Woman protesting against the poor quality of the town’s water supply in Standerton, South Africa © Jan Truter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

South Africa & Brazil: Haunted by Success

As the emerging markets of Brazil and South Africa struggle, both countries are starting to realize that their development agendas lack a long-term perspective. The new middle classes will bear the greatest costs of this failure. These are trying times for Brazil and South Africa, the southern members of the BRICS grouping of emerging nations that also […]

Iași, Romania © dundanim/veer

How to Protect Energy Consumers in Romania

To implement a functioning single European market in the energy sector, it is essential to empower consumers. But many countries in Europe lack the right institutional framework for this. A glance at Romania. As far as the energy sector is concerned, the single European market is at risk of failure because, among others, consumers are […]

Brazilians protest against the government and corruption, 15 March 2015 © José Cruz/Agência Brasil (CC BY 2.0)

“Few Leaders with a National Vision”

On 15 August 2015, thousands of Brazilians once again took to the streets to protest against President Dilma Rousseff. Economist Renato Flôres explains the failure of Brazil’s political leadership, the future of the ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) party, and what the country needs in order to return to a growth and development path. BTI […]

Havana in May 2015 © Stefan Tariczky via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Cuba’s Slow Motion Glasnost

As diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington thaw, pressure for reform within Cuba is mounting. But just how far will political change in the country go and how will this affect US-Cuban relations? On 20 July, the US Embassy in Havana officially reopened, marking the culmination of the policy of détente begun in December 2014. […]

Rubble-strewn streets of Chautara in central Nepal May 2015 © IOM 2015 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Nepal’s Mammoth Tasks after the Earthquake

The recent earthquake has dealt a serious blow to Nepal’s fragile economy and development. What priorities must the government set in order to revitalize the country and prepare it better for future catastrophes? The world has watched helplessly in April and May as heart-wrenching images stream in from Nepal. An estimated 8,500 people were killed […]

Construction workers along the Nile river in Luxor, Egypt © Dominic Chavez/World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

How to Overcome Authoritarianism in the Arab Economy

Getting rid of autocracy in the Middle East and North Africa is not just a challenge for politics. The economic sector too suffers under the stranglehold of the “nanny-state”. How to overcome it, depends very much on where you start from. From his own experience in office almost a year after the overthrow of the […]

Afghan parliament, March 2014 © Fardin waezi / UNAMA (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Afghanistan’s Future is Hanging by a Thread

Last year’s presidential elections were a huge achievement for Afghanistan’s infant democracy. Yet, will President Ashraf Ghani’s national unity government be able to face the challenges posed by US troop exit, Taliban peace talks, and the Afghan economy? A lot was at stake for Afghanistan during President Ashraf Ghani’s first official trip to the United […]

Construction works in Ethiopia © Simon Davis/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Inclusive Development is needed to Sustain “Africa Rising”

Against predictions, the past 15 years have seen many African countries on the path towards greater stability, investment and growth. Now the challenge is to ensure that this success filters down to the level of ordinary citizens. For most of the previous century Africa has generally suffered from negative stereotypes – particularly from a governance […]

Construction works in Ethiopia © Simon Davis/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Is Geothermal Power the Answer to Indonesia’s Energy Demand?

Indonesia has the largest geothermal reserves in the world. Yet, the government’s failure to manage its natural resources effectively and reform its regulatory environment remains an obstacle to fully tap into the country’s renewable energy wealth. The 17,500-island archipelago of Indonesia is home to about 260 million people, making it the 4th most populous country on […]

Tunisians demonstrate for peace, freedom of speech and for a secular state.

“Sovereign Debt is One of Democracy’s Weak Points”

Political scientist Stefan Wurster speaks about the shortcomings of democracy and why it nonetheless remains a successful model to meet the challenges of the future. BTI Blog: Responding to signals of democratic decline, the Club de Madrid has launched the Next Generation Democracy project with the goal of enabling democracy to better meet the challenges […]