China calls on governments to exploit UN-approved right to development

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on Friday adopted a resolution on the right to development with overwhelming victory, emphasizing an urgent need to make the right to development a reality for everyone.

The resolution, jointly proposed by China and the Non-Aligned Movement, stresses that the responsibility for managing worldwide economic and social issues and threats to international peace and security must be shared by the nations and should be exercised multilaterally.

The resolution welcomes the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its means of implementation, and emphasizes that the right to development provides a vital enabling environment for the full realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It further recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is one of the critical elements in the promotion and realization of the right to development and is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

Chen Xu, head of the Chinese Mission to UN at Geneva, said before the adoption of the resolution that development is an important prerequisite for the realization and enjoyment of all human rights.

Lack of development is the biggest obstacle to a full enjoyment of human rights by people in many countries, especially developing countries, Chen said, adding that nations worldwide should promote common development to lay a solid foundation for the promotion and protection of human rights.

China calls for all countries to tack concrete actions to implement the right to development and achieve a life of dignity for all under the guidance of the UN Declaration on the Right to development and the five principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, Chen added.

How tourism buoys Saudi Arabia’s development plan

Having announced the launch of an e-tourist visa and the expenditure of billions of dollars in new tourism projects and infrastructure, Saudi Arabia says it is opening up the kingdom to international tourists for a developmental purposes.

The announcement came during a huge ceremony organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) which was held in the capital Riyadh at the Unesco-listed Ad-Diriyahon on Friday night.

The ceremony coincided with World Tourism Day and was attended by a large number of international tourism players and investors including the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization Zurab Pololikashvili and President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council.

“The Kingdom at this historical moment opens its doors to the world. Of course, we are a people welcoming the visitor and honoring the guest, so emanating from this point, tourists will see that hospitality, hospitality, generosity, beauty of nature and civilization depth as important elements in our country,” Chairman of the Board of Directors of SCTH, Ahmad Al-Khateeb told the global tourism heavyweights on Friday night.

“Tonight, we don’t only open our doors to visitors, but we also welcome investors, business women and men, in the sector, where the great opportunities available to invest in the areas of tourism, and we are thus fulfilling the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince.”

“The sites registered on the list of World Heritage, represent some of the Kingdom’s rich cultural heritage and scenic tourist sites, pointing out that there are more than 10,000 historical sites that are also promising investment opportunities,” he said.

He confirmed too that visitors from all countries of the world can obtain a tourist visa. In the first phase, citizens from 49 countries will be able to get an electronic visa through the Saudi tourism website or upon arrival in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) told attendees at Friday night’s ceremony that agreements with regional and international investors worth 115 billion Saudi rial ($31 billion) had been signed.

“In Saudi Arabia, the market fundamentals are in place for a vibrant tourism industry and we believe that the private sector will play a crucial role in unlocking this potential,” Ibrahim Al-Omar, Governor of SAGIA told the congregation.

According to the National Tourism Strategy, the Saudi government is expecting 100 million visits per year by 2030, compared to about 41 million at present.

By 2030, the government is anticipating it will be one of the top five countries receiving foreign tourists from all over the world, with revenues of up to 10% instead of the current 3% of gross national income, while the number of jobs in the sector of tourism is expected to reach 1.6 million jobs compared to just 600,000 jobs right now.

The importance of establishing long-term development goals

A big problem faced by contemporary Africa is how to establish long-term economic stability  and  development  strategies.

African  countries  should  engage  the domestic populations in determined efforts to solve African issues through self-reliance and hard work, rather than relying on foreign assistance to get the problems solved quickly.

At present, lots of African countries are still very backward, so, we should not expect to solve all problems in the short-term. Toward this end, the international community should encourage African governments and people to have the faith and determination to work hard and persevere toward the achievement of long-term objectives.

For example, the important impetus for China’s development has been its ability to adopt a long-term strategy and to pursue it with a spirit of hardworking persistence. Therefore, in its aid to Africa, China has paid attention to supporting the construction of African infrastructure, as well as maintaining the political stability and sovereignty of African countries.

National ideas and national identity are the foundation supporting the survival, development and stability of a state.

Having a strong national identity means that the people living in a territory have a basic sense of belonging to their country and have recognition and respect for their country’s history, heritage, culture and national interests from the bottom of their hearts, and they take a sense of responsibility for the rise and fall of the state.

However, the long-term political unrest and ethnic separation experienced in Africa has often resulted in the lack of a powerful national identity and common core value system. This has made it difficult to construct a sense of national interest to maintain and mobilize the people. Given the weak sense  of the national  identity, competitive political groups and adversarial ethnic parties have not been able to jointly formulate and persistently pursue national long-term strategies and development objectives. This is a structural and conceptual barrier that must be overcome by African countries.

Poor corporate governance and economic development in Africa

One  of  the challenges  faced  by contemporary  African  countries  in  governance  and development is the trend toward the weakening or even the dissolution of national sovereignty. Some countries’ administrative abilities are insufficient, and their state systems and governmental functions are  gradually sliding toward   degeneration and collapse.

First, what is the most important task or core issue for contemporary African countries’ political development? What kind of government systems are feasible, effective and can be stably maintained? Second, for the young countries in Africa, what is the best way to set up and choose standards for political systems and state regimes? Third, should these post- independence African countries set up the endogenous  localized political systems and structures to form centralised and powerful governments that contribute to promoting economic  development,  social  stability  and  improved  living  standards, or  transplant the parliamentary systems and  election systems that seem  to have so-called  moral legitimacy under the background of western cultures and according to western political ideology? Fourth, should we establish a powerful government that can centralize national resources, in order to make joint efforts to achieve the state’s long-term development goals, or establish a weak government that only pursues its own immediate interests or partial interests, and thus leads to continuous mutually exclusive cut-throat competition?

All these issues have not been well understood much less resolved. While behind this confused theory and idea, the African political reality has increasingly presented long- term turbulence and confusion.

How best to reconcile ethnic cleavages and the discreteness of tribal societies and promote the construction of unified modern sovereign states through ethnic integration, is the biggest political challenge faced by most of the African countries that won independence in the mid of 20th century. It is also the fundamental premise for realising state stability, economic growth and social security. However, in some countries, from the beginning, this process has been affected by various factors, and has thus resulted in slow progress. Nowadays, some African countries are even gradually falling into anarchy, with the dissolution of state system and the collapse of governmental functions. Today, the factors that make negative impacts on the unified construction process of African countries and dissolve the basis of the state have become very complex and varied. Generally speaking, the following have become the most obvious challenges..

The first challenge is the economic globalisation and political liberalisation process that is dominated by western developed countries. For the poor countries in Africa, this process has been dissolving the sovereignty of African countries and eroding the political authority of African countries to take action. In general, African countries have passively got involved into the globalisation tide, in an environment where the domestic integration process is far from complete and the construction of a unified state with a clear national identity is far from resolved. As weak countries, African nations often face pressures of the loss of the sovereignty and being divided into several parts.

The second challenge is that, under situations in  which ethnic  integration  and  the construction of the state were far from complete, some African countries were forced to transplant or mechanically copy western competitive multi-party systems and electoral politics, which often caused continuous ethnic, religious and cultural conflict. Again, this eroded the African countries’ unity, sovereignty and ability to rule from the interior.

The third challenge is the rapid emergence of large numbers of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and the adversarial political appeals put forward by these organisations over the past two decades. These NGOs often are supported and controlled by foreign powers. However, to a certain extent, they have contributed to the dissolution of African countries’ internal tolerance, coherence, state authority and ability to take action from the interior.

In fact, nowadays, without sovereignty and government management, no country could gain the social stability, national security and economic growth that are necessary for social development. In some African countries and regions, the government’s capacity is severely deficient, The basic political regime has existed in name only, and the functional networks, and management systems with coherent and clear divisions of responsibility and functional connections between the top and bottom political levels are nonexistent. Under a situation of “having tribe societies  without a central government,”  thousands of civilians  suffer from  feelings of helplessness  and  get into difficult situations. The dissolution of state unity and the loss of governmental management capacity has resulted in huge disasters. Although African countries presently have enormous human capital and a large and growing young population, the population bonus is far from being fully utilized, because there is no organised and coherent system to mobilize this large population into the large force needed for the countries’ construction.

Switzerland is world’s most innovative country

The World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, has named Switzerland as the world’s most innovative country.

The announcement came on Wednesday, during the launch of the latest Global Innovation Index, (GII) in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Following Switzerland in the rankings are Sweden, the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. India has risen most in the rankings since 2018, jumping five places to become the fifty-second most innovative country.

The annual Index, which has been published for the last 12 years by WIPO, and a number of partners, is designed to help policy makers better understand innovation activity, which WIPO describes as a “main driver of economic and social development”.

Overall, this year’s Index finds that, despite the global economic slowdown, innovation is “blossoming”, particularly in Asia, but trade disruptions and protectionism are putting this at risk. It also notes that planning for innovation is critical for success:

“The Index shows us that countries that prioritize innovation in their policies have seen significant increases in their rankings,” said WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry.

“The rise in the GII by economic powerhouses like China and India has transformed the geography of innovation, and this reflects deliberate policy action to promote innovation”.

Focus on future medical innovation

Key findings of the Index include concerns that public expenditure on research and development – a major element in basic and ‘blue-sky” research, which are crucial for future innovations – is stagnating, particularly in high-income countries. The report also notes that, unless it is contained, increased economic protectionism will lead to a slowdown of growth in innovation productivity.

This year, the authors of the report say they have focused on the future of medical innovation, with a separate healthcare section, which looks at the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile-phone based health applications, will transform the delivery of healthcare.

The Global Innovation Index is a leading benchmarking tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insight into the state of innovation around the world. Innovation is rated in the report by using 80 indicators, from the level of Research and Development investment, for example, to mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports.

Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs), Agriculture and Economic Growth

 

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SMEs, AGRICULTURE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Before the oil boom, agriculture was a major National Income (NI) earner through cash crops such as rubber, palm produce, cocoa and groundnuts. According to Adeyemi & Abiodun (2014), the agricultural sector thrives on SMEs. The two sectors offer over 90% of total jobs in Nigeria, contribute immensely to GDP growth, and present policymakers with the most-feasible economic diversification option, especially since early 1970s, when FG recognized SMEs as a tool for industrialization and rural development. Okon and Edet (2016) noted that the SME sector does not only impel economic growth but promotes productivity and self-reliance through entrepreneurship.

The golden era of SMEs in Nigeria started in early 1980s, when FG established the Nigerian Bank of Commerce (NBCI) and Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) to develop small and medium-scale industries. This innovative strategy transformed the SME sector with unprecedented improvements in foreign exchange, technological development, and production of raw materials for exports and local manufacturers. Banks offered financial credits to entrepreneurs on a 7-year repayment plan, with meagre interests collected as loan-servicing amounts. NBCI and NIDB provided businesses with working capital while SME promoters spent equities from capital investment on real estate (Acha., 2009). Resultantly, exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and Naira stood at $1:65 kobo. In addition, capacity utilization and the Import Substitution strategy also increased GDP growth by nearly 74% (Arriyo., 1999).

The collapse of SMEs in Nigeria was attributed to currency devaluation as a result of austerity measures recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1986. A decline in foreign exchange, production of raw materials, and purchasing power of the Naira were some of the negative impacts. Bankruptcy and undercapitalization of SMEs followed, leading to inactivity in the real sector, unemployment, low capacity utilization and excessive dependence on importation. Eventually, the Nigerian economy became a dumping ground for other countries (Ayyagari et al., 2003).

According to Korsgaard et al (2016), policymakers have a responsibility to formulate and implement innovative strategies that are capable of maximizing factors in the socio-economic and political environments. To successfully transform the SME sector for economic growth and sustainable development, each country must adapt to specific and unique policies.

Science, a Human Right

 

Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the significant role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

World Day

Image shows Electric cars lined up at the official start of the Zero Emissions Race outside the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Switzerland

By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

The Day offers the opportunity to mobilize all actors around the topic of science for peace and development – from government officials to the media to school pupils. UNESCO strongly encourages all to join in celebrating World Science Day for Peace and Development by organizing your own event or activity on the day.

The objectives of World Science Day for Peace and Development are to:

  • Strengthen public awareness on the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies;
  • Promote national and international solidarity for shared science between countries;
  • Renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies;
  • Draw attention to the challenges faced by science and raising support for the scientific endeavor.

2018 Theme: “Science, a Human Right”

By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

The theme for 2018 is “Science, a Human Right”, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 27), and of the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers. Recalling that everyone has a right to participate in and benefit from science, it will serve to spark a global discussion on ways to improve access to science and to the benefits of science for sustainable development.

China confirms plan to establish a nuclear tech university

China Nuclear Tech University

The Chinese government has laid down plans to establish its first nuclear technology university.

 

According to a report from Paper.cn, the university will focus on conducting intensive research on nuclear technology with the aim of providing solutions that meet growing demands of the nuclear industry.

The news outlet confirmed on Wednesday that China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), a reputable company and one of the country’s largest investor in nuclear technology, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tianjin municipal government. The purpose of their agreement is to jointly invest in establishing a nuclear technology university in Tianjin.

Speaking to newsmen on the partnership business, He Zixing (Vice President of CNCC) said, ‘The higher institution will concentrate on launching a vocational education system and upgrading school equipment.’

An increasing shortage of nuclear scientists in China, as well as the country’s recent achievement in the nuclear power industry, are the inspiration behind this business venture between the government and CNCC.

When completed and functional, the academic institution will become China’s first ever university devoted to research and development in nuclear technologies.

CNNC says it has plans to fund a new high-end industrial development base in Tianjin as its developmental contribution to the city’s industrial restructuring project.

Leadership perspectives from the World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim

As I travel around the world, I am continually reminded of how much smaller the world seems to be getting. Thanks to technology—especially the Internet, mobile phones, and social media—nearly everyone can see how everyone else lives.

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For many, living standards in the most developed countries, once unknown to the world’s poor, are now as familiar as their own communities.

This awareness has changed how people think about their lives, and it is raising expectations about what is possible. Aspirations, once rooted in local experiences, are converging around the world. And as people’s aspirations rise, so too will demands for education, jobs, and services like health care and transportation—opportunities for a better life for themselves and for their families. As the world is virtually shrinking, the divide between people is widening. Our role and our ambition at the World Bank Group is to bridge that divide. We need to use all of our energy, knowledge, creativity, and financing capacity to help countries meet the expectations of all their citizens.

This means accelerating progress on our two goals—ending extreme poverty by 2030, and boosting prosperity among the poorest 40 percent in low- and middle-income countries. To accomplish these goals, we are supporting investments in countries that will lay the foundations for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We are investing in people, in the youth in particular, so that individuals—and countries—can fulfill their potential and look toward a brighter future. And we are strengthening resilience to the global shocks that affect all of us—pandemics, climate change, refugees, and famine.

Yet while the world seems to be getting smaller, our challenges are multiplying. We must constantly evolve and adapt to meet them. At the World Bank Group, we are fundamentally rethinking our approach to development finance. We have billions of dollars to work with, but the world needs trillions in annual funding for development. We must now leverage our scarce resources even more to crowd in vastly more private capital, combine it with our expertise, and invest it in developing countries.

To spur that level of financing, we need to create markets and bring more private sector rigor and innovation to our client countries, especially the poorest and most fragile ones. We have to start by asking routinely whether private capital, rather than government funding or donor aid, can finance a project. If the conditions are not right for private investment, we need to work with our partners to de-risk projects, sectors, and entire countries. Through dialogue and knowledge transfers, we can help governments reform laws and regulations, and improve economic practices. We can instill new, more efficient ways to finance development. This won’t be easy, but it’s the only way we can help countries at the scale that these times require.

This year, the World Bank Group committed more than $61 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to its members and private businesses. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) saw continued client demand for its services and made commitments totaling $22.6 billion. And the International Development Association (IDA), our fund for the poorest, provided $19.5 billion to support the countries most in need to face their toughest challenges.

We committed to drastically scaling up IDA’s development interventions through innovative financing. For example, we are leveraging IDA’s equity by blending donor contributions with internal resources and funds raised through debt markets. As a result of these efforts and the continued strong support of our partners, we achieved a record $75 billion replenishment for IDA18. As we head into fiscal 2018, we’re using new tools, such as the $2.5 billion Private Sector Window, to mobilize private capital for the poorest countries.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), our two institutions focused on private sector development, are leading our efforts to create markets and crowd in private sector investment in developing countries.

IFC delivered a significant amount of financing for private sector development— about $19.3 billion, including nearly $7.5 billion mobilized from investment partners. Nearly $4.6 billion of this went to IDA countries, and more than $900 million went to fragile and conflict-affected areas.

MIGA issued $4.8 billion using political risk insurance and credit enhancement guarantees to draw in private investors and lenders to developing countries. Forty-five percent of projects supported in fiscal 2017 were in IDA-eligible countries, and 21 percent were in countries affected by conflict and fragility.

Across the World Bank Group, we’re working to ensure that we have the knowledge, resources, and tools to be effective and agile in the face of rapid change. We’re ready to scale up and strengthen our engagement to help countries overcome their development challenges, create equality of opportunity, and give everyone the chance to meet their aspirations.

Tibet’s Public Transportation Landmarks.

In the year 2015, Tibet celebrated its 50th anniversary of peaceful liberation from the People’s Republic of China.

Fifty years of Connecting Tibet: Eight Traffic Landmarks

Located on the world’s highest plateau, Tibet used to be known for its underdeveloped transportation system. but things are no longer the same.

Continue reading “Tibet’s Public Transportation Landmarks.”

A Peek At China’s Tallest Skyscraper.

The Shanghai Tower is China’s tallest skyscraper located in Lujiazui, the financial and trade zone in Shanghai. The building is expected to be open for business in the coming days.

Continue reading “A Peek At China’s Tallest Skyscraper.”

China’s Development in Technology.

The Chinese government believes the country is ‘developing’, it may be true but the world never sees it as so – especially the U.S. Well, can a country that stands arguably edge-to-edge with America be called a developing country?

Historical records in science, technology, politics, economy and even military capabilities speak for itself.

Pictured below is a multi-level overpass project which is expected to be completed this year. The project includes a 5 level cloverleaf with 15 ramps that will contribute greatly in reducing traffic congestion.  Continue reading “China’s Development in Technology.”

The African Union (AU): A Dwarf on a Giant’s Shoulders

Africa as a continent has not progressed as one would have expected of a continent so blessed with numerous talents and abundant natural resources. This does not imply in any sense that other continents (North America, South America, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, and Europe) are a million years ahead. Development is a relative term. Each continent has a different history which has either enhanced or deterred it’s growth.

Image: Geographical map of Africa.

A lot has been said of Africa being the home of human civilization starting about 7 million years ago, having provided humanity with the first use of fire, tools, fishing, astronomy, and agriculture to list but a few.

The world’s earliest civilization, referring to recorded history, arose from Egypt. The African continent and black race in general has produced renowned scientists, professors, technicians, musicians and more who contributed in various ways to make the world a better place.

Nevertheless, the purpose of this writing is on the AU’s (African Union) general development of Africa rather than the individual contributions of its regional organizations.

Continue reading “The African Union (AU): A Dwarf on a Giant’s Shoulders”