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Photo: © C. Kaiser, blickwinkel, picture alliance.

Interest-based Policy Rather than a Save-the-World Approach

Why German Development Cooperation with Africa Must Be Reconsidered

Germany’s interests in Africa are self-evident. They range from business and security to political partnership in the context of global systemic rivalry. But is Germany making use of all its options to preserve its interests on the neighbouring continent? The answer to this is: no! Particularly in view of the immense investments that Germany is making in the field of development cooperation, the question must be raised as to whether these investments could not be made in a much more targeted manner – to the benefit of the African partners, but also in our own interest.

IMAGO / Xinhua

First center-left government in Latvia

A change of government with shaky foundations

The new government is in place - albeit with a narrow majority. After the presidential elections in May of this year, a political reshuffle of the government was inevitable. The new president was elected with the votes of the largest opposition party, the Union of Greens and Peasants (ZZS). The fact that a major oligarch is behind the ZZS made the new coalition formation difficult and also poses major challenges for the strongest party, New Unity (JV). In practical terms, this has already become clear in the election of the new speaker of parliament. But this constellation also holds explosive potential politically.

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V.

Volksrepublik China – Inklusion in Shanghai

Inklusion weltweit – Aktueller Stand aus Shanghai, VR China

Im April 2023 widmete sich ein Länderbericht des KAS-Büros Peking der Situation von Behinderten in China. Unter der Überschrift „Inklusion in China: Zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit“ analysierten die Kollegen die aktuelle Behindertenpolitik der chinesischen Regierung. Ihr Fokus lag dabei auf der nationalen Ebene. Doch wie steht es um die Umsetzung der Behindertenpolitik auf kommunaler Ebene? Welche Initiativen werden vor Ort ergriffen, und welche Wirkung erzielen sie? Wie leben Menschen mit Behinderung in einer chinesischen Großstadt? Diese und andere Fragen nimmt der vorliegende Bericht in den Blick. Als Beispiel dient Shanghai, eine der größten Städte und die führende Wirtschaftsmetropole Chinas, wo das zweite KAS-Büro in der Volksrepublik seinen Sitz hat. Rund 25 Millionen Menschen leben in der Stadt, darunter über 600.000 mit Behinderung. Die Stadtregierung unternimmt verschiedene Anstrengungen, um diese Menschen besser in das Alltagsleben zu integrieren – mit unterschiedlichem Erfolg.

IMAGO / Zoonar

Church tax in Italian

How do churches and religious communities finance themselves south of the Alps?

Even in the land of the popes, more and more pews remain empty at Sunday Mass. The situation in Italy is not yet as dramatic as in Germany, but the trend is rising. However, in contrast to Germany the church tax cannot be the reason many people are leaving the church, since there is no such thing in Italy. How does the Church finance itself in the supposedly most Catholic country in Europe? Would the Italian model also be suitable for Germany? And how Catholic are the Italians still? We explore these questions in this country report.

Adobe Stock / Elena

Food security in the Middle East and North Africa

Between emergency and pragmatism

Immediately after the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the Middle East and North Africa again became the focus of attention. Food security, a hitherto marginal concept in the literature, became the focus of interest for regional and global actors. Fears arose that Europe would have to address the consequences of a renewed stability crisis in its southern periphery in addition to the challenges of conventional state warfare on its eastern flank. The reality, however, is different. The states of the region were able to respond to the crisis not least because of diplomatic flexibility and neutrality. How has the war affected the region? Have the countries of the region pursued strategies of long-term diversification of their food sources? Where are countries now sourcing their grain supplies? What impact can be expected from the recent end of the grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine? With these questions in mind, this compilation focuses on Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. These countries were considered particularly vulnerable to food crises. Finally, a regional perspective summarizes the trends regionally and identifies possible solutions.

IMAGO / Xinhua

What's next for Zimbabwe?

Economic, domestic and foreign policy consequences of Zimbabwes 2023 elections

Six years after the fall of Mugabe and the beginning of a new foreign policy of rapprochement with Europe and America, this year's elections show the true extent of reforms - or rather their absence. While the opposition has made small strides against all odds, hopes for an economic turnaround have been largely disappointed.

KAS Canada/Annika Weikinnis

Worst poll results since 2015: Justin Trudeau becomes a burden for his party

Canada's Conservatives are riding a mood high

The dissatisfaction of the Canadian population with their governing party and its leader has reached new depths. There seems to be no end in sight to the Liberals' 15-month slide. The popularity of both the party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has steadily declined, and the latest results of opinion polls by Canada's leading institutes are not likely to reassure the Liberals' worried base. At the same time, the Conservatives (CPC) under their charismatic leader Pierre Poilievre are basking in poll results that currently even suggest that a majority government for the party, which has remained in opposition since 2015, is possible.

Army seizes power in Gabon

A military coup as a warrant of democracy and the rule of law?

Francophone West and Central Africa are in further turmoil. After five military coups in the last three years (Mali, Chad, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger), the military also took power in Gabon at the end of August 2023. Is this military coup in Gabon also a result of recent anti-democratic developments in sub-saharan Africa, or can it be seen in a different light?

@luzitanija / Adobe Stock

South Korea and Vietnam

A comprehensive strategic partnership

An overview of the cooperation between South Korea and Vietnam - from from economy to security policy to culture

IMAGO / Xinhua

Regional normalisation – Syrian perspectives

Turkish and Arab attempts to establish a new foundation for their relationship with Syria are viewed with concern especially in areas outside of the regime’s control.

Both the Arab League and Turkey have initiated a process of normalizing ties with the Syrian regime: While the Arab track, led by Saudi Arabia, has received wide international attention and media coverage, in Syria itself the Turkish efforts are monitored much more closely due to Turkey’s active role in Syrian political and security affairs. Yet, as of now, none of the two initiatives have achieved any significant progress, which can mainly be attribute to the Assad regime’s unwillingness to make any concessions. Nonetheless, non-state actors in Northern Syria remain apprehensive. Furthermore, amidst an ever-worsening economic crisis in Syria, unrest and demonstrations are also flawing up in regime-held territories.

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