historic moment is […]

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Egypt’s foreign minister recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, amid signs of tensions between the two countries following the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In an e-mail interview, Michael Wahid Hanna, a fellow and program officer at the Century Foundation, discussed Egyptian-Saudi relations. WPR: What has the relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia been historically? Michael Wahid Hanna: Following the Egyptian Free Officer’s Revolution in 1952 and the subsequent emergence of President Gamal Abdel Nasser as a champion of Arab nationalism, Egyptian-Saudi relations were marked by considerable strife. Indeed, for the most part, Egypt and Saudi Arabia remained rivals and […]

As the American media breathlessly reported the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, several observers pointed out an error made by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, among others: Abbottabad is not a suburb of Islamabad, as he described it, but rather a garrison city located about 35 miles from the Pakistani capital. Blitzer’s mistake, though minor in the scheme of things, is emblematic of a broader failure by Americans to understand Pakistan. Much more is made of the outlandish conspiracy theories held by many Pakistanis about the U.S. than of Americans’ misconceptions about Pakistan. With the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in dire straits following […]

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The U.S. Export-Import Bank recently approved a nearly $3 billion loan guarantee to a Colombian oil refinery, one of many recent moves by the bank. In an email interview, Gary Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, discussed the operations of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. WPR: What is the core mission of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and what are its principal activities? Gary Hufbauer: The core mission of the U.S. Export-Import Bank should be to promote U.S. exports of goods and services in circumstances where financing conditions make a difference. The bank carries out its […]

The pro-democracy uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have moved crisis-ridden Pakistan out of the global spotlight. This is unfortunate, because Pakistan’s timid democratic resurgence faces a variety of obstacles, and its stability is more uncertain than ever before. To expect that Pakistan may soon experience a similar democratic transformation is not only excessively optimistic, but also ignores recent history: Pakistan exhausted its own “Arab Street” moment in 2007, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf was forced to resign following demonstrations by a diverse and vibrant civil society movement led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. That was […]

While pessimism is not in short supply in Pakistan, other resources are increasingly scarce. This is driving the country toward a crisis characterized by interlocking economic, political and security dimensions, and has already brought the government close to fiscal collapse. Yet the dangers are poorly understood. Few of the country’s policy elite fully grasp how Pakistan’s energy, food and fiscal challenges intersect, nor how quickly problems will spiral as the country’s population grows. Meanwhile, the international community is equally fragmented and short-term in its outlook, still working through sector-based silos that leave it unable to see the big picture. With […]