Teresa Nogueira Pinto

Robert Mugabe still presides over the chaotic country of Zimbabwe at the age of 90. Amid regular reports that his health is failing, political succession has become a major issue. The major opposition party, the MDC, was heavily defeated in the 2013 elections by Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, in which two factions have emerged. They are led by vice president Joice Mujuru and hardliner Emmerson Mnangagwa, who appears to have the upper hand. But the rapid political rise of first lady Grace Mugabe has made the contest more interesting. read


Tunisia treads cautiously over energy reform in post-revolution recovery

Dr Carole Nakhle

Tunisia treads cautiously over energy reform in post-revolution recovery

Dr Carole Nakhle

Tunisia initiated the Arab Spring wave which toppled decades of dictatorship in several countries. Its success in charting a course for itself after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011 will allow its people to move into a new era of fairer political representation, sustainable economic development and wider social inclusion. It will also be a model to aspire to for all those who are desperate to see that their revolution was worth it. The road, however, will not be smooth. read


Nick Loris

Free market reforms present global energy opportunities

Nick Loris

Free market principles could transform global energy markets and keep a check on prices. Clearly defined and enforceable property rights will be critical to those resource-abundant countries hoping to take advantage of their assets, as has been shown in the United States and Canada. Opening markets to both domestic and international access could also fundamentally improve the global energy landscape. Countries already implementing such reforms include Mexico, India, South Africa, Mozambique, Turkey and Ghana. read


Geopolitics
Time running out for Cameroon’s one-man state

Professor Dr Jaime Pinto

Time running out for Cameroon’s one-man state

Professor Dr Jaime Pinto

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya is one of Africa’s most entrenched leaders after 32 years in power. His next electoral test is in 2018 when he will be 85. But time is running out for this one-man state. There is a risk that with no succession-plan in place and a divided party, the country could face political and economic instability. read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

Ukraine elections could resolve its dependence on Russia and Europe

Dr Uwe Nerlich

free access Settlement of the Ukraine crisis will require cooperation in particular between Russia, Germany and some other key European countries. But the key to this lies with Kiev. If Sunday’s election stabilises President Petro Poroshenko's role, the prospects for a broader framework reflecting Ukraine's dependence on both Europe and Russia will improve. read


China's foreign policy goals as Beijing aims for dominance

Beijing is engaged in non-traditional forms of warfare to ensure it wins the battle for regional dominance without resorting to military force. The end goal is to deprive the United States of its allies in the region and return to the position of Asia’s paramount power, writes GIS guest expert Vaughan Winterbottom. The US threatens China’s rise and the threat perception is exacerbated by American alliances with countries in China’s traditional sphere of dominance - East and Southeast Asia. read


Economics
Dollar’s rise will continue as eurozone ignores structural change

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Dollar’s rise will continue as eurozone ignores structural change

Professor Enrico Colombatto

How far can the dollar appreciate in value is a conundrum tickling the minds of investors. The dollar’s rise and the euro’s fall reflect respective growth in America and Europe and the underlying problem of the eurozone’s failure to tackle irresponsible governments, reforms and taxes. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Sanctions - Russia fends off damage to economy with deep spending cuts

Professor Stefan Hedlund

The ongoing friction between Russia and the European Union is not good news for frontline states such as Finland which are taking a beating in the war of sanctions and counter sanctions. Finland feels vulnerable and fears it too could be a Kremlin target for military action. Meanwhile, Russia is feeling the pain of sanctions which is demonstrated by the deep cuts in its newly announced budget. read


Teresa Nogueira Pinto

The menace of Boko Haram and its effect on Nigeria’s economy

Teresa Nogueira Pinto

Islamist extremists Boko Haram have brought the northeast of Nigeria to a near standstill with its five-year campaign of terror which has seen the abduction of young girls from their schools, thousands driven from their homes and the population of entire villages slaughtered. Nigeria has enjoyed massive economic growth. But there is a deepening division between the commercial south and its poverty-stricken north dominated by the fear of Boko Haram. Young men in this corner of Nigeria have no alternative but to submit to Boko Haram or flee their homes perpetuating a cycle of poverty and instability. read


Defence & Security
Russia contests Nato's Black Sea strength

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia contests Nato's Black Sea strength

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s seizure of Crimea will have a formative influence on security arrangements in the wider region, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. A few years ago Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was in a sorry state. All has changed with Russia’s ambitious US$600 billion programme for rearmament followed by pledges to Crimea of massive investment in upgrading port facilities and infrastructure. Nato can no longer count on ruling the waves of the Black Sea, or being uncontested in the Mediterranean. read


Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Balkan mercenaries could threaten peace in Europe

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Young men from Balkan countries are fighting as mercenaries in the world’s trouble spots in the Middle East and Ukraine. This raises questions of what countries can do to end the threat to security when these fighters return to their own countries with battle-hardened experience and could they become a rallying point to foment further trouble. read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

Nato is in search of a mission

Dr Uwe Nerlich

Russia’s support for Ukrainian separatists fighting for independence in eastern Ukraine has raised concerns about European defence to a new level. Nato’s two-day summit saw greater unanimity and determination to place Europe’s defence back on the agenda. But the real work was achieved in a 30-minute side-meeting between key players. read


Professor Dr Amatzia Baram

Hezbollah and its part in the Middle East turmoil

Professor Dr Amatzia Baram

The Syrian civil war has turned into a fully-blown regional conflagration. Shia Muslim groups are on one side, linked across Lebanon, through Syria, to Iraq and Iran. On the other side are Sunni Arabs, including Islamic State extremists, backed by the Arab Gulf states for whom the Islamic Republic of Iran is a primary foe. The deep involvement of the powerful Shia group Hezbollah, based in Lebanon and supporting Syria’s al-Assad regime, is a major factor in the ongoing conflict. Fighting has now spilled over to Hezbollah’s home territory. read


Energy
Europe’s challenge to build an energy union dealing with supplies and prices

Dr Frank Umbach

Europe’s challenge to build an energy union dealing with supplies and prices

Dr Frank Umbach

European Union countries are looking after their own individual interests when negotiating gas prices with Russian energy giant Gazprom. Russia is exploiting the situation as a political weapon to divide the EU and manipulate other countries. A proposal for an energy union by former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk seems to be gaining ground with backing from the European Commission and the European Council. read


Dr Carole Nakhle

China energy: growing appetite for gas

Dr Carole Nakhle

Although natural gas occupies a modest share in China’s primary energy consumption, its popularity is on the rise. Over the past 10 years the country’s demand rose by 376 per cent. Such an emerging trend, if maintained, will shape the dynamics of natural gas markets and those of competing energy sources, with far reaching implications especially for the climate change agenda. read


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