Teresa Nogueira Pinto

Kenya’s economic outlook is among the brightest in Africa. Foreign investment in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nation is booming and business confidence is high since the discovery of oil and gas reserves. However, the terrorist group al-Shabab, responsible for the deadly attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013, poses a growing threat to the country’s stability. How Kenya deals with it will be crucial to realising its commercial potential. read


Fault-lines exposed in Putin’s Eurasian grand plan

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Fault-lines exposed in Putin’s Eurasian grand plan

Professor Stefan Hedlund

The Eurasian Economic Union formally came into being on New Year’s Day 2015. It is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal project, designed not only to create a free trade bloc as a counterweight to the European Union but also as part of a master plan to create a geopolitical unit from territories of the former USSR. It covers 183 million people and has a GDP of more than US$4 trillion. The cracks, however, are already beginning to show. read


Dr Frank Umbach

Ukraine‘s future energy security lies in Europe and the EU

Dr Frank Umbach

Ukraine’s energy security lies in it integrating into the European Union’s common energy market. In the short-term, Ukraine’s gas supply security depends on increasing gas reverse-flows from Europe. But the old-pipeline network is controlled and influenced by Russian energy giant Gazprom even in EU member states. The main Russian transit pipelines to Slovakia have enough spare capacity for reverse-flows from west to east for Ukraine to replace all Russian gas imports. But it is not just the commercial and political strength of Gazprom and the Kremlin which is blocking the reverse-flow, as a failure to implement the EU’s TEP in some of its member states. read


Geopolitics
Putin upstages Obama in seeking India’s favours

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Putin upstages Obama in seeking India’s favours

Professor Stefan Hedlund

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is courting favour with both America and Russia as he seeks to transform his country into a global economic powerhouse. While US President Barack Obama is keen to improve relations with India, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pulled off major trade agreements with Mr Modi, to Washington’s annoyance. Mr Putin’s coup, however, comes at a price which could further damage Russia’s ailing economy. read


Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

Santos aims to make 2015 the year of peace for Colombia

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

Colombia faces a host of interlocking problems, but its president could achieve a landmark peace negotiation in 2015 and resolve other outstanding issues for its economy. Its rich natural resources have helped Colombia outperform its Latin American neighbours but there is work to do in reforming taxes, the justice system and making it more attractive to foreign direct investment. read


Economics
No end in sight for Argentina’s economic stagnation

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

No end in sight for Argentina’s economic stagnation

Dr Joseph S. Tulchin

As Argentina’s President, Cristina Kirchner, comes to the end of her term, she has shown no signs of leadership in attempting to deal with the economic mess her country is in. She does not appear to be interested in supporting any of the serious potential candidates in her own party who would like to succeed her and has called on her followers to find a progressive candidate who can run on her record. Whoever wins in the polls will inherit a country mired in stagnation. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Weaker euro could provide European business with an edge

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Nobody knows where or when the euro will stabilise in value against stronger world currencies like the American dollar. But there are advantages for European-based businesses which export to America and Asia. Depreciation of the euro against other currencies provides them with a distinct competitive advantage to increase employment, but skill, motivation and initiative will remain key talents in the world of work. read


Xi Jinping seeks a place in history as China’s great reformer

Reform, often preceded by the purposefully vague phrase ‘comprehensively deepening’, is one of the most picked apart words in China. Discussions on reform, whether political, economic or social, have intensified since November 15, 2012, the day Xi Jinping, son of Communist Party stalwart Xi Zhongxun (making him a princeling, or descendant of a senior party leader), ascended to the country’s presidency. GIS guest expert Cameron Frecklington examines what lies behind President Xi’s obsession with reform. read


Defence & Security
White House defence choice puts continuity before change

Dr James Jay Carafano

White House defence choice puts continuity before change

Dr James Jay Carafano

Ashton Carter goes before a Senate hearing in February 2015 to be confirmed as the new US Defence Secretary, President Barack Obama’s fourth in six years. An experienced Pentagon hand, Ashton Carter first worked there as an analyst when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and is considered more of a team player than his predecessor, Chuck Hagel. He will need to be: the department faces renewed budget pressure and a hostile Congress. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Moscow’s military upgrade may force West to rethink strategy

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s defence spending is set to rise by 25 per cent in 2015, reaching record levels. This re-equipment and upgrading of its hardware follows the reorganising of its military units into a rapid reaction force, seen to great effect in the seizure of Crimea. The West’s response will require some original thinking, not least about Nato’s common defence policy. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Ukraine: peace plan fails as eastern region becomes a frozen conflict

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics within Ukraine has established a de facto new border. This move is seen internationally as similar to Russia’s recognition in 2008 of the ’independence’ of South Ossetia and Abkhazia within Georgia’s borders, creating frozen conflicts and allowing the Kremlin to flout territorial integrity for its own ends. read


Charles Millon

Complacent West fails to realise that religious war has been declared

Charles Millon

The international community has been slow to react to the crimes and massacres committed in Iraq and Syria. Westerners continue to believe that their civilisation is immortal, but the new enemy is shaped by fanaticism and ideology, fighting for twisted convictions and for a faith. It has declared a war of religion and has combatants from all over the world. Nuclear deterrents and heavy weaponry are of little use under these circumstances – new tactics and technology are needed urgently. read


Energy
Uganda oil sector: A mixed picture

Dr Carole Nakhle

Uganda oil sector: A mixed picture

Dr Carole Nakhle

Uganda will soon be joining the league of new oil producers. The country has, over the past nine years, made a series of important oil and gas discoveries. However, the picture is mixed: Uganda is energy-resource rich, yet energy poverty is widespread throughout the country. Despite several policy reforms introduced over the last decade, institutional and legal weaknesses remain. Many challenges and opportunities lie ahead with the potential for a positive effect on East Africa. read


Noel Maurer

Oil price crash will challenge Latin America’s major producers

Noel Maurer

Plunging oil prices will affect Latin America’s major producers – including Mexico, Colombia, and OPEC members Ecuador and Venezuela – in different ways. There is no sign of a permanent drop in demand; prices will probably remain low for a year or two, and the first three of those countries should be able to cope. But Venezuela is in no position to weather the crash - its economy was facing collapse even when the price of a barrel was above US$100. read


Dr Friedemann Mueller

Iran gas an option for Europe as Russia leaves energy gap

Dr Friedemann Mueller

The strategic energy ellipse is one of the hottest geopolitical regions in the world - home to vast reserves of oil and gas and stretching from western Siberia to the Arabian Peninsula. Critically, Iran and Iraq are at its centre. As Russia eases out of the picture as the main provider of energy to Europe – several others are looking to take its place. The axing of Russia’s South Stream pipeline could see the start of significant geopolitical manouevering in the region. read


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