Opinion: The benefits of genetically modified organisms
So-called “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are frequently the subject of controversy, mostly because they are misunderstood. Humans have been genetically modifying plants and animals for millennia. Now, new gene-editing methods hold the potential to cure horrible diseases and make food more nutritious, potentially improving millions of lives. Regulation is holding back some advances though – but the new approaches are more predictable and precise than their predecessors.
As Indian agriculture expands, farmers and reform prospects suffer
India’s food output has nearly quadrupled over the past 50 years, but farm households – more than half the country’s population – are in some ways worse off. Rural distress is weighing on the country’s politics and eroding the government’s political base. If India wants to follow the path of the Asian tigers, it should start where they did: agricultural reform.
GIS Dossier: Sub-Saharan Africa
The list of challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa is long and daunting. Political instability and violence have led to immense migration flows that countries on three continents are struggling to contain. These problems have exacerbated weather-related catastrophes like famine, creating a vicious circle. Yet, the region has plenty of potential. Can it overcome its hurdles? This edition of GIS Dossier surveys the predictions from our experts on this troubled region.
Colombia finds peace brings burdens
Fresh from winning a Nobel Peace Prize, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos must find a way to implement the complicated peace agreement that ended a 40-year civil war. Battling criminal gangs, restoring land to displaced people, and absorbing tens of thousands of guerrilla fighters back into society will be a difficult task. Coca and corruption remain huge problems, and Mr. Santos’ ruling party must fend off a powerful adversary in Alvaro Uribe, an opponent of the peace deal who will challenge in next year’s elections.
China’s influence in Southeast Asia flows through the Mekong
China is using the Mekong as a geopolitical tool. The river provides much needed irrigation water and hydropower potential to countries downstream, but Beijing can choke the flow with a network of 20 planned dams. If the downstream countries joined together, they would have a chance of preventing China from using strong-arm tactics. As it stands however, each country is dealing individually with the Chinese, ensuring Beijing has the upper hand.
Angola’s dependence on oil exacts toll as 2017 elections loom
Since the end of Angola’s civil war (1975-2002), oil production in the country has rapidly increased. Production more than doubled between 2004 and 2008, from 800,000 to 1.7 million barrels per day, stabilizing at around 1.8 million bpd in 2015. Oil revenues alone injected an estimated $470 billion into Angolan state coffers between 2002 and 2014. But the recent dr...
As sanctions take their toll, Russia turns to import substitution
As the Russian economy’s difficulties deepen, the Kremlin is putting a brave face on things. It maintains that Western sanctions have been beneficial and that its own anti-crisis program is working. Moreover, the government is talking up a new “Strategy 2030” to boost domestic self-sufficiency based on import substitution. The new measures, however, are unlikely to...
Argentina’s new government makes an ambitious start
President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, who was elected last October, has quickly set out to show how much his administration differs from that of his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Much of the attention has focused on its determination to end the country’s complex set of price controls, subsidies and exchange rate restrictions. But his most significan...
India and Africa: two perspectives across the Indian Ocean
<i>This report presents, back-to-back, two scenarios for the emerging strategic relationship between India and Africa outlined by GIS contributors, <b>Pramit Pal Chaudhuri</b> of India and <b>Teresa Nogueira Pinto</b>, our Africa expert.</i> View from India Africa summits are ...