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International Cooperation towards the future: Achieving Governance

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] I [/yt_dropcap]n our actual international scenario, international relations play a key role, not just to prevent conflicts but also to foster development and better life conditions. As a globalized international society, we live a reality of interdependence and interconnections, thus international cooperation profiles as a necessity to every country in the world.

Due to this globalization and interdependence, every action, even the most local, has a repercussion at an international level, so an international conflict has negative results, politically and economically speaking to the countries involved directly and to those indirectly involved. In this context, the countries are changing their strategies and actions at the international level, by fostering international cooperation, especially for development.

International Cooperation for Development (ICD) can be defined as the mobilization of technical, economic and human resources to foster wellness, capabilities and better life conditions in other countries.

Since the Paris Declaration of Development Aid in 2005, the efforts to foster and guide effectively ICD have been very strong, by developed and in-development countries. The Paris Declaration was a watershed in this topic, mainly by 2 facts:

The language changed from “receptors” of ICD or aid to “partners”, becoming “cooperation from donors to partners” instead of “cooperation from donors to receptors”, in this way partners are not labeled as the weak players of the relation; moreover, they become literally partners of development with donors.

And most important: the principles of ICD were established: appropriation, alignment, harmonization, results oriented management and mutual responsibility.

In appropriation, the partner countries take the agenda as their own, self-defining the key topics to receive ICD/aid. Alignment, close related to appropriation, means that donors align to the partners’ agenda and partners align to the accountability system of donors. Harmonization refers to share data and have a common database about ICD/aid, and to align procedures to facilitate the goals achievement. Mutual responsibility is very clear and results oriented management is crucial; it means that the resources have to be destined to the means for which they were received and have to be based in development plans of the countries.

In these principles there are included implicitly aspects like transparency, inclusion, accountability and obviously governance, and that is where citizen participation at national and local level gains importance.

These recent principles have made that both donors and partners restructure the way they cooperate and incorporate the principles to establish new agendas of ICD.

It is very important to note that the countries leading these efforts are not developed countries, the leading countries are emerging powers and in-development countries like China, Brazil, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, Australia and others.

With these important changes in international cooperation, non-traditional forms of ICD have been surging like horizontal or south-south and triangular cooperation.

The horizontal or south-south cooperation involves 2 or more in-developing countries or emerging powers, that’s why it is called south-south. This type of cooperation usually focuses in technical aspects and capabilities formation, for example: the cooperation projects between Mexico and Colombia.

The triangular cooperation develops when a developed country or emerging power gives financial or technical support to a country with medium development level, which aids a third country with less development level with technical and/or scientific cooperation.

These 2 types of cooperation are constituting the majority of ICD, due mainly to the rise of emerging powers like China, Russia, Brazil and others.

As stated previously one of the main goals of ICD is building governance and capabilities for in-development countries, this issue has been stated constantly at international summits about development, the most recent example of this is the sustainable development summit of RIO +20, which gave place for the post-2015 agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDG).

The Paris summit has helped the countries to focus on aspects of development such as the mentioned before, but also the Monterrey summit of international aid, realized in 2002. As the most relevant results of the summit, the majority of the emerging powers, donors and partners agreed on the necessity to include and support NGO’s (or non-profit) as leading actor of development.

Since the beginning of 21st. century, more and more donors have included the requisite of “good government” to aid developing countries, which includes aspects like transparency, accountability and governance.

To achieve governance it is needed the participation of different actors from government, and also to include local actors to achieve development goals in countries. These different actors are NGOs, businesses and community groups, not only at the national level but also at local level. Due to this, citizen participation becomes an important actor for development, especially at the local level.

Citizen participation means that citizens interact with governments, not only in the decision-making process but also in the making of public policies and programs in the communities, and that translates directly into democratic governance; which is the post-government process where different agents take part in the making and preserve of the public policies, programs and actions from the local to national level.

As NGO’s and citizen participation gains importance, the urge for including them in the ICD process becomes more and more pressing. Even to be considered at United Nations agenda as key agents to achieve development goals. However, a broader support economically, socially and politically speaking to NGOs is needed.

In addition, the lack of participation and dialogue of NGOs is considered a problem for donors when cooperating with developing countries, constituting an indicator of a “fragile State”, which may lead to corruption and misuse of the resources received for development means. That’s why the international community has been debating about including more and more the civil society (especially NGOs) in the formulation of national development plans.

Inclusion of NGOs at the local level goes hand by hand to building capabilities in local governments to foster local responsiveness, accountability and transparency. Moreover, the internationalization of local governments and paradiplomacy are actions that foster ICD and local and regional development.

This is closely related to rescaling, in which the State restructures economically and politically to adapt to the globalized and interdependent scenario, which changes the territorial, economic, political and social constitution of the countries.

The international efforts to foster development include these new focuses; local and regional development, democratic governance, paradiplomacy, and obviously ICD.

That’s why (as stated before) the newest international agenda, the post-2015 agenda, includes 17 goals which will operate until 2030 with an inclusive, innovative and integral focus to be accomplished.

The Agenda was made by the active participation of developing countries in the creation of the goals, with both governmental and nongovernmental entities contributing to the global debate. This agenda calls for a multi-stakeholder approach, which encourages local governments, civil society (NGOs, community organizations) to become development partners and take joint action with governments.

One of the key concerns of this agenda is the institutional capacity of local governments to implement the goals. Governments need to strengthen the capacity of local entities to deliver and implement the goals.

The different Stakeholders involvement will ensure the government’s accountability and responsiveness to its citizens. Therefore, all stakeholders will have an important role in the accountability measures and mechanisms.

Civil society entities, such as NGOs must play a crucial role in the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by being agents that respond to the wellbeing of citizens, by having accountability, responsiveness, transparency and being an active follower and reviewer of government actions to implement and achieve the SDGs.

Being the first year of the SDGs official launch, it is tremendously important to begin to take action now in fostering governance by including different agents such as NGOs and local businesses, the alliances will mark the success or failure of these brand-new goals; as the 17th goal establishes “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”, countries, businesses and citizenship have to be united and work together to improve development levels in the communities.

We, the people, have the right and duty to be an active part of our development.

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Economy

Finding Fulcrum to Move the World Economics

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Domenico Fetti / Wikimedia Commons

Where hidden is the fulcrum to bring about new global-age thinking and escape current mysterious economic models that primarily support super elitism, super-richness, super tax-free heavens and super crypto nirvanas; global populace only drifts today as disconnected wanderers at the bottom carrying flags of ‘hate-media’ only creating tribal herds slowly pushed towards populism. Suppose, if we accept the current indices already labeled as success as the best of show of hands, the game is already lost where winners already left the table. Finding a new fulcrum to move the world economies on a better trajectory where human productivity measured for grassroots prosperity is a critically important but a deeply silent global challenge. Here are some bold suggestions

ONE- Global Measurement: World connectivity is invisible, grossly misunderstood, miscalculated and underestimated of its hidden powers; spreading silently like an invisible net, a “new math” becomes the possible fulcrum for the new business world economy; behold the ocean of emerging global talents from new economies, mobilizing new levels of productivity, performance and forcing global shifts of economic powers. Observe the future of borderless skills, boundary less commerce and trans-global public opinion, triangulation of such will simply crush old thinking.

Archimedes yelled, “…give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world…”

After all, half of the world during the last decade, missed the entrepreneurial mindset, understoodonly as underdog players of the economy, the founders, job-creators and risk-taker entrepreneurs of small medium businesses of the world, pushed aside while kneeling to big business staged as institutionalized ritual. Although big businesses are always very big, nevertheless, small businesses and now globally accepted, as many times larger. Study deeply, why suddenly now the small medium business economy, during the last budgetary cycles across the world, has now become the lone solution to save dwindling economies. Big business as usual will take care of itself, but national economies already on brink left alone now need small business bases and hard-core raw entrepreneurialism as post-pandemic recovery agendas.

TWO – Ground Realities:  National leadership is now economic leadership, understanding, creating and managing, super-hyper-digital-platform-economies a new political art and mobilization of small midsize business a new science: The prerequisites to understand the “new math” is the study of “population-rich-nations and knowledge rich nations” on Google and figure out how and why can a national economy apply such new math. 

Today a USD $1000 investment in technology buys digital solutions, which were million dollars, a decade ago.Today,a $1000 investment buys on global-age upskilling on export expansion that were million dollars a decade ago.  Today, a $1000 investment on virtual-events buys what took a year and cost a million dollars a decade ago. Today, any micro-small-medium-enterprise capable of remote working models can save 80% of office and bureaucratic costs and suddenly operate like a mini-multi-national with little or no additional costs.

Apply this math to population rich nations and their current creation of some 500 million new entrepreneurial businesses across Asia will bring chills across the world to the thousands of government departments, chambers of commerce and trade associations as they compare their own progress. Now relate this to the economic positioning of ‘knowledge rich nations’ and explore how they not only crushed their own SME bases, destroyed the middle class but also their expensive business education system only produced armies of resumes promoting job-seekers but not the mighty job-creators. Study why entrepreneurialism is neither academic-born nor academic centric, it is after all most successful legendary founders that created earth shattering organizations were only dropouts.  Now shaking all these ingredients well in the economic test tube wait and let all this ferment to see what really happens.

Now picking up any nation, selecting any region and any high potential vertical market; searching any meaningful economic development agenda and status of special skills required to serve such challenges, paint new challenges. Interconnect the dots on skills, limits on national/global exposure and required expertise on vertical sectors, digitization and global-age market reach. Measuring the time and cost to bring them at par, measuring the opportunity loss over decades for any neglect. Combining all to squeeze out a positive transformative dialogue and assemble all vested parties under one umbrella.

Not to be confused with academic courses on fixing Paper-Mache economies and broken paper work trails, chambers primarily focused on conflict resolutions, compliance regulations, and trade groups on policy matters.  Mobilization of small medium business economy is a tactical battlefield of advancements of an enterprise, as meritocracy is the nightmarish challenges for over 100 plus nations where majority high potential sectors are at standstill on such affairs. Surprisingly, such advancements are mostly not new funding hungry but mobilization starved. Economic leadership teams of today, unless skilled on intertwining super-hyper-digital-platform-economic agendas with local midsize businesses and creating innovative excellence to stand up to global competitiveness becomes only a burden to growth.

The magnifying glass of mind will find the fulcrum: High potential vertical sectors and special regions are primarily wide-open lands full of resources and full of talented peoples; mobilization of such combinations offering extraordinary power play, now catapulted due to technologies. However, to enter such arenas calls for regimented exploring of the limits of digitization, as Digital-Divides are Mental Divides, only deeper understanding and skills on how to boost entrepreneurialism and attract hidden talents of local citizenry will add power. Of course, knowing in advance, what has already failed so many times before will only avoid using a rubber hose as a lever, again.  

The new world economic order: There is no such thing as big and small as it is only strong and weak, there is no such thing as rich and poor it is only smart and stupid. There is no such thing as past and future is only what is in front now and what is there to act but if and or when. How do you translate this in a post pandemic recovery mode? Observe how strong, smart moving now are advancing and leaving weak, stupid dreaming of if and when in the dust behind.

The conclusion: At the risk of never getting a Nobel Prize on Economics, here is this stark claim; any economy not driven solely based on measuring “real value creation” but primarily based on “real value manipulation” is nothing but a public fraud. This mathematically proven, possibly a new Fulcrum to move the world economy, in need of truth

The rest is easy  

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Evergrande Crisis and the Global Economy

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China’s crackdown on the tech giants was not much of a surprise. Sure, the communist regime allowed the colossus entities like Alibaba Group to innovate and prosper for years. Yet, the government control over the markets was never concealed. In fact, China’s active intervention in the forex market to deliberately devalue Yuan was frequently contested around the world. Ironically, now the world awaits government intervention as a global liquidity crisis seems impending. The Evergrande Group, China’s largest property developer, is on the brink of collapse. Mounding debt, unfinished properties, and subsequent public pressure eventually pushed the group to openly admit its financial turmoil last week. Subsequently, Evergrande’s shares plunged as much as 19% to more than 11-year lows. While many anticipate a thorough financial restructuring in the forthcoming months, the global debt markets face a broader financial contagion – as long as China deliberates on its plan of action.

The financial trouble of the conglomerate became apparent when President Xi Jinping stressed upon controlled corporate debt levels in his ongoing drive to reign China’s corporate behemoths. It is estimated that the Evergrande Group currently owes $305 billion in outstanding debt; payments on its offshore bonds due this week. With new channels of debt ceased throughout the Mainland, repayment seems doubtful despite reassurances from the company officials. The broader cause of worry, however, is the impact of a default; which seems highly likely under current circumstances.

The residential property market and the real estate market control roughly 20% and 30% of China’s nominal GDP respectively. A default could destabilize the already slowing Chinese economy. Yet that’s half the truth. In reality, the failure of a ‘too big to fail’ company could bleed into other sectors as well. And while China could let the company fail to set a precedent, the spillover could devastate the financial stability hard-earned after a strenuous battle against the pandemic. Recent data shows that with the outbreak of the delta variant, the demand pressure in China has significantly cooled down while the energy prices are through the roof. Coupled with the regulatory crackdown rapidly pervading uncertainty, a debt crisis could further push the economy into a recession: a detrimental end to China’s aspirations to attract global investors.

The real question, therefore, is not about China’s willingness to bail out the company. Too much is at stake. The primal question is regarding the modus operandi which could be adopted by China to upend instability.

Naturally, the influence of China’s woes parallels its effect on the global economy. A possible liquidity crisis and the opaque measures of the government combined are already affecting the global markets: particularly the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) posted a dismal end to Monday’s trading session: declining by more than 600 points. The 10-year Treasury yields slipped down 6.4 basis points to 1.297% as investors sought safety amid uncertainty. The concern is regarding China’s route to solve the issue and the timeline it would adopt. While the markets across Europe and Asia are optimistic about a partial settlement of debt payments, a take over from state-owned enterprises could further drive uncertainty; majorly regarding the pay schedule of western bondholders amid political hostility.

Economists believe that, while a financial crisis doesn’t seem like a plausible threat, a delayed response or a clumsy reaction could permeate volatility in the capital markets globally. Furthermore, a default or a takeover would almost certainly pull down China’s economy. While the US has already turned stringent over Chinese IPOs recently, a debt default could puncture the economic viability of a wide array of Chinese companies around the world. And thus, while the global banking system is not at an immediate threat of a Lehman catastrophe, Evergrande’s bankruptcy would, nonetheless, erode both the domestic and the global housing market. Moreover, it would further dent Chinese imports (and seriously damage regional exchequers), and would ultimately put a damper on global economic recovery from the pandemic.

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Economy Contradicts Democracy: Russian Markets Boom Amid Political Sabotage

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The political game plan laid by the Russian premier Vladimir Putin has proven effective for the past two decades. Apart from the systemic opposition, the core critics of the Kremlin are absent from the ballot. And while a competitive pretense is skilfully maintained, frontrunners like Alexei Navalny have either been incarcerated, exiled, or pushed against the metaphorical wall. All in all, United Russia is ahead in the parliamentary polls and almost certain to gain a veto-proof majority in State Duma – the Russian parliament. Surprisingly, however, the Russian economy seems unperturbed by the active political manipulation of the Kremlin. On the contrary, the Russian markets have already established their dominance in the developing world as Putin is all set to hold his reign indefinitely.

The Russian economy is forecasted to grow by 3.9% in 2021. The pandemic seems like a pained tale of history as the markets have strongly rebounded from the slump of 2020. The rising commodity prices – despite worrisome – have edged the productivity of the Russian raw material giants. The gains in ruble have gradually inched higher since January, while the current account surplus has grown by 3.9%. Clearly, the manufacturing mechanism of Moscow has turned more robust. Primarily because the industrial sector has felt little to no jitters of both domestic and international defiance. The aftermath of the arrest of Alexei Navalny wrapped up dramatically while the international community couldn’t muster any resistance beyond a handful of sanctions. The Putin regime managed to harness criticism and allegations while deftly sketching a blueprint to extend its dominance.

The ideal ‘No Uncertainty’ situation has worked wonders for the Russian Bourse and the bond market. The benchmark MOEX index (Moscow Exchange) has rallied by 23% in 2021 – the strongest performance in the emerging markets. Moreover, the fixed income premiums have dropped to record lows; Russian treasury bonds offering the best price-to-earning ratio in the emerging markets. The main reason behind such a bustling market response could be narrowed down to one factor: growing investor confidence.

According to Bloomberg’s data, the Russian Foreign Exchange reserves are at their record high of $621 billion. And while the government bonds’ returns hover at a mere 1.48%, the foreign ownership of treasury bonds has inflated above 20% for the second time this year. The investors are confident that a significant political shuffle is not on cards as Putin maintains a tight hold over Kremlin. Furthermore, investors do not perceive the United States as an active deterrent to Russia – at least in the near term. The notion was further exacerbated when the Biden administration unilaterally dropped sanctions from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. And while Europe and the US remain sympathetic with the Kremlin critics, large economies like Germany have clarified their economic position by striking lucrative deals amid political pressure. It is apparent that while Europe is conflicted after Brexit, even the US faces much more pressing issues in the guise of China and Afghanistan. Thus, no active international defiance has all but bolstered the Kremlin in its drive to gain foreign investments.

Another factor at work is the overly hawkish Russian Central Bank (RCB). To tame inflation – currency raging at an annual rate of 6.7% – the RCB hiked its policy rate to 6.75% from the all-time low of 4.25%. The RCB has raised its policy rate by a cumulative 250 basis points in four consecutive hikes since January which has all but attracted the investors to jump on the bandwagon. However, inflation is proving to be sturdy in the face of intermittent rate hikes. And while Russian productivity is enjoying a smooth run, failure of monetary policy tools could just as easily backfire.

While political dissent or international sanctions remain futile, inflation is the prime enemy which could detract the Russian economy. For years Russia has faced a sharp decline in living standards, and despite commendable fiscal management of the Kremlin, such a steep rise in prices is an omen of a financial crisis. Moreover, the unemployment rates have dropped to record low levels. However, the labor shortage is emerging as another facet that could plausibly ignite the wage-price spiral. Further exacerbating the threat of inflation are the $9.6 billion pre-election giveaways orchestrated by President Putin to garner more support for his United Russia party. Such a tremendous demand pressure could presumably neutralize the aggressive tightening of the monetary policy by the RCB. Thus, while President Putin sure is on a definitive path of immortality on the throne of the Kremlin, surging inflation could mark a return of uncertainty, chip away investors’ confidence: eventually putting a brake on the economic streak.

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