Editor’s note: Click here to watch a related video report from Carmen Gentile in Haiti. PORT SALUT, Haiti — Dardy Saint-Jean looks at the rock-strewn river coursing through his village and shakes his head in disgust. “Look at this river — it’s filled with stones from the mountains,” said Saint-Jean, lamenting the results of decades of erosion caused by deforestation. Much of the destruction can be blamed on the way the majority of the populace subsists in this poor Caribbean nation, where public utilities are unreliable and often unavailable. With few reliable sources of fuel, most Haitians rely on charcoal […]

Most analysts of the Bush administration’s “surge” strategy in Iraq have focused on its military dimension, especially the prominent deployment of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Baghdad and other contested regions of the country. Another important element of the administration’s strategy, however, is the renewed effort to advance Iraq’s economic reconstruction with the provision of considerable new funding and other additional support. The first results of this economic surge are now in — and they do not look encouraging. According to a July 30 report of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), headed by […]

On July 18, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher met with representatives from South and Central Asian countries to discuss how the United States could promote economic integration in their region. The session was part of a dialogue conducted as part of the Third Annual Meeting of the U.S.-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The day before, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative hosted the third annual TIFA Meeting. The United States and the five Central Asian countries signed the TIFA agreement in June 2004. The TIFA process focuses on identifying means to […]

ACCRA, Ghana — Henry Kobby, 22, opened his family’s store here, which sells drinks and food, 18 months ago. But what seemed like a viable business idea in early 2006 is now undermined by power shortages that occur at least 24 hours of every three days. When the power goes, so does the refrigerator Kobby needs to keep the drinks cold and the microwave he uses to warm up the pies and pastries. The power cuts began last August when low water levels were registered at Ghana’s southeastern Akosombo Dam, the country’s major source of electricity, which forced the government […]

BANGKOK, Thailand – Ethnic clashes that have led to 11 deaths in Moreh, an Indian town on the border with Burma, have barely raised a blip on the global news meter but have brought much trade between the two countries to a standstill. Moreh is a fly-blown place in a remote corner of India’s troubled and underdeveloped northeast region and remains largely under lock and key guard by units of the Assam Rifles regiment. And yet Moreh is regarded by the central government in faraway New Delhi as the gateway to Southeast Asia in its “Look East” economic growth policy. […]

The “Color Revolutions” that swept through Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2004-2005 have mostly faded out. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution has given way to political clan warfare and hopes for reform have been put on hold. The Tulip Revolution brought little more than a change of personnel to Kyrgyzstan. Only Georgia’s Rose Revolution has maintained its hue. Why has Georgia been able to maintain its revolutionary spirit despite several setbacks over the past three years? One reason seems to be the talented, young technocrats the revolution placed in Georgian ministries. Just as the “Chicago Boys” famously helped right Chile’s economy […]

PERUGIA, Italy — Back in the good old days, European unity was all about energy. The European Union’s original ancestor was the European Carbon and Steel Community, established in 1951. Six years later, on March 25, 1957, leaders signed Euratom, an agreement on atomic energy, along with the other, better-known Rome Treaty. Fifty years of peace and wealth are a testament to a convergence of fundamental interests, which would be better represented by a common European energy policy than by tomato quotas. Yet today, while the agricultural trade restrictions remain in place, energy policy has taken a back seat in […]

President Bush’s meeting with Vladimir Putin last week found U.S.-Russian relations in a far different state than six years ago, when President Putin was the first leader to call the Oval Office and pledge his support following September 11. While there is yet no real basis for proclaiming a new Cold War, a long list of thorny issues includes sanctions against Iran, location of the proposed U.S. missile defense system, and the unresolved question of Kosovar independence. Perhaps the most important recent change U.S.-Russian relations, however, is Russia’s much greater reluctance to support the Bush administration’s Middle East and Europe […]

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office last December promising to create jobs, crack down on drug traffickers, improve infrastructure and reduce rampant inequality. But any progress towards tackling these national priorities hinges on a much more mundane topic — tax policy. This is why Calderon’s recent fiscal reform initiative, currently being discussed by a Mexican congressional committee, is a crucial test. To make his promises reality, he needs more money, and improving the nation’s anemic tax collection is the only solution. “It’s pretty clear that we don’t raise enough revenue to do all the things we want […]

ACCRA, Ghana — When London-based Tullow Oil announced last month that it had discovered oil off the country’s west coast, a few Ghanaians thanked God for the blessing. Others, including President John Kufuor, reveled in the prospect that Ghana’s precious new resource would fuel faster growth and create more jobs. Kufuor suggested that oil would transform his country, which experiences 12-hour power cuts every two of three days, into an African tiger. Even government critics considered the find of up to 600 million barrels of reserves at the West Cape Three Points block, operated by Kosmos Energy of Texas, to […]