Lonely Together

South American Alliances Mercosur and Unasur Face Crisis

Latin American countries have sought partnership and a common approach to economic and foreign policy for two centuries. In spite of this they often pursue differing interests and do not find consensus. Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner presents herself as a modern independence fighter who wants to liberate the country from the U.S. and Europe. This type of Latin Americanisation in Argentina has placed considerable strain on regional cooperation.

Regional Cooperation in West Africa

„A Study in Frustration?“

While ECOWAS is much more prominent in public debate as a regional economic community recognised by the African Union and as a negotiating partner of the EU in the negotiations over a regional economic partnership agreement, the smaller WAEMU on closer inspection proves to represent a considerably more advanced project of West African integration. The integration endeavours within ECOWAS, on the other hand, which is far more heterogeneous, have repeatedly faltered.

Regional Cooperations

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The Eurasian Union

An Integration Project under the Microscope

The success of the project is not guaranteed. Firstly, there has to be some evidence that member states will actually benefit economically. There are still many questions about how best to harmonise the national economies of the various member states. Secondly, Russia’s apparent willingness to limit its own powers must be proven to be consistent and long-term. This includes understanding that the process of national identity is now in full swing in the former Soviet republics and there is little appetite to once again relinquish their sovereignty.


The trend towards urbanisation is can be observed around the world. The United Nations estimate that two thirds of the global population will live in cities within 30 years. This will pose a variety of challenges: road congestion, air pollution, water shortages, difficulties with waste disposal as well as an increased risk of suffering impacts from environmental disasters due to climate change particularly in coastal areas.

Emerging Megacities in Latin America

Instrumental in Shaping a Global Development

Latin America and the Caribbean form the most urbanised region of the world today, with approx. 80 per cent of the population living in cities there already. The measures taken in dealing with growth in these new centres of the emerging economies, which will combine an increasing part of the world’s population as well as its economic output, will be instrumental in determining the level of sustainability of global development.

Major Cities in Emerging Countries


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Qatar between Marketing and Realpolitik

A Smart Business Model for a Micro-State?

Qatar remains a vulnerable micro-state wedged between its large neighbours, Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the long-term this cannot be gilded by its smart advertising strategy. Long-term success can only be achieved with a labour market that is not dependent on gas revenues and a qualified local workforce that will remain in the countryeven in the event of a crisis.

South African Cities Two Decades on from Apartheid

Historically Divided between Rich and Poor

Two decades on from the end of apartheid, South Africa remains ethnically divided where the distribution of wealth is concerned. A larger black middle class is definitely capable of making changes to this unsatisfactory situation – but this will not necessarily affect the cityscape. There is no shortage of suggestions for solutions to create a more inclusive city. But the last 20 years have shown that large parts of the plans have proved ineffective in removing the historic barriers in real life.

Unprecedented Societal Transformation

Hopes and Challenges for China’s Urbanisation

In 2012, the degree of urbanisation in China exceeded the 50 per cent mark for the first time. This influx of the population into cities is considered politically desirable; the Communist Party of China (CPC) has promised it will have positive effects on economic growth. By 2030, an estimated 70 per cent of the Chinese population will live in cities. This is indicative of a social transformation taking place at a speed and to an extent the world has never before seen.

About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

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