Opinion: Russia returns to Africa
Russia is making a big push for closer ties with African countries. It aims to gain access to energy resources and in return offers military support and arms sales. Its goals are not only economic, however. It wants to show its people and the world that it is still a global power, as well as challenge the U.S., Europe and China as they make their own inroads on the continent.
Modi’s economy faces the voters
The Modi government in India enters the last year of its term with mixed economic results. The prime minister has moderated inflation and carried out important reforms, but growth remains slow and many Indians are pessimistic about their financial situation. With elections coming next April and several external threats on the horizon, a second term for Narendra Modi is in doubt.
Cameroon’s ‘anglophone crisis’ offers a bleak outlook
In Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, forces advocating secession from the rest of the country are gaining clout. Violent clashes are increasing, dragging down the country’s economy and displacing thousands of people. President Paul Biya, now Africa’s longest-serving leader, is still likely to win a seventh term in office this year, but his eroding legitimacy will make it even more difficult to bring stability back.
Algeria’s ‘system’ hangs tough
Algeria seems headed down a road already taken by other resource-rich authoritarian countries like Venezuela. Low oil and gas prices have made it harder for a crony oligarchy to buy off the public with subsidies and benefits. Their latest expedient to stave off reforms is to use the central bank to fund a government stimulus program, but that only delays the day of reckoning.
GIS Dossier: China’s Belt and Road Initiative
In 2013, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a huge infrastructure-building project that includes investments in roads, railways and ports spanning three continents and two oceans. While Beijing claims the BRI is purely an attempt to better connect China with key markets, it is clearly using the investments to gain geopolitical leverage. This Dossier brings together GIS experts’ analysis of how China is using the BRI to build its influence, and how countries around the world are reacting.
China’s profile is rising in Latin America
As China’s growing economy made it an increasingly important player in Latin America, Beijing kept a low profile. Now, it can no longer avoid the spotlight. In Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil and Cuba, its position as a customer, financier and investor is leading to some complicated challenges. The question now is how assertive it will become in imposing its will on these countries – and how they and the U.S. will react.
The return of U.S. sanctions on Iran: consequences for the oil market
As the effects of reimposed U.S. sanctions are beginning to be felt in Iran, oil markets’ reaction has been measured. Tehran’s oil minister hopes that increased business with China will help his country protect its global market share.
Russia’s new government shows tensions beneath the surface
It has become clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reelection means another term in office for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his government. To some, the lack of new faces shows the regime is headed for a period of inertia and stagnation. This view is understandable, but it is wrong.
Scenarios for Chad’s President Idriss Deby
Chad’s President Idriss Deby leads an authoritarian government that is increasingly under pressure, both politically and economically. However, his regime has been a strong ally of the West. A new constitution that strengthened his grip on power was approved this year, but it could, ironically, further undermine his legitimacy.
Global competition for upstream oil and gas investment
The international energy community is usually divided on oil prices, since consumers like prices low and producers prefer them high. But one thing everyone agrees on is that the current environment of low oil prices is not encouraging investment, which could trigger an energy crisis down the road. This reasoning is logical, but overly simplistic.