Photo of Kigali, Rwanda by Flickr user oledoe under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
By Francis Jung
According to the World Bank, the IMF and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Rwanda is doing exceptionally well at attaining the development goals outlined in its Vision 2020, despite the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Burundi, on the other hand, is not doing so well; especially since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement to run for a third term in April of 2015. Why is Rwanda doing so well, while Burundi is doing so poorly when it comes to achieving human development goals?
At face value, the question seems broad and mundane to which any number of people in the development community could provide a separate answer, half of which would start out with, “that depends;” but a deeper analysis of their similarities suggest that it would be reasonable to draw from the two something specific that explains why one country has driven down poverty and infant mortality while maintaining stable growth rates and the other is all but re-immersed back into conflict.
This article establishes that the reason Rwanda is doing so well is mainly due to two factors: first, the consolidation of power, the exclusion of opposing parties and the establishment of a single-party state early on its post-conflict development and second, Rwanda’s focus on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals; and Burundi is doing so poorly because the government is vulnerable to power seeking, would-be political entrepreneurs.
By Ali Reza Sarwar
The ongoing conflict in Yemen, particularly after the launch of Operation Decisive Storm on March 26, 2015, has inflicted serious humanitarian toll on ordinary Yemenis. According to the United Nations, 45, 0000 people, in addition to 33,0000 people previously displaced, including foreign citizens living in Yemen, have been displaced in the recent conflict and even more are entangled in war zones.
International aid organizations have recently warned about potential humanitarian crisis if conflict does not stop and immediate assistance is not provided to internally displaced people (IDPs). A recent report by Relief International highlights that at least 15.9 million Yemenis “need some form of humanitarian assistance.” The report further adds that 13.4 million Yemenis do not have access to drinking water with 12 million people without sanitation and finally 10.6 million who “are unable to meet their food need.”
As the conflict in Yemen continues, the refugee crisis will only expand
With total public debt of 48.2 percent of GDP in 2014 and only 154th on the Human Development Index 2014 and influx of mixed emigrants from neighboring countries, mainly Somalia and Syria and the internally displaced peoples ( IDPs), Yemen was already on a perilous path to humanitarian crisis even before the collapse of UN-brokered unity government on January 2015. Continue reading
By Michael Jacobs
Last month’s signing of the long-delayed U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) allows American troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, providing a measure of security and stability for the country. The BSA is significant, but eventually American troops will head home. While U.S. military advisers and intelligence capabilities will likely remain in place for years, sometime soon Afghans will be substantively responsible for their own security and stability.
The BSA provides an opportunity for the U.S. to secure the progress we’ve established in Afghanistan over the past thirteen years. So far the cost has been high in both dollars and lives, and as we’ve seen in Iraq, those gains can be erased very quickly. At a minimum, Afghanistan’s long-term stability will hinge on a capable military and an inclusive government, but also on broad economic development: countries with an additional 2 percentage points of economic growth sustained over 10 years have been shown to have their risk of civil war reduced by 28% when compared to the risk of civil war in a typical low-income country.
U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham signs the BSA with Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar (September 30,2014)