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A New Approach to Stalled State Transformations in Iraq and Yemen

A New Approach to Stalled State Transformations in Iraq and Yemen

Chatham House in this research paper titled Between Order and Chaos: A New Approach to Stalled State Transformations in Iraq and Yemen, Dr Renad Mansour, Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House (@renadmansour) and Peter Salisbury, Senior Consulting Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme (@peterjsalisbury) say that International policymakers have failed to stabilize states such as Iraq and Yemen, partially because of the assumed binary distinction between state failure and success. This paper advocates for a ‘middle–out’ approach that aims to strengthen the connectivity between the bureaucracy and de facto authorities.

The Summary of this paper dated 9 September 2019 is reproduced for all intents and purposes below and the paper can be read online or as a Download PDF (opens in new window)

  • In the Middle East and North Africa, a growing number of internationally recognized (de jure) states with formal borders and governments lack de facto statehood. Often, governance vacuums are filled by alternative actors that perform state-like functions in place of, or alongside, weakened official institutions. This results in hybrid orders where the distinction between formal and informal actors in the state is blurred, as too are the lines between the formal, informal and illicit economies.
  • International policymakers have struggled to establish political settlements in these contexts. Would-be state-builders have mistakenly assumed a binary distinction between state failure and success. They have sought to recreate an idealized archetype of the ‘orderly’ state, critically failing to recognize the more complex networks of de facto actors on the ground. At times, international policymakers pick or support leaders who lack local legitimacy, capability and power. This stalls and fragments ongoing organic state transformations, and produces hybrid orders as de facto actors adapt by both capturing state institutions and creating parallel ones.
  • We propose a new model for understanding the fragmentary transformations of the state underway in Iraq and Yemen. It involves the concept of a multi-layered state, consisting of the executive, the formal bureaucracy, the de facto authorities and society at large. The gap in legitimacy, capability and power between the middle two layers in this model – the formal bureaucracy and the de facto authorities – is a critical source of instability and an impediment to reform. Bridging that gap is thus the key to effective peacebuilding and/or state-building.
  •  This paper argues that all states lie along a chaos–order spectrum. No state is entirely chaotic or orderly. Even those that display many features of chaos – as in Iraq and Yemen – contain pockets of order that are all too often overlooked. The larger the gap between the formal bureaucracy and the de facto authorities, the more a state slides towards the chaos end of the spectrum. Effective state-building must find a way of institutionalizing improvised governance arrangements.
  •  To achieve this, we advocate a ‘middle–out’ approach that aims to strengthen the connective tissues between the bureaucracy and de facto authorities. Simplified, this more inclusive approach entails reframing international involvement as playing the role of a ‘referee’ to monitor the transformations of the state while enforcing accountability, as opposed to the practice of picking ‘winners’ and integrating unfavoured actors into unpopular political settlements.
Cross-border water planning key, report warns

Cross-border water planning key, report warns

In AFRICATECH of August 22, 2019; More deals, less conflict? Wondered Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation whilst Cross-border water planning key, report warns.

LONDON, Aug 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Efforts to share rivers, lakes, and aquifers that cross national boundaries are falling short, raising a growing risk of conflict as global water supplies run low, researchers warned on Thursday.

Fewer than one in three of the world’s transboundary rivers and lake basins and just nine of the 350 aquifers that straddle more than one country have cross-border management systems in place, according to a new index by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

With more than half the world’s population likely to live in water-scarce areas by 2050 and 40 percent dependent on transboundary water, that is a growing threat, said Matus Samel, a public policy consultant with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Most transboundary basins are peaceful, but the trend is that we are seeing more and more tensions and conflict arising,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

When work began on the index, which looks at five key river basins around the world from the Mekong to the Amazon, researchers thought they would see hints of future problems rather than current ones, Samel said.

Instead, they found water scarcity was becoming a “very urgent” issue, he said. “It surprised me personally the urgency of some of the situation some of these basins are facing.”

Population growth, climate change, economic and agricultural expansion and deforestation are all placing greater pressures on the world’s limited supplies of water, scientists say.

As competition grows, some regions have put in place relatively effective bodies to try to share water fairly, the Economist Intelligence Unit report said.

Despite worsening drought, the Senegal River basin, shared by West African nations including Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania, has held together a regional water-governance body that has attracted investment and support, Samel said.

Efforts to jointly govern the Sava River basin, which crosses many of the once warring nations of the former Yugoslavia in southeast Europe, have also been largely successful, he said.

But replicating that is likely to be “a huge challenge” in conflict-hit basins, such as along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq and Syria, Samel said.

Still, even in tough political situations, “there are ways … countries and local governments and others can work together to make sure conflicts do not emerge and do not escalate,” he said.

“The benefits of cooperation go way beyond direct access to drinking water,” he said. “It’s about creating trust and channels for communication that might not otherwise exist.”


The report suggests national leaders make water security a priority now, link water policy to other national policies, from agriculture to trade, and put in place water-sharing institutions early.

“There are no easy solutions or universal solutions,” Samel warned. “But there are lessons regions and basins can learn and share.”

The index has yet to examine many hotspots, from the Nile River and Lake Chad in Africa to the Indus river system in India and Pakistan, but Samel said it would be expanded in coming years.

Working toward better shared water management is particularly crucial as climate change brings more drought, floods, and other water extremes, said Alan Nicol, who is based in Ethiopia for the International Water Management Institute.

“Knowing how a system works effectively helps you know what to do in the face of a massive drought or flood event – and we should expect more extreme weather,” he said.

While efforts to coordinate water policy with other national and regional policies and priorities are crucial, the key missing element in shoring up water security is political will, he said.

“We’ve been talking about this kind of integrated water management for 30 years,” he said. “The problem is practicing it. And that’s essentially a political problem.”

Reporting by Laurie Goering @lauriegoering; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking, and property rights. Visit

The cries Algeria’s youth for a profound change must be heard

The cries Algeria’s youth for a profound change must be heard

The cries Algeria's youth for a profound change must be heard
Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul, Economist, Expert international. © DR at AP.P

In this long plea where he begins by paying homage to the Algerian youth, Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul analyses the handicaps, both political and economic, which overwhelm Algeria despite its immense potential. Then projecting himself into the perspective, he evokes the scenarios of the future and pleads with a lot of arguments and a great conviction, for “an indispensable global reform” (…) by flattening the differences through dialogue and consultation.  He notably insists that The cries Algeria’s youth for a profound change must be heard.

So, here is this contribution from Prof. Abderrahmane Mebtoul, Economist, International Expert as posted on AFRICAPRESSE. PARIS on March 5, 2019, in French.

The strong mobilization of 22 February and 1st March implies a good analysis of the aspirations of civil society. Certainly not the rentier living in the salons, but the one that we saw on the street, the youth who does not want to be recovered.

The lesson given to the leader of the Workers’ Party, which was booed, should serve as lessons. At a time when the world is experiencing political, social and economic upheavals, where Algeria is being challenged by some 70% of its population claiming genuine democratic reforms – a condition of harmonious and sustainable development in the face of the relentless globalization – we must pay a great homage to our youth who have not experienced the drama of the years 1990-1999, and yet want a change.

Let us salute its political maturity and peaceful marches without violence, where political parties in all tendencies have played no role in mobilizing. Let us also salute our security forces who have managed in a modern way these events which must be meditated profoundly by the parties of power and their satellites – weakly representative, not to say non-representative – as well as by any of the opposition, which was off-track.

A partisan system disconnected from the society

According to some sources, the number of political parties is approaching sixty, often with unnatural alliances, whereas in democratic countries these alliances are made by ideological affinity and a clear programme.

Also, except for ten of them, the others show a formal and ostentatious presence in the elections… Furnishing the emptiness, powerless almost always to act on the course of things and to articulate clearly the concerns and aspirations of the real society.

Because of the internal crises that periodically shake them, the discredit that strikes the majority of them, the defiance of them and the partisan activism, the current political formations today have a low capacity to carry out a work of mobilization and efficient management, to contribute significantly to the political socialising, and thus to make an effective contribution to the work of national recovery.

As proof, the last parliamentary elections, both 2012 and 2017: considering the null and official data of the Ministry of the Interior, the 3/4 of the Algerian population are not represented by the elected officials.

The discredit which strikes political groups, both from the power and from the opposition, must give way to credible, non-artificially created formations, subject therefore to the possibility of an objective assessment of the status and role which must be theirs in a society that aspires to join the ranks of democratic societies. These formations will have to be more capable of mobilizing society than in the years to come, reforms – long deferred to guarantee a fictitious, transient social peace – will be very painful.

An atomized civil society with an informal dominant

Civil society in Algeria is shattered. Contrary to the accepted and illusory ideas of past years, in a context of social disintegration and “satellite TV” youth, most official religious brotherhoods have less and less impact.

On the other hand, the confusion that currently prevails in the national association movement makes it difficult to devise a strategy to take into account and mobilize it. Its diversity, the politico-ideological currents that pass through it and its complex relationship to society and the State add to this confusion and make imperative an urgent reflection for its restructuring, its current state reflecting the major fractures have occurred in the national political system. Thus, it will soon be divided into four fundamentally different civil societies: three at the level of the real sphere and one dominant in the informal sphere.

The most important segment of this civil society, the privileged and often unique interlocutor of the public authorities, is constituted by appendages of power, located on the periphery of the parties in power and whose officials are sometimes deputies, senators, living in large part of the transfer of the rentier annuity. In fact, those who pride themselves on mobilizing millions of voters live in air-conditioned lounges, disconnected from society.

The second segment is that of a civil society frankly rooted in the Islamist movement, with there also appendages of legal Islamic parties.

The third segment is that of a civil society claiming the democratic movement. Poorly structured, despite the relatively large number of associations that comprise it, and undermined by contradictions in relation, among others, with the question of leadership. For these first three civil societies, their impact on the turnout in the last local and legislative elections, despite their accession, was relatively low.

We finally have an informal, unorganized, totally atomized civil society. It is by far the most active and important, as well as we saw on February 22nd and the 1st March 2019, with precise codifications forming a dense mesh.

Without the intelligent integration of this informal sphere – not by authoritarian bureaucratic measures, but by the involvement of society itself – it will not be necessary to rely on a real dynamism of civil society. Because when a state wants to impose its own rules disconnected from social practices, the society has its own rules that allow it to function with its own organizations.

Three scenarios for Algeria from 2019 to 2025

The dynamism of the partisan system and of civil society in order to make it an effective instrument of the framing of forces and a powerful lever of their mobilization is likely to succeed only if the movement that composes it, is not in the service of ambitions personal unmentionable and sometimes dubious.

We can foresee the different scenarios possible depending on the state of the power relations at the internal level, considering the evolution of the strategy of the actors at the external level.

The first scenario: failure of the reform process.

The conditions of failure are real and combined in the legal and economic environment in case of lack of visibility and coherence in the economic and social approach. Risk accentuated by the annuitants at the internal level and certain segments of external actors maintaining informal relations and who are not interested in deepening the reforms (loss of contracts in case of transparent tender notices).

On the other hand, the ambiguity of legal texts allows for the legal blockade of reforms, while the multiplicity of speakers allows for the confusion of prerogatives. Other parameters contributing to the risk of failure: the fragility of internal private investment capacity, stabilization plans that have made forced savings to the detriment of the average layers that have impoverished; the mistrust generated by internal and external investors through continual changes in legislation, while the stability must be rigorous; populist speeches on account settlements on the sensitive subject of taxation, and finally the high pressure of a fraction of the internal and external actors linked to the interests of the annuity, that to preserve protectionist postures because the liberalisation Destroyed a fraction of the annuity.

The second scenario is the status quo.

It would lead to the regression for both social and physical, the world being in perpetual motion. This hypothesis will prepare the conditions of failure by imputing the current social conditions (poverty and unemployment) to reforms, which, except macroeconomic stabilization, are timid in Algeria (microeconomic and institutional reforms, Issues of future years), or to technical bodies while petrol is the absence of political will (neutralization of power relations).

This status quo will participate in a programmed failure and would be suicidal for the future of the economy and Algerian society. This is maintained by the confusion of some concepts assimilating false reforms to the sale of national heritage.

Thus, according to the proponents of this analysis, the reforms would be dictated by the major global oil companies, the IMF and the World Bank. A posture reminding us of the Times of the Inquisition against those who advocated the market economy and the establishment of democracy.

The third scenario is the success of solidarity-specific political and economic reforms as contained in the legal, economic and political environment of Algeria, thanks to a youth increasingly aware of the country’s future issues.

The rupture of the previous system, in view of historical experiences, only occurred through violent but short-lived revolutions. Successful experiences have shown that the gradualist pathway inserting the Conservatives into a reformist dynamic has involved a profound redevelopment of the structures of power and new people acquired in the reforms with cultural demystification, the devastating rumours in the opinion are only the translation of the weakness of the communication system, especially in Algeria where the oral route is predominant.

There is, therefore, therefore, an urgent need for close cooperation between the supporters of the reforms, the political parties, the associations and, in general, all civil society, the administration, public and private enterprises, the collectives of Workers, trade unions, flattening differences through dialogue and consultation.

The goal will be to make the strategic objective emerge through a symbiosis of individual interests and collective interest, showing that the medium-term winners of the reforms will be more numerous than the short-term losers.

The support of external actors for their interests in order to avoid the negative effects of the Destabilisation, but above all the mobilisation of the favorable internal actors because no country can make the reforms in our place, the fate of Algeria is in the hands of Algerian and Algerian.

Algeria, an indispensable actor for Euro-Mediterranean and African stability, can lead to a process of inseparable reforms of a profound democratisation of its society. In the business world, feelings do not exist, only reforms will allow economic growth and the reduction of the nagging problems of unemployment and poverty. Any obstacle to these reforms only decreases the rate of growth, increases the country’s insecurity and, Over there, contributes to social and political destabilization. Time being money, any delay in the process of reforms could result in more important social costs that could be supported by the most disadvantaged.

A strategic vision to surpass a multifaceted crisis

It is time to have foresight in the medium and long term, in order to correct the mistakes of the past, like navigating on sight by ignoring the aspirations of society.

The strategic question is: shall we go towards a real salutary change by reorganizing society, due to the global geostrategic upheavals announced between 2019-2025-2030 or, thanks to the passive distribution of the annuity, shall we simply replaster, postponing the inevitable social tensions?

These are important enough reasons to seriously consider reorganizing the partisan system and civil society so that they can fulfil the function that is them in any democratic political system that reconciles modernity with our authenticity, far from administrative injunctions.

The redesign of the state, including administration, integration of the informal sphere, reforms of financial, fiscal, customs and socio-educational systems, new mechanisms of regulation and social cohesion, optimisation of the effect of public expenditure and the new management of infrastructures based on the rationalization of budget choices… and pose the problem of the future of the Algerian economy so as to reconnect it with growth and, consequently, to alleviate unemployment.

As I have often recalled, in this month of February 2019 – and this is not today – Algeria is going through a crisis of governance, which implies having a strategic vision of the future of Algeria on the 2030 horizon.

Algeria needs for its national and international credibility, geostrategic tensions at the level of the region and the inevitable budgetary tensions between 2019-2020-2025 to bring all its children into their diversity and not to divide us, requiring a minimum of economic and social consensus that could not mean unanimism, a sign of decadence of any society in order to stabilise the social body.

The reforms – beyond the natural resistance of the pensioners – by rehabilitating good governance (the fight against corruption, in concrete terms and not only by legislation) and human capital, are the basis for development. The cries of youth in these months of February and March 2019 for a profound change must be heard so that Algeria can meet the challenges of the 21st century characterized, in this constantly interdependent world, by major geostrategic upheavals in the security, economic, political, social and cultural fields.

Faced with the inevitable budgetary tensions and the geostrategic stakes of 2019-2025-2030, the success of the reforms must be based on four axes: gathering, rebasing of the state, democratisation and economic reforms accommodating economic efficiency and profound social justice.

‘Gilets Jaunes’ of France from Brussels to Basra

‘Gilets Jaunes’ of France from Brussels to Basra

From Brussels to Basra, gilets jaunes have brought visibility to people and their grievances per Jon Henley, The Guardian’s European affairs correspondent published on December 21, 2018, is the story of a movement that is increasingly apparent throughout the world and in particular in the MENA region .

How hi-vis yellow vest became symbol of protest beyond France

A “yellow vest” protest against corruption and unemployment in Basra, Iraq. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

It started on 10 October, with a Facebook appeal launched by two fed-up truck drivers from the Seine-et-Marne department, east of Paris, calling for a “national blockade” of France’s road network in protest against rising fuel prices.

Within days the campaign had gathered 200,000 backers and spawned hundreds of local spinoffs across the country; two weeks later, a video urging motorists to display their hi-vis yellow vests behind their windscreens in solidarity garnered 4m views.

The gilets jaunes, named after the vest drivers are required to carry in their vehicles, were born, and since 17 November, the movement’s first nationwide day of action, its sustained, sometimes violent protests have rocked France.

But not only France. Mostly leaderless, unstructured and organised on social media, “yellow vest” demonstrations have multiplied internationally, from Belgium to Bulgaria, Serbia to Sweden and Israel to Iraq.

The popular anti-establishment insurrection by France’s squeezed middle, living mostly in rural or deindustrialised areas and small or medium-sized towns far from the globalised cities where the wealth of the 21st century is increasingly concentrated, has found a global echo.

As in France, where it has overwhelming public support, these diverse national movements have brought together people with disparate demands and political views but one overriding and common complaint: they cannot make ends meet.

“If the hike in the price of fuel triggered the yellow vest movement, it was not the root cause,” said the geographer Christophe Guilluy. “The anger runs deeper, the result of an economic and cultural relegation that began in the 80s … Western elites have gradually forgotten a people they no longer see.”

A gilets jaunes protests in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Pictorium/Barcroft Images

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Cheap, readily available, easily identifiable and above all representing an obligation imposed by the state, the the yellow hi-vis vest itself has proved an inspired choice of symbol and has plainly played a big part in the movement’s rapid spread.

“The point, remember, of the yellow vest is to ensure its wearer is visible on the road,” Guilluy said. “And whatever the outcome of this conflict, the gilets jaunes have won in terms of what really counts: the war of cultural representation. Working-class and lower middle-class people are visible again.”

The revolt spread first to French-speaking Belgium, where 400 people have been arrested over the past few weeks as police used teargas and water cannon to disperse crowds pelting them with flares, cobblestones and billiard balls, and setting cars and trucks alight in Brussels, Charleroi, and elsewhere.

Dismissive, like their counterparts in France, of all their country’s established parties, Belgium’s gilets jaunes, who have demanded the resignation of the prime minister, Charles Michel,aim to launch a Mouvement citoyen belge (Belgian citizens’ movement)to compete innext year’s European and Belgian federal elections.

There have been largely peaceful yellow vest protests in half a dozen Dutch cities including Rotterdam, where marcher Ieneke Lambermont said her children had to “pay taxes everywhere, and can’t get housing anymore”. Things were “not going well in Dutch society”, she said. “The social welfare net we grew up with is gone.”

A protest in Rotterdam. Photograph: Robin Utrecht/REX/Shutterstock

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In Italy an anti-austerity, anti-EU protest group inspired by the gilets jaunes has garnered thousands of supporters online and plans a large rally in January, while in Spain Facebook groups of chalecos amarillos plan to begin demonstrating in Madrid in the new year because “it’s worse here than in France”.

Protesters wearing yellow vests have also been seen in Sweden, Greece and the UK, where a group of pro-Brexit campaigners blocked Westminster Bridge and on Wednesday at least two accosted the pro-European Tory MP Anna Soubry outside parliament. In Germany, both the far right and the far left organised yellow-vest protests – separately – in Berlin and Munich.

Canada spawns its own yellow vest protests – with extra rightwing populism

Read more

More than 100 protesters turned up for an anti-government yellow-vest demonstration in Dublin. In Poland yellow-vested farmers blocked the main A2 motorway 20 miles from Warsaw, complaining over a range of grievances.

Protesters wearing yellow vests in Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest member, have blocked major roads including the border crossings with Turkey and Greece, demanding not just cheaper fuel and higher living standards but the departure of a government they likened to “the mafia”.

A civil rights organisation and far-right politicians have adopted yellow vests – for different reasons – in Serbia, while beyond Europe gilets jaunes protests have also occurred in Canada (over the UN migration pact), Israel and Jordan (over corruption and the high cost of living).

In Tunisia, a Facebook group of gilets rouges is complaining about the country’s ailing economy; in Basra, Iraq, gilets jaunes have been protesting against high unemployment, corruption and the terrible general state of the city; and authorities in Egypt are so worried about the movement spreading they have banned sales of yellow vests.

As 2018 draws to a close….

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Challenges ahead for the Fourth Estate

Challenges ahead for the Fourth Estate

Here are the wise words of the guru-to-be named Idriss Jazairy, Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for the Advancement of Human Rights and Global Dialogue.  These words are more likely to be of some use in the MENA region where there are presently numerous “Challenges ahead for the fourth estate.”

Media and press freedom at a crossroad

26 November2018,

Media has the power to transform societies through enhancing enlightenment and active citizenry. Observers occasionally refer tothe media as the fourth estate owing to its influential role to furtherenhancing the plurality of opinions and ideas. A free press is indispensablefor facilitating good governance and transparency. It strengthens theaccountability of governments as citizens can critically assess the activitiesof incumbents through information provided by the media. It is indispensablefor facilitating good governance and transparent societies.

Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights defends freedom of expression and the right to information. It enables press freedom to become a reality: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been quoted as saying that “the ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.” However, significant challenges lie ahead limiting freedom of the press. Firstly, journalists have had at times to pay a high toll for the expression of truth as they see it. Thus according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more than 1,300 journalists have been killed since 1992. Among these victims, approximately 65% were murdered, 22% perished owing to crossfire and combat, whereas 12% lost their lives owing to dangerous assignments. Many of those deaths remain unresolved and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice as “complete impunity” prevails in more than 80% of the cases.

The 2017 World Press Freedom report issued by Reporters Without Borders likewise suggests that violent extremism has put significant constraints on the ability of the press to operate freely and carry out their duties. The conflicts in Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Syria, the report underlines, have enabled insurgents to create black holes for reporting.

Journalists have the right to work free from the threat of violence and free from the threat of fear in their capacity as transmitters of information to the public. Their lives should not be put at stake for merely putting Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration into practice.

Secondly, the accountability of media needs to be strengthened so that it represents the public’s interests. After the so-called “War on Terror”, hate speech and online bigotry have rapidly been on the rise targeting specifically religious minorities. This has been followed by a misconceived conflation between terrorism, Islam and the Arab identity, which has given rise to marginalization, bigotry and discrimination.

In the context where social media contributes to the dissemination of fake news without accountability, traditional media have an important role to play to promote awareness of false and inaccurate information. They may enlighten world public opinion by offering alternative narratives on contentious issues contributing to plurality of views and offering a voice to the voiceless.

At the 25 June 2018 World Conference on “Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” held at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) under the Patronage of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, it was suggested by the panellists to better harness the power of media by promoting positive stories about religion and culture.

It was also proposed that we, as global citizens, should never fear the stranger as differences enrich our societies. Media can play a more influential role in addressing prevailing misconceptions and misunderstandings that exist between people. The use of contemporary phobic language triggering social exclusion and religious intolerance is a threat to democracy and to diversity. Incitements to hatred, violence and bigotry should be condemned as it exacerbates religious divisions within communities. It also gives rise to a populistic tidal wave that is taking root in several countries.

Media has a “moral and social responsibility” in “combating discrimination and in promoting intercultural understanding (…)” as stipulated in Principle 9 of the Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equality. By reversing the trend of offering simplistic and misconceived generalizations not grounded in reality, media can become a catalyst for social inclusion by promoting a culture of peace, harmony and tolerance. This would be in line with the objectives laid out in the 2002 “Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” and in UN HRC Resolution 16/18 entitled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief” that condemns “any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audio-visual or electronic media or any other mean.”

Societies that demonstrate respect for press freedom and the safety and freedom of journalists will make a valuable contribution to the fulfilment of the provisions set forth in SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Idriss Jazairy

Idriss Jazairy, Author profile

The intra-African Migration 2016 Streams

The intra-African Migration 2016 Streams

While international media focus on all those migrants’ influx to Europe, the phenomenon is a growing one but in between the African regions and countries as from a recent study of the International Organization for Migration relating to an investigation on year 2015. The intra-African migration 2016 streams is here looked at further to Algeria facing Sub Saharan Migration with Difficulty, knowing that demographers consider that migration will be a significant variable of any adjustment up to 2050, due to which 2 or 3 billion additional people are expected whilst the effects of climate change would probably be felt by now with some areas no longer able to feed any additional population.

Human migration is the movement of the place of life of individuals. It is probably as old as humanity itself, growing 2 percent a year. It measures a stock and includes voluntary as well as forced migration. Internal migrations within countries are also increasing, but it is then referred to population displacement.

Statistics show a recent decrease in the very large migrations that tend to be of the chosen immigration favourable to the brain and skills drain out of poor countries, at the expense of the latter. The characteristics of the current migratory phenomenon are about the diversification of countries of origin and destination, as well as the forms taken by the migration phenomenon itself.

Estimates of capital repatriation to the country of origin from the host country show that these are at least equal if not higher than the amount of financial aid given by the so-called ‘wealthy’ countries to the poorest ones.

Immigration today means the entry into a country or a particular geographical area, of foreign people for either a long stay or to settle.

The word immigration comes from the Latin in-migrare that means ‘falling into place.”  In addition to this phenomenon are there are those of dual citizenship and nomadism. The notion of immigrant is based on the statement of the place of birth and nationality. The immigrant is the one who left his place of birth or domiciliation for another place or another State, in order to settle there permanently.

According to international experts immigration can have several causes:

  • Economic: job search, greater prosperity, better working conditions. This is the main cause of current emigration;
  • Political: the escape of an oppressive regime.
  • Religious: hope of a more tolerant land.
  • Climate: taste for a different meteorological environment (typically warmer and sunnier);
  • Tax: will to enter a more favourable legal and financial environment. This is particular to the highest strata of society and in favour of tax havens.


For Africa, the international organization in its 2016 study highlights the following intra-African regional streams:

  1. West Africa… 5,927,519 people
  2. East Africa… 4,583,385 people
  3. Southern Africa… 2,761,732 people
  4. Central Africa… 2,039,776 people
  5. Maghreb… 319,954 people

Top countries of departure

  1. Burkina Faso .           .           425,661 of which. .           .         1,294,323 in Ivory Coast
  2. DR of Congo .           .           192,697 of which  .           .          303,580 in Uganda
  3. Sudan .           .           .          190,255 of which  .           .          552,391 in South Sudan
  4. Mali .           .           .              902,272 of which  .      .          .    356,019 in Ivory Coast

Top host countries

  1. Ivory Coast .           .        2,093,354 of which  .           .           1,294,323 from Burkina Faso
  2. South Africa .           .       1,230,732 including   .           .           475,403 from Zimbabwe
  3. Nigeria .           .              1,076,442 including            .           .    351,985 from Benin
  4. Ethiopia .           .            1,063,000 including            .           .     375,202 from South Sudan

For the Maghreb region, the study cites 319.954 people.

Algerian experts advise these data ought to be taken with all due precaution, and;

  • 40% of migrants, say experts of migratory movements, came into Algeria to work;
  • 40% are in a kind of ‘transit’ to the European continent; these are the most educated and they aim to settle in Spain, in Italy or in France and
  • 20% of these migrants present in Algeria would return home, but cannot do so.

In the face of the magnitude of the phenomenon, the Government recently revealed the preparation of a national file to record all African migrants, and the development of legislation on asylum seekers and refugees.

The Minister of the Interior stated, that in addition to the various possibilities of employment in either construction sites or among others, Algeria would as always be considering itself in need of as varied a workforce in as varied areas of activities as can be had.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs on the other hand stated that the official position of the country as to be keen in welcoming all stressing that Algeria has always been in solidarity with Africa but that there is reason to pay attention to its national security, and that broad international agreement is needed to share the migratory stocks, but through a long-term resolution of the true development of Africa.  This should be based on a win/win partnership for each and every party far from any spirit of domination.


The 3 core Responsibilities of every Government of any Nation

The 3 core Responsibilities of every Government of any Nation

The best way to go about discussing the topic covered by the proposed article written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and Chief Executive Officer, New America and published on Monday 13 February 2017 by the WEF is to recall the failure and eventual collapse of the former Soviet Union and what caused its abrupt end not so far ago. Is it lack of these 3 core responsibilities of every government of any nation discussed here, from the agenda of the successive governments?

Or was it as many see it, like in those MENA’s region so-called republics due to that sprinkle of socialistic orientations in their political strategy of the 60s and 70s ? Any thoughts ?

Or is the whole thing a soft reminder directed towards the new tenant of the White House of his basic duties?

3 responsibilities every government has towards its citizens

The oldest and simplest justification for government is as protector: protecting citizens from violence.

Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan describes a world of unrelenting insecurity without a government to provide the safety of law and order, protecting citizens from each other and from foreign foes. The horrors of little or no government to provide that function are on global display in the world’s many fragile states and essentially ungoverned regions. And indeed, when the chaos of war and disorder mounts too high, citizens will choose even despotic and fanatic governments, such as the Taliban and ISIS, over the depredations of warring bands.

The idea of government as protector requires taxes to fund, train and equip an army and a police force; to build courts and jails; and to elect or appoint the officials to pass and implement the laws citizens must not break. Regarding foreign threats, government as protector requires the ability to meet and treat with other governments as well as to fight them. This minimalist view of government is clearly on display in the early days of the American Republic, comprised of the President, Congress, Supreme Court and departments of Treasury, War, State and Justice.

Protect and provide

The concept of government as provider comes next: government as provider of goods and services that individuals cannot provide individually for themselves. Government in this conception is the solution to collective action problems, the medium through which citizens create public goods that benefit everyone, but that are also subject to free-rider problems without some collective compulsion.

The basic economic infrastructure of human connectivity falls into this category: the means of physical travel, such as roads, bridges and ports of all kinds, and increasingly the means of virtual travel, such as broadband. All of this infrastructure can be, and typically initially is, provided by private entrepreneurs who see an opportunity to build a road, say, and charge users a toll, but the capital necessary is so great and the public benefit so obvious that ultimately the government takes over.

A more expansive concept of government as provider is the social welfare state: government can cushion the inability of citizens to provide for themselves, particularly in the vulnerable conditions of youth, old age, sickness, disability and unemployment due to economic forces beyond their control. As the welfare state has evolved, its critics have come to see it more as a protector from the harsh results of capitalism, or perhaps as a means of protecting the wealthy from the political rage of the dispossessed. At its best, however, it is providing an infrastructure of care to enable citizens to flourish socially and economically in the same way that an infrastructure of competition does. It provides a social security that enables citizens to create their own economic security.

The future of government builds on these foundations of protecting and providing. Government will continue to protect citizens from violence and from the worst vicissitudes of life. Government will continue to provide public goods, at a level necessary to ensure a globally competitive economy and a well-functioning society. But wherever possible, government should invest in citizen capabilities to enable them to provide for themselves in rapidly and continually changing circumstances.

Not surprisingly, this vision of government as investor comes from a deeply entrepreneurial culture. Technology reporter Gregory Ferenstein has polled leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and concluded that they “want the government to be an investor in citizens, rather than as a protector from capitalism. They want the government to heavily fund education, encourage more active citizenship, pursue binding international trade alliances and open borders to all immigrants.” In the words of Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt: “The combination of innovation, empowerment and creativity will be our solution.”

This celebration of human capacity is a welcome antidote to widespread pessimism about the capacity of government to meet current national and global economic, security, demographic and environmental challenges. Put into practice, however, government as investor will mean more than simply funding schools and opening borders. If government is to assume that in the main citizens can solve themselves more efficiently and effectively than government can provide for them, it will have to invest not only in the cultivation of citizen capabilities, but also in the provision of the resources and infrastructure to allow citizens to succeed at scale.

Invest in talent

The most important priority of government as investor is indeed education, but education cradle-to-grave. The first five years are particularly essential, as the brain development in those years determines how well children will be able to learn and process what they learn for the rest of their lives. The government will thus have to invest in an entire infrastructure of child development from pregnancy through the beginning of formal schooling, including child nutrition and health, parenting classes, home visits and developmentally appropriate early education programmes. The teenage years are another period of brain development where special programmes, coaching and family support are likely to be needed. Investment in education will fall on barren ground if brains are not capable of receiving and absorbing it. Moreover, meaningful opportunities for continuing education must be available to citizens over the course of their lives, as jobs change rapidly and the acquisition of knowledge accelerates.

Even well-educated citizens, however, cannot live up to their full potential as creative thinkers and makers unless they have resources to work with. Futurists and business consultants John Hagel III, John Seeley Brown and Lang Davison argue in The Power of Pull that successful enterprises no longer design a product according to abstract specifications and push it out to customers, but rather provide a platform where individuals can find what they need and connect to whom they need to be successful. If government really wishes to invest in citizen talent, it will have to provide the same kind of “product” – platforms where citizens can shop intelligently and efficiently for everything from health insurance to educational opportunities to business licenses and potential business partners. Those platforms cannot simply be massive data dumps; they must be curated, designed and continually updated for a successful customer/citizens experience.

Finally, government as investor will have to find a way to be anti-scale. The normal venture capitalist approach to investment is to expect nine ventures to fail and one to take off and scale up. For government, however, more small initiatives that engage more citizens productively and happily are better than a few large ones. Multiple family restaurants in multiple towns are better than a few large national chains. Woven all together, citizen-enterprise in every conceivable area can create a web of national economic enterprise and at least a good part of a social safety net. But government is likely to have to do the weaving.

A government that believes in the talent and potential of its citizens and devote a large portion of its tax revenues to investing in its citizens to help them reach that potential is an attractive vision. It avoids the slowness and bureaucracy of direct government provision of services, although efficient government units can certainly compete. It recognizes that citizens are quicker and more creative at responding to change and coming up with new solutions.

But government investment will have to recognize and address the changing needs of citizens over their entire lifetimes, provide platforms to help them get the resources and make the connections they need, and see a whole set of public goods created by the sum of their deliberately many parts.

Further reading recommended by the WEF.


Latest on corruption in the MENA region and in the world  

Latest on corruption in the MENA region and in the world  

Corruption in the MENA region ?

Corruption is perceived differently in the MENA region countries but is, as it were used differently across these countries. For instance, as per the latest on corruption in the MENA region and in the world report by Berlin-based Transparency International, the Golf monarchies seem to be least affected by this scourge if compared to the so-called republics. All countries are ranked according to their levels of public sector corruption on the basis of around a dozen world institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, etc.

The highest scorers of the MENA in 2016 are as expected member states of the GCC countries with Qatar and the UAE as top notch.

The report found that low ranking countries usually have some sort of cause to effect relationship between corruption and inequality.  It said these factors lead to unequal power and wealth distribution as contrary to general belief is most found in the republics part of the MENA.

Conversely, it highlighted that countries with higher rankings tend to have “higher degrees of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials and independent judicial systems.”

The report urged leaders to improve their standing by protecting freedom of expression and that governments should “stop persecuting anti-corruption activists, whistle-blowers, and civil society organizations.”

Corruption as defined by Transparency International – the abuse of entrusted power for private gain – is wrong. It destroys the basic rights of hundreds of millions of people across the world, it has devastating consequences on the services provided by public institutions and it undermines the prospect for a better life for future generations.

Middle East and North Africa: A very drastic decline

Despite the political changes that shook the Arab region six years ago, the hope for Arab countries to fight corruption and end impunity has not seen any progress yet. On the contrary, the majority of Arab countries have failed to fulfill the will of the people to build democratic systems allowing for greater transparency and accountability.

The failure to fight corruption explains the sharp drop of most of Arab countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016. 90 percent of these have scored below 50, which is a failing grade. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have managed to remain above the average, in spite of their declined scores.

Five out of the ten most corrupt countries in the world are from the region: Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Syria. These countries are also inflicted with political instability, war, internal conflicts and terrorism, stressing the fact that war and conflict fuel corruption and in particular political corruption.

The good

Tunisia is one of the very few countries that slightly improved on the index. The country took some serious anti-corruption steps last year such as passing the Access to Information law, one of the most progressive laws in the region, and adopting a national anti-corruption strategy. In addition, the Anti-Corruption Agency has been empowered to do its job, and there is a good space for civil society to play a role in accountability. The parliament also adopted a Financial Court law, which allows the court to investigate Grand Corruption cases.

Yet Tunisia has still a long road ahead in its fight against corruption. Laws on whistleblower protection, conflict of interests and illicit enrichment policies remain missing. The Tunisian judicial system should also move forward in pending corruption cases, especially those that are ongoing since the revolution six years ago.

The bad

Gulf States have dropped on the index, as ruling families continue to hold power politically and economically, public freedoms are oppressed, and an active independent civil society is absent. The military involvement of these states in regional coalitions has raised the levels of secrecy and ambiguity of public expenditure and state budgets.

Qatar had the sharpest decline in the overall index this year by 10 points. The country has been implicated with FIFA corruption scandals, especially around the votes to host the 2022 World Cup, in addition to human rights violations of migrant workers.

Jordan also dropped below 50 compared with last year, despite the adoption of a new electoral law and integrity law, thus failing to reflect the true efforts of change. Many corruption cases were investigated, but no prosecution has taken place yet. Many reports have shown that investment is also hindered in the country as government fails to address petty forms of corruption such as bribery and nepotism.

Corruption levels in Egypt are still high in the absence of a real political will to fight it. In 2016, the government violated the independence of auditing institutions when the President Al Sisi sacked and sentenced the head of Egypt’s top auditing body, Hisham Geneina, for publicly exposing how much corruption has cost Egypt in the past four years.

What are the challenges and solutions?

In order for Arab countries to improve, they must ensure effective transparent systems that allow for accountability are in place. They must put an end to political corruption in all its forms. Governments should protect freedom of expression and stop persecuting anti-corruption activists, whistleblowers, and civil society organisations. The independence of the judiciary, as well as auditing bodies, must be respected to ensure that the corrupt are prosecuted and stolen assets are returned. All of this cannot be achieved without real and serious political will from governments to follow up on their commitments.

Read more on The Most and Least Corrupted Countries in the World, our previously posted article on the same subject but in 2015.


Stabilisation of the MENA with Governance

Stabilisation of the MENA with Governance

Stabilisation of the MENA with Governance or lack of it becoming more and more of a world problem that does not seem to diminish overtime but on the contrary, increase the world leadership worries to the point where nowadays, solutions are gradually pointing to the real source of all the current troubles, e.g. governance.  Everyone however knew sometime back that the trends in demographics, economics, internal security and justice systems and social change would invariably lead towards how much governance, could affect the whole region together with each and every nation.  Today’s situation would illustrate the critical role of governance, social change, and justice systems in dealing with each nation’s specific problems.  Here is a Brookings article on the subject of governance that sadly seem to be the common denominator of all the countries of the MENA.  


Want to stabilize the Middle East? Start with governance

Tamara Cofman Wittes , Senior Fellow – Foreign PolicyCenter for Middle East Policy


Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Yesterday, I released a new report on the future of governance in Arab states.

This may seem like an inapt, or even irrelevant, moment to argue for the imperative of improving governance in the Middle East. After all, the region is facing unprecedented turmoil: civil wars that have displaced millions of people and killed more than half a million; vicious extremist movements that massacre civilians, conduct terrorist attacks, and oppress those under its rule; and, of course, the United States and its allies are now invested in a new war in Iraq and Syria fighting ISIS.

I just came back from the Halifax International Security Forum and the only discussion of the Middle East there was framed around terrorism, ISIS, civil war, and refugees. Those are the urgent problems that are seen by many governments around the world as a threat to international security, and that are driving global attention to the region.

But ISIS and civil wars are symptoms of a broader deterioration in the region—they are not the disease. Beginning in 2011, the Middle East endured the breakdown both of states, and of a state system that had lasted for about the prior half-century. That old Middle Eastern state system had advantaged American interests and those of U.S. regional partners, and the United States defended it resolutely. That order is now gone, and the region is in turmoil. The breakdown of that old order is what led to the civil wars in Yemen, Libya, and Syria, and what enabled the rise of ISIS.

We need to understand why and how the Middle East broke down in order to effectively deal with the urgent security challenges that this breakdown generated, and how to return stability to the region. Otherwise, as my colleague General John Allen has noted, the war on terrorism will never be won—instead, we will be fighting ISIS 2.0 and ISIS 3.0 on and on into the future.

In the new report, I argue that the regional breakdown transpired primarily because of failures of governance. The paper analyzes the “how” and “why” of those failures in order to illuminate the future of stable governance in this disordered region, and to suggest policies that the United States and others might pursue to achieve what this paper calls “real security.”


1) The regional order did not break down primarily because of external invasions, or top-down decisions, but because of forces within states and societies, pressures that built up over many years. I told part of the story of this breakdown in my 2008 book, “Freedom’s Unsteady March“: the story of how the bureaucratic authoritarian model in the Arab world began to weaken—how the clientelism, the ideology, and the coercion on which these states relied to survive became less and less effective in a globalized world.

The Arab states of the last half-century rested on a particular social contract: a patronage system in which citizens gave their consent to the regime, and in exchange the regime provided all kinds of economic and social goods to people.

The Arab states of the last half-century rested on a particular social contract: a patronage system in which citizens gave their consent to the regime, and in exchange the regime provided all kinds of economic and social goods to people: not just security but healthcare, education, social services, and jobs. In Egypt, for many years, the government promised all university graduates a civil service job, which was essentially a lifetime sinecure. An Egyptian friend of mine, who spent many decades working for a state-owned newspaper, described to me that on Fridays he used to come to work with a plastic bag because the newspaper used to give each of the workers in his office a chicken to take home for dinner. That was the corporatist state, the old social contract in action.

Over time, these inefficient patronage systems became especially challenged by the emergence of three major forces: a massive demographic bulge of young people on the cusp of adulthood; the penetration of a globalized economy; and a radically new information environment generated first by satellite television and then by the internet and mobile technology.

As a result of these three forces, states became not just inefficient, but increasingly ineffective, at providing the goods that citizens expected. And so by the early 2000s, those Egyptian university graduates had to wait to get their promised government job for an average of eight years. Young Egyptians spent eight years driving taxis or pushing food carts while waiting for that job to come at last. And when you are young, in a traditional society, and you have no permanent job, you can’t afford to get your own apartment, you can’t get married—in other words, you can’t become a fully adult person—you remain stuck.

2) Previous efforts to reform the social contract often made things worse, not better. It’s crucial to realize that no one, in the run-up to the Arab uprisings of 2011, was unaware of these problems. In the 1990s and 2000s, many in government, the private sector, and civil society, both in the region and in the West, were talking about the need for “reform.” The Europeans had the Barcelona Process, the United States had the Freedom Agenda.

But when Arab governments attempted to adjust the social contract in their nations in order to accommodate the impact of globalization and the rise of youth, they did not develop a more inclusive social contract that could establish a solid and lasting ruling coalition. Instead, they negotiated adjustments with political and economic elites. They made reform commitments to the World Bank and the IMF. They sold off state assets to those with access and wealth. They reduced government hiring without freeing up the private sector for real growth. They brought new business cronies into ruling parties instead of opening up politics to wider participation. The resulting adjustments further empowered select groups while further excluding others, exacerbated inequality, increased state capture by elites, and thus generated more and more widely held grievances against these regimes.

Consequently, discontent and protest increased, and the forces of globalization and technology meant that governments were less able to use patronage and ideology to keep people in line. Left with few effective tools, Arab governments saw increased expressions of dissent and fell back on coercion to suppress them. And this breakdown in the social contract between ruler and ruled, this cycle of dissent and repression, is what produced the Arab uprisings of 2011.

3) Finally, to understand the challenges that the Middle East faces today, we have to understand the consequences of how certain states broke down. When the protests came, many governments responded poorly, in ways that exacerbated societal divisions, and further weakened and in some cases collapsed state institutions. Some governments responded particularly badly, in ways that generated violence, enabled the growth of terrorist movements, and has morphed in at least three countries into outright civil war.


Read more on the Brookings original document

Role of the Intellectual and Journalist in Algeria

Role of the Intellectual and Journalist in Algeria

Faced with the geo-strategic tensions of the social and economic transition; what role for the intellectual and journalist in Algeria?

Because the world of digital audio-visual and communication is in an unprecedented upheaval, in a highly mediatised world, I would not separate the different role of the Intellectual and Journalist in Algeria.  I would then consider that the Role of the Intellectual and Journalist in Algeria or for that matter any organisation leader including government officials, etc. is to avoid both gloom, free denigration as source of collective neurosis and complacency, but to make their analyses and assessment according to their own vision of the world.  Productive debate, serene dialogue and symbiosis State/Citizen, are it seems to me, the sine-qua-non condition to establish both an objective assessment in order to correct errors instead of trying to haphazardly foresee the future prospects of the country.

In the era of the Internet, the world looks like a house in glass and it is a matter of avoiding any counterproductive misinformation.  Algeria needs above all a clear look, not rentier related courtiers, harmful to the future of the country.

The word intellectual comes from the Latin word intellectus, from intellegere, in the sense of establishing logical links, connections between things. The function of the intellectual is not strictly speaking recent because at the time of ancient Greece, charismatic leaders, who were the intellectual, found themselves at the front of social movements, like Gorgias or Protagoras who marked their era by passionate approaches of the mind.  In French literature, the birth of the word is attributed to Saint Simon in the early 19th century. The term was taken over by Clemenceau during the Dreyfus case: “intellectuals from all backgrounds to come together on an idea.”

Thus, the word “intellectual” is often used to designate someone who engages in the public sphere to defend certain values.  In Horizons and Debates, of June 26th, 2004 issue, the role of the intellectual in society, Joseph M. Kyalangilwa, defined as “intellectual” anyone, man or woman, who puts his intelligence at the service of the community.  According to historians Pascal Ory and Jean-François Sirinelli, an intellectual is “a man of cultural, a creator or a mediator, put in situation of man of politics, producer or consumer of ideology”.  Raymond Aron in the Opium of the intellectuals (1955), queries the question as to the role of the scientist in the City, the intellectual as a “creator of ideas” and who must be “an engaged spectator”.

For Pierre Bourdieu, in ‘Contre-Feux 2, Raisons d’agir, Paris 2001’, the intellectual may only be collective.  For Edward Said (Des intellectuels et du Pouvoir, Seuil, Paris 1996), the intellectual is not a peacemaker or a builder of consensus, but someone who is committed and who may risk his whole being as based on a constantly critical sense, someone who refuses whatever may be the price, easy formulas, ready-made ideas, complacent statements, confirmations and actions of people in power and other conventional minds.  For Albert Camus (speech of Sweden, Gallimard, 1958) for whom the writer “cannot put himself at the service of those who make history but he is rather at the service of those who suffer.”  But, he added, it should not be “expected of him ready-made solutions and beautiful morals.  The truth is mysterious, elusive, always to be conquered.  Freedom is dangerous, as hard to live as it is exhilarating.  “For Michel Foucault, (Dits et écrits II, 1976-1988, Gallimard, Paris   2001),”for a long time, the intellectual said to be of “the Left” has spoken and has been granted the right to speak as a master of truth and justice. We listened to him, or he pretended to be heard as a representative of the universal.  Being an intellectual, it was a little bit of everyone’s conscience of all. (…)  Well, there are years that we no longer asked the intellectual to play this role.  The intellectual, according to Noam Chomsky, is in a vision shared also with Normand Baillargeon or Jean Bricmont, unlike what often is written in the media, primarily in the service of the dominant ideology.

For Paul Valéry the role of the intellectual is merely to “stir all things under their signals, names or symbols without the counterweight of real actions.”

What are the links between culture, the role of intellectuals and journalists and development?

The intellectual and the journalist cannot live in a vacuum.  The methodology to produce is simple: to paraphrase the German philosopher Hegel, methodology adopted by Karl Marx in the Capital, he first observes the real concrete world; then he would make abstractions, scientists would call that, assumptions.  It would result in a concrete abstraction that is his work.  If the end result allows an understanding of the functioning of the real concrete world from the developed theoretical canvas, then his abstractions are good.  It is also the methodology used in Political Science to determine the level of governance say of the 80 / 20%.

Indeed, 20% of well-targeted actions have an impact on 80% of an organisation; but 80% of messy actions veiled by a certain activism would only impact 20%.  Also the intellectual stands between the reality and the future of humanity should take into account the complexity of the society as always in motion hence the importance of the multidisciplinary approach and historical movements.  The intellectual and journalist provide culture which is not frozen, but strongly evolving as emphasised by the opening of society to the environment-wide values, myths, rites and is generally an essential constituent of the culture, that of the organisation and / or the enterprise where technology transfer in a way special that taking into account the role of the Internet and new technologies, are driving the world to become a house of glass, for all adaptation and dissemination of knowledge.

Japan, the Emerging Markets countries such as China, India and many others show that technology can be assimilated without renouncing one’s culture.  Besides, technology transfer is facilitated when there is a better understanding of convergent and divergent values between two groups and trying to impose its own values would only result in a relationship of domination that in anyway limit this transfer.  Also, the corporate culture is a by-product of the national culture and thus a set of values, myths, rites, taboos, and signs shared by the majority of employees and an essential element to explain the strategic choices by strengthening common values: example, behavioural guidelines, job descriptions, as well as rewards and sanctions systems for motivation purposeswith a view of identifying with one’s company and ownership of its history.

All this would facilitate the transfer of technology, which should not be limited to the technical aspects, but to also the managerial, organizational, commercial and cultural aspects.  In this 21st century, capital goes social in different techno – organizational dispositions influencing individuals in their relationship to work.  However surveys show clearly that this extension of social knowledge is accompanied by new forms of segmentation (qualified/not qualified; mobile/immobile; young/old; man/woman and a sharing of activities and services which become more and more merchandised (offshoring with computing to India, electronics to Japan, South Korea etc.).  It is the result of the new configuration of the international division of labour, product of the evolution of the development of capitalism that is today known as globalization.

This socio-cultural approach that reflects the complexity of our societies owes much to the important work in terms of the approach to the economic anthropology of the Indian economist, Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, whom devised that there cannot be sustainable development without the establishment of a State of Law and Democracy whilst taking into account of the cultural anthropology of each society which allows both tolerance, confrontation of contradictory ideas and thus development of creative energies.  This refers to the concept of rationality (see the important work of the great German philosopher Kant) which is relative and historically dated as shown in the important work of Malinovsky on the tribes of Australia.  It is not a matter of superimposing imported schematics upon rigid social structures with risks of rejection because of the fact that from Western experience, there is no universal model.

Thus, the intellectual cannot assimilate only to his qualifications but with to his cultural level. we would recall that Einstein postulating a theory that was non-conformist, was initially rejected by his peers from the University. It later on revolutionized the world, because it was not merely a bureaucratic – administrative evaluation.  And that is what made that journalists can sometimes play the role of intellectuals once reserved for scientists especially in hyper-mediatised societies.  In fact, it is up to anyone (man or woman) who, because of his or her social position, has a form of authority and uses it to persuade, propose, debate and allow the critical spirit of emancipate conventional social representations.  The intellectual and the journalist must constantly doubt and question themselves as always, according to the motto ‘the biggest ignorant is one who claims to know everything.

The history of the cycle of civilization, prosperity or decline, is intimately related to the consideration of knowledge in the broad sense of the term and that a society without intellectuals and journalists is like a body without soul.  The decline of Spain after the exhaustion of gold coming from America and certainly the decline of current societies that rely mainly on the rentier, living of the illusion from a fictitious monetary wealth not provided through intelligence and work.

In summary, I firmly believe that the only way to be able to hold on within a constantly changing economy, and therefore have an positive attitude as intellectual and journalist would be through having amongst many things a decent relationship with the national and international environment, i.e. establish gradually truly democratic mechanisms that have an impact on the accumulation of domestic knowledge.  The role of the intellectual and the journalist is not to praise in exchange for some gains, but have constructive ideas according to his of her own vision of the world, through a discourse of truth.  Apart from that, and for a sustainable development in Algeria, there is also need for the urgency of renewed governance through more morality, it’s imperative to rehabilitate the role of the journalist and the intellectual in society.

Written by Dr. Abderrahmane Mebtoul, University Professor, International Expert,

Translation from French by Microsoft / FaroL


Carbon emissions pricing and taxing

Carbon emissions pricing and taxing

In “The Arab world could be a DECIDING FACTOR in the fight against CLIMATE CHANGE”  article written by Martin Heger and Maria Sarraf, it was noted that  175 parties having signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016 in New York City, it was not enough. It matters not only how many countries signed the document, but also how many countries ultimately join the Paris Agreement by ratifying it. Only once the Paris Agreement is ratified, does it become operational and legally binding.  In the meantime as per the article elaborating on how the world whilst looking to the MENA region for the next COP, we believe that apart from the commendable effort of honouring the MENA with leading the world, things need to take a more practical stance such as in this instance, moving on to the financing or the kick off of it of the Agreement by country to country taxing any of their Carbon emission.  This is the subject of our other selected article.  It is reproduced here for its obviously inherent argumentation.  Carbon emissions pricing and taxing would be a mandatory step towards the full implementation of what was agreed in Paris and ratified in New York.  Would Marrakesh confirm all that?


As the Paris Agreement becomes reality: How to transform economies through carbon pricing

By Laura Tuck


The remarkable pace at which nations of the world have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change gives us all hope. It signals the world is ready to take the actions we need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. We know, however, that delivering on Paris comes with a high price tag, and that we need to help countries not just transition toward renewable energy but unlock the finance needed to get there.

Amid the enormous challenge ahead, I want to emphasize the transformative economic opportunity that putting a price on carbon pollution presents.

Many governments across the world now make polluters pay for their CO2 emissions through carbon taxes and emissions trading systems. The money generated through these efforts — about $26 billion in 2015 — is modest, but on the rise (up 60% from 2014).

As a price on carbon emissions becomes a reality for more people, governments are confronted with the nice-to-have challenge of figuring out what to do with the revenues.

One option is to use the revenues to offset other taxes, such as those on income earned or business profits. Another is to support government spending in chronically underfunded areas such as health, education and infrastructure. And a third is to use the funds to support clean technology development. What option countries pick will depend on the local context, and requires deliberation.

However, after I participated in a ClimateWeek panel discussion on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly several weeks ago, I’m concerned that not enough governments, particularly in middle and low income countries, are aware of the transformative potential presented by carbon pricing. Rather than view it as an additional cost, governments, business and citizens can think of carbon pricing as a way to structure their economies for the future.

Canada’s Quebec province has been among the first movers in putting a price on carbon emissions, and the outcome is impressive. The province has raised $1.2 billion from carbon credit auctions, and by law, 2/3 of the revenues are used in the transportation sector.

The result after 2.5 years, said Minister of Environment David Heurtel is that Quebec is “now seeing the development of the entire value chain of the electric vehicle sector.” Lithium for batteries is being mined sustainably from northern Canada; the fourth largest hydro power company in the world, Hydro-Quebec, is developing battery technology; Canadian aluminium is being used to build vehicles; and charging stations have cropped up across the entire province.

This pace and type of transformation may sound atypical, but at the World Bank, we’re seeing pick-up in middle income countries, and interest from low-income countries as well.

China currently has seven regional ETS schemes that cover 18 % of the country’s population, and intends to launch a national ETS next year. Once active, the national ETS will be worth $50 billion.

The Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra has introduced carbon pricing internally in an effort to reduce emissions and increase ‘green revenues’ through business lines focused on adapting to and mitigating for climate change. A quick stocktaking within the company identified some $400 million in green revenues through its solar, micro-irrigation, and green building businesses.

In such a context, Anirban Ghosh, Vice President for Sustainability, said that carbon pricing “helps [Mahindra] move into actions which either bring down cost, or enable green revenue.”

Through our own work at the World Bank, we’re seeing interest from low-income countries: Côte d’Ivoire recently joined the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, and commissioned a feasibility study to assess the potential impacts of a national carbon tax. And Ethiopia is collaborating with us on a study that assesses the impacts of climate mitigation instruments in low-income countries.

Bracing for the impacts of climate change and reducing emissions to help slow down global warming are important issues. But so too is the tremendous window of opportunity that an effective carbon pricing policy provides.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna of Canada has been a big champion of carbon pricing, and said that “it’s going to open up huge markets for business. Because once you have other countries stepping up and saying ‘we’re moving towards a cleaner future,’ you’re going to see innovation and investment.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Don’t forget to watch the video stream of the panel, and also take a look at the Carbon Pricing Leadership Panel’s Executive Brief on using revenues from carbon pricing.


Skipping Ad breaks

Skipping Ad breaks

but not Advertising itself . . .

I watched some TV this week and like most people, I paused the TV and went to make myself a coffee during the adverts.   I often record a programme so I can watch it all the way through skipping ad breaks and recaps whilst still remembering the content and mood of the thing before it deflates in my mind.  Since I was young (long ago) the reach and extent of advertising has mushroomed.  I never expected to find adverts in my child’s school book-bag, for example!

It wasn’t always like this and yet advertising in some shape or form has existed for thousands of years.  Of course, it is completely unnecessary in small communities you can simply ask face-to-face or find what you need via a close friend or relative.  Word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising; after all, what could be better than a trusted friend telling you something is good?   The rise of large populations and cities meant that sellers could reach buyers with no personal knowledge of them and hence the first adverts on clay tablets in ancient Babylon from 3000 BC.

It was, however, the onset of printing that gave advertising its biggest boost.   Tracts were common in the seventeenth century and the line between informing and advertising or spin began to blur.   By the nineteenth century adverts were well-established but they often made extraordinary claims.AD 1 unnamed

In a landmark case for advertising and law in 1892, a Mrs Carlill sued the Carbolic Smoke Ball company for breach of contract.  The company advertised that if you took the product correctly you would be guaranteed not to contract flu (amongst other things) and that it would pay anyone who succumbed to the illness £100.  Mrs Carlill, needless to say, took the product correctly, caught flu and claimed her £100.  The company argued that their claims had been sales puff, and that it was not a proper contract.  The judges ruled in her favour and now advertisers everywhere need to take care of claims they make concerning their products.  Disclaimers are often found at the foot of adverts for this reason and adverts needed to be more subtle in their approach.

 Adverts work on various levels and companies do employ psychologists.  Many are inspirational; if only you eat this chocolate bar, you will feel like a beautiful woman riding a white horse on the beach.   They’ll try to establish intimacy with a well-loved personality, harping back to the old days of a friend’s recommendation.  They might try to make you feel guilty or anxious; your house will be full of germs if you don’t buy an expensive brand of disinfectant.  Adverts might make you feel that you can accomplish something impressive with the product, your cakes will rise higher if you use the right eggs, for example (although care is taken not to guarantee anything!).

It goes on. Subtle advertising goes on even in films and in news stories that `announce the launch of …’ or say a celebrity has `revealed’ something (bearing in mind that celebrities are now industries of their own).

Old Ad of Pears Soap

Old Ad of Pears Soap

Recently, there have been concerns.  One issue is that adverts target those that are most vulnerable, the very elderly or children, for instance and some countries have tried to ban advertising aimed at children.  Advertising is so common these days that we are close to the Phillip Dick sci-fi worlds of advertising floating by your window day and night or the personally targeted adverts that follow you round such as you find in `Minority Report’.

The fact is, however, that adverts are an integral part of the modern world.  The price of newspapers would rocket without supporting adverts and most internet content would not exist.  A great deal of creative output relies on advertising revenue because it is hard to protect intellectual rights or make money from content.  Recently however, I did read an article about Keith Moor of Santander (a bank) who had doubts about advertising on a particular social media, `I was guaranteed 1.7 placements of the video…..There were 603,000 views but only 5 percent were all the way through.  And I was told by my agency that was good!  It’s not… is it?’   The problem is that some advertising is rather like vanity publishing, it is a business making money from clients who are not guaranteed sales revenue for their expenditure.  Often I don’t mind adverts but there are places I want to keep private and I am hostile to the product accordingly if sold there.

Perhaps, however, we will find now companies questioning the saturation in places that we do not want to see adverts, I hope so.


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