Pakistan’s army is one of the largest armies in the world. Historically, the reason behind the creation of armies was to protect society from any external threats. With the change in the war dynamics and the nature of the threats to any state, the responsibilities of the armies have also expanded. Pakistan has been mired in internal as well as external challenges enhancing the army’s responsibilities. Whenever there is a disaster, the army is called, for the traditional and non-traditional security threats army is looked at. But with such vast responsibilities, it looks like the army wold has asked for a huge proportion of the country’s budget. But, this is not the case. Pakistan army under current COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa has not just asked for a limited budget but contributed also through other means to protect the economy.
Over the past fifty years, looking at the enfeebling economy, the army’s budget has also decreased. In the 1970s army’s budget was 6.5% of the total GDP, compared to 2.54% in 2021. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan spends much lesser than other countries, despite being 7th largest army in the world. Oman spends 12%, Lebanon 10.5%, Saudi Arabia 8%, Kuwait 7.1%, Algeria 6.7%, Iraq 5.8%, UAE 5.6%, Azerbaijan 4%, Turkey 2.77%, Morocco 5.3%, Israel 5.2%, Jordan 4.9%. Armenia 4.8%, Mali 4.5%, Qatar 4.4%, Russia 3.9%, US 3.4%, and India 3.1%. Pakistan spends much lesser on its soldiers compared to the other countries, which ultimately spares room for the economy to allocate the budget for other developmental projects. In the fiscal year 2020/21, the Pakistan army contributed PKR 28bn to the country’s economy through direct tax.
Besides, the Pakistan army is also contributing to welfare as well as creating job opportunities. Fauji Foundation is perceived as a business venture of the Pakistan army. But the reality is something else. Fauji Foundation is a charitable trust working under the Charitable Endowment Act of 1890 whose more than 73% of its income is directly spent on Shuhada, war wounded, and disabled soldiers. In 2021, FF’s contribution to welfare activities has reached RS 1 billion per annum. Moreover, Fauji Group is among the highest taxpayers. The number of civilian employees in FG is more than military workers. There are 22,652 civilians and around 4000 ex-servicemen in Fauji Foundation. DHAs are also a self-sustaining initiative that not only supports society but also provides economic opportunities. Special Communication Organization (SCO) is another organization that has generated 4612 jobs in the communication sector. It is a telecom network in AJ&K and GB. Besides these organizations, FWO, NLC, and ITS are other organizations and systems that help the country in infrastructural development and also in bringing social stability through economic and job opportunities.
Pakistan army has played important role in resolving international disputes that could cost Pakistan badly through economic penalties. Karkey Karadeniz Electrik Uterim, Rekodiq, and FATF are some important issues. Karkey Karadeni Electrik Uterim, a Turkish company was involved in corruption in Turkey, Switzerland, Lebanon, Panama, and Dubai. When the evidence was produced in front of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Tribunal, Pakistan was fined $1.2 bn. This could shrink Pakistan’s economy by 2%. Pakistan army resolved the disputes through negotiations. In the Rekodiq case, Pakistan was fined $11 bn, but negotiations with all the relevant stakeholders helped in resolving the dispute. Several rounds of negotiations were held to resolve the matter. After the resolution, the project brought economic and social opportunities for the people of Baluchistan. The government of Pakistan will pay a revenue stream to the Government of Baluchistan. It will create 8000 job opportunities for skilled labor while for the non-skilled labor, the project will create 12000 jobs. Pakistan has been relieved from the FATF Grey List. This has only become possible because of efforts from the political and military institutions. Counter-terrorism was the most specific concern of the FATF authorities, and the world knows the contributions the Pakistan army has made in countering extremist and terrorist factions in the country.
Last but not the least, under the current COAS, the government has been paying a lot of attention to the security of CPEC. Baluchistan is the most destabilized province due to extremist organizations. It enhances the army’s responsibilities to provide extra protection to foreign workers and developmental projects. Because these extremist factions have been targeting foreign nationals and developmental projects. So, 2 exclusive SSD units have been raised for CPEC security and also a comprehensive security mechanism has been evolved for protecting foreign nationals.
It shows how Pakistan’s army has evolved effectively among the world’s best armies with the minimum budget required for such initiatives.
Climate change isn’t something people get to choose to believe or not: it’s happening. Since pre-industrial times, human-caused climate change has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that has led to an average temperature rise of over 1 degree Celsius on Earth. The next four decades have each been successively warmer than the decade before it since 1850. We are observing a warming atmosphere and changing climatic conditions worldwide as a result of climate change, which has serious consequences for our physical environment.
In 2021, the intergovernmental panel on climate change report sounded a red alert for humanity. It stressed how human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years. This left no room for doubt. The record concentration levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are unequivocally due to human activities rooted in the burning of fossil fuels. The goal of 2015 Paris agreement aims to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. But at the current trajectory, the world is on, we are at risk of falling significantly short of these targets. According to the World Meteorological Organization, in 2020, the global mean surface temperature was 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times. 2020 was also one of the three warmest years on record.
The impact humans have had on the climate has, and continues to, alter nature. We are inching closer and closer to ecological tipping points, many of which are irreversible. Changes in extreme weather are affecting every region of the world, making heat waves, heavy rainfall, and droughts more frequent and severe. This rise in global temperature aggravates the rate at which sea levels are rising, corals are bleaching, the ocean acidifying, biodiversity is being lost and heat waves, tropical cyclones, and fire-related events are taking place. Delicate ecosystems like small low-lying island states, semi-arid and arid areas, and arctic and tundra environments face a greater threat of climate change. However, the environment does not exist in a vacuum and neither does human society.
Everything is interconnected. Every single way in which climate change impacts our environment has a ripple effect that will manifest in the short, medium, or long term. As a threat multiplier, climate change puts us at risk of reversing the gains in growth and sustainable development made in the last few decades. This indicates that the effects of climate change are manifest throughout our social, economic, cultural, and political fabric in addition to affecting our weather patterns and physical surroundings. The way people feel the impacts of climate change and respond to it is determined by multidimensional and intersecting inequalities. If you think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money. (Guy McPherson)
The climate crisis disproportionately affects women and girls as they tend to rely more heavily on natural resources, public services, and infrastructure. They are restricted to and very seldom controlled. They are also less represented in decision-making in general, so climate responses are no different. These processes are influenced by the very same socio-economic and cultural norms that discriminate against women and girls in other areas. When it comes to specific climate change impacts, women and girls are particularly affected in at least five areas: food security, water availability, health, gender-based violence, and climate-induced displacement and migration. Women play a critical role in global food security. Many smallholder farmers are women whose livelihoods and food sources are at risk from climate change. In addition, male-dominated structures often govern land ownership, making it hard for women to access the fertile plots that they require to produce food for their survival and that of their families.
Also, climate change is intensifying water scarcity, which adds to women’s time burden as it is often their responsibility to collect fresh water. In addition, high temperatures and salinization of sources of drinking water have a detrimental impact on maternal and child health. Linked to this, the increased incidence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, cholera, and typhoid increases the risk of pregnant women contracting these diseases. This, combined with unequal care burdens, can disproportionately pressure women and girls to support their families. These demands on women are further intensified during disasters when the risk of sexual and gender-based violence is greatest. Child and forced marriages, as well as increased human trafficking, can occur as a harmful coping mechanism among those who suffer the most from climate change-related economic stress. These challenging economic conditions forced families out of their communities and most of the time, those displaced are women. As we can see, it is those who are least responsible that often bear the brunt of the most adverse effects of climate change. This can further deepen existing inequalities and affect the ability of women and society at large to manage and recover from the impacts of climate change. As former US President Barack Obama once said that “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it”.
Ferguson was very right when he elaborated state is comprised of two entities, society, and government. Society is comprised of people, institutions, cultures, different ethnic and pressure groups, etc. While the government is the ruler of the state. Ferguson said that the efficiency and the working of the state depend upon the relations of the society with the government. They walk in a narrow corridor holding each other accountable for their actions and asking to fulfill their duties as explained in Rousseau’s social contract. Pakistan is also such a state where the groups and the government are in a tussle with each other. Balochistan has indulged in insurgencies against the state leaving vulnerabilities for external actors to exploit them. Now, walking in the narrow corridor, society and the government do not cross the limits. There are duties and responsibilities lying at each other’s end. There are ways to cater to each other and if anyone goes beyond, the balance in the state comes under trouble. What is happening in Balochistan is the result of entities crossing their limits and that is why the balance is distorted.
Right after the inception, there started insurgencies in Balochistan against the center. Hitherto, these insurgencies were led by Sardars who held political influence in the region. But what is happening today in Balochistan is violent where non-state extremist actors are running campaigns against the center. The first limit is crossed by these groups. Instead of opting for a political solution, the government chose military means to suppress the insurgency. In some ways, the military aspect of the counterinsurgency can be justified as there is multiple evidence proving foreign intervention through these proxies in destabilizing Balochistan. Kulbhushan Yadav was just one example of India supporting Baloch insurgents. Aslam Baloch, the commander of the Majeed Brigade of BLA is notorious for its attacks on foreign citizens, and security personnel often seeks his medical treatment in India. So, it is necessary to cut these insurgent groups to their size through military means.
Under current COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the military has contributed a lot in catering to this insurgency issue. But only military means cannot resolve the Balochistan issue. Analysts have variously recommended that the military can bring only short-term peace in the region. The Baloch insurgent groups can be banished, but as these groups have local support, it will be impossible to have it all resolved by military might.
Until the social and economic grievances of the Baloch people are not answered through political means, the troubled world remains there. Whether it is the political representation of the Baloch, providing economic opportunities for them, giving them shares in the CPEC, and bringing development, the states must change their policies towards Balochistan. One of the major concerns of Baloch is the establishment of extensive check posts and military checks. Although these checks are necessary amidst threats from foreign proxies, to compensate and consolidate the Baloch, some check posts must be eradicated. The government must prove that insurgent groups are not serving the interest of Baloch but rather instigating instability. This cannot be proven by hard means but rather by engaging them softly to show up they matter to the government.
Sometimes, one has to sacrifice and be intimate to collaborate with others to benefit all. If the government does not take this initiative, it will keep on costing the state because insurgent groups are neither interested in negotiation nor they serve the interests of Baloch. So it’s up to the government how it should engage the Baloch people, and ask of their grievances to be answered. Otherwise, the balance in Pakistan relative to relations between society and government will remain troubled. Walking in the narrow corridor has some principles to be followed to benefit the whole house.
Tunis, September 23, 2022, The Tunisian Association for Health promotion, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, hosted the Africa and Middle East Digital Health Conference and Exhibition (AMDHC) in Tunisia from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th September at the Mehari Golden Yasmin and Diar Lemdina Expo Centre, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia.
The conference and exhibition aims were to stimulate a new vision of health through information technology, building on the experience of Tunisia and others who will share their knowledge and expertise during the event. AMDHC is designed to enable attendees to learn from other Digital Health transformation strategies and programmes, as well as understanding the services and applications that can be used, standards that need to be applied and interoperability, the event desired to stimulate and accelerate the digitalisation of healthcare across the region.
With over 500m2 of exhibition space and over 40 exhibitors, attendees of the conference and exhibition were able to see systems in operation and speak to those who can provide solutions to digitalise healthcare. With 50 speakers from across the world, and a programme of tailored events, the conference and exhibition hosted over 150 doctors, IT engineers, digital health experts also atttended. Indeed, it’s been a great opportunity to listen to experienced experts from across the world as well as meet and network with innovative suppliers and build a regional digital healthcare community across Africa and the Middle East.
The recent global pandemic has highlighted the importance being able to collect and collate data from across a broad area so it can be analysed and used in the fight of diseases and illness. Digital healthcare systems can enable this and thus facilitate a focus of resources into keenly affected areas and allow decision makers to be able to make crucial decisions, with facts. More broadly, digital healthcare systems create an ability to care for more people across a broader geography. It allows access to medical records, which can be crucial when treating the sick, and eases access to healthcare.
Mr Izhar Mahjoub, AMDHC Head of Scientific Committee, said, “Tunisia has a huge amount of experience in the digitalisation of healthcare systems and is well placed to become a hub from which Africa and the Middle East can build and expand their digital healthcare systems. The Africa and Middle East Digital Health Conference and Exhibition is the perfect opportunity for experts and healthcare professionals to come together, learn from other programmes and see the latest innovation in this space.
During the conference and exhibition, there was a coordinated B2B and B2C opportunity to meet with speakers and experts through the AMDHC Fireside Chat programme. This opportunity was a chance to discuss ideas and technologies with experts.
Are you excited to join a global coalition of think tank networks that facilitates the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and perspectives? If yes, apply for the Virtual Global Youth Summit. The VGYS is an annual event that gathers young leaders from around the world to discuss innovative solutions to critical global challenges, make creative & bold commitments, build partnerships, and for impactful change in geopolitics, economy, sustainability, and society. It doesn’t really matter what you are studying. No IELTS, No TOEFL, No Application Fee. The applications are open and you can apply for the summit. All international applicants from all parts of the world are eligible to apply. The summit will run from 15th-16th October 2022. The summit is available online. It will be decided by the selection committee if you are selected for the program.
The Virtual Youth Summit on diplomacy and global peace is an innovative virtual program designed to educate diplomacy and international relations students about global developing stories like the war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace, just as important; to provide them with information about local resources that they can use to help a friend, classmate, family member or even themselves. Education and prevention are key elements to curbing potential future changes. Hence, The Virtual Youth Summit on Diplomacy is a FREE, in-program designed for young diplomats, government officials, diplomatic corps, security officers, university students and professors. 40-45 minutes in length to accommodate the average panel period for each topic
Be a change maker
Be part of the well-known think tank team
Interview and network with leading leadership voices in the world
Track your country’s negotiations live and directly
Support to edit and pitch your stories throughout our programs
Opportunities to work on collaborative stories with other leaders from around your region, and the world
Opening Speech (YD Team )
The war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace (Speaker 1)
The war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace (Speaker 2)
The Effects of Russia Ukraine War Threats on Developing Countries (Speaker 3)
The impacts of Russia Ukraine War Threats on Developing Countries (Speaker 4)
Break Out Session -How to prevent the war in the future? (Participants)
How coherent is NATO today and in the future?
Consequence of Russia Ukraine war on International Trade and Economy (Speaker 1 )
Consequence of Russia Ukraine war on International Trade and Economy (Speaker 2 )
The troubling question of what Americans don’t think they need to know!
Possible ways to end the war in Ukraine – Diplomatic insights (Speaker 1)
Possible ways to End The war in Ukraine – Diplomatic insights (Speaker 2)
Why monitoring youth is important
Break out Session – Youth participation on Global Peace (Participants )
Closing Session (YD Team )
The Summit will promote the talents, creativity and connectedness of young people aged 14-45, and of course, we focus on young women. This summit is just a start: a series of national, regional and global events will follow, where the concept will be contextualized to the national and regional needs of young people. Together; we will learn more here about the Global Youth Mobilization movement.
The 2022 Youth Summit will examine the multi-fold challenges faced by global community and the role of the youth in solving these problems. The Summit will engage young people globally on innovative ideas and solutions to ensure that global peace recovery and growth in the post-COVID world is not only equitable and sustainable but also inclusive along social, environmental, and economic dimensions.
The Youth Summit is an annual event hosted by the Young Diplomats to engage with youth globally on the most pressing issues facing their generation. The Youth Summit is an affiliate of the Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) network, a multifaceted network of young professionals dedicated to engaging, inspiring, and empowering young people in global issues, which aims to inspire and empower youth within and outside their institutions.
The summit also will empower youth to explore innovative ideas to tackle wars and development challenges and provide youth with the tools to build and engage in impactful projects and promote dialogue between youth, and other key stakeholders globally
Students of diplomacy and international relations
Everyone from any nationality can apply.
The age should be between 14 to 45 years.
Have a firm grip in the fields of social sciences, geopolitics, climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable development with strong leadership skills.
Innovative and passionate about the aforementioned fields.
Should be working on innovative projects that will bring positive developments and peace building.
The projects should foster equity, inclusivity, and collaboration.
The projects should adopt a human-rights approach.
Ideal candidates will…
Have at least 1 year of experience
Have a hunger to improve as leader
Have a proven history of writing quality leadership
The last date to apply for the Virtual Youth Summit is October 10, 2022
How to Submit Application?
Complete your application form carefully and submit it.
Make sure to submit an application before the deadline.
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Whether they are staying at home or in hospice care, elderly people’s declining health has always been a cause of concern. After all, they are susceptible to a ton of illness. So, here are the top ten health issues that you need to watch out for as you grow older.
Elderly Health Issue No. 1: Heart Ailments
As people age, the health of their organs starts to decline. One of the most critical of these organs is the heart. According to the National Council On Aging, around 80 percent of seniors have at least one chronic heart ailment. Meanwhile, 70% have at least two or more.
One of the most common heart ailments for seniors is coronary heart disease. This is caused by the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries, which block the flow of blood. The disease can be exacerbated by various conditions like smoking, an inactive lifestyle, and diabetes.
Elderly Health Issue no. 2: Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people over the age of 65. The disease happens when cells start to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in tumors. This leads to a severe disruption of the body’s health.
There are over 200 different types of cancer that affect older people. Scientists have yet to know what exactly causes these. But they have noted that an unhealthy lifestyle during their earlier years can influence seniors’ susceptibility. It should also be noted that cancer can be treated if detected and dealt with early.
Elderly Health Issue no. 3: Respiratory Illnesses
While people of any age can have respiratory diseases, seniors are especially vulnerable to them due to their weaker immune systems. The effects can also be more severe due to their age. Some of the common ailments that the elderly can encounter include:
These can increase the risk of other ailments like pneumonia and infections. However, with the right medication and careful health management, people with respiratory issues can breathe easier.
Elderly Health Issue no. 4: Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to properly use insulin to metabolize sugar. This leads to an excessive amount of sugar in the bloodstream that can trigger various other complications. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of people aged 65 and older suffer from the disease.
The condition can be triggered by different factors, most notably improper dietary habits. But if detected early, patients can better control it. Aside from medication, seniors can lower their risk by having a healthy and balanced diet, as well as an active lifestyle.
Elderly Health Issue no. 5: Arthritis
Outside of the above serious conditions, arthritis is another major health concern for elderly adults. It occurs when the joints become inflamed. This results in severe pain and restricts a person’s movements.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type that affects senior citizens. It is mainly due to the gradual wear and tear that happens to the bones over time. The condition can be hastened by injuries or infections. Seniors have higher risks of falls due to arthritic joints. There is currently no cure for the condition but painkillers can make sufferers more comfortable and allow them to move more freely.
Elderly Health Issue no. 6: Cognitive Decline
As people grow older, their ability to remember, think and learn gradually decreases. This leads to a variety of cognitive disorders collectively known as dementia. One common disorder is Alzheimer’s, which affects around five million people in the United States yearly. The condition is characterized by progressive memory lapses that lead to significant personality changes.
As it is a progressive condition, doctors can only prescribe a management plan for the symptoms. This includes medication that lessens the severity of these episodes. Meanwhile, hospice care providers offer comprehensive care programs for seniors with severe cases.
Elderly Health Issue no. 7: Mental Disorders
The various health issues that elderly people experience can also take a toll on their mental health. Depression is one common disorder that they can suffer, occurring in seven percent of the elderly population. It can happen as they grapple with the realization that they aren’t what they used to be.
Mental issues can also be triggered by environmental factors. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, has had a significant effect on elderly mental health. Seniors found themselves not being able to do the things that they previously enjoyed due to travel restrictions. Aside from psychological intervention, strong support from family and friends will help them better cope with such conditions.
Elderly Health Issue no. 8: Sensory Impairment
With their declining bodies, elderly people also experience increasing sensory impairment. Vision and hearing are the two common types that they will encounter. In the US alone, one in six older people will have some form of visual impairment. Meanwhile, one in four have hearing issues.
Luckily, most of these impairments can be treated with the use of tools like glasses and hearing aids. Meanwhile, more severe ones like cataracts may require some form of surgical intervention. Early diagnosis also helps lessen their severity.
Elderly Health Issues no. 9: Oral Health
This is often an overlooked issue but oral health can have a significant impact on an elderly person’s overall health. According to data from the CDC’s Oral Health Division, around 25% of adults over 65 will already have lost their original teeth. Meanwhile, around 68% of seniors suffer from gum disease.
If left untreated, poor oral health can impede a senior’s ability to eat a healthy diet. It can also lead to self-esteem issues that influence general well-being and might even lead to oral cancer. The main challenge is that seniors might have difficulty accessing dental services due to loss of insurance.
Elderly Health Issue no. 10: Malnutrition
As a person ages, their eating habits change significantly. This can lead to them not being able to get the right nutrition. Additionally, the above health issues can worsen any case of poor nutrition they have. Note that malnutrition can go both ways, seniors might be underweight or they might be obese.
Depending on their condition, they will need to undergo a significant change in diet to meet the proper nutritional needs. Services like hospice care providers can help implement these changes and manage their everyday meals.
When dealing with these health issues, seniors might find themselves at a loss. But don’t worry, many doctors like Amavi and others can help you get past these and regain your health.
In a report published by Global Financial Integrity, the revenue generated by transnational crimes is estimated to be worth between $1.6 trillion and $2.2 trillion annually. Out of this value, it is appraised that the global illegal drug trade value is worth $426 billion to $652 billion (May, 2017). The value of the global illicit drug trade represents about one-third of the total value of transnational crimes (May, 2017). Globalization and the integration of the world economy can be seen as a significant catalyst to the growth of the illegal drug trade.
The United States of America Department of State and the United Nations labelled Guinea-Bissau as “Africa’s first narco-state” (BBC News, 2020) Furthermore, the report made by Global Financial Integrity suggests that Africa’s growing role as a transit point for drug trafficking has been a significant contributor to the growth of both drug smuggling and consumption over the last decade (May, 2017).
This essay seeks to identify Guinea-Bissau’s role in the global smuggling of drugs and suggest ways of resolving the issue. Consequently, this essay will argue that Guinea-Bissau has emerged to play a crucial role in drug trafficking due to its strategic location, historical linguistic relations, weak institutions and participating elite. However, these issues may possibly be combated through the re-establishment of a stable government that will enforce the rule of law, regeneration of the economy, investing in the security apparatus of the country, targeted campaigns to inform the population on the adverse effects of drugs and delegitimization the public support for controversial narcotic organizations.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has defined drug trafficking as “a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances, which are subject to drug prohibition laws” (Drug trafficking, 2021). Globalization has “facilitated not only the movement of people, but also the flow of goods, capital, and services” (Petcu, C., 2017, p.2). Globalization also “had the negative effect of facilitating the expansion of transnational crime such as global terrorism, people and drug trafficking, immigrant smuggling and money laundering” (Petcu, C., 2017, p.2). The rapid development and growth of drug trafficking and other transnational crimes have had the consequences of increasing instability, corruption, and high levels of violence in producing and transit countries. (Petcu, C., 2017, p.3)
Since the 1990s, West Africa has been a significant trafficking hub for drugs originating from Latin America and Asia to European Consumers (Aning, K. and Pokoo, J., 2014). However, the “first significant contact between West African criminal organizations and Latin American countries emerged between 2000 and 2003” (Rousseau, R., 2017, p19). In addition, strong anti-laundering and anti-drug measures taken by other regions of the world can be seen as factors that have increased the importance of the West African region as a hub for drug trafficking (Shehu, A., 2009, p1).
Furthermore, the geographical location and well-established networks of smugglers and criminal syndicates have increased the region’s viability as a logistical and transit hub for drugs traffickers. (Aning, K. and Pokoo, J., 2014). Ashley Neese Bybee, in her dissertation, has also highlighted that the shift in demand for illegal drugs from the United States to Europe has forced traffickers to explore new routes to transport the drugs from Latin America to Europe. She also explains that “the realities that exist in Africa, such as its porous borders, lack of legitimate opportunities for economic advancement, abundant supply of unemployed, impoverished, and willing couriers and their existing diasporas networks in Europe, all facilitate the drug trade through West Africa.” (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 28-30)
UNODC has estimated that between 40 to 50 tons of cocaine destined to Europe pass through Africa each year. (UNODC, N., 2008. P1) the region has moved from not only being a transit route for these illegal drugs but also a final destination. UNODC has reported a marked increase in drugs consumption in Africa by 40%. (UNODC World Drug Report 2021)
With the increasing role that the West African region plays in the drug trafficking business, Guinea-Bissau has played a very prominent role in drug trafficking and has often been dubbed “Africa’s First Narco-State” by journalists. Guinea-Bissau has become a particularly strategic hub for drug traffickers due to the many islands dotting the Atlantic Ocean off the country’s coast. (DW, 2012). Ashley Neese Bybee also elaborates that “Guinea-Bissau has 350 km of unpatrolled coastline, and the Bijagós Archipelago has 88 unpoliced islands” (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 31). Many of these Islands have defunct airstrips left over by its former colonial power, Portugal, thereby allowing traffickers to use these airstrips to fly in their drugs without detection.
Andreas Zeidler attributes the cultural and linguistic ties between Guinea-Bissau and other producing and destination countries as another reason why Guinea-Bissau has become an important transit hub for drug trafficking. (Zeidler, A., 2011, p. 61) The historical ties between Guinea-Bissau with Portugal and other drugs producing counties have made Guinea-Bissau a viable hub for drug smuggling.
The weak institutions of the country have also contributed to Guinea-Bissau becoming a “Narco-State”. Bybee illustrates this by giving an example of the police in the country who “are numerous yet under-resourced. The gendarmerie (military force with the responsibility to enforce the law with civilians) and police combined to give a ratio of 284 law enforcement officers per 100,000 citizens – one of the highest in West Africa and only slightly below the European average” (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 33). A large number of public officers, takes away a large portion of the budget leaving little for other aspects of operations. This can be seen with Judicial Police who “for example, have 60 agents, one vehicle and often no fuel. As a result, when culprits are apprehended, they are driven in a taxi to the police station – In the military, one rusty ship patrols the 350-kilometre coastline and 88 islands”; (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 31). This clearly illustrates how it has become almost impossible to enforce laws and provides an opportunity for drug smugglers to carry out their actions without any hindrance.
It is not only the police force that lacks the resources to carry out its operations. Insufficient resources and the lack of qualified personal have left the judiciary inefficient, ineffective and incapable of carrying out fair prosecution and sentencing of suspected criminals. (Zeidler, A., 2011, p. 65)
Bybee also views the activities of drug smugglers in fragile states such as Guinea-Bissau as one of the drivers of instability in the region. The instability of the area has, in turn, has become a hindrance to the strategic interest of the United States in Africa. (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 37). Thus, the concern of the United States in achieving their strategic interest in Africa, particularly in the areas of terrorism, explains the role of the United States in finding a solution to the problem of drug trafficking in the region.
Another impact of the drug trafficking business in Guinea-Bissau is the erosion of the rule of law in the country. Bybee argues that drug traffickers rely on the presence of corruption to carry out their activities (Bybee, A.N., 2011, p. 37). While the lack of the rule of law and good governance is why drug traffickers have picked countries like Guinea-Bissau to carry out their business, drug trafficking operation further impedes any development to improve the situation in the country. Often drug trafficking worsens the situation. The involvement of the political and security elite of Guinea-Bissau in the drug trafficking business has been widely reported. The ruling class have often leveraged the unstable political climate to increase their wealth by supporting the illicit drug trade, which (as previously stated) is highly lucrative.
Mette Kaalby Vestergaard reports that “It is common that the bigger seizures of drugs involve arresting government officials, who are later convicted for having played central roles in the organizing of the smuggling activities” (Kaal Vestergaard, 2021). Furthermore, the lack of adequate infrastructure Is further demonstrated in the fact that a country facing a big problem of drug trafficking only has two poorly equipped prisons in the whole country. Due to political instability, their upgrading has been put on hold. (BBC NEWS, 2021). It has also been reported that within the two prisons in the country, the guards have not been adequately equipped with sufficient tools to fully govern the prison and control the activities of their occupants (BBC NEWS, 2021). This has potentially disastrous consequences as convicted prisoners may continue to exercise considerable influence on society despite their incarceration.
The lack of resources for the security officials and Judiciary to carry out their tasks in eradicating the problem of drug trafficking, coupled with the absence of the rule of law and involvement of the political and security in the drug smuggling business, has made it difficult to combat the issue of drug trafficking in the country. Colonel Stephen K. Van Riper also sees the high profitability of drug smuggling and the low cost of conducting the business. The “it is not my problem” as other barriers which have made it challenging to tackle the issue of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau. (Van Riper, SK, 2014. P. 16-17)
However, great strides have been made to convict drug smugglers in the country. In September of 2019, the most significant drug bust in the country was carried out. An estimated 1.9 tons of cocaine were seized; the seizure also led to the arrest and conviction of 12 men of Bissau-Guinean, Colombian, Mexican and Portuguese nationalities. While the drug bust is seen as a significant achievement in the country’s fight against drug trafficking, there is concern that drug trafficking may increase with the controversial Umaro Cissoko Embaló becoming the country’s president. (BBC NEWS, 2021).
Van Riper insists that any significant effort that involves challenging the issue of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau must include the re-establishment of a stable government that will revive a robust culture of obedience to the rule of law in the state (Van Riper, 2014). This reformed government must also ensure to distance the military from all political affairs and introduce adequate checks and balances to assist the fight against corruption. While establishing a stable government is a significant step in eradicating the problem of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau, it is not sufficient. The new government must also revitalize the economy to provide the population with alternative ways to earn a living other than trafficking drugs. The government must collaborate with International Organizations such as the United Nations and regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) in finding solutions to enhance the economy.
The newly re-established government must also find solutions to the chronic problem of the lack of security infrastructure. This can be done through investing in equipments for the security officials especially the border controls and custom officers. Training judicial officials and investing in new prisons and rehabilitation centres will also improve the situation of the Guinea-Bissau. While all these investments maybe capital intensive, the government may consider using confiscated drug money to rehabilitate the security infrastructure of the country. Considering that drug trafficking is a global problem that is affecting the whole world, Guinea-Bissau should also consider collaborating with other countries in tackling the problem and to learn from best practices of countries who have tackled the problem of drug smuggling.
Introduction of stricter punishment and penalty for people who have been involved in the business would deter individuals from participating in drug trafficking. To combat the drug trafficking problem, adequate sensitization campaigns will need to be launched and promoted to the broader public. Analysis of historical drug trafficking case studies has provided empirical evidence that the host transit countries will always suffer the adverse effects of drug trafficking (Van Riper, 2014). This signifies that the transit countries will eventually experience issues such as a drastic increase in the local consumption of drugs and general societal effects on population stability and security. A vital example of this is Brazil, which as a major drug transit country, has become the second-largest consumer of cocaine in the world and payment for products is often done via drugs (Van Riper, 2014).
The sensitization campaigns will need to present evidence to convince people of the adverse effects of drugs in society. People will need to be sufficiently informed and educated on the impact of Guinea-Bissau being a transit country and future issues that could potentially arise from it. Concise, targeted efforts will need to be made to conceptualize drugs as taboo and ensure it viewed as a non-tradable commodity amongst people. Guinea-Bissau could leverage international bodies such as the ECOWAS – which is prevalent within West Africa – for support in terms of human capital and resources to ensure that drug trade is reduced within the region, to begin with.
Nonetheless, as previously noted, drugs are indisputably a local problem, which needs to be resolved. This is especially true as it has been estimated that approximately 8% of global cocaine users are West African, with Guinea-Bissau’s user growing exponentially (Brown, 2013, p37). Moreover, the sub-optimal state of public health infrastructure in Guinea-Bissau and other countries in the region signifies a growing need to resolve these issues as they are likely to have catastrophic effects on broader society.
Over ten years ago, Guinea-Bissau, a small state in the Western region of Africa, became the first narco-state in the continent. Multiple factors such as its geographical location, the lack of a stable government, lack of rule of law, and the military’s interference in the country’s politics have contributed to the increasingly prominent role the country is playing in drug trafficking. The new role of Guinea-Bissau as a hub for drug smuggling has worsened the situation of an already fragile state with the erosion of the rule of law and increasing the rate of corruption in the country.
While giant strides have been made in the fight against corruption, significantly more needs to be done. A reformed government that will enforce the rule of law in the country and revitalize the economy is required to win the battle against drug trafficking. Other strategies such as upgrading the security infrastructure of the country, collaborating with the international community to tackle the problem of drug smuggling, introducing stricter punishment for individuals caught in the business, as well as sensitization of the general population about the ills of drug trafficking will also prove fruitful in fighting drug trafficking out of the country.
BBC News. 2021. Cocaine and Guinea-Bissau: How Africa’s ‘narco-state’ is trying to kick its habit. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52569130> [Accessed 9 November 2021]. May, C., 2017. Transnational Crime and the Developing World. [online] Global Financial Integrity, p.xi. Available at: <https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/34n.8bd.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Transnational_Crime-final.pdf> [Accessed 9 November 2021]. Petcu, C., 2017. Globalization and Drug Trafficking. The New School University. United Nations: Office on Drugs and Crime. 2021. Drug trafficking. [online] Available at: <https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/> [Accessed 10 November 2021]. Aning, K. and Pokoo, J., 2014. Understanding the nature and threats of drug trafficking to national and regional security in West Africa. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 3(1). Shehu, A., 2009, July. Drug Trafficking and its impact on West Africa. In Meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security/NEPAD and Africa Peer Review Mechanism of the ECOWAS Parliament, Katsina, Nigeria, on July (Vol. 28). Rousseau, R., 2017. West Africa–the Region’s Pivotal Role in International Drug Trafficking. UNODC, N., 2008. Drug trafficking as a security threat in West Africa. Vienna: UNODC. Bybee, A.N., 2011. Narco state or failed state? narcotics and politics in Guinea-Bissau. George Mason University. DW.COM. 2021. West Africa is hub for international drug trafficking | DW | 01.03.2012. [online] Available at: <https://www.dw.com/en/west-africa-is-hub-for-international-drug-trafficking/a-15776001> [Accessed 11 November 2021]. Kaal Vestergaard, M., 2021. Europe’s back door left wide open: The role of Guinea-Bissau in drug trafficking – Human Security Centre. [online] Human Security Centre. Available at: <http://www.hscentre.org/africa/europes-back-door-left-wide-open-the-role-of-guinea-bissau-in-drug-trafficking/> [Accessed 13 November 2021]. Zeidler, A., 2011. The state as a facilitator in the illicit global political economy: Guinea-Bissau and the global cocaine trade (Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch). Van Riper, S.K., 2014. Tackling Africa’s First Narco-State: Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, US Army War College. Brown,. 2014. The Challenge of Drug Trafficking to Democratic Governance and Human Security in West Africa.
The American fiasco in the Middle East, coupled with the bequeathed legacy of Trump’s era, is posing tremendous challenges to the new American administration. Though the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing horrendous chaos in the global economy are distracting Washington from China, the Biden’s administration so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy entails that Asia remains a top priority to Washington. In one of his latest works titled “Destined for War”, Graham Allison examines whether China and the US are heading towards a prolonged war. Although the recent lockdowns in China are presenting challenges to it is goals of taking over the US as the biggest economy in 2030, Beijing’s military activities in South China continue to puzzle the Biden’s administration.
Geopolitically speaking, the rise of China has prompted US policy makers to alter their prolonged “Asia-Pacific” strategy to deal with the so-called Chinese threat .Coupled with the formation of trilateral security alliances, including the AUKUS, the so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy aimed at thwarting Beijing’s growing influence from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The released document says explicitly that Washington is expected to focus on “every corner” of the region. Yet, despite this, the so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy is not confined to containing China only; it aims to develop a new security architecture in Asia as well.
The concept of “free and open” Indo-Pacific, therefore, offers an ideological and political justification for the American deployment in the region. It is an ideological and political construct that aims at preventing the rise of China, while securing the American interests in the “imagined” region. Last Month, Kurt Campbell, the U.S. National Security Council coordinator for the “Indo-Pacific”, said that America is more likely to witness a strategic surprise in the Pacific region. In addition to that, the latest security pact between China and Solomon Islands has provided American and Australian policy makers with the opportunity to further securitize the region.
The aim of this paper, however, is not to examine China’s actions and policies, but to assess the applicability of the post-structuralism approach in the case of the Indo-Pacific. In other words, the aim of the paper is to examine how the “Indo-Pacific” was imagined and constructed through political discourse.
Instead of dealing with the region as naturally given, the paper questions the “naturalness” of the region. Since Post-Structuralism and critical geopolitics are interested in studying the relationship between geographical knowledge and power, it has become increasingly necessary to study how the so-called “Indo-Pacific” region is developed.
To achieve this goal, the paper relies on critical geopolitics approach to examine how the region was “imagined” and securitized. Hence, the paper argues that the “Indo-Pacific” region is an outcome of political construction and imagination to build new (American) security architecture in Asia.
Although Post-Structuralism is an approach that is originally developed in sociology and literature, it is still widely utilized in studying international relations, especially by scholars of the critical school in IR. Though it does not provide it is readers with a “world view”, post-structuralism remains an important tool of analysis in IR. Critical Geopolitics as a strand in Post Structuralism, questions geographical assumptions and how they are dealt with, especially within policy circles.
The so-called concept of “Indo-Pacific” is widely used in many countries of the region, including Japan and Australia. Though the focus of the paper is on American imagination of the Indo-Pacific, it is important to, at least, note that countries in Asia have interests as well in developing biased knowledge of geography.
Although the term “Indo-Pacific” was not explicitly used, until very recently, maritime strategists, such a Gurpreet S. Khurana in India, criticized the strategy of the “Asia- Pacific” for ignoring the growing importance of involving India into a new strategy that aimed at containing China. According to Khurana, East Asia and New Delhi should enhance their political and economic alliances across the “Indo-Pacific”.
Likewise, Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minster, gave a speech before the Indian parliament in August 2007, arguing for the growing importance of enhancing relations between the Asia Pacific and South Asian regions. Though he did not explicitly use the term of “Indo-Pacific”, it was clear that there was a general urge to alter Washington’s policy regarding the containment of China.
President Biden perceives the so-called Chinese threat as a factor that endangers the “democratic” and “liberal” Indo-Pacific order. Hence, by portraying the struggle between China and the US as a prolonged struggle between democracy and authoritarianism fits the assumption of Post-Structuralism in IR. According to this school of thought, politics in IR is treated as black or white. The securitization and political imagination of the Indo-Pacific, therefore, are outcomes of this binary division and subjectivity.
Issue of Representation:
Based on the current literature, there are two reasons why the political construction of the so-called “Indo-Pacific” region seemed a plausible option for the Biden administration. Firstly, the American administration realized the horrendous military and political activities of Beijing from the Western Pacific to the India Ocean. Secondly, the Biden administration realized the tremendous importance of incorporating India into the new security architecture. This explains why India is incorporated into the Quadrilateral Dialogue (QUAD), which is formed to establish New Delhi as the new “security provider” in the region.
Although New Delhi’s imagination of the region is an extension of it is “Look East Policy”, India’s strategy is more cautious than Australia and Japan. Though it is part of the “QUAD”, it has been unable to determine whether it is imagination of the Indo-Pacific is aimed at excluding China. Nonetheless, the political imagination of all the “Indo-Pacific” in the Indian, American, and Australian circles entails that world maps are adjusted to fit strategic concerns of the respective time.
Hence, it has become clear that “mental maps” are all about power relations; it is the language of the “powerful”. The so-called “Indo-Pacific”, which is an outcome of political construction, aims to privilege certain nations, including Australia, Japan, and India, over the others. Therefore, it seems that we cannot have a permanent or balanced understanding of the world. In other words, policy makers asses the growing threats in a specific area and they employ the suitable strategy, which includes securitizing the “imagined” region in order to serve their strategic interests.
In one of his latest statements, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said that the so-called “Indo-Pacific” is expected to shape the “trajectory” of the world in the 21st century. During his speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, Blinken said that Washington will adopt a strategy of “deterrence” to promote “peace” and ‘“stability” in the Indo-Pacific, arguing that threats are evolving dramatically in the (imagined) region.
During her latest visit to Singapore, Kamala Harris kept warning her counterparts of the Chinese “incursion” in the region, arguing that Beijing’s policies are intimidating. Again, she repeated the word “free and open” Indo-Pacific, stressing on the importance of enhancing relations with Washington’s allies to defend the “imagined” region. It has become clear; therefore, that Biden’s so-called “Indo-Pacific” strategy is a continuation of Donald Trump’s designation of China as a foe.
According to South China Morning Post, a journal based in Hong Kong, White House officials started using the term of “Indo-Pacific” during Trump’s presidency. It was an attempt to distance the Trump administration from Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”. Biden’s decision to officially use the concept, therefore, entails that the term is becoming the new “normal” in Washington’s approach towards the “imagined” region.
Yet, Biden’s strategy differs in the sense that it puts emphasis on “integrated deterrence”, and instead of constraining economic relations with the region like Trump did when he left the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Biden initiated an economic Indo-Pacific framework. Though the new strategy prompted fierce debate in Chinese policy makers, it is still adopted by the US, Australia, Japan, among others.
In his article “Maritime politics as discourse in the Indo-Pacific”, Tim Summers, an Assistant Professor and Research Fellow at Chatham House, argues that China has always been placed at the center of the geopolitical discourse within the American policy circles. He says that the Chinese threat itself is part of the evolving the geopolitical discourse in Washington.
Besides, Summers (2021) believes that maritime space, politics, and boundaries are parts of the geopolitical discourse in Asia. Therefore, Summers argues that geopolitics is material and ideological at the same time; it is a process through which knowledge is produced and internalized. By analyzing the map of the South China Sea adopted by the West, one can easily find an orientalist and biased representation of China in this area. The usage of pink or red colors in areas that are witnessing Beijing’s rise provides a virtual representation of China as a penetrator of the Sea area.
To conclude, there is a limited literature written on the political imagination and construction of the Indo-Pacific. Yet, it has become increasingly necessary to study this “imagined” region, especially in times when the US is shifting it is attention towards China. In contrary to the prevailing analysis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is less likely to distract the Biden’s administration from China’s activities in the Indo-Pacific. In the midst of political chaos in the US, China is initiating security pact with Solomon Island to ramp up it is influence in the imagined region.
The paper tried to apply post-structuralism and critical geopolitics on the case of the Indo-Pacific, with a special focus on issues of false representations, subjectivity, and binary divisions. Yet, given the limited literature, the author of the paper advice future scholars to thoroughly examine the written and spoken statements in the US regarding the Indo-Pacific. Analysts are not exaggerating the threats of War; it might happen in the not-too-distant future. The fact that countries like Australia are allying with the US, says a lot about the growing polarization in the so-called Indo-Pacific. Analysts are not exaggerating the threats of war when they say that China is more likely to kick Washington out of the South China sea; it might happen in the not-too-distant future
Exhibitions and trade fairs will require a businessperson to spend much of their time and money to see an effective response. Hence, it is vital to know how to correctly utilize one’s resources, and time to maximize your ROI so that you can justify spending all that time out of your busy life. We will try to help you explore the ideas that will help to ensure that you get the most out of your next trade fair.
Booth the best stand space
It is crucial to book the right stand space at a trade fair. The best stand space will have the best visibility and maximum footfall. If you don’t make your move and quickly book the right space, it will be gone and you could risk being positioned at a poor corner in the event. Professional exhibition stand builders will tell you that the best spot is at the end of an aisle or in a corner where people passing from two angles or more has to pass by. If you book your stand earlier, you can get better deals from the organizers. That is why it is best to do one’s research in advance to find the next big event which could help your company get in the spotlight.
Plan your Project
Trade show exhibitors expect a lot from businesses. It can lead to new businesses and lead your company to new heights. But if you are ill-prepared, you could end up being disappointed by the results. Many have faced this. Hence, you should hire a contractor that will help you with the exhibition stand design. Though planning requires much more than only designing. You need to check if you have enough marketing collateral to offer at the show such as leaflets, brochures, business cards, etc. While you plan all these, let the professional trade show stand builder do the physical work. If you are looking for a good contractor, you can try out one of the best, Expostandzone. They have a stellar record and can create a booth that is creative and outstanding, based on your directions.
Every contact you have with a visitor to the stand must be monitored because all of them are important. It is best to keep a track of all the visitors, and business people who come by keeping their business cards somewhere safe. Things can get easily lost in such events. After the exhibition has wrapped up, you can try to respond to all the contacts timely. The sooner you do this through a personal call or through an email, the better your chances are of closing the deal.
It is a great business idea to encourage visitors to participate in a prize draw competition by offering them a chance to win some item made by your business. You can collect various information by asking the participants to fill in their contact details on a tablet. This tactic not only helps attract more visitors, but it also is a scientific way to capture data. The visitors will also be more excited about the prizes they can win, and hence will care about the products your business makes.
Eye-catching Exhibition stand
Thousands of competitors will be competing for the same goal- clients. If you want to distinguish your brand from the others you need to build an eye-catching stand. Your exhibition stand design Germany speaks a lot about your company. Since it is the most important thing, it is best to leave it to an experienced exhibition booth design company that has decades of experience. For example, Expostandzone has over 13 years of business building booths in various countries for various trade fairs and exhibitions.
Expostandzone provides 5+ free exhibition stand designs quotation from different exhibition stand contractors. if they can comprehend your ideas about the stall. You can speak to them about your thoughts on the designs, and look up the 3D visuals they offer before sealing the deal. Rest assured, they are professional exhibition stand contractors who will not disappoint you.
Turkey was hailed as an example for a modern Muslim democracy during the early 2000s. The current ruling party that came to power in 2002 implemented reforms that were aligned with the European Union’s democratic standards and the country’s record in human rights began to improve.
Unfortunately, the democratic reforms were short lived. The process stalled only a few years later and then around 2011, following his third election victory, then-prime minister now president Erdogan made a complete U-turn. The slide into authoritarianism have made Turkey no longer an example for other Muslim-majority countries to aspire to.
Some may view the negative example Turkey presents under Erdogan as evidence of an incompatibility between democratic and Islamic values. But that would be an erroneous conclusion.
Despite the outward appearance of Islamic observance, Erdogan regime represents a complete betrayal of core Islamic values. These core values are not about a style of dressing or the use of religious slogans. They include respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, accountability for the rulers and the preservation of inalienable rights and freedoms of every citizen. The recent setback in the Turkish democratic experience is not because of adherence to these Islamic values, but rather because of their betrayal.
Turkish society remains remarkably heterogeneous. Sunni or Alevi, Turk, Kurd or other in ethnicity, Muslim or non-Muslim, and religiously observant or secular in lifestyle Turkish citizens adhere to many different ideologies, philosophies, and beliefs. In such a society, the effort to make everyone the same is both futile and disrespectful to humanity. Participatory or democratic form of governance where no group, majority or minority, dominates the others is the only viable form of governance for such a diverse population. The same can be said of Syria, Iraq and other neighboring countries in the region.
In Turkey or elsewhere, authoritarian rulers have exploited the differences within the society to polarize various groups against each other and maintain their stronghold in power. Whatever beliefs or world views they have, citizens should come together around universal human rights and freedoms and be able to democratically oppose those who violate these rights.
Expressing yourself against oppression is a democratic right, a civic duty, and a religious duty for believers. The Quran states that people should not remain silent against injustice: “O you who have believe! Be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.” (4:135)
Living according to your beliefs or worldview with the condition that it does no harm to others, and exercising fundamental human freedoms, especially freedom of speech, makes a person truly a human. Liberty is a right given by the Compassionate God, and no one—and no leader—can take that away. A person deprived of his or her basic rights and freedoms cannot be said to live a truly human life.
In contrast to claims by political Islamists, Islam is not a political ideology, it is a religion. It does have some principles that pertain to governance, but these account for, at most, five percent of all Islamic principles. To reduce Islam to a political ideology is the greatest crime against its ethos.
In the past those who studied or spoke about the Islamic perspective of politics and state made three errors: First, they confused the historical experiences of Muslims with the foundational sources of Islamic tradition, the Qur’an and the authentic sayings and practices of the Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings of God). Historical experiences of Muslims and the verdicts of the jurists under these circumstances should be analyzed with a critical eye, and cannot be given the same status as the authentic sources of religion. Secondly, some cherry-picked verses of the Qur’an or the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) to legitimize their perspective and pursued to impose that perspective upon people. The spirit of the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition (Sunnah) can only be understood with a holistic view and with a sincere intention to seek out the will of God. Third, some concluded, wrongfully, that democracy is fundamentally against Islam because Islam declares God as the only sovereign whereas democracy is based upon the sovereignty of the people. No believer doubts that God is the sovereign of the universe, but this does not mean that human agency, including thought, inclinations and willpower do not exist or are excluded from God’s greater plan for humanity. Giving sovereignty to the people does not mean usurping it from God, but rather taking the right and duty to govern, which is endowed to humans by God, from a dictator or an oligarchy and giving it back to the people.
The “state” is a system formed by human beings in order to protect their basic rights and freedoms and maintain justice and peace. The “state” is not a goal by itself, but an agency that helps people pursue happiness in this world and in the afterworld. The alignment of the state with a set of principles and values is a sum of the alignment of the individuals who make up the system with those principles and values. Therefore, the phrase “Islamic state” is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. Similarly, since there is no clergy class in Islam, theocracy is alien to the spirit of Islam. A state is a result of a contract among humans, made up of humans, and it can neither be “Islamic” nor “holy”.
Democracies come in all shapes and sizes. The democratic ideal that underlies these forms, that no group has domination over the others, is also an Islamic ideal. The principle of equal citizenship is in alignment with acknowledging the dignity of every human being and respecting them as a work of art that was created by God. Participatory form of governance, whether it is called a democracy or republic, is much more in resonance with the Islamic spirit than other forms of government, including monarchies and oligarchies. The present picture of Turkey’s leadership resembles an oligarchy rather than democracy. How did it go wrong?
President Erdogan has corrupted Turkey’s once-promising democracy, co-opting the state, seizing businesses and rewarding cronies. In order to consolidate enough of the public behind him to make his power grab, he has declared me and Hizmet movement participants the enemy of the state, blaming us for every negative incident in the country in the recent past. This is a textbook example of scapegoating.
The government under President Erdogan has pursued me and also hundreds of thousands of other people—critics of all stripes, but especially from the peaceful Hizmet movement. Environmental protesters, Journalists, Academics, Kurds, Alevis, non-Muslims, and some of the Sunni Muslim groups who have been critical of Erdogan’s actions have had their share of consequences of his political agenda. Lives have been ruined through sacking, confiscating, jailing, and torture.
Due to the ongoing persecution, thousands of Hizmet volunteers have sought asylum in around the Globe, including France. As new residents, they must abide by the laws of these countries, help find solutions to problems of those societies and lead an active struggle against the spread of radical interpretations of Islam in Europe.
Back in Turkey, a vast arrest campaign based on guilt by association is ongoing. The number of victims of this campaign of persecution keeps increasing, with over 150,000 losing jobs, over 200,000 detained and over 80,000 arrested and jailed. People who are targeted by politically-motivated prosecution and who want to leave are deprived of their fundamental right to leave the country as their passports are cancelled. Despite setbacks due to military coups, Turkish Republic has been on a path of continuous improvement in democracy since its beginning in 1923. Erdogan is draining the reputation that the Turkish Republic has gained in the international arena, pushing Turkey into the league of nations known for suffocating freedoms and jailing democratic dissenters. The ruling clique is exploiting diplomatic relations, mobilizing government personnel and resources to harass, haunt and abduct Hizmet movement volunteers all around the world.
In recent years, and in the face of such persecutions, Turkish citizens have remained relatively passive in conveying their democratic demands to their leaders. Concern for economic stability is one possible reason for this behavior. But if we backtrack from today, we can see that there is also a historic reason.
Despite the fact that democratic governance has been an ideal of Turkish Republic, democratic values have never been systematically ingrained into the Turkish society. Obedience to a strong leader and the state have always been a strong theme in educational curricula. The military coups, which happened almost every decade, did not give democracy a chance to take hold and progress. Citizens forgot that the state existed for the people and not vice versa. It can be argued that Erdogan took advantage of this collective psyche.
Turkish democracy may be in a coma due to the current leadership but I remain optimistic. Oppression does not last for too long. I believe that Turkey will one day return to the democratic path. However, for democracy to take root and be long lasting, several measures need to be taken.
First of all, the school curricula should be reevaluated. Topics such as equal rights for all citizens and fundamental human rights and freedoms should be taught to students in the first years of school so that they can be guardians of these rights when they grow up. Secondly, there is a need for a constitution that does not allow for either the minority or the majority’s domination and protects in every situation the fundamental human rights referred to in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Civil society and free press should be protected by the constitution to flourish and be part of the checks and balances against the state power. Thirdly, opinion leaders should emphasize democratic values in their rhetoric and action.
Turkey has now reached a point where democracy and human rights are put aside. It appears to have lost a historic opportunity to achieve a democracy by the standards of the European Union with a majority Muslim population.
The leaders of a country are like the cream on top of a liquid. The cream is made of the same ingredients as the liquid underneath it. Leaders of a society, possibly with some level of inaccuracy or delay, reflect the beliefs and values of a society. I hope and pray that the recent sad experience of the Muslim majority countries lead to an awakening in the collective consciousness to produce democratically minded leaders and governments that uphold not only free an fair elections, but all fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The original version of this article first appeared at Le Monde.
Because water covers 70% of our planet, we tend to think water will always be around. But, freshwater is actually quite rare. In fact, only 3% of Earth’s water is freshwater, and most of that is frozen in glaciers or otherwise unattainable.
Because of this, 1.1 billion people around the world don’t have access to fresh water, and another 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity at least one month out of each year. Unsanitary water effects 2.4 billion people—they are unprotected from water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid fever. Two million people die every year from diarrheal diseases.
Additionally, water systems that maintain thriving ecosystems and feed the human population have become strained. Lakes, rivers, and aquifers continue to dry up or become too contaminated for consumption or everyday use.
A staggering fifty percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished. Agriculture consumes, and wastes, more water than any other cause. Changing weather patterns are affecting rain and other sources of water worldwide, creating both droughts and floods.
By 2025, scientists predict that two-thirds of the world’s population could have water shortages and ecosystems around the globe will continue to disintegrate.
All this raises some important questions. What causes water scarcity? Are cities and countries running out of water? What can be done?
We’ll break it down further for you.
What Causes Water Scarcity?
Water scarcity can happen due to two things: physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity. Physical water scarcity is when natural resources don’t meet consumption demands. Economic water scarcity happens with poor management of water resources.
The United Nations Development Program has determined that economic scarcity is more often the case because regions cannot make it accessible. The improvement of water accessibility is the result many countries and governments hope for.
Climate change is affecting cloud patterns and depriving many global regions of rainwater.
Climate change is also increasing rainfall in other areas, creating flood zones that are responsible for loss of homes and ecosystems.
Population growth has created more water demand, and an additional 2.3 billion people are expected to inhabit the earth by 2050.
Groundwater is vanishing as the earth’s aquifers are drained all over the world
Water infrastructure is badly in need of repair, including treatment plants, pipes, and sewer systems all over the world.
Natural infrastructure is critical for healthy ecosystems, but humans are creating conditions of deforestation, overgrazing, and urbanization.
Water is being wasted through inefficiency and pollution.
Globally, water has a cost; costs for cleaning, transport, and dissemination.
Governments and corporations have no incentive to spend millions creating clean water technologies when water itself is cheaper.
Despite these obstacles, governments, businesses, universities, and private citizens are acknowledging the earth’s water challenges and starting to act. Fresh water alone will not do; public pressure and political will must be harnessed to ensure a sustainable future.
Which Countries and Cities Are Being Hit Hardest?
The water crisis isa global one, and there are multiple countries and cities facing imminent water crises.
São Paulo, Brazil is one of the 10 most populated cities in the world whose main reservoir fell below 4% capacity in 2015. When the crisis peaked, the city of over 21.7 million had less than 20 days of water supply, which led to looting and civil unrest.
The water crisis was declared over in 2016, but in January 2017, the water reserves were 15% below desired levels, creating another potential crisis.
Local officials in Bangalore have been stymied by expansive property developments following Bangalore’s meteoric rise as a tech hub. The result is that city’s water and sewage systems are being maxed out. The city’s antiquated plumbing needs an upgrade as the city loses over 50% of its drinking water to waste.
In 2014, with 20% of the world’s population residing in Beijing, the city had only 7% of the planet’s freshwater. Columbia University researchers estimate that the country’s water reserves were decimated 13% between 2000 and 2009.
Cairo, Egypt was once a great civilization, but its chief asset, the River Nile, is stressed today.
As the source of 97% of Egypt’s water, it is being polluted by untreated residential and agricultural waste. World Health Organization (WHO) data shows Egypt has high levels of water pollution related deaths. By 2025, the country will be critically short of potable water.
Jakarta, Indonesia faces the threat of rising sea levels and direct human action, most frequently, illegally dug wells that are draining the aquifers. Now, approximately 40% of Jakarta is below sea level, according the World Bank. Even worse, the aquifers are not being refilled by the heavy rain because the overabundance of concrete and asphalt keeps open fields from absorbing rainfall.
Moscow, Russia is home to one-quarter of the earth’s fresh water reserves. But, pollution problems beginning in the industrial age of the Soviet era continue to be prevalent. The residents of Moscow are tied to being dependent on surface water for 70% of their use. Most of that water does not meet necessary clean water standards.
Istanbul, Turkey is officially in a water stress zone as the supply has fallen since 2016.Local experts predict a water scarcity as soon as 2030. Recently, populated areas like Istanbul, with its 14 million people, have experienced shortages during drier months, and the reservoir levels continue to decline.
Mexico City, Mexico water shortages are nothing new for its 21 million people. Only 20% get a few hours from their taps each week and a further 20% have running water for partial days. The city is required to import up to 40% of its water and has no recycling processes.
London, England is not a place one thinks of when discussing water crises. However, the average rainfall is only 50% of that of New York and less than the average for Paris. London draws its water from its rivers. But, London is likely to experience water supply issues as soon as 2025.
Tokyo, Japan appreciates precipitation levels like that of Seattle; but, it only falls four months each year. Water is collected during the rainy season to help provide during the drier months. Private and public buildings in Tokyo use rainwater collection systems. Tokyo’s 30+ million people depend 70% on lakes, rivers, and melted snow.
Miami, Florida, USA is one of five US states with heavy rainfall. During the draining of swamps in the early 1900s, water from the Atlantic Ocean contaminated the main aquifer. Even though the problem was discovered in the 1930s, ocean water still leaks into the aquifer.
But, one of the hardest hit areas is Cape Town, South Africa.The causes of Cape Town’s water crisis are under debate. Cape Town is on the verge of approaching Day Zero when they officially run out of water. Day Zero is based on current estimates of water usage, and currently it’s estimated it will occur sometime in 2019. To push the date back as far as possible, city residents are on strict water rations.
The authorities are fighting congestion in the streets and policing fighting in the water queues. The drought is compounded by invasive species sucking up water resources, population growth, poor planning, mismanagement, and lack of development of new resources.
Data shows that 2017 and the years 2015 to 2017 were the driest in Cape Town since the early 1930s. The drought seems to show up once every 84 years. Long-term data estimate a massive drought occurs every 311 years. However, human-caused climate change could be speeding up the drought cycle.
What Is Being Done In Response?
The 2030 Water Resources Group has collected water scarcity solution plans from studies conducted worldwide. Here are a few of the dozens of proposals being attempted around the world.
Waterless Dying Technology in Textile Processing
Textile dyeing uses significant amounts of water and generates extremely polluted water run-off that requires costly treatment before discharge into local rivers. A new dyeing technology, called DyeOx, has been implemented in Taiwan. It uses carbon dioxide rather than water to dye textiles. The process in this case study showed a clean water savings of 8.25 million cubic meters.
Balancing Supply and Demand Through Water Metering
England’s southern and eastern regions have little effective rainfall. These densely populated areas, with an expanding population, could potentially impact climate change that worsens the conditions of an already water-stressed region. In 2010, Southern Water Services Ltd (SWS), started a five-year project of installing 500,000 intelligent meters. A leakage reduction program demonstrated reduced losses are possible.
Institutional Reform for Irrigation Management
This project was set up on the two main canal and branch networks in the Nile Delta. Experts are relining irrigation canals to considerably reduce fresh water leakage. This is in conjunction with governmental reforms and accountability, training, and education of farmers on water management.
Integrated Irrigation Modernization Project
A $700 million public and private modernization project began in 30 states in Mexico to increase competitiveness and efficacy of irrigated agriculture. The project applied a collection of improvements to irrigation infrastructure to increase productivity per unit of water.
There is no doubt that water scarcity is a global issue requiring the cooperation of governments, corporations, scientists, organizations, and citizens worldwide. It will take the effort of multiple agencies to begin a significant use of fresh water recycling technologies as well as policies to reduce consumption during drought conditions.
With the studies and proposals currently in place, as well as those that will be implemented in the near future, there is some hope that our planet will be able to continue to provide fresh water for all its inhabitants.
This article was initially published by Connect for Water and can be accessed here.
As leaders agreed late last year at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, if the world fails to come together to mitigate the impending impacts of climate change, Africa will grapple with drought, rising sea levels, potential conflicts over water access, and increasingly frequent severe weather events, among other possible natural disasters.
The global response to climate change must incorporate the historic emissions context. As has been widely noted, China, Europe, and the United States bear the most responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. Prioritizing the transition to renewable and imposing higher emission reduction requirements on the EU, U.S., and China will ease the burden on those nations that still need a variety of power generation methods to increase energy access.
Not only does Africa bear the least responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions, but the forests of the Congo Basin (second only to the Amazon) are vital to absorbing the CO2 emitted from other continents. Keeping the lungs of the world intact must be more valuable than cutting them down. Maintaining these natural resources is essential to combating global climate change and requires external support to properly value and incentivize their preservation.
Another big challenge is the lack of access to electricity. Today nearly 600 million of the 1.2 billion Africans lack access to electric power. In sub-Saharan Africa, 12 million new people enter the workforce every year. Our prosperity and peace are incumbent on powering our economic development and creating enough gainful employment opportunities for our growing population. That is not something that can be done in the dark. Without achieving universal access to electricity, we will be vulnerable to underdevelopment, high unemployment, a migration crisis, and instability. Given the close interplay of these challenges as well as their threat to the overall region, we must find a way to solve both if our continent is to realize a peaceful and prosperous future.
To narrow the energy access gap as quickly as possible, Africa must employ a variety of power sources already utilized by the U.S., EU, and China while simultaneously phasing out coal. Such a shift requires mobilizing development financing to support natural gas, hydro, and geothermal projects, as well as wind and solar energy.
Importantly, the double standard for those nations in the Global North with universal energy access was on full display at COP 26. For example, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said, “[The European Union] will have to also invest in natural gas infrastructure. As long as we do it with an eye of only doing this for a period, then I think this is a justified investment.” The EU and U.S., who control significant voting stakes in the largest international financial institutions (IFIs), then led a pledge by 20 countries to stop financing gas projects abroad. Without support from IFIs, African nations will be unable to build and maintain the infrastructure required to utilize our natural gas. This sharp contrast in words and actions sends the message that natural gas is considered a bridge to renewable in the Global North—where access to electricity is secure—while natural gas is an unnecessary luxury to Africans who still do not have access to reliable electricity.
Finally, African nations must capitalize on the green economic revolution. The global transition to renewable energy will mean exponentially scaling up the production of batteries, electric vehicles, and other renewable energy systems, which depend on Africa’s natural resources. For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo accounts for 70 percent of the world’s cobalt, the mineral vital to battery production. With the demand for cobalt expected to at least double by 2030, it is unfathomable that the miners, who provide the world with the material essential to the energy transition, return to homes without electricity. We need to leverage our control over such markets to elevate working conditions, move beyond raw material exports toward manufacturing and processing capacity, and capture greater portions of green energy supply chains. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of past economic revolutions.
By Jeanine Mabunda Lioko Ms Jeanine Mabunda Lioko Mudiayi was the first woman to be elected as President of the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo, serving from April 24th, 2019, to December 10th, 2020. She has been a Member of the Congolese Parliament since 2011, having been re-elected in 2018, as a National Deputy of Bumba, Équateur Province. From 2014 to 2018, Jeanine Mabunda served as the Personal Representative of the President to combat sexual violence and child soldier recruitment.
From 2007 to 2012, Jeanine Mabunda served as Minister of Portfolio and Public Enterprises, charged with reforming the DRC’s state-owned enterprises. At that time, state-owned enterprises employed over 100,000 workers and the country was facing several socio-economic challenges.
Jeanine Mabunda holds a law degree from the Catholic University of Louvain and a bachelor’s degree in business sciences from the Catholic Institute of Higher Commercial Studies (ICHEC) in Brussels.
The spate of coup d’états rattling the turbulent West African region raises serious questions about the viability and future of democracy and constitutional rule in the subregion. Further, the power grab also brings to light the role of the former colonial power and its relationship with the former colonies amid a growing sense of nationalism and patriotism fueled by anti-French sentiments.
In less than two years, the military has grabbed power in three ECOWAS Member States, including Mali, Guinea Conakry and Burkina Faso. Another military takeover has been recently thwarted in Guinea Bissau. Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was ousted amid public resentment with his handling of the so-called Jihadists. The Burkina coupists have been apparently influenced by Mali, where a coup in September 2020 was followed by a second in May 2021, and Guinea, where elected President Alpha Conde was deposed last September.
At this point, it’s fundamentally important to shine a light on the root causes of the trending power grab in Africa, in general, and in West Africa in particular. The proponents of military intervention hold the opinion that the civilian political leadership has abysmally failed the citizens, amending constitutions to perpetuate themselves in power, as it happened in Guinea Conakry, where the deposed leader Alpha Conde amended the Constitution to seek a controversial term in office, triggering widespread unrest in the country. They also point to the rampant corruption involving the political leadership bent on enriching themselves and their cronies while the majority of the population live in abject poverty, deprivation and despair. The rule of the civilians, they further argued, is also characterized by nepotism, cronyism and bureaucratic ineptitude.
On the other hand, the critics argue that military takeovers have offered no tangible solutions to Africa’s perennial predicaments, pointing to Sudan as a perfect example. The Editor of New African magazine stated in a recent editorial entitled, “Africa Groundhog coups” that “If coups had been able to provide the solution to
Africa’s many problems, the continent would have become a shining model of development, equity and justice by now. With a record 15 coup attempts (five successful), Sudan would have been vying with Singapore for most developed status.” The military, who always make corruption and maladministration a pretext to grab power, soon become obsessed with power taking off uniforms and running for elections. Nothing changes on the ground for the masses who initially embrace them, hoping to take them to the promised land.
The Sahel region is beset by insecurity that the military junta in Mali and Burkina took as a pretext to topple the civilian administrations, which they accuse of failing to handle.
There is growing anti-French sentiment across the Francophone nations who accuse the former colonial power of plundering their resource in conjunction with the civilian leadership. The Malian authorities have recently expelled the French envoy in retaliation for condescending remarks by the French foreign minister, who described the Malian military junta as illegitimate.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is currently in crisis, striving to stem further military takeover. The regional grouping has suspended the membership of Mali, Guinea and Mali and slapped the latter with crippling sanctions. Ironically, the masses are solidly behind the military rulers blaming ECOWAS for their woes.
Welcoming back his colleagues in Accra for an emergency summit following a coup in Burkina, the Ghanian leader and the chairman of the West African bloc ECOWAS said a surge of coups since a military government took power in Mali in 2020 must be contained before it devastates the whole region. “It’s with a heavy heart that I welcome all of you today back to Accra after our virtual meeting last week,” Akufo-Addo said. “Your presence here is a strong indication of your willingness to find a sustainable solution to the resurgence of the cancer in our region. Let us address this dangerous trend collectively and decisively before it devastates the whole region.”
To contain the contagion, I firmly believe that ECOWAS must bar member states from manipulating the Constitution to suit the caprices of leaders bent on perpetuating themselves in power and promote serious institutional reforms to rob the military of the pretext to stage coups. Democracy and the rule of law are meaningless if corrupt leaders continue to undermine the very democracy and constitutions they are sworn to protect and safeguard at all costs.
The fragile security situation in the Sahel region must be urgently addressed to ensure that the violence does not spiral over onto other countries in the subregion.
Political leaders must put a definitive end to mediocrity and listen to the cries of their citizens who vote them into office in the hope of bettering their lives and livelihoods. If not, I am afraid we will witness more power grabs in Africa.
Thousands of refugees who have fled civil wars and violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) to Chad are facing serious water, food and shelter shortages. During a four-week visit to the south parts of the country; Young Diplomats’ Africa regional director Idriss Zackaria visited several camps in the region, seeking for an innovative programme to integrate refugees and provide peace awareness to the young ones, he met refugees, Chadian returnees and asylum seekers who told him about their dreams, sorrows, violence, abuse and persecution they suffered at the hands of criminal gangs, which forced them to flee their countries.
In Southern Chad, including Goré, one of poorest and most underdeveloped parts of the country, is already hosting more than 43,000 Central African refugees and about 45,000 Chadian returnees from CAR and few other refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo – They are now struggling for food and other basic necessities. These refugees settled in more than 40 villages and four camps around the town of Goré are currently facing a worsening social and economic crisis, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
¨People are dying today and will die tomorrow¨
The first Central African young lady we met was Nemadjilem Clarisse, 21. She left school five years ago; she told us that she has experienced all kinds of violence in her teenage hood. Her lips stiffened when she spoke to us and could not prevent herself from collapsing. ¨the first thing I need as a girl is safety and food; the second thing is school which I can’t find both here, I totally feel like I am in the middle of nowhere. And when I get sick, I just think I better die instead of suffering for no reason¨ said Clarisse
From lack of health facilities to food shortages and high prices pose a direct threat to the lives of the refugees and the host population in the region, who share little food and other resources with the refugees. Since last March, none of them have received any kind of aids from the humanitarian organizations working in the country; according to some refugees.
Ndome-Mbaye Dèsirè; 45, said that the refugees of Amboko camps have not received food rations for the last three months, everything stop with the COVID-19 pandemic. ¨The problem is that our calls to aid organizations are in vein and we can barely have food, household items, toilets, and bathrooms. Some families in my neighborhood have lost their children weeks ago because they couldn’t find something to eat. I talk here about basic things. The world must provide greater care to the refugees in these camps, especially the children. People are dying today and will die tomorrow, are you listening to what I’m saying? ¨ said Dèsirè
Calls for more support and response
It’s well known that the UNHCR and other partners have been building emergency shelter in the camps and villages that host the refugees in Goré and other parts of the country, and providing life-saving relief such as healthcare, water and sanitation, shelter, food and nutrition assistance to newly arrived refugees since the start of the crisis while also working with the authorities, partners and donors on a relocation plan. However, refugees in Amboko camps are telling the unknown parts of the story — they have complained of food shortages caused by delays or the non-distribution of rations. Without increased food aid, refugees could face prolonged period of food shortage while overwhelm humanitarian agencies’ response ability.
Moussa Abderamane; 28, explained to us that with this level of support, they unfortunately cannot stand living in these camps anymore, ¨people who have survived horrific experiences in CAR are now going back to the war zones, simply because they believe that war was better than dying with hunger.¨ said Abderamane
Abderamane explained that the World Food Programme (WFP) which operates in the region has presented a re-inventory plan of food cards to them. It would help classification and provision of food among the refugees who are all in need of aid only. According to him; the refugees rejected the programme’s plan on the grounds that they “are all poor and in need of basic aid”. Yet the humanitarian organizations did not provide food for the last three month.
“The aid organization returned to us and provided rations in April. It has not yet provided the rations for the people with red cards. They simply don’t care about the children who are starving in the camps; I still can’t understand the story of these refugees yellow, red and green cards.¨ Added Abderamane
It is quite obvious to us that Children are the most vulnerable in Amboko refugee camps. We saw most of them were barefooted and ragamuffin on the streets, they have been taken away from their homes, schools, friends and families, and have been forced to start new lives in strange environments.
¨The situation is becoming dangerous¨ said Dèsirè. He appealed to the WFP and other donors to provide food to the refugees as soon as they can.¨ He added
Needs are many in number of stories and rains…
Due to the impact of the floods on the harvest this season, food reserves are almost depleted at the household and community levels, with many eating leaves and wild fruits that are often toxic. Given that the next harvest is in October and November, quality seeds are not available for many.
Abdelbassit Mahamat; 22, argues that refugees may face more food shortages for the next five months as we are entering the raining seasons. “I am tired of waiting here all day. We just stand in the rain,” said Mahamat. “But I will tell you something: after everything we have been through, a bit of rain can’t kill me.” He added
As the rainy season approaches, it is obvious that another urgent need is housing. We hope that more donors will assist in building emergency shelters in the camps and villages that host the refugees, or move them from the border area to villages or camps that the authorities consider safer.
During the raining season; the cold days are long, but the nights are always longer for Clarisse. When the sun goes down, the temperature drops, and she can feel the freezing air against her cheeks. ¨I shiver to keep my body warm but with no blanket, I have nothing to protect myself from the cold air breezing through the tent. I am one of many girls fighting to survive the rainy and winter season in the refugee camps, and as the conditions turn treacherous, we are in desperate need of warm clothes, blankets and food.¨ says Clarisse
It is worth mentioning that there are many like Clarisse and others whom are suffering from such conditions as Chad is a low-income and land-locked country, suffering from chronic food insecurity, denoting alarming levels of hunger. The Global Hunger Index for 2017 places Chad second last out of 119 countries.
The African Union declared 2019 as the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in order to put the spotlight on the plights of those that are uprooted. During the celebration in Nigeria, the government was called upon to domesticate the Kampala Convention in Nigeria. One year later the call is yet to receive proper attention. As many are economically displaced as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many displaced persons are at the risk of sinking further into abyss and oblivion.
Nigeria is among the countries that have ratified the Kampala Convention but yet to domesticate it in our national law. Nigerian House of Representative Committee on IDPs was established in 2015 with Sani Zoro as the chair. The committee with the assistance of the UNHCR conducted stakeholder mapping an analysis of existing legislation and awareness raising activities among the general population. It also held a national assembly session on IDPs during which the UNHCR handbook for implementation on Internal Displacement was presented. Despite the progress, the process was hampered by limited fund, lack of capacity and inadequate coordination mechanism.
We have big problems. No cow, no food to eat. We only eat when our children go out in search for food and bring it to us. The government did not help us only the NGOs who distributed food items twice. Since then we did not receive anything.
Internal displacement has been a recurring phenomenon in Nigeria as a result of violent conflicts, natural disasters and in some cases developmental projects. Since the return of civil rule in 1999, the waves of displacement caused essentially by conflict, generalized violence, natural disaster and human right violation have not abated. The most worrisome trend of displacement in Nigeria is that of violent conflicts because of the impact on the lives of the displaced people and the country at large. It is estimated that around half a million people had been displaced between 1999 and 2005, when communal clashes peaked. Between 2009 and 2017, there have been other causes of displacement but no one has been as devastating as the Boko Haram induced displacement. The Boko Haram insurgency and the resulting military operation have led to over 20,000 casualties and displaced more than 3 million people.
Another ugly trend causing a new wave of displacement is the rise in banditry in the Northwest region. Many analysts have compared the damages resulting from the activities of the bandits to that of the Boko Haram. Many states such as Katsina, Zamfara have recorded new cases of displacement as communities are being ransacked by these criminal minded individuals.
The three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have the highest number of IDPs in Nigeria being the worse hit by the Boko Haram terrorist activities. Many of these IDPs are found in camps and some live in host communities putting a strain on the fragile economic base and infrastructure in those communities. Many times these communities who welcomed displaced persons arm become less hospitable as they face less food, schools and health facilities to meet the need of the increased population. The responses to the plights of IDPs in Nigeria have begun to wane as government and NGos have had to channel limited resources to others use. Added to this is the problem diversion of fund and items meant by government and humanitarian officials
While some IDPs in camps still receive some forms of intervention from government and NGOs there are many displaced persons and refugees who are currently in protracted displacement in different host communities and have become largely invisible. One of the typical examples of this category of people is that of the displaced persons in Mugulbu, Adamawa state. Many of these people have found themselves in displacement for about five years. According to the village head, when they first arrived Mugulbu, they lived in make shift huts with no toilets. The whole community was steeped in smell from open defecation putting the village at the risk of disease outbreak. Many of them could not speak the language of the community affecting the opportunities open to them for seeking means of livelihood.
Here is the excerpt of the Focus Group Discussion which Mr. Kamal Ololade was held with them: How did you come to this place? Why did you leave your home?
IDPS (One of the participants):
You people know Boko Haram; they are the ones that sent us away. They took our herds of cattle, sheep, goats and all, and they left us running for our lives. But, we don’t have food and there is no any help from government. Some organizations usually help, but the government, no. This is how we are living here. Our children are wandering on the streets looking for food. What are the challenges you are facing?
IDPs: Food, there is no food, no farm, no house except huts. The lack of food is our problem, but we have source of water in the community. What are you doing to survive now?
IDPs: You see, some go to the markets searching for something to do while others go to the bushes looking for jobs from people, so that they feed their children. Have you received any help from the government?
IDPs: Before they helped us, they brought things for us twice and now it is almost four years. Question: But is it from the government or an organization?
IDPs: Those people with black cars. (One of them cut in) Yes, it is an organization. Question: What and what did they bring to you?
IDPs: Kettles, pots, duvets, mats and the rest. But, that was twice four years ago. Question: What about your women? Is there anything they do? Is there any problem with them?
IDPs: the women are also here Question: What do you think is the solution to your problem?
IDPs: We are just waiting to see if the government help us or not. Question: What do you want the government to do for you?
IDPs: Food. Without food what are we going to eat? You have at least 10 children and you don’t have food. You have to look for it. Question: if everything is fine, will you like to go back to your place or continue to leave here?
IDPs: If our place becomes peaceful we would like to go back because we have farm and everything. Our living here is not enjoyable at all because we are just living like that. In this place we are about 500 with women and children. Question: Are there people still coming?
No, there is nobody coming now. However, we heard in Borno they used to give them food and money. We here we did not receive any money. We were given food twice by those organizations. Question (to the women): We want to know the problems you are facing as female IDPs?
We have big problems. No cow, no food to eat. We only eat when our children go out in search for food and bring it to us. The government did not help us only the NGOs who distributed food items twice. Since then we did not receive anything.
We call for increased access to social and basic services for the displaced persons, respect for the civil and humanitarian nature of internally displaced persons camps, and the creation of a better protection environment in general.
By Kamal Ololade Ahmed
Kamal O. Ahmed is a graduate of Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Benin, Edo State Nigeria with a double major in education. After his first degree in 2012, he worked briefly as a part time lecturer in a College of Education where he taught Political Science and Public Administration as well as some education courses. He has a keen interest in writing on Political matters, defense and security with special focus on Africa and the Middle East. He has published a number of articles on both online and print media including Young Diplomat. He is currently a post graduate student at the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna where he is pursuing a Master’s degree in Defense and Strategic Studies.
Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America signed a trilateral security pact on the 15th of September 2021 after Australia ditched France. Australia had a A$90bn deal with France which required France to provide Aussies with 12 nuclear submarines but Australia canceled it and joined UK and US. France abruptly recalled its Ambassadors from Australia and US and called the deal “Stab in the Back” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson called the deal an irresponsible act and said that the agreement undermines regional stability and peace. The agreement allows Australia to become the second country after the UK to use US nuclear submarine technology, the three allies will cooperate in Artificial Intelligence, enhance cyber capabilities, Quantum Technologies, and underwater systems. Besides that, US and UK will help Australia to build at least 8 nuclear-powered submarines.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasized at ASPI’s Sydney Dialogue that AUKUS will enable the three allies to advance their nuclear technologies and joint capabilities which will help them to prepare for upcoming challenges in the 21st century. XI-Jinping addressed the SCO head of states and emphasized that regional states must resist and not allow the foreign powers to interfere in internal affairs of the region and urged them to hold their future, progress, and development solely in their own hands. Scott Morrison must have calculated that the Grand Strategy applied by three allies will provide the strategic depth in the Indo Pacific region and the Chinese will sit quietly, look around, and will let them do whatever their ambitions dictate.
The basic principles of Chinese Foreign Policy are not to become part of any power block which means not making any alliance that is based on strategic competition and isolating the other states. One of the main pillars of Foreign Policy of China is not to participate in power politics and not to seek expansionism and to maintain friendly relations with neighboring states by promoting trade and encouraging economic activities, not to interfere in internal affairs of sovereign states and not let other states interfere and challenge China’s sovereignty. If any state is following expansionist policy, then its aggressive behavior may trigger other states to form a counterbalancing coalition. If an adversary is flexing its military muscles, more than its needs for its defense then the other state will retaliate in order to stop its expansionist designs. Well, the AUKUS agreement has already sprinkled oil on the field and China has retaliated by showing its supremacy in the South China Sea. On 16 November 2021 Chinese coastguard ships blocked two Philippines supply boats that were within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) in the South China Sea and also fired water cannons on the boats. These actions show that China is willing to show its supremacy especially in the Islands which China claims to be its part called the “nine-dash line.
If a state adds into its military power and increases its defense in order to protect itself from aggression of adversaries, then the opponent will do the same and it will create a security dilemma in the other state which is what happening with China. AUKUS has created a security dilemma in China and that’s why Beijing has started to retaliate. A Washington-based think tank published a report named “Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Maritime Militia”.It said 100 militia boats were deployed by China near Philippine occupied Thitu Island in 2018 and 200 at unoccupied Whitsun Reef in Spring 2021.IT also said that on any given day approximately 300 Chinese maritime militias vessels in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea because China has territorial claims In the South China Sea and wants them to become an integral part of China.
INTERIM NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIC GUIDANCE by Washington in March 2021 clearly stated US intentions that it will protect its allies’ democracies against Chinese aggression. The US also pledged that it will make sure that the US not China will set the Global order and international agenda. To protect its interests and to counter threats of collective security will defend and cooperate with its allies in each sector.US has also pledged to support Chinese neighboring states which are facing existential threats from China especially Taiwan. Both Japan and China have territorial claims over Senkaku Islands and consider it to be their integral part but the United States of America stance is that China’s claims are baseless and do not fit on principles of International Law. America’s wounds are still fresh after facing defeat in the form of withdrawal of US and allies’ forces from Afghanistan but a superpower is called a superpower when it has a sphere of influence beyond its borders. It seems that the great power competition has shifted towards Indo-Pacific with the main objective of containment of China. The world-leading powers are once again in a race of overwhelming each other. This time US has realized that it has to come up with a new Grand Strategy because the Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific especially the South China Sea possesses a threat to the vital interests of US. In order to increase its influence United States has chosen its European allies this time by dragging them in the rivalry of the great powers.
XI-Jinping addressed the annual summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and warned that recent actions in the Asia Pacific could fall us back into the cold war mentality. Xi-Jinping was towards the AUKUS deal between the UK, US, and Australia. But what actually in the AUKUS deal and especially in nuclear-powered submarines that proves to be a nightmare for China and China is showing so much aggression. The difference between conventional submarines and nuclear-powered submarines is that they are used to defend from attacks of enemies but nuclear-powered submarines are more advanced in technology and can remain undersea for a very long time without being detected. Xi-Jinping was right in the sense with the agreement and alliances like AUKUS there will be a disability in the Indo-Pacific region. Because we can witness an arms race where states will be rushing for nuclear-powered submarines. Some states are in favor of the AUKUS deal and some are against it China, US, the UK, Russia, France, India have already nuclear-powered submarines. According to statistical data by Hindustan Times US-68, Russia-29, China-12, UK-11, France-8, India-1 and now Australia is in the race. The current scenario will lead us to disability in the region because if Australia is acquiring nuclear-powered submarines today the rest of the states especially China would be increasing nuclear submarines technology in its defense and hence more and more money will be spent by states to increase their defense capabilities resulting in uncertainty in the region.
George W. Bush is widely considered to be the worst President in American History, with good reason. But what was his biggest failure? Iraq? Katrina? The Stock Market? The answer to this question is none of the above. And to explain why that is, we have to go back to three years before he became President, to 1998.
In 1998 the Afghan city of Mazar-I-Sharif fell to Taliban fighters. The city was home to the main community of Hazara, a community of Afghani Shia Muslims, thus were deemed as infidels by the Taliban, who proceeded to carry out a genocide against them. The country that led the biggest condemnation of this was Iran, which almost went to war with the Taliban in response. However, during the 2001 Invasion of Afghanistan, Iran special commandos (including Qassim Soleimani) assisted the United States in driving the Taliban out of Herat by instigating an anti-Taliban insurrection.
This could have been used to George W. Bush’s advantage. Iran was not yet a regional power. The hardline Ahmadinejad had not yet been elected. The nuclear weapons program was not yet built. There were no Iranian militias operating in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen. Bush could have used this to his advantage and diffused the Iranian threat before it even began. Instead, Bush Jr. declared Iran part of the “Axis of Evil” and emboldened Iran and the hardliners by invading Iraq. As a result, today Iran has a nuclear weapons program and a foothold across the entirety of the Middle East.
One of the many Social Contract theories employed to explain the concept of the civil society imbued with laws and acceptable behavioral codes is the ‘State of Nature’ which denotes the hypothetical existence of mankind before the invention of societies as we know it today. In this state of nature, everyone was free to do what they liked without consequences – everyone was equal and this meant no one had any superior powers to enforce law and order.
As expected, this uncontrolled system was bound to breed chaos and anarchy. It was survival of the fittest in its rawest form and the weak lived in a state of constant fear with no protective mechanism. Life according to Thomas Hobbes was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. This scenario led to the emergence of the Leviathan- a petrifying creature to whom all citizens surrendered their rights in return for protection and safety from the chaotic State of Nature. Our Leviathan today is the Government.
Now, since the citizens have forgone some of their rights and undertaken responsibilities to allow for a functional civil society, it is only expected that the Leviathan holds up its own end of the bargain. Inversely, in cases where the state fails to deliver its responsibilities, it is expected that the citizens gradually commence reversal to certain semblances of the State of Nature. This perhaps is the representation of Nigerian state as it is today.
With an estimated population of over 200.96 million, Nigeria today is saddled with a myriad of multidimensional crises. From the Boko Haram insurgency, to the herdsmen/farmer crises, the looming banditry and kidnapping industry, the yahoo-yahoo departments, the inter-religious/ethnic bigotry and many many more others. All of these realities point to one obvious truth- the citizens are back to assuming control, albeit a destructive kind. Why? Because the Leviathan is failing.
Contracts only make sense when all parties uphold its sanctions. The Nigerian state is gradually losing its grip on the state of affairs and with a persistently growing population and scarcity of resources, these issues are bound to occur. However, our case is still different.
While other countries who share similar challenges have confronted it with good and apt governance, justice and fairness, our system is still one that favors a few to the detriment of many. The resources of the many continue to be diverted by the few. Admissions to schools are still manipulated to favor the few, available jobs are handed over to the few and the many (who continue to grow in number by the way) are no longer chanting “Haka Allah ya so” (it is the will of God). Now, #theytoo are taking up arms and challenging the system.
The average Nigerian kidnapper, bandit or Boko Haram terrorist (since a good number of foreigners also support these industries) have never felt the impact of Government. They farm their food, source their own drinking water, treat their diseases and bury their dead- all alone. They have not seen tarred roads in their remote villages, or functional schools where civil values and life skills are taught – they are self-taught, largely by hardships. These brand of citizens are not even aware that they should owe the government any allegiance. They merely survive in a difficult world and expectedly will do anything to survive. After all, only the fittest survive.
The implication of these chain of realities as stated earlier is the not-so gradual reversal of any civil society to the chaotic State of Nature. The Nigerian government cannot continue to be docile. It is no longer enough to stabilize the economy when resource sharing is not equitable. The entire system of governance that accepts mediocrity and allows a repeat of the same failing techniques and incompetent people must be turned inside out and replaced with better mechanisms and capable people. Then, only then can we avert the rapid sprint towards a state of life that is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.
By Habiba Sani Suleiman, Abuja – Nigeria
Habiba is passionate about politics, sustainable development and gender mainstreaming across African societies. She holds a bachelor’s in International Studies, a masters in Conflict Peace & Strategic Studies and and MSc in Policy and Development Studies.
IdrissZackaria is the Director of Young Diplomats Africa, the part of Young Diplomats project. Young Diplomats is the first non- governmental diplomatic association with a mission of shaping, sharpening and inspiring a new generation of enlightened international leaders. IdrissZackaria is one of them. As Young Diplomats’ Africa Regional Director, he sees himself as a bridge and trust builder. We talked with him about his start at Young Diplomats, leadership, challenges, international relations and other topics…
YD: How was your start at Young Diplomats? How did you contribute to the evolution and the success of the association?
We simply start our project by writing and publishing articles on our website… then my colleague David Allouche thought that I was the right person to represent YD in Africa and take care of our activities in the continent. Since then; we started to define and set up our team globally. —We really needed to think about what skills we need to deliver our project successfully. Building the team has taken from us 3 years to set things on the ground; because we always tried to avoid over-complicating things. We knew that when we get started on the project initiation phase, things can feel a bit vague and team members can get confused about what the project actually is. Hence, we always try to make sure our team in Africa knows what they are delivering and are invested in it. We always involve the team in the setting of the brief, definition of deliverables and approach to any phases.
Young Diplomats has clear different phases from its inception, for example a discovery phase separate from the development, and we treat each phase like a mini-project rather than doing a bigger upfront piece. This strategy has provided key starting points for each phase, rather than trying to make a lot of assumptions at the beginning.
We lately have appointed a committee to examine and shape our operations around the world. The Committee is a part of the organization that makes operational decisions and guidelines. Members of the Committee are in charge of elaborating and following up the guidelines of our organization. They accompany the different directors of Young Diplomats and manage the website as well as the global and cross-border projects. The appointment and removing of regional and country directors is done by this committee. Team members of the committee are David Allouche, Noam Hakoune and me.
YD: How do you see YD Africa under your leadership?
Currently, our project in Africa has involved a number of young leaders in dozens of African countries, and we are seeking to connect our disparate projects across the continent and reach more young leaders.
Africa’s youth are taking the stage to make their voices heard about the continent. Therefore, I have a global mandate to advocate for the implementation of the African Youth Charter, the Demographic Dividend Roadmap and Agenda 2063. As Young Diplomats’ Africa Regional Director; I see my role as a bridge builder, building trust by closing the information gap between the international youth and the African youth, which can be achieved with a strong and bold communication strategy via our diversified activities. I’m here to support all the young Initiative on Foreign Affairs and International Relations (IFAIR). We can achieve these through partnership, support, participation and coordination with young people themselves. This is a “working together flash”.
YD: How would you describe yourself as a leader?
I actually don’t see myself as a leader – perhaps I am a Pioneer. Even though I tend to be the groundbreaker in most situations, though I can think of plenty of times when it was better for my organization for me to follow along; in order for me to drive execution and get results not only from the team but from the numbers as well. I am definitely a motivator and encourage my team to grow.
YD: What was the greatest challenge you faced at YD Africa?
Firstly, one of the most common challenges that any project manager has to face usually regard corporate, internal issues. However, it’s not the same story for us in Young Diplomats. Some local authorities in some developing countries were either unable or unwilling to allow our friends to carry our operations there – and that was my biggest challenge, because I had no idea why they were doing so. However, things have changed lately; as we we’ve been able to build greater trust with a few of these local authorities. Hence, I believe local and regional authorities can play a role in enabling young people to have their voice heard in decision-making processes by contributing to the elimination of sources of disillusionment and offering young people possibilities for real participation.
Secondly, the larger our network becomes, the more challenging it is to pull in the right information. With multiple offices spending money in more than sixty countries in various ways, you may find that the numbers in your local budget don’t reflect how money will actually be spent. There are plenty of platforms and programs that we have designed for Africa, but finding the right one in a sea of choices can be tough with such financial crisis. For this reason, we have developed our budgeting strategy for 2020 and our recommended budget methodologies and best practice solutions for the next 5 years to come.
YD: Where would you like to continue your career?
I have always set my priorities in life. Today I can say that those priorities have helped me achieve various things. Those decisions have rewarded me with the opportunity to sit here in a reputed youth organization. It is almost certain that I have set up priorities for the upcoming years. I look forward to working with a promising attitude. I want to attain new heights in my career whilst taking forward the goal of this organization. To sum it up, I’d love a position where I can use my skills to make an impact that I can see with my own eyes in Africa and around the globe. Of course, the position is only part of the equation. I’m definitely looking for a position where I can grow—professional development is something that’s really important to me since I hope to take on managerial responsibilities in global organizations that have been contributing to global peace such as the African Union and UN. I’m always very motivated by being able to see the impact of my work on other people.
YD: What do you think are the greatest challenges young diplomats face today?
Young diplomats are currently experiencing fundamental changes at an unprecedented rate, which affect the very character of diplomacy as we know it. These changes also affect aspects of domestic and international politics that were once of no great concern to diplomacy. I think we will strive to provide a varied range of perspectives and opinions that face some of the major challenges facing the international community. The public is more sensitive to foreign policy issues and seeks to influence diplomacy through social media and other platforms. With the rise of nationalist sentiment in politics around the developed world; Ministries of Foreign Affairs, diplomats and governments in general should therefore be proactive in dialogue and global forums.
YD: How would you describe the present situation in international relations?
With the new implications for national priorities, regional arrangements, and the emerging global order – in the context of such transitions; the world is going to become more chaotic if young leaders don’t act now.
Origins of the Current Crisis : Cameroon is currently in a state of internal conflict and has been since September 2017.
The country is divided among linguistic lines, with a large French-speaking majority and a smaller English speaking minority, near the border with Nigeria. When Cameroon declared independence, the English-speaking region was declared to be an autonomous status. However, the French leadership began to centralize power, and began taking more and more autonomy away from the English-speaking regions.
This intensified in 1982, when Paul Biya became the President of Cameroon, a position he still holds. His time as President has been marred by increased corruption, elections deemed by the international community to be illegitimate; most notably, the 1992 elections where he managed to win with only 40% of the vote (Mbaku & Takouganj, 2004).
Paul Biya, although initially supported by the Anglophone community, has maintained a close relationship with France to the point of maintaining the status quo of having the Cameroon government centralized in the Francophone region, rather than have a bilingual federated state, meaning that over time, the Anglophone region became his biggest opposition stronghold.
In 1983, the government changed the school structure to model it after the French model, rather than the British model. Furthering discontent with the English speakers of the country. In addition, he also changed the name of the country from “The United Republic of Cameroon” to “The Republic of Cameroon” in an obvious attempt to renegade the English speakers to second class citizens (Mbaku & Takouganj, 2004).
This was further exacerbated by an economic crisis that struck Cameroon in the 1980s. Although the country recovered, virtually the entirety of that recovery was felt in the Francophone region of the country, whereas the Anglophone region was left with disproportionate amounts of poverty.
Further, the English-speaking region was the area of several border disputes between Nigeria and Cameroon, resulting in a few military skirmishes between the two countries. The main center of the border dispute lies in the Bakassi Peninsula. In 2006, Nigeria formally relinquished claim over the Peninsula. This, however, was met with fierce resistance from the locals, who waged a three year long guerilla war against the government of Cameroon.
Eventually, this culminated in a series of protests in 2016, and then later, armed secessionists proclaiming an English-speaking Republic of Ambazonia (Browne, 2019).
The roots of the conflict, however, lie in more than just language disputes. It is part of a wider legacy of European colonialism, and of continuing foreign geopolitical ambitions in Africa.
Legacy of European Colonialism
Prior to European colonialism, there was no country of any kind in what is now Cameroon, Cameroon is an artificial entity created by the Berlin Conference. All artificial states have artificial identities and artificial histories to create an artificial means to
cement these identities. Cameroon is no exception.
The Berlin Conference was held in 1884 and 1885, by leading European powers. The signatories to the conference were Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden-Norway, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain.
Some of the major goals of the Berlin Conference included abloshing slavery throughout the world, as well as to avoid a crisis over spheres of influence. The British and French were concerned by Germany’s growing ambition for overseas colonies. The conference itself is representative of the “scramble for Africa” that would characterize Europe’s relationship with Africa for years to come.
In 1884, Cameroon became a German Colony, German Cameroon was not directly governed over, due in large part for its thick natural forests and high mountains making it impossible for both armies and traders to make significant inroads into Cameroon. For Bismark, Cameroon was only a marginal investment (Ardener, 1962). Therefore, governance was largely left up to local administration of various chiefdoms. Other investments the Germans made in Cameroon include the development of roads, railroads, and most notably, schools, under the guidelines of Adolf Woerman. This education included “arithmetic, reading and writing German, Christian doctrine, and agricultural education”. The lasting impact this had on Cameroon was the unification of the various tribes into a single political entity and identity never before seen (Lekane & Asuelime, 2017) .
Under German governance, coffee production was distributed evenly among the local population. Eventually more and more people in Cameroon stopped making food crops and started making cash crops like coffee. This ultimately had a major impact on Cameroon. Prior to this, the locals were primarily subsistence farmers. With the introduction of cash crops, the economy of Cameroon began to grow, although it remained dependent on the production of coffee, as well as German colonial administration (Lekane & Asuelime, 2017).
In 1916, during the First World War, Cameroon fell to the Entente Powers. In the following treaty of Versailles, Cameroon shrunk in size, and was partitioned between the British and French. The British portion of Cameroon was partitioned into Northern and Southern Cameroon, and part of the larger British colony of Nigeria.
In French Cameroon, the French undertook a policy of assimilation, making the people of Cameroon more French than African, such as the adoption of the French language, and making the people of Cameroon subject to French law. There was, however, growing discontent between the locals and the French administration, and this culminated into armed conflict in 1955 (Ardener, 1962).
British Cameroon, by contrast, was left with full autonomous status within the larger Federation of Nigeria, however it was neglected by the British. The governance was largely left up to the local tribes, as in German Cameroon, however the locals were ethnic Efik-Ibibio, different from their Igbo neighbors in NIgeria, which meant that there were greater demands for autonomy.
This ultimately points to a difference in British and French governance over their colonies. While France had a heavy hand in the governance of their colonies, Britain largely left affairs of governance to the locals. The reason for this gap has mainly to do with the leverage that each country had at its disposal. Mainly being that since Britain was an island nation, its leverage was its navy. As such, it could not muster a standing army to muster its rule of law over all the colonies.
In order to achieve dominion over its colonies, Britain had to reform the colonies’ power structure. Britain could achieve very little direct rule outside of the capital city, and so gave local chiefs “customary law”, giving the chiefs discretionary power (Lange, 2004). This made things stable for Britain and worked to the benefit of the local chiefdoms, but it was an unstable political situation for the local population.
In 1960, the British left Nigeria, by which time French Cameroon had gained its independence. This posed a dilemma for British Cameroon. And so, a referendum was held, asking if they wished to remain part of Nigeria, or join the Francophone nation of Cameroon. While Northern Cameroon voted to remain a part of Nigeria, Southern Cameroon voted to join the new nation of Cameroon.
Following the decolonization of Africa in and around 1960, Cameroon needed to find a new way to unite its people. After all, how do you unite a people who never had been unified before? One way of doing so was through language.
In it, Cameroon began to partition between the old French Cameroon, which spoke French, and the British Cameroon, which spoke English:
“Despite these shifts towards a unified country, the Francophone and Anglophone parts of Cameroon remained under the influence of their previous colonial masters’ legal and education systems with strong attachments to their language and culture (Neba 1987; Ndobegang 2009). The legacies of the two Cameroons’ colonial past are still very much characteristic of today’s Cameroonian society polarised around Francophone and Anglophone categories or, more importantly, the dominant features of the political agenda in Cameroon, the “Anglophone Problem” (Lekane & Asuelime, 2017).
There is a difference between the Francophone realm in Africa and the Anglophone realm in Africa. In the Francophone realm, French is spoken by the wider population, with only a few exceptions. However, in the Anglophone realm, while English may be the official language, in many of these countries, the locals still speak many local languages. This points to another reality today: while Britain has no more interest in Africa, the French are determined to maintain their presence on the continent.
Role of French Ambitions in Africa
So too, is this conflict a conflict of French geopolitical ambitions. For as Jaques Chirac once said, “Without Africa, France would slide down into the rank of a third world power” (Neftchi, 2019).
There are multiple ways France implements geopolitical soft power, but one way is through language.
The French language is very different from the English language. While the English language is extremely decentralized, with London having no central hold over the Anglophone world, allowing multiple dialects and creoles of the English language to flourish, the French language is still heavily centralized within Paris. As a result, France used it as a means of reasserting itself in Africa.
Following decolonization, France began a massive undertaking in the setting up of French schools, to insure that the French language remains in Africa, while indigenous languages, such as Bambara, die.
Fortunately for France, Africa is currently in the middle of a population boom. By the end of the century, Africa will be home to the largest population of youth, with one out of every three people on the planet being African.
But this practice of using language as a form of soft power in Africa is not unique to France. In East Africa, notably Kenya, there has been a rise in students enrolled in Mandarin-speaking schools to work in factories set up by China, getting there on a railway built by the government of China(Dahir, 2019). Like France, China too wants a piece of Africa. And so France is using the French language, not just as a means of maintaining it’s hold on Africa, but as a means of keeping China out of Africa.
Aside from Language, there are other means at which French utilize power. In many of the Francophone countries, their currency, the African Franc, further divided into the Central African Franc and the West African Franc, were, for the longest time, tied to the French Franc before the adoption of the Euro.
While this worked for the benefit of the French, it did not work out so well for the African countries, so much so that Jaques Chirac once said “We have to be honest, and realize that a big part of the money in our banks comes from the exploitation of the African continent” (Neftchi, 2019)
This stranglehold on the African Franc, a continuation in many respects of French colonialism, has led to the continuous stagnation of the Francophone African economy. In addition, the continuing French presence in Africa has worked largely to benefit the local political elite, and not to the benefit of the African masses. This has meant that the Francophone realm within Africa has largely remained a source for corruption and the suppression of democratic reforms.
Currently, the war shows no end in sight, although a unilateral ceasefire has been declared due to the global coronavirus outbreak. The Cameroon military has been accused of killing civilians, which they have denied. A total of 3,00 people have been killed during the war.
What is the politics of identity/nationhood in an artificial colonial state?
Ultimately, though, one has to ask the question: In a state like Cameroon, an artificial entity that did not exist prior to European colonialism? What are the politics of identity and nationhood? What binds a people together when they never have before? In some cases, it is language, and Cameroon is not the only one to suffer from this dilemma.
On the other side of the world, there is Canada, where the French-speaking part of Canada, the province of Quebec, has long held secessionist views, seeking to become its own country away from the larger English-speaking country. As a result, Canada is a bilingual country in its totality, where all government statements, even going down to the tweets sent out by Canadian politicians, have to be in both English and French.
Another usage of language as a form of soft power-play concerns Belarus. For much of the country’s history since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the official language was Russian, and not the native Belarussian language. Yet in recent years, the country has begun to transfer official government documents from being published in Russian to being published in Belarrusian.
This, in turn, coincides with recent Russian attempts to put more and more influence over the internal affairs of Belarus, most notably when they put a milk embargo over Belarus after they refused to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.
Another example of what to define politics and identity in a nation-state concerns South Africa. It is no coicnidence that during the Apartheid era, the ruling party, the National Party, was made up almost exclusively of Dutch-South Africans, and that following the end of apartheid rule, there has since been a resurgence in Boer nationalism.
There is also another lasting legacy with regards to language in Africa. With many of these African countries, do they utilize a European language as an official language, spoken by everyone across the country, or do they instead, become a loose confederation of local languages?
In some countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, rather than utilizing a European language, the main language is instead the local Swhaili language. In South Africa, a country that was under British rule, depending on where you speak, you can speak English, a local language, such as Tswana, Xhosa, or Zulu, or Afrikaans, a Dutch- Based artificial language spoken in the former Boer regions mixing together Durch, English, Hindi, and local African languages.
Language is another form of identity politics with which to wield state control. The Central Government of Cameroon, backed by the French, is using the French language to centralize authority and to prevent inter-ethnic conflict. The French language is used to do this, and it works not just to benefit the government of Cameroon, but also to the benefit of France, who utilize it as a form of neocolonialism, maintaining colonial influence in a post-colonial Africa.
European colonial involvement in Africa has had profound effects upon the region. Ever since the Versaille Treaty in 1918, France and Britain have left an indelible mark upon Cameroon specifically. Through establishment of schools, a legal structure, and labor incentives–the social and political environment of Cameroon was forever altered. In the aftermath, new national identities formed, but they were formed along linguistic lines: French and English. Whereas other countries suffer from inter-ethnic conflict, or inter-religious conflict, Cameroon suffers from inter-linguistic conflict. Yet, the language separatist movement utilizes a lot of the same nationalist rhetoric as ethnic separatist movement, as language is another form of identity politics.
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“Don’t fan flames of hatred in Cameroon.” New African, no. 588, Nov. 2018, p. 34+. Gale General u=raritanvcc&sid=ITOF&xid=13525fa. Accessed 12 Mar. 2020.
Neftchi, Shirvan. “Cameroon Is Being Torn Apart by Language.” YouTube, Caspian Report, 21 Feb. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6KMXsVicSw.
Neftchi, Shirvan. “How France Maintains Its Grip on Africa.” YouTube, Caspian Report, 6 June 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=42_-ALNwpUo.
Neftchi, Shirvan. “French Military Operations in Africa.” YouTube, Caspian Report, 22 Nov. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcx9WXqC_40.
Neftchi, Shirvan. “Is France the next Superpower? .” YouTube, Caspian Report, 19 June 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Kph52MfRo.
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Dahir, Abdi Latif. “Kenya Will Start Teaching Chinese to Elementary School Students from 2020.” Quartz Africa, 8 Jan. 2019, qz.com/africa/1517681/kenya-to-teach-mandarin-chinese-in-primary-classrooms/. Accessed 14 June 2020.
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GAZZELI COCUKLAR, ISRAIL'IN MAVI MARMARA BASKININDA OLDURDUGU 9 TURK VATANDAS ANISINA YAPTIRILAN ANITIN ONUNDE BASBAKAN RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN'A SEVGI GOSTERISINDE BULUNDULAR. (ANADOLU AJANSI-SALIH ZEKI FAZLIOGLU) (20110913)
Some Gazans fear that Turkey’s generosity may come at high price
Since Israel imposed its blockade on the Gaza Strip after Hamas’ victory in the 2006 legislative elections, besieged Gazans have received remarkable regional and international support, including health and infrastructure projects, the rebuilding of destroyed houses and the construction of schools.
Turkey’s presence in this regard owes perhaps to good ties with Hamas, although Turkey has also funded projects in the Fatah-controlled West Bank, most notably the Jenin industrial estate in the north that created 15,000 jobs.
Some observers are impressed with Turkey’s generosity, but is it too good to be true? Some suspect more than altruistic motivations that may have to do with Turkey’s interest in establishing itself as a key political player in the West Bank’s future.
In one of the most recent projects, Palestinian officials announced March 23 they signed a contract with Turkey to build 320 housing units for the victims of the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing Mofeed al-Hasayneh has estimated that the war resulted in the destruction of 12,000 housing units and damage to 160,000, of which 6,600 were left uninhabitable.
Mohammed Murtaza, coordinator of the Gaza office of the Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency, told Al-Monitor the new housing project will cost $13.5 million. The 5.4-acre project consists of 20 four-story residential buildings divided into a total of 320 housing units of roughly 1,000 square feet each. The site is in the Wadi Gaza region, about a mile from the eastern border with Israel.
He added, “Given the security threat in this area, we informed Israel of our project coordinates so as to avoid any destruction in any potential military confrontations. This project and other Turkish projects are a sign of Turkey’s popular and official sympathy with the Palestinians in Gaza and represent an attempt to lift the siege that was imposed on them 10 years ago.”
Since 2006, Turkey has seen dozens of economic, developmental and humanitarian projects in Gaza through, including the provision of temporary shelters for those whose homes were destroyed in Israel’s wars in 2008, 2012 and 2014. In addition to the extensive residential destruction from those wars, dozens of mosques, cemeteries, schools, universities, media offices and other buildings were also damaged. Turkey paid to repair electrical networks, and water and sanitation facilities, and rebuilt houses of worship, cultural centers, heritage sites, roads and bridges. It also helped compensate farmers for their losses.
Turkey has delivered tons of medical aid and treated wounded Palestinians in Gaza. It has granted Gaza’s university students scholarship opportunities and organized mass weddings for thousands of low-income young people. Turkey’s projects in Gaza are implemented through Turkish relief organizations including the Turkish Yardim Eli(Helping Hand) Foundation, the Turkish Red Crescent Society and the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation.
“Turkish projects in Gaza are of great value to the Palestinian economy in light of the siege and closure suffocating the Palestinians,” Mouin Rajab, an economics professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, told Al-Monitor. “These projects have served large Palestinian sectors, especially the contracting sector. They have provided numerous job opportunities that increased the GDP and reduced the unemployment rate, which peaked in May at 43%.”
He noted, however, “In addition to the economic profits it reaps from its projects in Gaza, Turkey seems to be seeking a weighty political role and influence in the Palestinian political course.”
Al-Monitor spoke to a Palestinian official following the Turkish projects who declined to be named. He said, “It is difficult to determine the precise number of jobs provided by the Turkish projects, but these projects have been operating in Gaza for almost 10 years, and I believe that they have provided no less than 15,000 jobs.”
Al-Monitor toured a few the Turkish projects in Gaza, including the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital in central Gaza Strip. Islamic University of Gaza managed the construction of the $35 million hospital, which began in 2011 on an eight-acre site. The hospital provides health services in all medical fields and is equipped with modern operating rooms and radiography equipment.
Khalil Shaheen, research director at the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor, “Turkey is aware that Gaza, despite its small geographical area estimated at 360 square kilometers [139 square miles], has an important role in the politics of the region. Turkey seeks through its projects in Gaza to increase its political influence in the Palestinian arena. Although it does not offer Hamas any cash, Turkey seeks through its economic projects to reason with Hamas and tame its political positions.”
He added, “The growing economic projects in Gaza could force Hamas to weigh its gains and losses when considering any future military confrontation with Israel, since it will fear the destruction of the Turkish projects. Hamas now has something to lose.”
On Feb. 3, a large Turkish economic delegation that included a number of senior Turkish business leaders visited Gaza and met with Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau. The delegation confirmed Turkey’s willingness to establish an industrial zone in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, which is projected to create 10,000 jobs for Palestinians.
Hassan Asfour, the former Palestinian minister of nongovernmental organizations affairs, called on the Palestinian presidency Feb. 29 to rise against the political role played by Turkey in Gaza. He said Turkey’s actions will destroy Palestinian legitimacy, create a state of national geographical separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and press for the establishment of Gaza as a state.
Asfour’s call coincides with reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey. Ties between them were cut six years ago, when the Israeli military attacked the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara off the Gaza coast. In December 2015, the news leaked that Turkey is seeking a foothold in Gaza as one of its conditions for reconciliation with Israel.
Ghazi Hamad, Gaza’s deputy foreign minister and a Hamas leader, told Al-Monitor, “Turkey has been implementing projects in Gaza for nearly 10 years in the various health, infrastructure, education and housing fields. The Turks are generous with the Palestinians in Gaza and they opened permanent offices for their charity organizations in the Gaza Strip.”
He added, “The political positions of Turkey, in parallel with its economic support, exceed by far some Arab positions. However, despite their economic projects in Gaza, the Turks did not ask Hamas to take any particular political positions. Their assistance was purely humanitarian.”
Some say that many donors, including Turkey, are not charities. Political interests may motivate Turkey’s financial and humanitarian aid, no matter how hard both sides try to deny it. Increasing Turkish projects in Gaza would allow Turkey to become a key player in the Palestinian issue, as is evident in its stances and moves regarding Israel’s blockade.
However, Egypt, Gaza’s closest neighbor, refuses to grant Turkey a foothold in the Gaza Strip. Egypt considers Gaza an internal national issue and the country’s relations with Turkey are already strained, as Turkey is harboring Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Cairo fears that additional Turkish influence in Gaza would represent a threat to Egypt’s eastern border with the Strip.
The African continent has been known throughout its history that its peoples are dominated by the agricultural and pastoral life, and that the climate greatly affects their lives, and with the climate changes that the entire world is witnessing not long ago. The climate crisis being one of the most prominent crises affecting the future of the dark continent, as it greatly affects the stability of its peoples, the level of their economic development and their level of security.
Reports issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicated that in the last ten years Sub-Saharan African countries have succeeded in overcoming the problems of global warming and climate change, and the rate of malnutrition has decreased from 29% to 20%. Despite this, poor humanitarian conditions and operations Displacement has witnessed a significant increase in the period from 2015-2016 in many sub-Saharan African countries, due to the conflicts that occurred in most countries with the spread of violence, terrorism and other phenomena, which affected agricultural crops and livestock.
Climate change: a back-end portal for recruitment The “Word Watch” Research Center explained in a report published in February of this year that climate change will lead to an increase in poverty, but also increases internal instability, and this in turn fuels terrorism and crime and may push youth towards joining armed organizations, such as the Sahel and Sahara regions West Africa, in which environmental and social factors played a role in the emergence of violence between society, whether tribal or ethnic, or the emergence of extremist organizations.
According to Fragile States Index ( FSI) issued by the Peace Fund Foundation, the Horn of Africa also suffers from an exacerbation of climate problems, and countries that suffer from climate fluctuations are constantly present, such as Somalia, Kenya, and Eritrea, and these countries record high indicators of the rates of violence that climate change is one of its causes, especially those Conflict caused by droughts.  In 2011, Somalia suffered from droughts linked to climate change. Where he observed in that period the researcher “Marcus King” at George Washington University that “the youth movement” changed its field movement plan and began to isolate the liberated cities from its peninsula from water resources ().
Also, in 2018, American officials indicated that the droughts in which Lake Chad is suffering has strengthened the efforts of the spread of extremist groups, especially (Boko Haram and Al Qaeda) in the Sahel region. In 2018, Mali witnessed an escalation in violence between farmers and herders and recorded the number of people who need Food reaches 5.2 million persons as a result of escalating violence and drought 
In Cameroon, for example, one of the main reasons behind the youth joining there (Boko Haram) is the climate changes that affected the agricultural environment there and increased the process of desertification of lands in addition to the high costs of marriage (), and therefore it is not surprising that more Many young people, ages 17 to 22, join armed groups in the Lake Chad region, as drought has led to the conviction that joining these groups is the means to ensure “survival” of life ().
This hypothesis is confirmed by the report issued by the German Foreign Ministry in 2017, which dealt with the talk about the “ISIS” organization and the reasons for its spread and expansion in Syria, where among the reasons put in place to explain the reasons, is that water scarcity in some Syrian cities helped ISIS to Spreading and recruiting youth and disseminating his ideas through his work to provide water for the people.
Food Security , Nutrition and Conflict.
Climate change and global warming exacerbated existing security problems in sub-Saharan Africa, and consequently many of them appeared in sub-Saharan countries, and the deterioration of food security in its countries in 2017 reached 22.7%.
In Niger, increased climate fluctuations, rapid demographic change and environmental degradation in general have led to increased competition for resources and conflict between citizens. According to meteorologists, the temperature in Niger will increase to 2.4 ° C during the period from 2031 to 2050, which means difficult climate challenges that the country will face, which is The consequence of the exposure of the agricultural soil to problems related to desertification, as Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), indicated that Niger suffers from a decrease in the proportion of fertile agricultural lands and that this matter has generated a type of conflict between citizens . ().
This means that climate change will further complicate the internal scene in a country that suffers mainly from a delay in the rates of development, poverty and the spread of criminal activity, especially if we know that the United Nations estimates about the Sahel region and the level of agricultural security there came very serious estimates about the deterioration of nearly 80 % Of agricultural land due to climate change, and about 50 million people live on agriculture and depend on livestock raising as a basic source of livelihood, and as of 2018, there are approximately 33 million people in the Sahel region who lack food security.
On the other hand, unstable climatic conditions and conflicts were major factors that contributed to the increase in the degree of violence in Africa. To him through the customary customs and the rapid mediation of the great tribes there. But this coexistence does not last long. Every year, thousands of civilians from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Nigeria are killed in bloody inter-sectarian violence.
In 2016, the poverty and famine rate in Africa reached 25% of the total population of the continent, and violence accompanying climate change was one of the reasons for reaching this percentage, and this is confirmed by the World Bank’s report in 2013 under the title “Eliminating heat: climate events Severe and the effects on the regions, “he reached several important conclusions, which are:
Current climate changes have led to increased temperatures in Sub-Saharan Africa to nearly 4 degrees Celsius
High temperatures have affected agriculture and food security in Africa.
Poor societies will experience violent conflict as a result of desertification.
In conclusion, it can be said that the tensions between agricultural and pastoral societies in sub-Saharan Africa are increasing due to the shrinkage of exploitable lands and the lack of sustainability of water resources. ”Climate change leads to further complicating the scene in the sub-Saharan region.
Because of suffering from delayed development, chronic poverty, widespread criminal activity and violence, the activation of major and urgent political efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change has become critical to avoiding dire consequences for the spread of extremist and armed groups in Africa.
The Information Age is the era in human history that began with the development of technology, especially media. Before this era, the main means of communication was the newspaper and all the communication was one-sided. The writers wrote, the publishers published and the salesmen sold the “communication” messages printed on paper. A similar case was with radio and TV.
In addition to being informational, they also had social meaning. People gathered in small groups, usually friends and families, and listened to/ watched informational/ educational/ entertainment TV/ radio transmissions. They could discuss these transmissions with their friends or at work, but not at the same moment. Also, they needed to be physically present in the group to discuss the latest news or TV show. There was no anonymity. The other speakers knew exactly who was talking and about what. The first traces of anonymous communication we can see in direct radio and TV transmissions that also allowed talking with audiences directly on the air.
But, the things seriously changed with the development of internet communication. The first forums and chats allowed nicknames that gave people liberty to talk more freely than in person. From the political and security perspectives, this kind of communication also allowed diverse forms of hate speech, especially on national and religious, but also on other basis. During the early days of social networks, this was a common situation, too. For example, every user could create one or more fake profiles and spread fake information and diverse forms of hate.
Today, things are very complex. There is no one-sided communication. Everything became interactive. The situation is that people more and more spread information. They don’t buy it like fifty or hundred years ago when newspapers ruled the market. Information is spreading much faster than before and the differences between true and fake are, unfortunately, blurred.
One of the factors that needs to be taken into consideration is also the contemporary world. Very often, people are in hurry. Especially young people. Many of them don’t click on the social media links. They just read the headlines and if they like them, they share them. The emphasis here is on LIKE. Therefore, if an article evokes sentiment, it reaches the target reader who will share it.
One of the interesting trends in the last few years, when it comes to interactive communication, is also privacy. The Messenger App allows users to create private groups and send communication to selected users. All this creates a need for better regulation. There is so much information, and such little quality information. Some countries, and also supranational institutions like the EU have certain programs to change the direction of the evolution of the Information Age in a better direction. Fake news and disinformation awareness programs are one of these examples.
Looking at the whole situation, it is obvious there is a need for better education regarding the danger of interactive communication. People should be aware of what they are liking, commenting and sharing. They need to be aware of the responsibility they have as social media/communication app users. The sharing of widespread information, for example, about Covid19, can cause panic and instability. If it is widespread, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
So, does this new era of the Information Age bring threats? Not really. More like challenges. And only with everyone’s efforts can they be overcome.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is seen as the most important measurement of a country’s overall success. However, my argument today is that it is time for that to change. What we choose to measure as a country matters. It really matters; because it drives political focus and it drives public activity. The limitations of GDP as a measure of a country’s success are all too obvious. GDP measures the output of a country’s work, but it says nothing about the nature of that work – about whether that work is worthwhile or fulfilling. It values activity in the short term that boosts the economy even if that activity is detrimental to the sustainability of our planet in the longer term. When we look ahead to the challenges of climate change, then I think the case for a much broader definition of what it means to be successful as a country is needed. That is why country’s need to establish a new pathway for political policy. Redirecting attention from how wealthy a population is – to how happy and healthy a population is – the wellbeing of the country.
Yes, economic growth matters. It is important. But it is not all that is important. The objective of political policy should be a collective wellbeing… What really matter to us in our lives? What do we value in the communities we live in? What kind of country and society do we really want to be?
And when we engage the population in those questions, I believe that countries across the globe will have a much better chance of addressing the inequalities that exist in their country today. Indicators such as: income inequality, the happiness of people, access to green spaces, access to housing… None of these are captured in GDP statistics, but are all fundamental in a happy and healthy society.
This broader approach that I’m proposing is at the heart of an economic strategy where we give equal importance to tackling inequality as we do to economic competitiveness. I’m not saying that we should abolish GDP measurements completely. I’m saying that we should accompany GDP with other measures, such as the Human Development Index: which also accounts for literacy rates and life expectancy; to better capture the entire picture of Australia. This approach will drive society’s commitment to fair work, as it ensures that work is fulfilling and worthwhile.
In order for countries to accurately address the inequalities present within society, we need to know exactly what issues to identify – and right now, GDP does not provide an accurate measure. Our focus needs to be measure in terms of wellbeing.
Banks must partner with fintech to accelerate the digital banking transformation
In a webinar discussion hosted by TagPay and moderated by Omar Ben Yedder from African Banker; Yves Eonnet (TagPay), Djiba Diallo (Ecobank Group), Obinna Ukwuani (Bank of Kigali) and Carl Manlan (VISA), discussed how the digitalisation of banks is a huge opportunity across Africa and partnerships with fintech would address the challenges of financial inclusion and the rapid scaling up that is needed across the continent.
Banks have to be equipped with the tools that enable them to pre-empt the market and respond quickly to customer demands in asecure and cost-effective way. For the banks to stay relevant Djiba Diallo, Senior Fintech Advisor, Ecobank Group said that it is important to understand fintechs and leverage the opportunities. Banks are still there and still needed but need to adapt to what is happening on the continent and partnering with fintech companies is key to doing that.
Many banks are partnering with Fintech companies to help them digitalise, enabling them to expand their services and reach more customers at the same time.
Obinna Ukwuani, Chief Digital Officer, Bank of Kigali said, “We see digital transformation as a necessity, so the bank has invested in transitioning the bank into this new era”. “All companies are becoming technologies companies, whether a bank or not”.
Cash currently leads the way in the majority of Africa, but to increase financial inclusion, which is increasing already through financial technology, digital banking will need to have continued growth. Financial inclusion also enables banks to feed new businesses and entrepreneurs, and hence builds the economy at the same time. Using the technology of mobile telephones, digital banking will have a significant role to play now and in the future.
Carl Manlan, Vice President, Head of Social Impact, CEMEA, VISA said, “Because we are cash dependent the opportunity to introduce digital payments to help promote financial inclusion is critical and to that we need to ensure that there is adequate financial literacy and skills building along the way to make it work for more people.”
Partnership between banks and fintech’s will not only help reach more customers but also build financial literacy amongst consumers. In addition, the industry will need to develop the talent and skills, and this can be done across Africa ensuring the industry continues to grow.
Banks no longer see Fintech’s as disruptors but partners. More often, as a key part of their business with a shared responsibility for delivering to customers
Banks are going into a new world and need new platforms, new technology and a new architecture, the old core banking system is being surpassed and a new core banking system is needed. FinTech’s will help banks provide a better service to customers, working together and within the same regulatory framework. Digital banking helps with financial inclusion and formalising the economy and banks, globally, need to react to the digital revolution and customer demand.
Yves Eonnet, Chairman of TagPay, summed up the event by saying, “The time we are entering is very exciting for us [FinTech’s] and for you [banks].” “The expertise that we have opens up banks to new ventures and new capabilities, especially due to the low cost and speed of deployment.”
“Systems are designed to target new customers, financial inclusion, or new sectors that are poorly served. This is exciting in Africa because this for me, is the beginning of a new era for banks,and all banks in the world are looking at what is happening in Africa. Because in Africa you have this situation, which is unique,with the financial inclusion issue where banks need to attract new customers, therefore you have customers to serve, have the technology to do it, have the dynamism of the culture that makes it possible and that is where we are to build the bank of the future. I often say the Silicon Valley of banking is not in California but in Africa, it is where it is happening.”
Speaking at an event organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Jeanine Mabunda Lioko, an MP in the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlighted activities that had demonstrated success in her own country in relation to conflict-related sexual violence, but stressed much more action was needed globally.
The NDI is working on developing an International Mechanism to Support Accountability and Justice for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict. Whilst there has been some progress, the absence of accountability for sexual and gender-based violence can prevent healing and reconciliation as well as weakening the rule of law and undermining the strength of institutions.
Ms Mabunda said that the under-reporting of crimes was a concern, as highlighted in a UN Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council in June 2020. There is a need for countries to empower people to report sexual and gender-based violence safely and anonymously. In the DRC, a hotline was set up, in 2014, to do so had proved successful, in part because it allowed crime to be reported but also provided a ‘safe space’ where women could be heard. This is particularly important where a physical safe space is not accessible.
The reporting of sexual violence would also aid countries in understanding the issues they have and dealing with them. Some of the most successful initiatives are designed and implemented by the community but this needs to be supported by the rule of law. She said that victims needed to be given confidence that justice will be served should crimes be reported.
Ms Mabunda called on all Governments to act to combat gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination, saying a global conversation was needed to address the issues that many faces across the world. Mabunda said, “There is a role for the international community which has demonstrated previously that it can react and have an impact. Linking international financial support to improvements being made in certain areas is one such way that international bodies could influence countries to take action against this problem.” If there was a better understanding of the levels of gender-based violence, then clear targets, and actions to meet those targets, could be set. Failure to meet targets could result in a reduction of international aid a country could receive.
For many, there are still stigmas that are attached to sexual and gender-based violence and this needed to be addressed. Countries should take responsibility and make sure that they raise awareness of the issues. It is also essential that the judiciary are trained in handling cases of this type and that perpetrators face justice and are held to account.
We have all been touched by the Covid-19 pandemic in some way – but the impacts have been far from equal. Refugees, asylum seekers and displaced families have largely been forgotten in the Covid-19 conversation. In a pandemic, poverty becomes even more deadly. As more of our lives and work move online, African refugees and displaced families in Chad; and in Africa in general, risk being left out of the game; according to reports of our Africa regional bureau.
While Covid-19 has caused disruption to most people’s lives in Africa and around the world, displaced families and refugees who have children with additional needs or disabilities are experiencing even greater upheaval. Hence, we are calling for all people of faith to support refugees and displaced families in this special season.
As we are approaching the 2021 Eid Al-Adha, we invite you to participate in this year’s Qurban campaign to reach out to the African refugees and displaced families who are in dire need. There are two main celebrations in Muslim cultures around the world which are of most importance, one being Eid Al-Fitr, the celebration of the end of the fasting month – Ramadhan, and Eid Al-Adha, also known as the festival of Sacrifice. It is during this time Muslims prepare a sacrifice in the form of a meat hamper or distribution also known as Qurban. To give Qurban is to not only remind us of the humility of the human spirit, but to also help feed those who are less fortunate. In many cases, there are some poor communities in the world that only eat meat during the Qurban period because of their inability to afford meat.
Who will conduct the Eid Qurban and how will it be distributed?
The Qurban will be personally handled and delivered to the refugees and displaced families who need it the most — in association with local organizations, and be completed and supervised by our Africa regional director, Idriss Zackaria and his team in Chad.
With your assistance, Young Diplomats’ Africa team of dedicated volunteers will help millions of the oppressed and underprivileged displaced families in Chad and around the African continent. Today, even the world’s most developed countries are battling for limited healthcare resources. In comparison, basic amenities like soap and clean running water are hard to come by in those refugees’ camps. Therefore, we call for more actions than Eid Qurban campaigns; we call on concerned countries to make a special effort at this difficult time.
For donations and international bank transfer, the following are the details you may need:
Account Name: NGO Young Diplomats
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Aïd al-Adha: Partagez vos sacrifices avec les réfugiés et les familles déplacées en Afrique.
Nous avons tous été touchés par la pandémie de Covid-19 d’une manière ou d’une autre – mais les impacts sont loin d’être égaux. Les réfugiés, les demandeurs d’asile et les familles déplacées ont été largement oubliés lors de la conversation Covid-19. Dans une pandémie, la pauvreté devient encore plus meurtrière. Alors que de plus en plus de vies et de travaux se déplacent en ligne, les réfugiés africains et les familles déplacées au Tchad; et en Afrique en général risquent d’être exclus du jeu, selon le rapport de notre bureau régional pour l’Afrique.
Alors que Covid-19 a perturbé la vie de la plupart des gens en Afrique et dans le monde, les familles déplacées et les réfugiés qui ont des enfants ayant des besoins supplémentaires ou des handicaps connaissent des bouleversements encore plus importants. Par conséquent, nous appelons tous les croyants à soutenir les réfugiés et les familles déplacées en cette période spéciale.
Alors que nous nous approchons de l’Aïd Al-Adha 2021, nous vous invitons à participer à la campagne Sacrifice de cette année pour atteindre les réfugiés africains et les familles déplacées qui en ont besoin. Il y a deux célébrations principales dans les cultures musulmanes à travers le monde qui sont les plus importantes, l’une étant l’Aïd Al-Fitr, la célébration de la fin du mois de jeûne – le Ramadhan, et l’Aïd Al-Adha, également connu sous le nom de festival du sacrifice ou l’Aïd El Kabir ou encore Tabaski. C’est pendant cette période que les musulmans préparent un sacrifice sous forme d’un panier à viande ou d’une distribution également connue sous le nom de Qurban. Partager la viande du sacrifice, c’est non seulement nous rappeler l’humilité de l’esprit humain, mais aussi aider à nourrir ceux qui sont dans le besoin. Dans de nombreux cas, certaines communautés pauvres dans le monde ne mangent de la viande que pendant la période de L’Aïd en raison de leur incapacité à acheter de la viande.
Qui dirigera l’opération de distribution de la viande et comment se déroulera-t-elle ?
La distribution sera effectuée en collaboration avec des organisations locales et livré aux réfugiés et aux familles déplacées qui en ont le plus besoin. Cette opération sera supervisée par notre directeur régional pour l’Afrique, Idriss Zackaria et son équipe au Tchad.
Avec votre aide, l’équipe de jeunes volontaires de Young Diplomats Africa aidera des millions de familles déplacées opprimées et défavorisées au Tchad et dans le continent africain. Aujourd’hui, même les pays les plus développés du monde se battent pour des ressources de santé limitées. En comparaison, les équipements de base comme le savon et l’eau courante propre sont difficiles à trouver dans ces camps de réfugiés. Par conséquent, nous appelons à plus d’actions que les campagnes de l’Aïd El Kebir; nous appelons les pays concernés à faire un effort particulier en cette période difficile.
Pour les dons et virement bancaire international, voici les détails dont vous pourriez avoir besoin:
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Adresse: Young diplomats – Bureau régional pour l’Afrique, 6318, N’Djamena, Tchad
The Simple answer is No. What is all that humiliation for? Being on a TV screen as a villain for a few minutes without even having a voice? Don’t let the facade of a tempting email invitation offer fool you into believing that you’ll be cordially welcome. If you’re not an expert in the subject, you should refuse invitations to Prime time T.V debates from Ultra right Indian channels with Political agendas.
This is their old tried and tested trick that they particularly pick and choose the opposition. They don’t invite experts on the subject from among them, and typically target the “Wanna Be Public Figures” as the most suitable variety for their Propaganda machinery to function, primarily because the supposedly expert panelists have no expertise or experience of the subject that’s being discussed. Instead of an Agriculturalist, they may call a feminist or a political party worker to talk on the subject of a Locust outbreak or they may call an unworthy Lawyer to Speak on historical events instead of a historian or an Ignorant Religious Cleric to speak on a complicated topic pertaining serious political, Constitutional and legal Topic instead of a Politician or a Law Maker. Most of the time, they will not even allow the opposition to speak properly and interrupt them.
If they luckily do allow them to speak for a moment, the anchors then throw molded facts and figures at them, use the cunning T.V Studio techniques of time frame, Microphone Voice Control, shouting, switching speakers, Interruption and create pressure by constantly grilling, manipulating the discussion and leg pulling their target panelists to vex them. Once they are irritated, they’ll probably lose control over the discussion and Voila, the TRP (Target Rating Point) hits inversely proportional to the expertise of the target panelists in the debate and their anger, frustrations and emotions evoked as a result of their realization of the face that their host being unfair and unjust and they probably made a mistake by agreeing to join the debate for little to no monetary gains, added insults and briefly adverse psychological impact.
In addition to all the disadvantages of joining these T.V. debates, the panelist in Question also gives a Bad representation of his country, community or cause. That’s exactly what these channels want. Imagine a war situation. A superior Army with most sophisticated weaponry and military capability comes prepared with all their moves planned, all their equipment ready, with all their resources at disposal. They pick and choose the most vulnerable and inferior opposition possible, bring them to the battlefield of their choice, give them the most obsolete weapons, provoke them to fight, defeat them in the most picturesque and heroic fashion and celebrate their victory with their bards singing the most heroic songs of their iconic triumph over their enemy.
That’s exactly the 21 century representation of what they do in their newsrooms, they win a fixed match and become heroes in the eyes of their followers. Their lust for power, superiority and all that comes with it is satisfied by defeating their opposition in unfair newsroom battles and making them, their ideology and their methods look strong, undisputed, precise, Morally Justifiable and indestructible while that of their opposition look weak, irrelevant, incorrect, immoral and perishable.
Having said all that, I do not mean to say that the battlefield of modern information war should be left empty. Instead, I want to emphasize that if you are invited to a debate, go fully prepared. Also, I believe that the relevant people should join the debates who know the topic well enough to counter the propaganda, fabrication and deceit by relevant facts, figures and authentic information.
“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant. ”
– Harlan Ellison
(Mirza Jahanzeb Beg is a Renowned Human Rights researcher, Political Analyst and a Journalist. He has Studied International Law, Diplomacy and United Nations Mechanism. He is a Psychology Major with profound interest in Spirituality and Human behavior. Mirza has worked with various International Organizations and spoken extensively on the Geopolitical issues of South Asia on various International Platforms. He writes for various Newspapers and Magazines. His works have earned him global recognition. Mirza was nominated as the Ambassador of Peace by European Union based think tank Institute of Peace and Development in 2018. He currently serves as the Director of YoungDiplomats, an International think-tank organisation on Diplomacy, International Relations and Geopolitics.)
N’Djamena—Young Diplomats held a half-day seminar in Chad, entitled “Food Security and Peace Building in the Sahel Region.” The purpose of the seminar was to assess the chronic food insecurity in the region, the current and future food security situation in the Sahel and to identify factors that would likely influence food security in the future.
“We should fix this right now or never again”
In particular, the panel focused on five case studies: Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The seminar also explored linkages between food security and traditional national security and national sovereignty. The seminar brought together high-level representatives of the Chadian government, civil society organizations and experts in agriculture and food. The situation in the Sahel region remains fragile, despite efforts at national, regional and international levels. The challenges are complex and multidimensional, that require a regional and cross-border cooperation for sustainable stability in the Sahel.
The panel focused on five case studies: Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Idris Zackaria, Young Diplomats’ Africa Regional Director, argues that the Sahel region is one of the most vulnerable to climate change. Global warming has produced widespread famine, resulting in extensive and displacement of people. The region is extremely poor in normal times and the drought is simply a crisis superimposed on chronic misery. It is requiring an urgent scale-up of emergency response. So many of people in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania are struggling to meet their daily food needs and face extreme vulnerability and increasing hardships, particularly in Chad and Niger.
Nicole NADJALTA, Agricultural Economist, argues that the Sahel is the region of the world that has experienced the largest increase in hunger, with the number of undernourished increasing by 13.1 million in 11 years. The change of context at the regional level with the rise of insecurity and the proliferation of armed groups has complicated the situation. The Sahel is now mainly approached from a security or migratory angle. While people are more than ever confronted with the problem of hunger. The security and development approach, which is intended to be a response th Sahelian challenges, poses many risks and underestimates the importance of governance in building the resilience capacities of the people. This imperative is more urgent in a context of increased militarization of the Sahel in the face of growing security challenges.
Nicole concluded in her research paper that “The Sahel is the region of the world that has experienced the greatest increase in hunger over the last decade, a vivid illustration of the difficulties of Sahelian states, regional organizations, technical and financial partners responding in a structural and sustainable way to the world, food and nutrition insecurity. Yet hunger is not inevitable in the Sahel. Beyond the rhetoric, the various actors must invest massively in building the capacities of resilience of the populations to guarantee their food and nutritional security on a long-term answer, putting in place a holistic vision of fighting against food insecurity which encompasses a response to structural and cyclical factors simultaneously.”
According to Zackaria; the critical situation in the Sahel requires a swift and targeted response, youth organizations and humanitarian actors in the region should immediately involve with the international community in order to create better opportunities for food security in the region. “We should fix this right now or never again” Zackaria stressed.
Across all drought-affected countries in the Sahel, more than 3.8 million people need urgent WASH assistance. Hundreds of thousands of families are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms. They are cutting down on meals, withdrawing children from schools, remaining without health treatment. In some areas, over 50 per cent of affected people have already resorted to emergency measures such as selling reproductive cattle, begging or migrating – according to some reports.
MAHAMAT-AHMAT Abakar, agricultural economist, argued that the exploitation of these opportunities requires the establishment of appropriate economic and institutional conditions and the mobilization of resources necessary for its development. This comes into effect:
Design and implement macroeconomic policies (budget, tax, interest rate, exemption, etc.) that encourage economic agents to rational and sustainable use of resources and that promote productivity and thereby competitiveness of agricultural products;
Adapt policy instruments to agricultural diversity and regional specificities of production structures;
Strengthen production support services, restructure and / or privatize state-owned enterprises and support the professional and interprofessional organization;
Facilitate the adoption of new technologies by farms and encourage private investment in agricultural and rural activities through a coherent incentive system based on the obligation of results, and a reform of land structures adapted to the diversity of farms.
Young Diplomats aims to continue this monthly meeting for one-year duration. By bring experts in the related area as well as budding researchers to share the space so that they will be able to share the ideas, information and build network for future research and other endeavors in order to create the political license to tackle the food and nutrition challenges in the Sahel region.