Saturday News

Africa’s Economies Suffer From Weak Manufacturing Sector
In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that growth in sub-Saharan Africa had weakened after more than a decade of solid performances, but noted that economic strength varied across countries.

The IMF said sub-Saharan African countries will collectively grow by 3.75% this year; a dramatic downward revision of two percentage points from its predictions a year ago, and 0.75 percentage points from its most recent predictions in April 2015.

Part of the cause for the decline is the fall in commodities prices, which has hit Nigeria and South Africa – two of the largest economies – harder than others, while the other is the premature deindustrialization of African economies.

“Manufacturing has become less labour intensive across the board,” Margaret McMillan of Tufts University told The Economist.

That means that it is hard, and getting harder, for African firms to create jobs in the same numbers that Asian ones did from the 1970s onwards. African nations also totally embraced free trade, rather than a limited approach of restricted protectionism, which would have protected certain industries.

In fact, the UN Economic Commission on Africa (ECA) has begun promoting what it calls “smart protectionism” as a means to boost the industrial sector and suggests that trade policy in Africa should be highly selective.

Saudi Arabian Executions Could Spark Sectarian Conflict
The Middle East was braced for sectarian violence Saturday after Saudi Arabia said it had executed 47 prisoners whom it were involved in terrorism, including a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, who had organized anti-government protests in 2011.

Iran has responded saying that Saudi Arabia will pay “a high price” for al-Nimr’s execution and Iranian seminary students also led protests outside of the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

“Saudi Arabia’s macabre spike in executions this year, coupled with the secretive and arbitrary nature of court decisions and executions in the kingdom, leave us no option but to take these latest warning signs very seriously,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, before the executions were carried out.

Iran And Cuba Share Sad Similarities
One of the largest exile communities in the United States is in Miami (Cuban), while the other is in Los Angeles (Iranian). This is no mistake that people have been fleeing the capitals of Havana and Tehran seeking a better life in the United States, says Robin Wright in The New Yorker.

Both governments have shared decades of poor relations with the US and both promised its citizens improved economies and future prosperity. And both have failed.

“Arguably, both revolutions have achieved their greatest successes in educating the populace—to the point where a telling number of their citizens want to leave. Literacy in both countries now exceeds eighty-five per cent, and leaps above ninety per cent among the young—higher than in many countries in the Caribbean or the Middle East. The majority of the university population in both countries is female. But both genders are underpaid and underappreciated for their knowledge and skills. Neither Havana nor Tehran has been able to stem the brain drain,” she writes.

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