country:uzbekistan

  • Record High #Remittances Sent Globally in #2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.

    Regionally, growth in remittance inflows ranged from almost 7 percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 12 percent in South Asia. The overall increase was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation. Excluding China, remittances to low- and middle-income countries ($462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 ($344 billion).

    Among countries, the top remittance recipients were India with $79 billion, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion), and Egypt ($29 billion).

    In 2019, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion, to become their largest source of external financing.

    The global average cost of sending $200 remained high, at around 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide database. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 percent.

    Banks were the most expensive remittance channels, charging an average fee of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Post offices were the next most expensive, at over 7 percent. Remittance fees tend to include a premium where national post offices have an exclusive partnership with a money transfer operator. This premium was on average 1.5 percent worldwide and as high as 4 percent in some countries in the last quarter of 2018.

    On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”

    The Brief notes that banks’ ongoing de-risking practices, which have involved the closure of the bank accounts of some remittance service providers, are driving up remittance costs.

    The Brief also reports progress toward the SDG target of reducing the recruitment costs paid by migrant workers, which tend to be high, especially for lower-skilled migrants.

    “Millions of low-skilled migrant workers are vulnerable to recruitment malpractices, including exorbitant recruitment costs. We need to boost efforts to create jobs in developing countries and to monitor and reduce recruitment costs paid by these workers,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. The World Bank and the International Labour Organization are collaborating to develop indicators for worker-paid recruitment costs, to support the SDG of promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.

    Regional Remittance Trends

    Remittances to the East Asia and Pacific region grew almost 7 percent to $143 billion in 2018, faster than the 5 percent growth in 2017. Remittances to the Philippines rose to $34 billion, but growth in remittances was slower due to a drop in private transfers from the GCC countries. Flows to Indonesia increased by 25 percent in 2018, after a muted performance in 2017.

    After posting 22 percent growth in 2017, remittances to Europe and Central Asia grew an estimated 11 percent to $59 billion in 2018. Continued growth in economic activity increased outbound remittances from Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States, major sources of remittances to the region. Smaller remittance-dependent countries in the region, such as the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, benefited from the sustained rebound of economic activity in Russia. Ukraine, the region’s largest remittance recipient, received a new record of more than $14 billion in 2018, up about 19 percent over 2017. This surge in Ukraine also reflects a revised methodology for estimating incoming remittances, as well as growth in neighboring countries’ demand for migrant workers.

    Remittances flows into Latin America and the Caribbean grew 10 percent to $88 billion in 2018, supported by the strong U.S. economy. Mexico continued to receive the most remittances in the region, posting about $36 billion in 2018, up 11 percent over the previous year. Colombia and Ecuador, which have migrants in Spain, posted 16 percent and 8 percent growth, respectively. Three other countries in the region posted double-digit growth: Guatemala (13 percent) as well as Dominican Republic and Honduras (both 10 percent), reflecting robust outbound remittances from the United States.

    Remittances to the Middle East and North Africa grew 9 percent to $62 billion in 2018. The growth was driven by Egypt’s rapid remittance growth of around 17 percent. Beyond 2018, the growth of remittances to the region is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace of around 3 percent in 2019 due to moderating growth in the Euro Area.

    Remittances to South Asia grew 12 percent to $131 billion in 2018, outpacing the 6 percent growth in 2017. The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC countries. Remittances grew by more than 14 percent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families. In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (7 percent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 percent).

    Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew almost 10 percent to $46 billion in 2018, supported by strong economic conditions in high-income economies. Looking at remittances as a share of GDP, Comoros has the largest share, followed by the Gambia , Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

    The Migration and Development Brief and the latest migration and remittances data are available at www.knomad.org. Interact with migration experts at http://blogs.worldbank.org/peoplemove

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/04/08/record-high-remittances-sent-globally-in-2018?cid=ECR_TT_worldbank_EN_EXT
    #remittances #statistiques #chiffres #migrations #diaspora

    #Rapport ici :


    https://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/MigrationandDevelopmentBrief_31_0.pdf

    ping @reka

    • Immigrati, boom di rimesse: più di 6 miliardi all’estero. Lo strano caso dei cinesi «spariti»

      Bangladesh, Romania, Filippine: ecco il podio delle rimesse degli immigrati che vivono e lavorano in Italia. Il trend è in forte aumento: nel 2018 sono stati inviati all’estero 6,2 miliardi di euro, con una crescita annua del 20, 7 per cento.
      A registrarlo è uno studio della Fondazione Leone Moressa su dati Banca d’Italia, dopo il crollo del 2013 e alcuni anni di sostanziale stabilizzazione, oggi il volume di rimesse rappresenta lo 0,35% del Pil.

      Il primato del Bangladesh
      Per la prima volta, nel 2018 il Bangladesh è il primo Paese di destinazione delle rimesse, con oltre 730 milioni di euro complessivi (11,8% delle rimesse totali).
      Il Bangladesh nell’ultimo anno ha registrato un +35,7%, mentre negli ultimi sei anni ha più che triplicato il volume.

      Il secondo Paese di destinazione è la Romania, con un andamento stabile: +0,3% nell’ultimo anno e -14,3% negli ultimi sei.
      Da notare come tra i primi sei Paesi ben quattro siano asiatici: oltre al Bangladesh, anche Filippine, Pakistan e India. Proprio i Paesi dell’Asia meridionale sono quelli che negli ultimi anni hanno registrato il maggiore incremento di rimesse inviate. Il Pakistan ha registrato un aumento del +73,9% nell’ultimo anno. Anche India e Sri Lanka sono in forte espansione.

      Praticamente scomparsa la Cina, che fino a pochi anni fa rappresentava il primo Paese di destinazione e oggi non è nemmeno tra i primi 15 Paesi per destinazione delle rimesse.
      Mediamente, ciascun immigrato in Italia ha inviato in patria poco più di 1.200 euro nel corso del 2018 (circa 100 euro al mese). Valore che scende sotto la media per le due nazionalità più numerose: Romania (50,29 euro mensili) e Marocco (66,14 euro). Tra le comunità più numerose il valore più alto è quello del Bangladesh: ciascun cittadino ha inviato oltre 460 euro al mese. Anche i senegalesi hanno inviato mediamente oltre 300 euro mensili.

      https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2019-04-17/immigrati-boom-rimesse-piu-6-miliardi-all-estero-strano-caso-cinesi-spa
      #Italie #Chine #Bangladesh #Roumanie #Philippines

  • Uzbekistan offers 20,000 hectare land to farmers, firms

    Farmers, agro processing biz units and others will soon come together in a conglomerate of sorts as part of an MoU signed between #Gujarat_Agro_Industries_Corporation (#GAIC) and the Republic of Uzbekistan. As part of the #MoU, the Uzbek government has also offered around 20,000 ha of land for farming, as well as for agro industries in the Central Asian Country.

    The MoU calls for formation of various agencies under GAIC to provide training for capacity building and facilitate technology transfer between both the countries, said a government official.

    “We are looking at farm to fork solutions and the Uzbek government has offered 20,000 ha of land. This means even farmers from Gujarat will be able to make use of the opportunity,” said Sanjay Prasad additional chief secretary, department of Agriculture at the inaugural session on sustainable technology driven agriculture for new India at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2019 on Sunday.

    KS Randhawa, Managing Director, GAIC said that it will provide the opportunity for formation of agro processing clusters. “Several players can come together to make use of the opportunity provided by the MoU. The Uzbek government was very keen on the project and we plan to create a conglomerate of sorts that will deal with various aspects of agro processing under the leadership of GAIC,” said Randhawa. He said they are looking at farm to fork solutions. “So what we are saying is that we can look at the opportunity to not only produce something but also get into value addition and provide the final product too,” said Randhawa. He said as part of the MoU the Uzbek government has not only offered land but also the technology. "This transfer of technology will also also enable our farmers and businessmen to use it in Gujarat. This is a win-win-deal,"s aid Randhawa.

    It should be noted that in all 28360 MoUs were signed during the three days of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2019 of which 408 were in the agro food processing sector.


    https://www.farmlandgrab.org/28689
    #Ouzbékistan #terres #agriculture #land_grabbing #accaparement_des_terres
    ping @odilon

  • Premature Postcolonialists: the Afro-Asian Writers Association and Soviet Engagement with Africa | Lefteast
    http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/premature-postcolonialists-the-afro-asian-writers-association-and-soviet-

    In October 1958, over two hundred writers from Asia and the emerging African nations descended onto Tashkent, the capital of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. Among the participants was W. E. B. Du Bois, who at age 90 had just flown in from Moscow (where he persuaded Nikita Khrushchev to found an Institute for the Study of Africa). Alongside leading Soviet writers and cultural bureaucrats, some of the major figures of the 1930s literary left outside of Europe or the Americas were in attendance: the Turkish modernist poet Nazim Hikmet and his Pakistani counterpart Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the Chinese novelist Mao Dun and Mulk Raj Anand. Though poorly known at the time, some of the younger delegates at that meeting would go on to become the leading literary figures of their countries: the Senegalese novelist-cum-filmmaker Sembene Ousmane, the Indonesian writer Pramoedya Toer, the poet and founder of Angola’s Communist Party Mario Pinto de Andrade, and the Mozambican poet and FRELIMO politician Marcelino dos Santos. By all accounts, Tashkent impressed visitors with its mixture of Western modernity and familiar “eastern-ness,”—an effect carefully curated by the Soviet hosts who sought to make it a showcase city for Third-World delegations.

    The gathering that brought all these writers together—the inaugural congress of what would later become known as the Afro-Asian Writers Association—represented the literary front of the Soviet Union’s return to the colonial question after a two-decade-long lapse. The Stalinist state’s geopolitical zigzags and the rumors, confirmed in Khrushchev’s 1956 Secret Speech, of oppressive practices at home had considerably dimmed the flame of the Russian Revolution by the mid-1950s. African and Asian intellectuals’ doubts over the Soviet state’s emancipatory promises were now partly made up by the resources of a world super-power, which interwar Soviet anti-imperialism had lacked. These resources exercised a powerful, if ambiguous, effect on black political life worldwide, resulting, on the one hand, in devastating proxy wars in Angola and Mozambique and, on the other, fueling emancipatory struggles against apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crowe in the US.1

    This article will be particularly interested in the cultural consequences of the Soviet engagement with the postcolonial world, namely, in its effect on African letters. As a heir to the literature-centrism of the revolutionary Russian intelligentsia of the late nineteenth century, the Soviet state, down to its very bureaucracy, believed in the capacity of literature to transform society and invested heavily in literary engagements even with societies very different from its own. By the reciprocal logic of the Cold War, the U.S. State Department and CIA, institutions not known as patrons of literature before or after the Cold War had to match those investments. The real beneficiaries of this competition were African writers, interest in whose work significantly increased, as well as readers in the first, second, and third worlds, who were given greater access to those writers.

  • The History of Civilization Is a History of Border Walls

    When I joined my first archaeological dig at a site near Hadrian’s Wall in 2002, walls never appeared in the nightly news. Britain was still many years away from planning a barrier near the opening of the Chunnel in Calais. Saudi Arabia hadn’t yet encircled itself with high-tech barricades. Israel hadn’t started reinforcing its Gaza border fence with concrete. Kenya wasn’t seeking Israel’s help in the construction of a 440-mile barrier against Somalia. And the idea that India might someday send workers high into the Himalayas to construct border walls that look down on clouds still seemed as preposterous as the notion that Ecuador might commence construction on a 950-mile concrete wall along its border with Peru.

    No one chatted about walls while we cut through sod to expose the buried remains of an ancient fortress in northern Britain. I doubt that anyone was chatting about walls anywhere. The old fortress, on the other hand, was generally considered the crown jewel of British archaeology. For more than 30 years, sharp-eyed excavators at the Roman fort of Vindolanda had been finding writing tablets — thin slivers of wood upon which Roman soldiers had written letters, duty rosters, inventories, and other assorted jottings. At first, the tablets had represented something of a technical challenge; their spectral writing faded almost immediately upon exposure to air, almost as if written in invisible ink. But when the writings were recovered through infrared photography, a tremendous satisfaction came from the discovery that Roman soldiers complained about shortages of beer while the wives of their commanders planned birthday parties. The Romans, it turned out, were a lot like us.

    Archaeology, even at such a special place, was tiring business, but after work I enjoyed taking hikes along the wall. It was beautiful countryside — well lit by an evening sun that lingered late during the Northumbrian summer — and as I ambled over the grassy hills, occasionally enjoying the company of sheep, I sometimes imagined I was a lonely Roman soldier, stationed at the end of the world, scanning the horizon for barbarians while I awaited a resupply of beer. I’m ashamed to say that I took no detailed notes on the wall itself. It made for beautiful photographs, the way it stretched languidly over the countryside, but my real interest lay in other things: the Roman soldiers, the barbarians, the letters. If anything I saw in Britain was to hold any significance for my research, it seemed obvious that I would find it in the wet gray clay of Vindolanda. There I hoped only to discern tiny clues about a particular period of Roman history. Such are the modest goals of the academic. For the duration of my stay, my focus was on the clay. All the while, I was standing right next to a piece of a much bigger story, a fragment of the past that was about to rise up from its ancient slumber to dominate contemporary politics on two continents. I was leaning against it, resting my hand on it, posing for pictures by it. I just didn’t see it.

    It was my interest in the barbarians that finally opened my eyes to the historical importance of walls. The barbarians were, in the main, inhabitants of every North African or Eurasian wasteland — the steppes, the deserts, the mountains. Civilized folk had erected barriers to exclude them in an astonishing array of countries: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Britain, Algeria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Peru, China, and Korea, to give only a partial list. Yet somehow this fact had entirely escaped the notice of historians. Not a single textbook observed the nearly universal correlation between civilization and walls. It remained standard even for specialists to remark that walls were somehow unique to Chinese history, if not unique to Chinese culture — a stereotype that couldn’t possibly be any less true.

    By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone.

    The reemergence of border walls in contemporary political debates made for an even more surprising revelation. Like most people my age, I had watched the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with great excitement. To many of us, it looked like the beginning of a new era, heralded by no less towering an international figure than David Hasselhoff, whose concert united both halves of Berlin in inexplicable rapture. More than a quarter-century has passed since then, and if it had once seemed that walls had become a thing of the past, that belief has proven sorely wrong.

    Border walls have experienced a conspicuous revival in the 21st century. Worldwide, some 70 barriers of various sorts currently stand guard. Some exist to prevent terrorism, others as obstacles to mass migration or the flow of illegal drugs. Nearly all mark national borders. By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone. For every person who sees a wall as an act of oppression, there is always another urging the construction of newer, higher, and longer barriers. The two sides hardly speak to each other.

    As things turned out, it was the not the beer or the birthday parties that connected the past to the present in northern England. It was the wall. We can almost imagine it now as a great stone timeline, inhabited on one end by ancients, on the other by moderns, but with both always residing on the same side facing off against an unseen enemy. If I couldn’t see that in 2002, it was only because we were then still living in an anomalous stage in history and had somehow lost our instinct for something that has nearly always been a part of our world.

    How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them. As early as the 10th millennium BC, the builders of Jericho encircled their city, the world’s first, with a rampart. Over time, urbanism and agriculture spread from Jericho and the Levant into new territories: Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, and beyond. Walls inevitably followed. Everywhere farmers settled, they fortified their villages. They chose elevated sites and dug ditches to enclose their homes. Entire communities pitched in to make their villages secure. A survey of prehistoric Transylvanian farming villages determined that some 1,400 to 1,500 cubic meters of earth typically had to be moved just to create an encircling ditch — an effort that would have required the labor of 60 men for 40 days. Subsequently, those ditches were lined with stone and bolstered by palisades. If a community survived long enough, it might add flanking towers. These were the first steps toward walls.

    The creators of the first civilizations descended from generations of wall builders. They used their newfound advantages in organization and numbers to build bigger walls. More than a few still survive. We can estimate their heights, their thicknesses, their volumes, and their lengths. But the numbers can only tell us so much. We will always learn more by examining the people who built the walls or the fear that led to their construction.

    And what about these fears? Were civilizations — and walls — created only by unusually fearful peoples? Or did creating civilization cause people to become fearful? Such questions turn out to be far more important than we’ve ever realized.

    Since 2002, I’ve had ample time to reflect on the Roman soldiers who once guarded Hadrian’s Wall. They certainly never struck me as afraid of anything. Then again, they weren’t exactly Roman, either. They came chiefly from foreign lands, principally Belgium and Holland, which were in those days still as uncivilized as the regions north of the wall. Everything they knew of building and writing, they had learned in the service of Rome.

    As for the Romans, they preferred to let others fight their battles. They had become the definitive bearers of civilization and as such were the target of a familiar complaint: that they had lost their edge. Comfortable behind their city walls and their foreign guards, they had grown soft. They were politicians and philosophers, bread makers and blacksmiths, anything but fighters.

    The Roman poet Ovid knew a thing or two about the soft life, but he also had the unusual experience of learning what life was like for Rome’s frontier troops. The latter misfortune came as a consequence of his having offended the emperor Augustus. The offense was some peccadillo — Ovid never divulges the details — compounded by his having penned a rather scandalous book on the art of seduction. “What is the theme of my song?” he asked puckishly, in verse. “Nothing that’s very far wrong.” Augustus disagreed. Reading Ovid’s little love manual, the moralistic emperor saw plenty of wrong. He probably never even made it to the section where Ovid raved about what a great ruler he was. Augustus banished the poet from Rome, exiling him to Tomis, a doomed city on the coast of the Black Sea, 60-odd miles south of the Danube.

    Tomis was a hardscrabble sort of place, a former Greek colony already some 600 years old by the time of Ovid’s exile in the first century AD and no shinier for the wear. Its distinguishing characteristics were exactly two: First, it was about as far from Rome as one could be sent. Second, it lay perilously close to some of Rome’s fiercest enemies, in an area that didn’t yet have a border wall. Like northern Britain, the region of Tomis would one day receive its share of border walls, but in Ovid’s day, the only barriers to invasion were the fortifications around the city itself.

    Ovid suffered in his new home. It was one thing to live in a walled city, but quite another to be completely confined within those walls. In his letters to Rome, Ovid complained that the farmers of Tomis couldn’t even venture out onto their fields. On the rare occasion when a peasant dared to visit his plot, he guided the plow with one hand while carrying weapons in another. Even the shepherds wore helmets.

    Fear permeated everyday life in Tomis. Even in times of peace, wrote Ovid, the dread of war loomed. The city was, for all intents and purposes, under perpetual siege. Ovid likened the townspeople to a timid stag caught by bears or a lamb surrounded by wolves.

    Occasionally, Ovid reminisced on his former life in the capital, where he’d lived free from fear. He wistfully recalled the amenities of Rome — the forums, the temples, and the marble theaters; the porticoes, gardens, pools, and canals; above all, the cornucopia of literature at hand. The contrast with his new circumstances was complete. At Tomis, there was nothing but the clash and clang of weapons. Ovid imagined that he might at least content himself with gardening, if only he weren’t afraid to step outside. The enemy was quite literally at the gates, separated only by the thickness of the city’s wall. Barbarian horsemen circled Tomis. Their deadly arrows, which Ovid unfailingly reminds us had been dipped in snake venom, made pincushions of the roofs in the city.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism.

    There remained a final indignity for Ovid: the feeble, middle-aged author was pressed into service in defense of Tomis. As a youth, Ovid had avoided military service. There was no shame for shirkers back in Rome, a city replete with peaceniks and civilians. Now aging, Ovid had finally been forced to carry a sword, shield, and helmet. When the guard from the lookout signaled a raid, the poet donned his armor with shaking hands. Here was a true Roman, afraid to step out from behind his fortifications and hopelessly overwhelmed by the responsibility of defending them.

    From time to time, a Chinese poet would find himself in a situation much like Ovid’s. Stationed at some lonely outpost on the farthest reaches of the empire, the Chinese, too, longed for home while dreading the nearness of the barbarians. “In the frontier towns, you will have sad dreams at night,” wrote one. “Who wants to hear the barbarian pipe played to the moon?” Sometimes they meditated on the story of the Chinese princess who drowned herself in a river rather than cross beyond the wall. Even Chinese generals lamented the frontier life.

    Oddly, none of these sentiments appear in the letters written by the Roman soldiers at Vindolanda. Transplanted to a rainy land far from home, they grumbled at times about the beer supply but had nothing to say about shaky hands or sad dreams. It was as if these barbarian-turned-Roman auxiliaries had come from another world, where homesickness and fear had been banished. Perhaps they had.

    Almost anytime we examine the past and seek out the people most like us — those such as Ovid or the Chinese poets; people who built cities, knew how to read, and generally carried out civilian labor — we find them enclosed behind walls of their own making. Civilization and walls seem to have gone hand in hand. Beyond the walls, we find little with which we can identify — warriors mostly, of the sort we might hire to patrol the walls. The outsiders are mostly anonymous, except when they become notorious.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism. But the first path also pointed to much more — science, mathematics, theater, art — while the other brought its followers only to a dead end, where a man was nothing except a warrior and all labor devolved upon the women.

    No invention in human history played a greater role in creating and shaping civilization than walls. Without walls, there could never have been an Ovid, and the same can be said for Chinese scholars, Babylonian mathematicians, or Greek philosophers. Moreover, the impact of walls wasn’t limited to the early phases of civilization. Wall building persisted for most of history, climaxing spectacularly during a 1,000-year period when three large empires — Rome, China, and Sasanid Persia — erected barriers that made the geopolitical divisions of the Old World all but permanent.

    The collapse of those walls influenced world history almost as profoundly as their creation, by leading to the eclipse of one region, the stagnation of another, and the rise of a third. When the great border walls were gone, leaving only faint traces on the landscape, they left indelible lines on our maps — lines that have even today not yet been obscured by modern wars or the jockeying of nations for resources. Today, a newer set of walls, rising up on four continents, has the potential to remake the world yet again.


    https://medium.com/s/greatescape/the-history-of-civilization-is-a-history-of-border-walls-24e837246fb8
    #civilisation #histoire #murs #murs_frontaliers #histoire #frontières #livre #David_Frye

  • Armed with gas and cows, Kazakhstan takes aim at land degradation | PLACE
    http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=4182cc67-3dc1-46c7-a867-422539a20bd2

    The extent of degradation is difficult to assess because countries in Central Asia do not release official figures, but anecdotal evidence shows the situation is serious, said Christian Welscher, project coordinator for the Central Asian Desert Initiative (CADI) at University of Greifswald, Germany.

    Also, studies show a potential loss of 76 percent of saxaul trees, a shrub found only in the region’s deserts, due to rampant deforestation and overgrazing by cattle, said Welscher.

    The CADI is working with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to combat land degradation and conserve biodiversity.

    The deforestation causes sandstorms that devastate rural communities, Welscher said.

    Mars Almabek, deputy chairman of the State Agriculture Inspection, said Kazakhstan is buying and importing modified cattle from the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France and Czechoslovakia.

    #Kazakhstan #dégradation_des_sols #sols #élevage #surpâturage #déforestation #gaz

  • #Turkmenistan seeks to tap into East-West cargo flows with new seaport | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters
    https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N1S92X2

    Turkmenistan on Wednesday opened a new $1.5 billion cargo and passenger seaport on the Caspian Sea aiming to boost its export revenues by handling shipping traffic between Asia and Europe.

    The Central Asian country’s main source of hard currency is its gas exports, which took a hit when Russia, once its main customer, stopped all purchases in 2016 after a pricing dispute.

    The port, in the city of #Turkmenbashi, will more than triple Turkmenistan’s cargo handling capacity to 25-26 million tonnes a year, the government has said.

    Speaking before the official opening ceremony, Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said Ashgabat was ready to discuss the use of the seaport with its landlocked neighbours, a reference to Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

    Turkmenistan already has a railway link with China through neighbouring Kazakhstan and the new port could help Ashgabat win a slice of cargo flows moving between China, the Middle East and Europe. Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iran also have Caspian ports.

    The new port also has container handling facilities and a polypropylene terminal which will handle products from a nearby plant which is set to be launched later this year.

    Turkmenistan does not report how much cargo its existing Caspian port currently handles.

    #Caspienne

  • Nations in Transit 2018 Confronting Illiberalism.
    https://freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/nations-transit-2018

    In 2018, Nations in Transit registered the most score declines in the project’s 23-year history: 19 of the 29 countries had declines in their overall Democracy Scores. For the second year in a row, there are more Consolidated Authoritarian Regimes than Consolidated Democracies.
    Poland recorded the largest category declines and the second-largest Democracy Score decline in the history of the report. The government’s takeover of the judicial system, politicization of public media, smear campaigns against nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and violations of ordinary parliamentary procedure have resulted in a dramatic decline in the quality of Polish democracy.
    Hungary has registered the largest cumulative decline in Nations in Transit history, after its score has fallen for 10 consecutive years.
    Serbia’s score declined for the fourth straight year, threatening its status as a “Semi-Consolidated Democracy.” The consolidation of power under President Aleksandar Vučić continues.
    The bright spots this year were Macedonia, Uzbekistan, and Estonia. A change of government in Macedonia in June brought a chance to reverse years of state capture and resolve disputes with neighbors. Uzbekistan’s modest thaw after the death of the president in August 2016 produced its first score improvements since 2005. Despite being already the best performer in the survey, Estonia’s score improved in three categories.

  • Can blockchain technology help poor people around the world?
    http://theconversation.com/can-blockchain-technology-help-poor-people-around-the-world-76059

    In my work as a scholar of business and technology focusing on the impact of blockchain and other modern technologies such as cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things on poor people, I see four main ways blockchain systems are already beginning to connect some of the world’s poorest people with the global economy.

    The downside of blockchain
    http://www.infodrivenbusiness.com/post.php?post=/2016/04/29/the-downside-of-blockchain

    by Robert Hillard

    Imagine an invention that deliberately wasted resources. Maybe a car that burns oil just to create smoke that is easy to see or an electric light that uses twice as much energy to avoid burning out. That’s exactly what blockchain is doing, consuming large amounts of electricity for no purpose other than making fraud prohibitively expensive.

    I recently had the privilege of collaborating with my colleagues from the Australian Deloitte Centre for the Edge on a report looking into distributed ledgers and the blockchain technology. Reading the result, it is striking how far we still have to go to invent our digital business future.

    As a quick reminder, blockchain is a technology to support the exchange of value or contracts in an environment where anonymity is important and no one is to be trusted. The best known application of blockchain is in the exchange of Bitcoins, a virtual currency.

    Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index - Digiconomist
    https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

    Key Network Statistics

    Description Value
    Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption* (TWh) 51.82
    Annualized global mining revenues $8,109,412,566
    Annualized estimated global mining costs $2,590,786,398
    Country closest to Bitcoin in terms of electricity consumption Uzbekistan
    Estimated electricity used over the previous day (KWh) 141,960,899
    Implied Watts per GH/s 0.232
    Total Network Hashrate in PH/s (1,000,000 GH/s) 25,475
    Electricity consumed per transaction (KWh) 772.00
    Number of U.S. households that could be powered by Bitcoin 4,797,753
    Number of U.S. households powered for 1 day by the electricity consumed for a single transaction 26.09
    Bitcoin’s electricity consumption as a percentage of the world’s electricity consumption 0.23%
    Annual carbon footprint (kt of CO2) 25,390
    Carbon footprint per transaction (kg of CO2) 378.2

    Bitcoin’s insane energy consumption, explained | Ars Technica
    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/bitcoins-insane-energy-consumption-explained

    Bitcoin’s energy use should decline in the long run

    Blockchain scalability - O’Reilly Media
    https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/blockchain-scalability

    The three main stumbling blocks to blockchain scalability are:

    1. The tendency toward centralization with a growing blockchain: the larger the blockchain grows, the larger the requirements become for storage, bandwidth, and computational power that must be spent by “full nodes” in the network, leading to a risk of much higher centralization if the blockchain becomes large enough that only a few nodes are able to process a block.
    2. The bitcoin-specific issue that the blockchain has a built-in hard limit of 1 megabyte per block (about 10 minutes), and removing this limit requires a “hard fork” (ie. backward-incompatible change) to the bitcoin protocol.
    3. The high processing fees currently paid for bitcoin transactions, and the potential for those fees to increase as the network grows. We won’t discuss this too much, but see here for more detail.

    #énergie #environnement #gaspillage #électricité #bitcoin #blockchain #pauvreté #économie

  • The midnight train to Moscow

    Riding the rails to Russia with the migrant workers of Central Asia.

    The search began before dawn; the train had just crossed the border of Tajikistan into Uzbekistan. We were only three hours into the four-day train ride between Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, and Moscow.


    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/10/the-midnight-train-to-moscow-tajikistan-migration
    #migrations #Russie #Asie_Centrale #Ouzbékistan #Tadjikistan #travail #train #travailleurs_étrangers
    cc @reka

  • Britain increases arms exports to world’s most repressive regimes by nearly a third since Brexit vote
    https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/arms-sales-britain-increases-exports-worlds-repressive-regimes-nearly-third

    Britain has dramatically increased the value of weaponry and defence equipment it sells to the world’s most repressive regimes since vows by senior ministers to expand arms exports after the Brexit vote. Figures seen by i show that the Government cleared export licences worth £2.9bn in the 12 months after June 2016 to 35 countries considered “not free” by Freedom House, a respected international think-tank. The figure represents a 28 per cent increase on the 12 months before the Brexit vote. Human rights Among the countries to which ministers have given the green light for military equipment sales are Equatorial Guinea, considered to be one of the most corrupt and repressive countries in the world. Licences worth £1m were also granted for Azerbaijan, accused by human rights campaigners of conducting a vicious campaign against freedom of expression, while Uzbekistan, which is rated by Freedom House as one of the least free countries in the world, was granted a licence to import military vehicle components worth nearly £200,000. The Government has singled out arms sales as a priority area for Britain’s post-Brexit trade push. Prior to his resignation last year, former Defence Secretary Michael Fallon vowed at the world’s largest arms fair in London that Britain would “spread its wings across the world” with increased weaponry and equipment sales. The Government insists that the UK has “robust” measures in place to allow “ethical defence exports” which are worth £5.9bn a year to the British economy.

    Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/arms-sales-britain-increases-exports-worlds-repressive-regimes-nearly-third

  • Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and… — ProPublica
    https://www.propublica.org/article/nothing-protects-black-women-from-dying-in-pregnancy-and-childbirth

    A black woman is 22% more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71% more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 300% more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes.

    • Travail impressionnant ! Cette histoire m’a bouleversée.
      C’est en comparant avec ce genre d’analyse systémique qu’on ne peut que regretter l’absence de statistiques mêlant race classe et genre en France. Interdire de dresser 1 éventuel constat sur ce genre de conséquences du racisme est un gros problème.

    • The disproportionate toll on African Americans is the main reason the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so much higher than that of other affluent countries. Black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, the World Health Organization estimates.

      What’s more, even relatively well-off black women like Shalon Irving die or nearly die at higher rates than whites. Again, New York City offers a startling example: A 2016 analysis of five years of data found that black college-educated mothers who gave birth in local hospitals were more likely to suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth than white women who never graduated from high school.

      The fact that someone with Shalon’s social and economic advantages is at higher risk highlights how profound the inequities really are, said Raegan McDonald-Mosley, the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who met her in graduate school at Johns Hopkins University and was one of her closest friends. “It tells you that you can’t educate your way out of this problem. You can’t health-care-access your way out of this problem. There’s something inherently wrong with the system that’s not valuing the lives of black women equally to white women.

      For much of American history, these types of disparities were largely blamed on blacks’ supposed innate susceptibility to illness — their “mass of imperfections,” as one doctor wrote in 1903 — and their own behavior. But now many social scientists and medical researchers agree, the problem isn’t race but racism.

  • #Soviet_Bus_Stops Volume II | Current | Publishing / Bookshop | FUEL
    http://fuel-design.com/publishing/soviet-bus-stops-volume-ii

    After the popular and critical success of his first book, #Christopher_Herwig has returned to the former Soviet Union to hunt for more Soviet Bus Stops. In this second volume, as well as discovering unexpected examples in the remotest areas of Georgia and Ukraine, Herwig turns his camera to Russia itself. Following exhaustive research, he drove 15,000 km from coast to coast across the largest country in the world, in pursuit of new variations of this singular architectural form. 

    A foreword by renowned architecture and culture critic Owen Hatherley, reveals new information on the origins of the Soviet bus stop. Examining the government policy that allowed these ‘small architectural forms’ to flourish, he explains how they reflected Soviet values, and how ultimately they remained – despite their incredible individuality – far-flung outposts of Soviet ideology.

    Pour les (nombreux !) amateurs, le tome 2…

    cosmonaute (f.)


    Ivanov, Russia. Bus stop in the Krasnodar region decorated with tiled mosaic of a cosmonaut.
    © Christopher Herwig


    Omsk, Russia.
    © Christopher Herwig

    Légendes prises ici

    Photos: From Brutalism to folk art, Soviet-era bus stops crush the myth of Communist homogeneity
    https://timeline.com/photos-from-brutalism-to-folk-art-soviet-era-bus-stops-crush-the-myth-of-c

    A new book documents the artistic individualism of the USSR’s disappearing roadside structures

    The architectural styles of remote bus stops in the former USSR are the little cousins to the monumental Communist construction projects — the high-rises, TV towers, space shuttles, and state-owned factories—most of us are familiar with. In his new book, Soviet Bus Stops Volume II, photographer Christopher Herwig examines the Soviet-era bus stop as an architectural type, where regional planners flexed their patriotic muscle and pushed artistic boundaries. These humble structures challenge the preconception of the Soviet landscape as blandly homogeneous.

    In 1975, the Soviet Ministry of Transport Construction dictated that bus stops “should pay special attention to modern architectural design, in accordance with the climate and the local and national characteristics of the area. Bus stops should be the compositional centers of the architectural ensemble of the road.” But if the shells of these structures reflected governmental decree, their quirky inventiveness is the result of the mores of local artisans.

  • Oliver Wainwright on the glitzy starchitecture of Astana: “Like a teenager trying to show off” | News | Archinect
    https://archinect.com/news/article/150033707/oliver-wainwright-on-the-glitzy-starchitecture-of-astana-like-a-teenager-

    Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright reports from the Astana World Expo grounds as part of the paper’s fascinating new series, Secret Stans, which offers a glimpse into the cities of the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

    In his piece, Wainwright minces no words and describes the collection of petrodollar-funded starchitecture that Kazakhstan’s lone ruler, Nursultan Nazarbayev, enabled to grow from the Eurasian steppe as a “row of awards in a particularly gaudy trophy cabinet,” and also questions the ’regime-enforcing’ integrity of well known international architects who agreed to build it.

    #architecture #asie_centrale #kazakhstan

  • Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan: Once Deadly Foes, Now BFF? · Global Voices

    https://globalvoices.org/2017/09/13/kyrgyzstan-and-uzbekistan-once-deadly-foes-now-bff

    t wasn’t just about the first ladies and their matching shoes, although that didn’t go unnoticed; Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Kyrgyzstan last week marked a sea change in relations between two Central Asian countries that up until recently, lived in the long shadow cast by his uncompromising predecessor.

    Islam Karimov, who ruled Uzbekistan from before independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 until his death last year, had few nice things to say about Kyrgyzstan.

    #asie_centrale #turkmenistan #ouzbekistan #dictatures

  • One Year On: Uzbekistan’s Unhappy Ex-Ruling Family · Global Voices
    https://globalvoices.org/2017/08/30/one-year-on-uzbekistans-unhappy-ex-ruling-family

    By the time he suffered a reported stroke from which he would not recover, his eldest daughter was under house arrest and his unloved nephew was languishing in a psychiatric prison. In Islam Karimov’s Uzbekistan, families regularly told the pro-government polling company how happy they were, even as authoritarianism flourished and corruption deepened.

    His own family, however, could never quite keep up the pretence.

    #ouzbékistan #karimov

  • In Uzbekistan, the World Bank is masking labour abuses

    Uzbekistan has often used forced labour to bring in the cotton harvest. A new report shows that the World Bank’s continuing investment may only prolong the practice.


    https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/jessica-evans/in-uzbekistan-world-bank-is-masking-labour-abuses
    #travail #exploitation #Banque_mondiale #Ouzbékistan #coton #agriculture

  • Uzbekistan : ILO Report Confirms Forced Labor

    (Washington, DC) – A recent report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) confirms the scope and systematic nature of forced labor of Uzbek citizens during Uzbekistan’s 2016 cotton harvest, the Cotton Campaign said today. But the Uzbek government’s involvement in the research appeared to undermine the results and may also have led the ILO to not give sufficient weight to the evidence of abuses presented by independent Uzbek civil society monitors.


    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/16/uzbekistan-ilo-report-confirms-forced-labor

    #Ouzbékistan #coton #travail #exploitation

  • When Climate Change Starts Wars - Issue 45: Power
    http://nautil.us/issue/45/power/when-climate-change-starts-wars

    The Kyrgyz soldier stepped quietly out of the dark green bushes and swung his Kalashnikov rifle in the direction of our car. Another emerged and did the same. Their checkpoint was a skinny log dragged across a broken asphalt road heading toward an ethnic Uzbek village and the disputed waters of the Kasan-sai, a reservoir that irrigates the agricultural heartland of the ancient Fergana Valley. With a sleepy shake of his head, the special forces sergeant waved his rifle and made us turn our beat-up Mitsubishi around. “There won’t be any fighting here,” the sergeant said. At least not today. The quiet of the hot September afternoon was unbroken as we turned around and slowly ground off through the heat. Driving back the way we came through the parched foothills on the edge of the western (...)


    • RECEDING WATERS The Kasan-sai reservoir, which irrigates the Fergana Valley, stands half drained near the Uzbek border. The reservoir sits in Kyrgyz land but supplies water to Uzbekistan’s Fergana Valley.

      Throughout the spring and summer in 2016, tensions flared after ethnic Uzbek villagers and police blocked access to the reservoir and its water, which lies inside Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan drove armored personnel carriers into Kyrgyzstan, and both sides have captured and detained each other’s citizens. Fistfights and potshots have been common. For farmers scratching out a bare existence from increasingly dry land, water is lifeblood, and worth fighting for.

      #Asie_centrale. #climat #eau #conflit

  • Turkey-Azerbaijan: “One Nation, Two States”?

    http://repairfuture.net/index.php/en/identity-standpoint-of-turkey/turkey-azerbaijan-one-nation-two-states

    In this interview, SciencePo CERI researcher Bayram Balci analyzes international relations between Azerbaijan and its Turkish and Russian neighbors. He sets out to explain why Turkey and Azerbaijan maintain such a “special relationship,” because of their history but also of their economic, cultural, geographic and political ties. Besides, Balci analyzes Azerbaijan’s relations with its powerful neighbor Russia, arguing that one should not make too much of their recent rapprochement. Finally, he deplores a marginalization of Armenia as it is left out of new energetic deal currently being made in the region.

    REPAIR: Why are Turkey and Azerbaijan so close?

    Bayram Balci: For Turkey, Azerbaijan is not a country like any other and cannot be compared to its other neighbors. There is a definite proximity in their identities since both countries belong in the same Turkic identity zone, or at least hold roughly the same views on Turkishness, which is not the case for other Turkish-speaking countries of the former USSR. Even if there are some differences between Turkish identity in Anatolia and Turkic identity in Azerbaijan, that proximity is recognized and asserted on both sides. Secondly, in the last twenty years, Turkey has developed a national Turkist and even pan-Turkist rhetoric which Azerbaijan relates to most strongly. Thirdly, both nations are geographically close, which is not really the case of other Turkish-speaking countries such as Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan. During the Ottoman Empire, a small part of the country even found itself under Ottoman rule for a short period, long enough though to create strong bonds, something that did not happen with other Turkish-speaking Republics which were never part of the Ottoman sphere. Fourthly, in order to better grasp relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, one should note that upon the advent of the Kemalist Republic, many Azeri intellectuals in the Russian Empire who had been active in the Muslim reformist movement moved to Turkey to help with the foundation of the new Republic. All this contributed to creating special ties between the two countries. And finally, since the breakup of the Soviet Union into independent nations, the fact that these two countries now have the same “enemy”, namely Armenia, has brought them somewhat closer.

    #azerbaïdjan #turquie #arménie #identité

  • Water Wars in Central Asia | Foreign Affairs
    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/gallerys/2016-08-24/water-wars-central-asia
    https://files.foreignaffairs.com/styles/large-crop-landscape/s3/images/media/2016/08/23/trilling-1043.jpg?itok=v21H9GH0

    Water Wars in Central Asia

    By David Trilling

    The relations of the five former Soviet Republics in Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are, more often than not, defined by water. When they were still a part of the Soviet Union, the upstream republics—Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—which have an abundance of water, would release some from their reservoirs in the spring and summer to generate electricity and nourish crops both on their own land and in the downstream republics, which would return the favor by providing gas and coal each winter.

    But since the dissolution of the Soviet Union over a quarter century ago, that system has collapsed. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan now face constant blackouts and hope to build giant dams to provide for their energy needs. Kyrgyzstan completed its Kambarata-2 power station in 2010 and is building a second one, Kambarata-1, with the help of Russia. Although he doesn’t have the funds, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon often speaks zealously about his mission to build a 335-meter dam, Rogun, which has the potential to turn his impoverished statelet into a powerbroker. But there is one glaring issue: the region’s glaciers, the source of huge and once predictable water supplies, are melting at record rates. Every year, it loses about as much water as consumed by a country the size of Switzerland. And the dams stand to limit water supply even further for the downstream countries. This has set them on edge.

    #eau #asie_centrale