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Building the Knowledge Base to Boost Growth and Jobs in the Lake Chad Region

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The Lake Chad region, an economically and socially integrated area in West and Central Africa straddling Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, is confronted with an interplay of multidimensional development challenges that have resulted in low economic growth, limited opportunities, and fragility. Boosting growth and job creation in the region requires policies and programs that restore peace and improve the service delivery of basic public services for greater economic opportunities. Yet, a severe lack of data and diagnostics hinders coordinated, evidence-based interventions. A new World Bank study aims at closing critical knowledge gaps to inform the policy discussion on challenges and opportunities for faster, more inclusive, and sustained economic growth in the Lake Chad region.

The Lake Chad Regional Economic Memorandum “Development for Peace” provides a detailed account of the interlocked development challenges affecting the Lake Chad region. It finds that poverty rates, economic growth, and other core socio-economic indicators in the region trail behind other areas of the respective countries. This stagnation is perpetuated by the negative feedback loops between “3Ds and 2Cs”: that is, (i) the low density, long distances, and profound social, cultural, and ethnic divisions that characterize the economic geography of the region; and (ii) climate change and conflict that exacerbate such development challenges.

“The Lake Chad region is confronted with interlinked development challenges that are trapping the region’s 30 million inhabitants in a vicious cycle of low growth and endemic poverty. In turn, these conditions are fueling conflict, displacement, land degradation, and a general sense of dissatisfaction with government institutions. It is thus critical to identify policy levers that break this vicious cycle and promote a virtuous one of economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction” explains Marco Hernandez, Lead Economist at the World Bank and one of the co-authors of the report.

The Regional Economic Memorandum calls for a multisectoral approach that generates a “big push”, strong enough to revert this self-reinforcing cycle that has kept the Lake Chad region in a suboptimal equilibrium. It also highlights four crosscutting policy areas as pathways for growth—namely, trade facilitation, connective infrastructure, effective governance, and improved natural resource management.

“The development challenges in the Lake Chad region are cross-country and so are the solutions,” says Ms. Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa. “The interlinked challenges and the extent of the shared opportunities, including economic spillovers across boundaries, suggest that coordinated strategies can work better than independent national initiatives in the region. The Lake Chad Regional Economic Memorandum can help inform the debate and expand collective understanding and action.”

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Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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Iran’s Parliament approves bill on accession to SCO

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Iran’s Parliament has approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic republic’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according TASS information.

205 parliamentarians voted for the bill, 3 voted against and 4 abstained.

On September 30, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a bill on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the Young Journalists Club news agency, Raisi sent the bill to the country’s parliament for consideration.

Iran signed a memorandum on liabilities for joining the Organization.

The Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan on September 15-16 launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a full-fledged member.

Egypt and Qatar were granted a dialogue partner status, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia began the procedure for obtaining this status.

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