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Elections, Elections & Elections

Naseem Javed

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Targeted within the next 100 days are some 500 million voters around the world;

Thirty plus nations are going to elect leaders and later USA in 2020. Measured only by the final count of votes, a successful election winning should also deliver economic performance measured only by the final count of real good quality jobs and not some hologramic mumbo jumbo statistics. It’s time for great jobs, quality jobs and well paying jobs. The world’s most dramatically engaging, expensive and time consuming election of USA is now unfolding; while the world awaits a mega global financial collapse also arrives at the precipice.

It makes no difference when will the next global meltdown starts as the economic damage is now visible from space, it makes no difference why is this happening because most mighty nations have already tried hard to fix it to the best of their ability and lastly, it makes no difference whatsoever to what will happen afterwards as nothing happened last time; no crime, no penalty, outside those exceptional who jumped out of high-rise windows some one billion mostly from the middle and bottom got badly crushed. This time the numbers may be double. Time will tell.

It’s popcorn time.

What will make the difference is the brand new realization that the global-age skills of the working citizenry of the world have seriously slipped away in acquiring special advancements to read his global-age better, faster and with more productivity zest. All over the world, today, deemed useless are the accumulated educational trainings during the last few decades and very soon smart robots will replace the most knowledge acquired within the last five years. It’s about time to ask tough questions about the future usability of our education and real productivity value of trainings; demanded are deeper studies on applying lifelong learning; real competencies for real global-age, continuous advancements of human development, emotional intelligence and mental endurance all to deal with critical thinking absolutely necessary on complex enterprise modeling with global implications.  To acquire varying level of mastery, these new skills are not that difficult at all, after all mankind is always superior over robots but what is extremely difficult is the way overly sensationalized narrative articulated by stock markets responding to every major technological advances placing too much emphasis on IT and coding creating general fears amongst masses of workers around the globe. The new global age demands brand new thinking capable to be able to shed the old skin and come out new and shiny, once again.

Study the global tsunami of computer age and advancements of micro-desktop-computers in offices around the world in 80s and how things changed from A-Z. Repeated is the same style cycle all over here. Study the subject deeply, compare the last few cycles when global societies transformed for Print Society to Radio Societies, to TV, to Computer to Cyber etc… the patterns are very similar just the dramatic changes are much faster.  Transitions took 20-30 years, now 2-3 years. Virtual reality and block-chain deployment is far more massive than mobile phone and this will happen within next 1000 days. The officeless office revolution will shrink and collapse old glory of office towers around the world in next few years. Study these major changes and develop your own vision, apply all your own current skills and exercise your inner strengths, study very deeply, while acquiring expertise and becoming a ‘doer’ ‘thinker’ ‘innovator’ and ‘collaborator’ and let other experts handle the technology.

It’s time to vote, but first vote yourself in as if you already are in the shoes of the leader but fix your global age skills or simply become a compulsive clicker on social media or a slave to robots. Only the skilled ones will drive the future agenda. Currently, trying very hard, almost all over the world, the political leaderships based on their capabilities, available timelines and mostly caught in some self-inflicted rotten system but once again asking them to fix today’s grassroots prosperity problems is like asking the same gang of people who brought the grand-chaos with no idea on the next direction to lead is a serious judgment call. 

While, you are the only one but imagine like a potential candidate worthy of a vote, you are the only leader of your own path and you are the only undisputed champion of your own skills sets, so move on and vote for a revolutionary change but start improving your skills. You will start to notice the emergence of new thinking, others will come forward and join your cause, and a level of new understanding will emerge with solutions at times way better and above political shenanigans. Almost, each and every single voter around the world has some access to a trillion dollar worth of free technology available via internet plus entire study of our civilization on finger tips…learn to optimize and humanize progress but stay away from fakery. Time manage your global-age skills acquisition charts.

Historically, this is how Mankind came out of the caves

Skilled citizenry is the biggest hidden asset of the nation, ignored last few decades in the dust of globalization, now a critical issue these elections. The other options for the world are to simply wait for an unfathomable chaos while listening to the restless citizenry. If it’s time to vote, it’s also time for asking the most difficult questions. For national leadership, creation of intelligent debates on such complexity is critical while keeping it under the rugs the silence becomes the proof of incompetency.

In a hyper-accelerated supercharged world, understanding and measuring incompetency of working masses is a brand new art; identification of this critical void with right contents to fix the crisis of exportability performance is a new science, the mobilization of working-citizenry to regain new skills is new deployment strategy and bold national debates to openly face these challenges is new global-age example of successful political leadership.

This reality is also about those crossroads; where universities of the world failed the students, ask billion indebted students, this is where government bureaucracies failed the citizenry, ask billions of SME taxpayers, and this is where conflict-centric agenda stripped naked the global populace of any intelligent dialogue and this is also where divisive politics and populist thinking are finding fertile grounds. A change to internally uplift the working citizenry is the smart call. Programs to national mobilization of entrepreneurialism are the solution.

European Union is tabling a 100 Billion dollar program to uplift its high potential enterprises also a great example of becoming internally focused and national mobilization of entrepreneurialism. Is the new world getting ready for new thinking, where Inversion Economy; grassroots transformation becomes a top priority over Projectile Economy where Rocketry and Mars Missions drive the agenda. Trade-wars are proof of poor quality exportability, poor skills and poor policies, but skills-wars are about creating highly skilled citizenry creating superior edge of exportability and blossoming local grassroots prosperity. Nations should avoid blaming, screaming and declaring trade-wars on other countries and rather first look inside and declare internal skills-wars on their own working-citizenry to improve their performance and capability to stand up to global age trading challenges. In global search for collaborative synthesizim, Expothon Worldwide is seeking alliances to downstream high quality debates and discussion with top leadership within a nation and inviting trade groups, trade associations, Chambers and experts in various business growth fields to join the platform already aligned with this global exportability driven metamorphosis. The recent move last month by Worldbank to adopt this very format with their launch of a global project Econothon is also a very good step forward. Expect some major and positive events in this arena to uplift this new global thinking forward.

Vote you must;

Remember as when you vote, you have already placed yourself first in line of acquiring improved skills to help your nation.  Earn a globally respectable position for your nation expressed by your competitive skills become smart on exportability, trade globally.  There is no escape. The clouds are gathering. Already consumed and wasted with fakery the decades long grace periods allowed are all but over and now with limited time available so prepare rapidly, mobilize and deploy.

The Next 100 Days:
How large are these national/global issues?
How will the nation/world survive?
Where are the bright new ideas?
What will the voters do?
What will the USA voters and leadership learn from the outside world?
Firstly, they all must vote
Secondly, debate and engage political leadership, because they all need help.

Here are the key elections in 2019 alone; Canada, Tunisia, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Guinea, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Uzbekistan, Norway, Portugal, Austria, Poland, Swiss, Bulgaria, Gibraltar, Romania, Croatia, Haiti, Dominican Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Israel, Oman, New Zealand, UAE and USA in 2020.

With so much time and resources wasted in fakery, time to uplift working citizenry within a nation is now becoming almost like a critical salvage operation. Restless citizenry needs job security with global-age skills to bring a new ride of confidence but must not be confused with old style traditional education and training. Clouds of technology will not rain local grassroots prosperity but watch slow death, national mobilization of small and midsize economy with create local jobs and harmony, the dust of globalization is a proof and inversion towards grassroots economy is a must.

Try it in your own local regions…

Naseem Javed, is a corporate philosopher, Chairman of Expothon Worldwide; His latest new book; Alpha Dreamers; the five billions connected who will change the world https://expothon.com/

Economy

China Development Bank could be a climate bank

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China Development Bank (CDB) has an opportunity to become the world’s most important climate bank, driving the transition to the low-carbon economy.

CDB supports Chinese investments globally, often in heavily emitting sectors. Some 70% of global CO2 emissions come from the buildings, transport and energy sectors, which are all strongly linked to infrastructure investment. The rules applied by development finance institutions like CBD when making funding decisions on infrastructure projects can therefore set the framework for cutting carbon emissions.

CDB is a major financer of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the world’s most ambitious infrastructure scheme. It is the biggest policy bank in the world with approximately US$2.3 trillion in assets – more than the $1.5 trillion of all the other development banks combined.

Partly as a consequence of its size, CDB is also the biggest green project financer of the major development banks, deploying US$137.2 billion in climate finance in 2017; almost ten times more than the World Bank.

This huge investment in climate-friendly projects is overshadowed by the bank’s continued investment in coal. In 2016 and 2017, it invested about three times more in coal projects than in clean energy.

The bank’s scale makes its promotion of green projects particularly significant. Moreover, it has committed to align with the Paris Agreement as part of the International Development Finance Club. It is also part of the initiative developing Green Investment Principles along the BRI.

This progress is laudable but CDB must act quickly if it is to meet the Chinese government’s official vision of a sustainable BRI and align itself with the Paris target of limiting global average temperature rise to 2C.

What does best practice look like?

In its latest report, the climate change think-tank E3G has identified several areas where CDB could improve, with transparency high on the list.

The report assesses the alignment of six Asian development finance institutions with the Paris Agreement. Some are shifting away from fossil fuels. The ADB (Asian Development Bank) has excluded development finance for oil exploration and has not financed a coal project since 2013, while the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) has stated it has no coal projects in its direct finance pipeline. The World Bank has excluded all upstream oil and gas financing.

In contrast, CDB’s policies on financing fossil fuel projects remain opaque. A commitment to end all coal finance would signal the bank is taking steps to align its financing activities with President Xi Jinping’s high-profile pledge that the BRI would be “open, green and clean”, made at the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April 2019.

CDB should also detail how its “green growth” vision will translate into operational decisions. Producing a climate-change strategy would set out how the bank’s sectoral strategies will align with its core value of green growth.

CDB already accounts for emissions from projects financed by green bonds. It should extend this practice to all financing activities. The major development banks have already developed a harmonised approach to account for greenhouse gas emissions, which could be a starting point for CDB.

Lastly, CDB should integrate climate risks into lending activities and country risk analysis.

One of the key functions of development finance institutions is to mobilise private finance. CDB has been successful in this respect, for example providing long-term capital to develop the domestic solar industry. This was one of the main drivers lowering solar costs by 80% between 2009-2015.

However, the extent to which CDB has been successful in mobilising capital outside China has been more limited; in 2017, almost 98% of net loans were on the Chinese mainland. If CDB can repeat its success in mobilising capital into green industries in BRI countries, it will play a key role in driving the zero-carbon and resilient transition.

From our partner chinadialogue.net

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Economy

Oil-Rich Azerbaijan Takes Lead in Green Economy

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Now that the heat and dust of Azerbaijan’s parliamentary election on February 9thhas settled, a new generation of administrators are focusing on accelerating the pace of reforms under President Ilham Aliyev, who has ambitious plans to further modernise its economy and diversify its energy sources.

Oil and gas account for about 95 percent of Azerbaijan’s exports and 75 percent of government revenue, with the hydrocarbon sector alone generating about 40 percent of the country’s economic activity. Apart from providing oil to Europe, Azerbaijan successfully completed the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) with Turkey in November 2019 to transfer Azerbaijani gas to Europe.

Yet, with an eye on the future, the country has also begun to take huge strides in renewable energy. Solar and wind power projects have been installed, with their share in total electricity generation already reaching 17 percent. By 2030, this figure is expected to hit 30 percent.

Solar power plants currently operate in Gobustan and Samukh, as well as in the Pirallahi, Surahani and Sahil settlements in Baku.

The potential of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan is over 25,300 megawatts, which allows generating 62.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Most of this potential comes from solar energy, which is estimated at 5,000 megawatts. Wind energy accounts for 4,500 megawatts, biomass is estimated at 1,500 megawatts, and geothermal energy at 800 megawatts.

President Aliyev has supported the drive for renewable energy. He signed a decree in 2019 to establish a commission for implementing and coordinating test projects for the construction of solar and wind power plants.

Azerbaijan’s focus on renewable energy has drawn interest from its European partners, with leading French companies seeking to invest in the country’s solar and wind electricity generation.

Azerbaijan is France’s main economic and trade partner in the South Caucasus. According to French ambassador Zacharie Gross, “the French Development Agency is ready to invest in Azerbaijan’s green projects, such as solid waste management. This would allow using new cleaner technologies to reduce solid waste. This is beneficial for the environment and the local population.”

“I believe that one of the areas that have greatest development potential is urban services sector. An improved water distribution system can reduce the amount of water consumed, improve its quality, and also solve the problem of flood waters in winter,” the French ambassador added.

Azerbaijan is currently a low emitter of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. According to the European Commission, the country released 34.7 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2018, i.e. just 3.5 tons per capita. This is lower than the norm adopted by the world: 4.9 tons.

In contrast, in 2018 Kazakhstan generated 309.2 million tons of CO2, Ukraine generated 196.8 million tons,Uzbekistan101.8 million tons, and Belarus 64.2 million tons.

And the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Azerbaijan has been consistently falling. In 1990, Azerbaijan emitted 73.3 million tons, but in 2018 this had dropped to 34.7 million tons. By 2030 the country plans to reduce its annual greenhouse gases emissions by a further 35 percent.

Measures taken by the government include the early introduction of Euro-4 fuel standards in Azerbaijan, with A-5 standards to be introduced from 2021. An increasing number of electric buses and taxis are now transporting passengers in the main cities.

Another key step is the clean-up of the environmental degradation caused by over 150 years of oil production. Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR is helping to recover oil-contaminated lands in Absheron Peninsula, particularly in the once critically contaminated area around Boyukshor Lake. This involves the removal of millions of cubic metres of soil contaminated with oil.

Azerbaijan is also reducing the amount of gas it wastes in flaring. In a study funded by the European Commission, Azerbaijan ranks first among 10 countries exporting oil to the EU in the effective utilisation of associated petroleum gas.The emission of associated gases decreased by 282.5 million cubic meters from 2009 through till 2015. This is expected to fall further to 95 million cubic meters by 2022.

The government is also encouraging large-scale greening of the land. In December 2019, a mass tree-planting campaign was initiated by First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva to celebrate the 650thanniversary of famous Azerbaijani poet Imadeddin Nasimi. 650,000 trees were planted nationwide, including 12,000 seedlings that were delivered by ship to Chilov Island.

A 2018 survey, carried out in cooperation with Turkish specialists, found that forest area is 1.2 million square meters in Azerbaijan, i.e. 11.4 percent of the total area of ​​the country.A new requirement was introduced last year to halt deforestation and to reduce the negative impact of business projects on the environment.

For a country with the 20th largest oil reserves in the world, Azerbaijan could well have chosen to stick to a hydrocarbon future. But it has instead dared to think beyond oil and gas in its energy, transportation, economy and environment. The country is setting a template that should inspire other large oil producers to emulate.

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Economy

China-US: How Long Will the Phase One Agreement Hold?

Osama Rizvi

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Although the recently signed Phase One agreement between the US and China has put a halt to the ongoing trade war between the two global economic superpowers, it cannot be viewed as a long-term solution. At its best, it is a temporary truce. The language of the eighty-six page document, including its ambiguities and the unrealistic promises upon which the entire agreement is based, suggests that it is based on two unreconcilable compromises between the two parties.

Some of the main highlights of the deal include: China must give an action plan on “strengthening intellectual property protection” and it must reduce the  pressure on international companies for “technology transfer.” China has promised to increase the purchase of goods and services from US by $200 Billion over two years. Other key points include easy access to Chinese markets. The 15th December tariffs of $160 Billion have been delayed in December 2019. Tariff rates on $120 bn of goods (imposed on September 01, 2019) have been reduced from 15 to 7 percent although tariffs of $250 Billion at a rate of 25 percent will remain.

The 86 page document, when analyzed, displays an ambiguity in its language, as well as the absence of any enforcement plan and dispute settlement process. Therefore, whenever an issue might arise (and it will) there is a likelihood the deal may implode. For instance, whilst mentioning enforcement of payment of penalties and other fines, the word “expeditious” remains unclear. What is the time period and how will enforcement be accomplished? At another point, while referring to China to send a case for criminal enforcement the word “reasonable suspicion” which can be based on “articulable facts” makes it very abstract. Chad Brown, a trade expert in an article for Business Insider, says that there is no specific way mentioned in the document to penalize the party who violates any provision. Moreover, there is no body (like WTO) that will take decisions but is rather left to the USTR and discussions with Chinese counterparts – a recipe for confusion.

Then there are the promises. But we have to consider different variables. But if it turns out that China carries out its promise to buy crude oil, LNG and coal, the global commodity markets will feel the heat – in a negative way. Under the agreement China will buy an additional $52 bn of energy products in the span of coming two years- 418.5 Billion in 2018 and $33.9 in 2021. This year China will have to buy about $27 Billion energy purchases from U.S. To put this in context, China imported 14 million barrels of oil in November 2018 which is its highest ever. Assuming that China buys the same amount for 12 months it would yield only $9 to $10 billion in revenue! In a similar calculation for coal and LNG, Clyde Russell, in an article for Reuters, concludes that in order to fulfill the above target (of $27 Billion) China would have to double the amount of these imports from US!

Moreover, the Phase One agreement has a snapback clause which implies that upon quarterly reviews if the Chinese side isn’t holding true to their promises the agreement can become null and void.

Even if China fulfills its promise, the purpose wouldn’t be served:  the US. deficit won’t reduce significantly.  The US trade deficit with China for the first 10 months of 2019 was $294 Billion – in other words, roughly 40 percent of the country’s total trade gap. However, for the same period, Chinese sold goods more than four times that amount (or about $382 bn). China will need to half its exports to the U.S. for a “meaningful” drop in the deficit – something that seems highly unlikely.

Also, the US might even end up more dependent on China. Increased demand for US oil will spike its prices and might trigger other suppliers of China to increase their output in order to fight for the market share. The global energy and commodity markets could face disruption. Similarly, Brazil and other countries, beneficiaries of this trade war, can decrease soy bean prices in order to retain their market share, giving farmers in the US a tough time.

As the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said that tariffs can remain in place even after a Phase Two agreement, we, therefore, have to be patient and observe the trajectory of Phase One trade agreement carefully.  Chinese promise of $200 bn purchases, the lack of a proper dispute resolution mechanism and technical loopholes in language puts the future of the agreement in doubt.

Both sides are keeping some cards in their deck; we have yet to witness the end of this trade-war saga.

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