Political risk must-reads
By Ian Bremmer
Eurasia Group’s selection of essential reading for the political risk junkie — presented in no particular order. As always, feel free to give us your feedback or selections by tweeting at us via @EurasiaGroup or @ianbremmer.
“Russia Writes Off 90% of Cuba Debt as Putin Meets Castros” — Olga Tanas and Anna Andrianova, Bloomberg
Putin’s charity act has just saved the Cuban economy almost $32 billion… but Russia has its eye on lucrative energy contracts.
“Kazakhstan: Astana Entices Kazakhs From Abroad Amid Ukraine Crisis” — Joanna Lillis, Eurasianet
In light of the recent Ukrainian Crisis, Kazakhstan is reviving a migration policy in order to increase the native Kazakh population in Russian-dominated regions of the former Soviet satellite. Formally labeled an economic necessity rather than a demographic scheme, the Oralmann program offers a one-year fast track to citizenship. Astana hopes the policy will attract some of the 3.5-4.5 million Kazakhs living abroad back to Central Asia.
“North Korean Farmers under pressure to feed hungry nation” — Eric Talmadge, Associated Press via The Guardian
Crop production in North Korea is expected to increase 5 percent over the previous two seasons. Even so, in order to provide for the 16 million North Koreans who still rely on government-provided grains, Kim Jong-un may have to consider agricultural market reforms.
“Your Almond Habit is Sucking California Dry” — Tom Philpott, Mother Jones
California farmers expect to reap a record 2.1 billion pounds of almonds this year, thanks to Asian demand that has more than doubled the price of the nut since 2009. With 1.1 gallons of water needed to produce a single almond, is almond farming worsening California’s prolonged drought?
“Is Turkmenistan the Next Central Asian Tiger?” — Nicola Contessi, The Diplomat
Turkmenistan is home to the world’s fourth largest proven natural gas reserves. Demand from Chinese, Russian and Iranian markets could usher in a wave of development for the country. Can Turkmenistan become a regional energy hub?
“Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition” — Gardiner Harris, New York Times
The persistence of malnutrition amongst Indian youth has puzzled policymakers for years. New research suggests sanitation, rather than food scarcity or socio-economic status, is a big part of the problem.
“This Indian Meal Service May Be the Most Efficient Delivery Service in the World” — Sumi Somaskanda and Mandakini Gahlot, GlobalPost
Despite the technological advancements of the city around them, dabbawalas continue to deliver meals the same way they did 125 years ago — but in much higher volumes. Their delivery system — which has garnered international recognition for efficiency — distributes 200,000 home-cooked meals per day with extreme accuracy.
“India is on course to miss most of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by 2015” — Diksha Madhok, Quartz
While India is on track to reach 100 percent youth literacy by next year, many more development indicators seem far out of reach — even if the goals that the UN established in 2000 are very lofty.