A gas transfer station, Volovets, western Ukraine, Oct. 7, 2015 (AP photo by Pavlo Palamarchuk).

Following meetings with Ukrainian officials in Kiev early this month, the vice president of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, who holds the energy portfolio for the EU as a whole, laid out his vision for how the often contentious relationship between Ukraine, Russia and the EU ought to be structured. “Russia as an exporter, Ukraine as a transit country and the EU as the main importer,” he said. This pithy formulation also sums up Europe’s geo-economic approach for managing the Ukraine conflict. Geopolitical strategies to keep the peace appear to be breaking down in Ukraine. An uptick in clashes and […]

Suriname's president, Desire Delano Bouterse, during a military parade, Paramaribo, Suriname, Aug. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Ertugrul Kilic).

Corruption and falling commodities prices have many in Suriname worried that their country is turning into the next Venezuela. Businesses are closing; inflation is rising; and the economy is predicted to contract by 2 percent this year. In an email interview, Robert Looney, distinguished professor in the department of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, discusses the economic crisis in Suriname. WPR: What factors are behind the recent economic turmoil in Suriname? Robert Looney: Suriname’s economy has never been able to break out of the boom-and-bust cycle that afflicts many resource-producing developing countries. The country is almost totally […]

President Barack Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Nairobi, July 25, 2015 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

NAIROBI, Kenya—When U.S. President Barack Obama attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, in July 2015, it helped place Africa in the global limelight as an emerging entrepreneurship hub. At the event, global leaders, business executives, mentors, young entrepreneurs and high-level government officials reiterated the crucial role of entrepreneurship in economic development, creating new jobs, driving technological innovations and enhancing economic growth. Many speakers specifically called for African governments to put in place strategies to support the growth of enterprises. Africa is already taking advantage of its youth demographic dividend to push young entrepreneurs to contribute to the continent’s […]

An anti-government rebel sits with an anti-aircraft weapon in front an oil refinery, Ras Lanouf, Libya, March 5, 2011 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

Libya’s crude oil production has increased by more than 70 percent since August, to 450,000 barrels per day, as several oil fields resumed output and the port of Ras Lanuf reopened for the first time since 2014. In an email interview, Matthew Reed, the vice president of Foreign Reports, Inc., a Washington-based consulting firm focused on Middle East politics and world oil markets, discusses Libya’s oil industry. WPR: What is the state of Libya’s oil industry and its infrastructure? Matthew Reed: Libya’s oil sector is making a tenuous comeback. Production jumped to 450,000 barrels per day following the reopening of […]

A crane hovers at the Oyu Tolgoi mine site in Khanbogd village, Umnugobi province, Mongolia, Nov. 7, 2009 (AP photo by Ganbat Namjilsangarav).

Over the past few years, Mongolia’s once vibrant and high-growth economy, buoyed by mineral riches, has languished to the point that there are some legitimate concerns that the country is on its way to bankruptcy. The Mongolian currency, the tugrik, has plunged nearly 15 percent since the beginning of this year against the U.S. dollar. Foreign direct investment, once bountiful and rapidly growing, has completely evaporated. The economy is contracting; unemployment is spiking; and deflationary trends are continuing. Combined, that makes for a cocktail of trouble for the new government in Ulaanbaatar that has been in office since elections in […]

An Iranian oil worker at a refinery south of Tehran, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

Since August, there have been growing rumors about an oil production freeze by major oil producers. The deal might be concluded on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria from Sept. 26 to 28, where the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will hold an informal gathering along with other producer countries, such as Russia. Seasoned oil market watchers will have a strong feeling of déjà vu. Back in April, members of OPEC and Russia failed to hammer out an agreement to limit oil production at a meeting in Doha. The talks collapsed at the 11th hour after […]

Climate activists protest on the rooftop of the Economy Ministry, Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 18, 2013 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. As the European Union faces pressure to quickly ratify the Paris Agreement, Poland has said it will only do so if it is given special concessions for its coal-based power sector, which the government plans on continuing to use for many years. In an email interview, Karolina Jankowska, an independent researcher on climate and energy policy and the author of a chapter in the forthcoming book “The European Union in International Climate Change Politics,” discusses Poland’s climate change policy. […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades at a summit in Athens, Dec. 9, 2015 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

In recent years, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus have all discovered huge natural gas fields off their coasts, raising export potential and perhaps the prospects for better political ties in the region through new energy partnerships. At least this is the scenario that the United States is hoping for. Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s envoy on energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, told Bloomberg that “we’re just beginning to open the spigots of what is the potential for the broader region.” That is already evident in the improved ties between Israel and Turkey after their June rapprochement, motivated by gas […]

A protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trade Promotion Authority, Beverly Hills, California, May 7, 2015 (AP photo by Damian Dovarganes).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the prospects for Uzbekistan after President Islam Karimov’s death, the challenges of implementing Colombia’s peace deal with FARC rebels, and Iran’s posture toward the West and Saudi Arabia in the year since signing its landmark nuclear deal with world powers. For the Report, Kimberly Ann Elliott joins us to talk about the global backlash against liberalized trade. Listen:Download: MP3 Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: Uzbekistan Faces Continuity With Karimov’s Successor—and the Same Challenges Why Colombia’s Historic Peace Breakthrough Was the ‘Easy Part’ […]

Demonstrators protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, Hannover, Germany, April 23, 2016 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

Trade is essential to every economy in the world. But policies to further liberalize trade are under attack. Both U.S. presidential candidates oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiated by President Barack Obama with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, though Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has supported it in the past. The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has threatened to withdraw from the World Trade Organization and impose steep tariffs on imports from China and Mexico if they do not comply with his demands. In June, a majority in the United Kingdom—albeit a slim one—voted to leave the European Union, the world’s […]

A military operation against the Islamic State by Kurdish peshmerga west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2015 (AP photo).

During a visit to Washington in April, Qubad Talabani, the deputy prime minister of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, declared that “the real existential threat facing Kurdistan today is the state of [its] economy.” The KRG’s monthly deficit had risen above $100 million, adding more strains on an already-teetering economy. Four months later, the KRG continues to face a financial crisis as oil production slows amid attacks from the Islamic State, refineries fall offline, and export quality drops. Kurdish leaders consider their region’s oil fields to be the foundation for an envisaged state. But falling oil revenue leaves […]