The first European Union-Africa summit since 2010 was held in Brussels earlier this month. Much of the media focus leading up to the summit was on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s failed bid to instigate a boycott of the meeting by African leaders after his wife was refused a visa to enter Europe. Beyond these headlines, however, the issue of trade relations between the two parties continues to be one of pressing importance. The EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries since 2002. The final declaration of the Brussels summit this year included […]

Petro Symonenko, the Communist Party deputy who was attacked earlier this week as he addressed the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, raised some uncomfortable points that Western policymakers need to consider about their response to the crisis in Ukraine. Symonenko aroused the ire of deputies from the nationalist Svoboda party by noting that some of those protesting the government of now-deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, including Svoboda activists, had used what might be termed improper methods—including storming buildings and breaking into armories—that are now being utilized by those who in turn do not recognize the authority of the interim government. By driving Yanukovych […]

A panel discussion on Thursday organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law discussed options for U.S. policy toward Uganda, after relations were ruffled by a new Ugandan law signed in February that imposes harsh legal penalties, including life sentences, for homosexual acts. As the U.S. moves forward with its promised review of its relationship with Uganda, the question is whether the Obama administration can produce an effective response to the new law or if the U.S. will be boxed into a narrow response that feeds perceptions of American imperialism. […]

Workers in the Seagate factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China (Photo by Wikimedia user Robert Scoble, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribtion license).

Since the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, many governments and international development institutions have expressed their commitment toward gender equality goals. Most development actors and policymakers, however, remain focused on a narrow interpretation of women’s empowerment and often argue for “investing in women and girls” as a means to achieve poverty reduction and GDP growth, rather than as an end in itself and as a matter of social justice. For example, the main argument behind the slogan “gender equality is smart economics” coined by the World Bank […]

The original and most immediate rationale for redistributive land reform is that, at low levels of capital intensity, large farms operated by wage labor will be less efficient than small owner-operated ones. This has given rise to an inverse relationship between farm size and productivity that continues to be widely observed in the literature. In fact, colonial powers had often tried to restrict access to land by the local population to ensure a continued supply of cheap and relatively uneducated labor, despite the associated economic cost. In a sense, land reform is an effort to rectify this historical injustice and […]

It is now very much old news that economic inequality has risen dramatically in the United States and many other developed democracies over the past 30 years. This dramatic increase has produced a flurry of discussion over how severe the increase has been, how much of a problem inequality really is and what can and should be done about it. While inequality is resurgent as an issue in U.S. politics, it has a much longer and more prominent history in middle- and low-income countries. This is likely due to the fact that inequality in developing countries has historically been much […]