KIGALI, Rwanda — On a Thursday afternoon in February, a plot worthy of a Hollywood script unfolded in Goma, the freewheeling provincial capital that clings to the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Starring a high-profile Congolese fugitive, a cadre of foreign businessmen and a U.S.-registered Gulfstream jet, the tale featured a car chase that resulted in the seizure of $6.8 million in cash and a dramatic runway arrest that netted a half-ton of gold. Four foreign nationals — including a Frenchman, two Nigerians and a Houston-based diamond dealer — are now awaiting trial in the Congolese capital, […]

KAMPALA, Uganda — With an estimated 2 billion barrels of oil sitting beneath its Lake Albert, Uganda boasts the largest reserves among a number of African countries whose recent discoveries of petroleum have swelled the ranks of the continent’s oil-possessing states. But it took a recently signed agreement resolving a tax dispute between the government of President Yoweri Museveni on one side and two companies — Tullow Oil and its former partner, Heritage Oil — on the other to open the door for an estimated $10 billion of investment in the country. By the terms of the agreement, announced Feb. […]

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited Egypt earlier this month, the first head of state to do so following the Egyptian revolution. In an email interview, Jacob Høigilt, a Middle East researcher at the Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies, discussed Egypt-Sudan relations. WPR: What was the state of Egypt-Sudan relations prior to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak? Jacob Høigilt: Relations were highly ambiguous during the Mubarak era. Historically, Egypt and Sudan have enjoyed a close relationship. There has been much movement of people across the borders, and both governments have supported each other against the other Nile Basin countries in […]

When it comes to good governance in the information age, transparency has few competitors as the fix du jour. This is especially true when it comes to oil, gas and mining revenue in developing countries, where many people rightly consider transparency an essential first step in curbing government corruption. But the discussions at the “Transparency Counts” conference, held by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Paris earlier this month, strongly suggest that knowing how much money is coming in to government coffers is not enough if that money does not improve people’s lives. Natural resources are hot right now, […]

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Australia and Mongolia recently signed a number of agreements to increase bilateral business and educational cooperation. In an e-mail interview, Li Narangoa, a professor in the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University, discussed Australia-Mongolia relations. WPR: What is the extent of existing trade between Australia and Mongolia? Li Narangoa: Trade between Australia and Mongolia has been small, with a total value of about $25 million in 2010. Though Australia and Mongolia established diplomatic relations in 1972, a serious trade relationship began only in the 1990s, when Mongolia introduced a democratic political system and free-market reforms. […]

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Myanamar has opened with one of its biggest ever precious gem sales where the government will flaunt its ruby industry. However, the country won’t be showing off it’s virtual slave behind the business that brings in billions of dollars to prop up the country’s ruling junta.

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A tense encounter on the South China Sea found a Philippine survey ship approached by two Chinese vessels, threatening to ram the survey ship. The area where the conflict happened contains large oil and mineral deposits and is claimed by many countries as their own. The Philippines is demanding an explanation from China over an incident.

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With the Russian government having assumed an increasingly aggressive posture regarding the country’s territorial dispute with Japan in recent months, the question naturally arises, Why? Senior Russian leaders including President Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov have broken with precedent and visited what the Russians call the Southern Kurils and what the Japanese label their Northern Territories. The Russian government has also announced plans to enhance the islands’ socio-economic development and defenses. The escalating crisis led the counselor for European Affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry to characterize the Russian-Japanese relationship last week as being at its lowest point […]

With the Russian government having assumed an increasingly aggressive posture regarding the country’s territorial dispute with Japan in recent months, the question naturally arises, Why? Senior Russian leaders, including President Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, have broken with precedent and visited what the Russians call the Southern Kurils and what the Japanese label their Northern Territories. The Russian government has also announced plans to enhance the islands’ socio-economic development and defenses. The escalating crisis led the counselor for European Affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry to characterize the Russian-Japanese relationship last week as being at its lowest point […]