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April 5, 2014

Afghans go to the polls

Afghans go to the polls – Wikinews, the free news source

Afghans go to the polls

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Afghanistan
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Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, one of the presidential candidates leading the polls.
Image: S.K. Vemmer, US Department of State.

Voters in Afghanistan went to the polls today to elect the country’s next president.

Polls have reportedly only been marred by a small amount of violence while participation has been described as high by reporters. The government deployed more than 350,000 troops to protect voters from attacks on polling stations; security measures have included checkpoints on roads.

The three front-runners in the election are reported to be the former World Bank academic Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, doctor Abdullah Abdullah, and former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul. The incumbent Hamid Karzai is not allowed to stand because of term limits.

The election in Afghanistan follows the shooting this week of two Associated Press journalists by Afghan police: Anja Niedringhaus and Kathy Gannon. Also recently, on Tuesday British troops formally shut down their base in Helmand as part of a planned withdrawal process from the region.



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September 29, 2013

Finnish female politicians highlighted by World Bank\’s 2012 gender report

Finnish female politicians highlighted by World Bank’s 2012 gender report

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Women’s rights
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Earlier this week the World Bank released the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. The report noted relatively high numbers of women participating in Finnish politics, and credited the Council for Equality between Men and Women in Finland with progress.

Pictured in 2003 during a state visit to Brazil, Tarja Halonen was Finland’s first lady President.
Image: Agência Brasil.

Finland bucks the global trend; the report notes globally “the number of women holding parliamentary seats is very low, and progress in the last 15 years has been slow.” Female representation in national parliaments has risen from 10% in 1995 to 17% in 2009. By contrast, Finnish female parliamentarians accounted for 38.5% of new members in 1991, rising to 42.5% in 2011. Finland was one of just nine nations whose total female cabinet members stood at more than 40% in 2008. Globally, females accounted for 17% of ministers, representing a rise from just 8% in 1998.

Although not specifically mentioned by the report, since the millennium the positions of President and Prime Minister have both been held by women; Tarja Halonen became the nation’s first female President in 2000 and in 2010 Mari Kiviniemi was selected to be the second female Prime Minister. Women gained suffrage in 1906 with little opposition, ahead of the US and UK.

Students at a maths lecture at the Helsinki University of Technology
Image: Tungsten.

The cross-party Council for Equality between Men and Women in Finland dates back to the 1970s; the World Bank dismisses its role at that time as “primarily symbolic” with little in the way of staff, funding, or influence. In the 1980s it was handed statutory power for gender equality issues and has gone on to press for reforms in areas including sex work, job training, and quotas on political representation. The report calls the council a “success”.

Education, however, showed gender segregation by subject at the tertiary level; Finland was one of several countries singled out as examples of high gender segregation in economically developed countries, compared to lower levels of segregation in less well-developed nations. Finland is one of the four members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with the highest segregation by subject alongside Croatia, Japan, and Lithuania.

Finland has very high levels of education enrollment for both boys and girls, at almost 100% at primary level. Females are ahead of men in tertiary education enrollment, with 46% of men in the relevant age group enrolling in 1991 and 52% of women. By 2009 these numbers stood at 82% and 101% respectively.

Boys and girls were neck and neck with high scores in their 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment maths tests, both averaging around 540. Literacy also produced very high scores but with a gender gap; boys averaged around 510 while girls averaged around 560.

Internet access in Finland is high with men slightly ahead; for men and women alike access stands at around 85%. Finns have a legal right to a 1Mbps broadband connection and authorities plan to have 100Mbps connections for every citizen by 2015. The proportion of women teleworking at least 25% of the time has risen from around 7% in 2000–1 to 9% in 2005; the male figure was at 9% in 2005 and is now 15–20%. Rapid teleworking growth is a global trend but the report notes the female figures generally grew faster.

Marketplace activities also show gender disparity in Finland. Of activities performed by men and women, the female share stands at 41%, versus 63% for domestic activities such as housework. From 2006–9 services accounted for 87% of female and 56% of male employment. 10% of women and 37% of men were employed in industry and agriculture was only a minor employer, with 6% of male employment and 3% of female employment.

Life expectancy for Finnish men has risen from 71 years in 1990 to 77 years in 2009; in the same period, women’s life expectancy increased from 79 years to 83 years. The population stands at 5 million, representing a 0.4% annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010.



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September 27, 2013

Fiji makes progress on gender roles according to 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development

Fiji makes progress on gender roles according to 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development

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  • 27 September 2013: Fiji makes progress on gender roles according to 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiji’s location in the world
Image: TUBS.

On Tuesday the World Bank released the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. For Fiji, the report focused on progress being made in the country as it relates to gender roles and the local impact of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Fijian children
Image: Alex Kehr.

Girls from Fiji believe they can attain a university education. In contrast, boys from rural areas in Fiji generally do not believe they will stay in school past the primary level. The report attributes this to the need for boys to contribute to the family income. This pushes them out of school and into the workforce.

It also says girls have less free time than boys. Girls have specific household chores that limit their free time. Boys, in contrast, have fewer structured household tasks, and the tasks they do have require less time. Boys also have greater ability to leave the house than girls. The report says these differences play a role in defining gender roles. This can lead boys into engaging in bad behavior and increase their exposure to drugs and alcohol. The report says this pattern exists elsewhere in countries like Yemen, Sudan, Bhutan, India, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and Papua New Guinea. The report quotes a Fijian boy as saying, “Boys, they take their bikes and scoot off and roam around in villages here and there”.

Participation in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Fijian girls are beginning to challenge these traditional cultural gender norms. While they acknowledge and admire the hard work their mothers have done in the domestic sphere, they seek better education and opportunities.

While the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1979, Fiji did not ratify it until August 1995. They were the 139th country to do so. At first, Fiji objected for cultural reasons to one part of CEDAW, and said Constitutional sections containing different rules for men and women on their ability to marry foreigners was incompatible with another part.

These objections were eventually dropped and constitutional changes were made between 1997 and 1999. CEDAW helped bring about family law reform in 1995. A civil uprising in 2000 stalled some iniatives, but the 2002 CEDAW review assisted in reviving efforts. In 2009, the minimum age allowed for both men and women to marry was raised to 18 years.

Since the introduction of CEDAW, reforms have been made that allowed for more equal partners, make divorces easier to get, make it harder for women to be excluded from the home, and improve the amount, and enforced the payment, of spousal support and following a divorce. The report notes that a 2010 review of CEDAW said there is still room for improvement in terms of inheritance rights for women.

Fiji has a population of 854,000, with an annual average percentage population growth of 0.6%. 31% of the population is aged 0 to 14. The average life expectancy for men is 67 years and for women is 71 years.



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September 26, 2013

For Jamaica, 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development focuses on men

For Jamaica, 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development focuses on men

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Jamaica
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

On Tuesday the World Bank released the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. For Jamaica the report highlights a number of negative gender issues for the nation’s men.

A group of students and their teacher at Ascot High School in Jamaica
Image: Raw9345.

The report claims that getting an education in Jamaica is viewed as primarily a female activity. This cultural attitude encourages males to leave school early. In 2008, girls outnumbered boys in secondary school by a ratio of 1.04:1. At the same time, boys were more likely to have to repeat a year of school. Only 16% of boys passed five or more Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams compared to 30% of girls. Boys outperformed girls only in vocational subjects and physics. The report cites four key challenges in boys’ development identified by a national programme. They are low self-esteem, limited future employment opportunities, lack of discipline, and masculine identities that eschew education.

A program in Jamaica uses cash incentives to encourage at-risk boys to stay in school; other countries like Pakistan use cash incentives to encourage girls to stay in school. Jamaica’s program has resulted an average increase in boys attending school by 0.5 days a month. At the same time, fathers are urged to become more involved with their childrens’ schooling and changes are being made to the curriculum to make it “more boy-friendly”.

Definitions of masculinity result in less employment opportunities and smaller earnings potential. The report claims Jamaican definitions of masculinity also encourage more risky behavior, and sexual behaviors valuing achievement and competence above intimacy. The report says these factors increase physical and sexual violence towards women.

Male mortality is increasing in Jamaica. The report cites crime and violence as causes.



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March 26, 2013

Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power

Kiribati acquires international funding for solar power

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Environment
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Solar panel installation in the United States
Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Last Tuesday, AusAID Australia and the World Bank’s Global Environment Fund (GEF) reached an agreement to give the government of Kiribati US$5 million (AU$4,779,000, NZ$5,985,000, 3,885,000) to install solar panels around the country capital, located on the Tarawa atoll. According to Business Desk of the Brunei Times, AusAID promised AU$3.2 million in funding, while GEF promised US$1 million. The country was the first in the Pacific to make a deal with the World Bank.

The funding was part of a US$530 million (NZ$635 million) package announced at yesterday’s Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland involving New Zealand and the European Union, Australia, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the World Bank Group, and the United Arab Emirates. Also at the summit yesterday, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully had announced a national commitment of USD$54,262,000 (AU$51,861,000 NZ$65 million, €42,178,000) to Pacific region energy solutions, of which US$8,348,000 (AU$8 million, NZ$10 million, €6,483,000) would be specifically earmarked for renewable energy and improved energy efficiency in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

A small school maneaba (equivalent to a school hall) in Nabeina, North Tarawa, Kiribati
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Kiribati is heavily dependent on diesel fuel for most of the energy available on the national power grid, which supplies power to half Kiribati’s population of 110,000. In addition, a third of the country’s population lacks access to electricity. Once installation of the solar panels is complete, they are estimated to reduce diesel consumption by 230,000 liters (60,760 gallons) a year and give access to the electricity to some parts of the population that currently have no electricity. The European Union already has committed €100 million to sustainable energy in the region, with €10 million of that coming as a result of an announcement made last week.

In a press release about the news, Kiribati President Anote Tong was quoted as saying, “Kiribati faces big challenges it is remote, it is at risk from the effects of climate change, and it is vulnerable to economic shocks. […] Shifting Kiribati’s focus to reliable solar energy will provide a more secure, more sustainable power source for the country’s people.” Radio New Zealand International quoted Tong as saying, “It’s the first time we are doing this. We’re excited at the prospect of even substituting fossil fuel to a small extent at this stage. What the system being envisaged will only produce around 500 kilowatts, but this is the beginning of what I hope will be a pattern, the trend in the future.”

The European Union’s Fiji-based head of operations for the Pacific region, Renato Mele, supported alternative energy solutions like solar power for the region, but said that solar power had limitations because climate and environmental conditions sometimes meant batteries required to power the panels had a life of only 12 months, compared to other climates where batteries normally last five years. This created the potential to drive up standard operating costs. Mele has also noted these additional costs though are still lower than the cost of diesel power.

One News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver noted, “Governments will be able to put the money they (currently) spend on diesel into things like education and health.”



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February 10, 2012

Egypt struggles to recover tourism, investment

Egypt struggles to recover tourism, investment

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Egypt
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The Egyptian pound is currently falling in value.
Image: Mabuhelwa.

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Egypt’s currency rating for the second time in four months based on the country’s shorfall in foreign reserves and shaky political transition. It’s the latest development for a nation facing mounting economic diffuclties.

Egypt’s foreign reserves fell by over 50 percent last year to about US$16 billion. Egypt has requested US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund to bolster its reserves and prevent a devalation but that could take months.

Experts say that Egypt’s problem of attracting foreign investment and tourists, which are two sources that would increase reserves, has already caused the Egyptian pound to lose 1 percent of its value and if the country doesn’t solve the shortfall in foriegn currency, it could even lead to a further currency devaluation within the next two to three months.

The long-term solution is to restore tourism and foreign investments but both are suffering because of the continuing unrest.

Tourism

The Sphynx was said to guard the city of Thebes by killing anyone who couldn’t answer a riddle.
Image: Schreibkraft.

Egyptian tourism suffered this past year as a result of a revolution, a transition to an elected government, and continuing signs of unrest and instability.

The Egyptian Revolution began on January 25 last year and President Hosni Mubarak resigned over two weeks later on February 11. The protests have continued as Egyptians grew uncomfortable with the military’s control over the transition. At the start of this month, 79 people were killed at a soccer event in Port Said.

Tourism in Egypt accounted for US$12.5 billion in 2010 but fell 30 percent, or US$8.8 billion, in 2011, according to Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egypt’s tourism minister. Tourism accounts for 11.6 percent of Egypt’s GDP.

Tourists visit The Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It holds 63 tombs and chambers for Pharaohs and nobles of the New Kingdom era. The valley is on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes.
Image: Markh.

Last week, two U.S. female tourists and their Egyptian guide were abducted in the Sinai peninsula by Bedouin tribesmen and released shortly afterward.

The kidnapping took place in broad daylight on a busy road while the tourists travelled after a visit to St. Catherine’s Monastery. Masked tribesmen stopped their bus, abducted the tourists by gunpoint, and escaped into the mountains. Three other tourists of unknown nationalities were left on the bus. Local authorities organized a search which ended in negotiations with local Bedouin tribesmen. The Bedouin demanded the release of recently apprehended tribesmen, who had been detained for drug trafficking and robbery. The US hostages were released unharmed, Abdel Nour said.

As a location, Egypt boasts ancient pyramids, the Nile River, Biblical sites like Mount Sinai, museums, and Red Sea coastal resorts. Last year the number of tourists plunged from fifteen million people down to nine million, which is a 40 percent drop.

A camel resting between rides at the Pyramids in Egypt.
Image: Crashsystems.

The low amount of tourism to Egypt has also affected tourism in other countries. Stas Misezhnikov, Israeli tourism minister, said that Israeli tourism is down because the flow of tourism from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort is “almost nonexistent right now.”

Investment

Egypt’s current investment climate is also severely hampered by the perception that the climate is not yet right for investment.

Mulyani Indrawati, managing director of the World Bank, said investors were not ready to get back into the markets of the Arab Spring countries until stability is restored but the situation has also been exacerbated by the precarious state of the regional and international economy.

Egypt’s domestic politics is threatening one of the country’s largest stable sources of foreign investment. The United States’ annual military aid to Egypt accounts for US$1.5 billion. U.S. politicians have threatened to withhold that aid package, however, because of an investigation into pro-democracy NGOs that involve 19 American citizens and more U.S. money. Senator John Kerry said the Egyptian investigation is a “dangerous game that risks damaging both Egypt’s democratic prospects and the U.S.-Egyptian bilateral relationship.”

Faiza Abou el-Naga, who is the Egyptian minister who distributes Egypt’s aid money, a former Mubarak loyalist who survived through the transition, and one of Egypt’s most visible female politicians, claims the NGOs are meddling in her country’s sovereignty. Both the Muslim parties who won the election and the generals in power are backing those hearings. Her argument that foreigners are meddling in Egypt also has a populist appeal.

The military government’s slow transition is also stalling foreign investments. Khaled bin Mohamed al-Attiya, foreign minister of Qatar, said a few weeks ago his government is holding back from making US$10 billion in investments because power has not been transferred to an elected government. The other Middle Eastern countries that pledged investments, such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are also waiting.

The Egyptian government announced this week that it was investigating Yasser el-Mallawany, an investment banker with EFG Hermes based in Cairo, for allegedly paying soccer fans to riot at Port Said, a charge which el-Mallawany dismissed and attributed to gossip.

Meanwhile, investors within Egypt are looking for other investment vehicles such as real estate as they fear holding cash in a period of devaluation.

Florence Eid, who is an expert on Middle Eastern economies at U.K. Arabia Monitor, said the situation throughout the Middle East could get worse. “People are frustrated because the reasons that they revolted against to begin with, are still there,” Eid said. “Whoever said this was going to be smooth was naive.”

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“One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak” — Wikinews, January 25, 2012

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May 11, 2011

World Bank gives Kiribati emergency aid

World Bank gives Kiribati emergency aid – Wikinews, the free news source

World Bank gives Kiribati emergency aid

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kiribati is a Pacific nation of numerous low-lying islands
Image: Wikimedia Commons user Tauʻolunga, 2009.

Kiribati, one of the world’s most isolated nations, has received US$2 million in emergency food aid from the World Bank. Lying on the equator, the South Pacific country hosts some of the least developed communities in the world, with few natural resources and relying heavily on imports.

As the global food crisis pushes food prices through the roof, the people of this isolated region are struggling to cope, spending half of their income on food. The World Bank grant will provide emergency aid to 60,000 people, approximately 60 percent of the population.

Little skilled workforce and being so geographically isolated has hindered the country’s exports, with foreign aid and tourism each contributing one fifth of the area’s finances. Kiribati’s government and the World Bank struck the deal at the annual Asian Development Bank meeting in Hanoi, securing emergency food grants and developing programmes in environmental sustainability.

This is the second recent grant to Kiribati from the World Bank following a US$20 million allowance given in March to devise applications to deal with the effects of climate change.



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April 17, 2011

Poverty rises as food prices increase

Poverty rises as food prices increase – Wikinews, the free news source

Poverty rises as food prices increase

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Various grains.
Image: Rainer Zenz.

The World Bank, an organization that provides loans to developing countries, warned Thursday that rising food prices are driving millions of people deeper into poverty.

Robert Zoelick, World Bank president, said that food prices have risen 36% over the last year, pushing 44 million more people into poverty since last June. About 1.2 billion people are extremely poor.

He warned that a further increase of 10% in the cost of food would move an additional 10 million persons into extreme poverty, and there was no sign of a near term reversal in the inflation of food prices, which affects the developing world disproportionately.

“We have to put food first and protect the poor and vulnerable, who spend most of their money on food,” said Zoellick. “The general trend lines are ones where we are in a danger zone… because prices have already gone up and [food] stocks are relatively low,” he said.

Cquote1.svg The general trend lines are ones where we are in a danger zone. Cquote2.svg

—Robert Zoelick, World Bank president

The cost of the basic foods, such as wheat, maize and soy are all surging. Only rice has shown a slight decrease in price.

The steep rise in the cost of food is being driven by a combination of factors, including bad weather in food exporting areas such as Russia, Ukraine, North America and China, rising energy costs that increase the cost of producing and transporting food, and the incentives for farmers in many countries to produce crops for biofuels instead of for food.

“The linkage between food and fuel is much tighter than it was ten years ago,” said Zoellick.

Additionally, the change in diet of the growing middle class in developing countries means they consume more meat and pork products which take increased grain to produce and drives up the price of feed stocks.

Cquote1.svg The linkage between food and fuel is much tighter than it was ten years ago. Cquote2.svg

—Robert Zoelick, World Bank president

National food investment and export policies of some wealthier countries are affecting poorer nations. For example, China is acquiring large amounts of land in Africa to grow food for the needs of the Chinese; Saudi Arabia has given up wheat production to invest overseas for food, and a drought in Russia has led it to implement an export ban on wheat.

Zoellick spoke in Washington at the opening of the meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He hopes to discuss food policies with officials of the G-20 countries to develop a “code of conduct” on export bans and to encourage these countries to do more to increase food production and aid developing countries in managing agricultural problems.

On Saturday, the World Bank and the IMF issued “Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs” which said the world was still on track toward reaching a key goal of reducing the number of the world’s people living in extreme poverty and hunger by half, to 883 million, by the target date of 2015. Most of the world’s progress is due to fast growth in India and China, while African countries are behind.



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January 28, 2010

International conference agrees on plan for Yemen\’s terror problem

International conference agrees on plan for Yemen’s terror problem

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

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An international conference in London on Tuesday came up with a plan to fight al-Qaeda’s presence in Yemen. Delegates present at the conference were from twenty countries, including Yemen, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

David Miliband, chair of the conference.
Image: Munich Security Conference.

The conference was called by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown due to the failed Christmas Day plot to blow up a US plane, for which al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility. However, the attendees stress that the al-Qaeda presence is not Yemen’s only problem, and that it cannot be solved without first dealing with the others.

Cquote1.svg we—the international community—can and must do more. Cquote2.svg

—Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said that bringing peace to Yemen and making it more stable is a major priority for the United States. She said that the United States had signed a three-year agreement on security development in Yemen. “To help the people of Yemen, we—the international community—can and must do more. And so must the Yemeni government,” she said.

Clinton said that she does not believe that military action would be enough to solve Yemen’s problems, and that corruption must be combated as well as building up democratic institutions and promoting human rights. She asked that the government of Yemen begin its proposed ten-point program for the development of these areas and to reduce the influence of extremist organisations.

Yemen is the poorest nation in the Arab world, and its economy was also on the meeting’s agenda. The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband chaired the talks, and said that the Yemeni government had pledged to begin an attempt to combat this by entering into discussions with the International Monetary Fund, representatives of which were present at the conference, in order to put together a plan for its economy.

Cquote1.svg In tackling terrorism it is vital to tackle its root causes. In Yemen’s case these are manifold—economic, social and political Cquote2.svg

—David Miliband

Miliband also announced that a “Friends of Yemen” organisation was to be launched, to discuss the economy, government, and judicial process of Yemen. Also present were delegates from the United Nations, European Union, and World Bank. Miliband acknowledged that the solution was not simply a military one by saying at a press conference, “It’s been a common feature of every contribution that we have heard today that the assault on Yemen’s problems cannot begin and end with its security challenges and its counter-terrorism strategy. In tackling terrorism it is vital to tackle its root causes. In Yemen’s case these are manifold—economic, social and political”.

Ali Mujawar, the Prime Minister of Yemen, received this support warmly, but said that any attack on the nation’s sovereignty would be considered “unacceptable”, and that it should not be portrayed as a failing nation, despite a multitude of problems, including its damaged economy, rapidly growing population, and shrinking oil reserves, as well as the beginning of a drought and its problems with insurgents, such as al-Qaeda terrorists. British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis echoed Mujawar’s statements by saying that Yemen is “not a failed state”, but “an incredibly fragile state”. Lewis also said that “[s]upporting the government of Yemen is crucial to the stability of that country but it is also crucial to the stability of the world”.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, asked the delegates at the conference for “international support to build infrastructure, combat poverty and create jobs, as well as support in combating terrorism”. However, he said that the idea of having US military bases in Yemen was “inconceivable”.

Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa is unsure how useful the meeting will be. He expressed these concerns by telling the BBC, “I don’t know how a conference like that can decide something useful, something reasonable for Yemen… in a couple of hours”, and saying that it was a “strange” and “very unusual sign” that the Arab League had not been given the chance to send delegates to the conference, despite wanting to discuss all of Yemen’s problems without specific focus on al-Qaeda. Despite these concerns, donors from a number of Western and Gulf nations have agreed to meed again, this time in the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh, in February.



Related news

  • “Gordon Brown: Extra troops for Afghanistan, Yemen security the focus for int’l conference” — Wikinews, January 25, 2010

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January 23, 2010

World Bank President to make eight-day African tour

World Bank President to make eight-day African tour

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Official photograph of Zoellick, taken in 2008

Robert B. Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, is to begin an eight-day, three-nation tour of Africa starting next Tuesday. He will take part in the African Union summit scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The World Bank boss would first travel to Sierra Leone, then Cote d’Ivoire, and finally heading to Ethiopia for the AU summit. According to a statement from the World Bank, Zoellick is to meet with leaders, donors, investors, and representatives of the civil society, to discuss the ongoing food crisis on the continent and possibilities for economic growth.

“I am visiting Africa to learn about how its people have coped with the global economic crisis and to see how the World Bank Group can work with them to improve prospects for economic growth and expanded opportunity. Much of Africa has a solid record of economic growth, including in some of Africa’s fragile states, and it has the potential to be another pole of growth for the world economy,” Zoellick said, as quoted by the institution’s statement.



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