The African Union and the European Union Part 2: Security

This is part 2 of Ed’s piece on the AU and EU. Part 1 can be found here 

The African continent faces a number of visible challenges within the security sphere. From sizeable but straightforward battles against narcotics dealing and piracy, to issues of immense complexity based on identity and sectarian conflict. Yet, among the 54 states that comprise the African region there are three issues the loom especially large, and of which the African Union (AU) can heed lessons learnt from the European Union (EU). Increased coordination on terror threats, a unified response to political instability, and the growing rivalry between the US and China.

The Terror Threat

Within the EU, revelations assailants in the November terrorist attacks in Paris were planning their attacks in Belgium illustrated traditional borders are no longer a failsafe of security given the capacity of terror groups to work both locally and across state lines. Though exact trends and faultlines differ region by region (and country by country), the international community is moving towards a greater globalisation and borderless world; and this poses risks for traditional state security.

Just as calls were heard across the EU following the Parisian attacks for the Click to continue reading

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The African Union and European Union: shared lessons but separate destinies Part I: Political process

 

The months and years ahead shall pose growing challenges for African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU). Though vast differences exist in geography, economy, and governance, there is much the AU can stand to learn from the EU – both in achievement and shortcomings – as it progresses into an uncertain future with it already certain 2016 and beyond shall pose some significant challenges to AU in its 15th year of existence since establishment in 2001.

 

Assessing the future of a nation – much less an entire continent – is always a task fraught with great peril. This is true of the future of the AU and EU. Yet, within their recent history clear trends can be seen which illustrate the EU is likely to face further threats to its structure due to political events, and it is conversely due to political events that the AU need grow its structure. To assess where the AU can learn from the older EU’s missteps, first an overview of Europe’s recent years are necessary.

 

Put simply, the European Union in recent times has battled through the lowest point in its 22 year history. First, the monetary crisis between Greece Click to continue reading

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What economic trouble in China could mean for Africa

 

Chinese investment on the African continent is huge. This in itself is not news. Further, China as a global economy is huge. By one measure in recent times, it has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest economy. Yet, it is also a reality that Beijing began January 2016 by sending tremors of fear throughout regional and global stock markets, and so it need be considered what a continuation of this would mean for African nations. First, an overview of recent events is necessary.

Upheaval on the Chinese share market is not new. Foremost among the turmoil of recent times is perceived inexperience of new Chinese ‘mom and pop’ investors combined with the Chinese government’s need to maintain a positive economic outlook at all costs to ensure its ongoing legitimacy. Though investors may have traded before believing it a manageable risk Beijing could be artificially fabricating figures, the rate in which the economic slowdown in China has occurred – with this month’s figures showing annual growth the lowest in 25 years – has meant there is growing concern the risks of doing business in China right now outweigh the rewards.

Yet, it Click to continue reading

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7 CES products that showcase the promise of 2016

Sunday January 18 2015

CES Las Vegas has wrapped and many products indicate an exciting 2016 ahead.

The Consumer Technology Association’s Las Vegas event this year was looked upon with an extra-keen eye. Entering into the second half of the 10’s, the globe has seen at the edges of mass market some ‘game changing’ products in VR, drone flight, 3D printing and more for some time now.

This means an extra sense of ‘oomph’ was sought from this Nevada event to establish how close we are to getting some long desired futuristic gadgets. Let’s examine where and how it delivered.

Oculus Rift VR headset

The Oculus Rift VR headset. Image: www.oculus.com/

The Oculus Rift VR headset. Image: www.oculus.com/

Virtual reality has long been a feature of futuristic Hollywood films and predictions about the future but 2016 appears set to be the year VR is firmly moved into mainstream use. While brief flourishes and flirtations with the technology and mainstream adoption have occurred before – most notably during the mid-1990’s – the variety of VR featured at CES affirms this time it has the real potential for long term staying power.

From the entry level Google Cardboard all the way up to the Oculus Rift the diversity Click to continue reading

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Speaking the Language of SEO between Client and Copywriter

SEO is all important for a new business. Picture: supplied

SEO is all important for a new business. Picture: supplied

You cannot be a copywriter without coming across folks who wish for SEO content.

For those yet to come across it, SEO=Search Engine Optimisation. Through the use of a variety of tools and techniques ‘good’ SEO shall ensure a business ranks high on a query made on a search engine.

Good SEO can be achieved via targeted ad campaigns across the internet, it can be done by writing articles on your website and using certain keywords relevant to your industry (like ‘car’ for a mechanic), and by promoting your business on social media among other ways.

Good SEO can grow your business online. Picture: supplied

Good SEO can grow your business online. Picture: supplied

Established businesses seek SEO so they can maintain they prime brand positioning in the market. New business seeks SEO so in the day and age of the internet they can ‘leapfrog’ these businesses in search engine rankings like Google and Bing – and draw new customers to their website.

For example, say you are a new gym in my hometown of Melbourne (AKA the ‘World’s most liveable city’) and you’ve done all the real world legwork in getting a loan, a location and Click to continue reading

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Melbourne and Sydney property markets vs the World

 

Large-scale investment from Asia and particularly China is not confined to Australia. Yet, skim some local headlines on your phone or pick up any Sunday morning paper and you’d be hard pressed to find a mention of the word that is crucial to any report on the trend: context.

New York. Where a huge Chinese investment boom is also occurring. Picture: supplied.

New York. Where a huge Chinese investment boom is also occurring. Picture: supplied.

Certainly, both the Melbourne and Sydney property markets have been going through a certifiable surge in recent months and years. Yet, neither Melbourne nor Sydney nor wider Australia is unique in this regard. At all.

Simply put, foreign investment by Chinese investors is immense the world over right now. From Melbourne and Sydney to London,  New York, Toronto and beyond. Chinese investment is big business. To most this is not news, but now and then some of the more sensationalist coverage in Australian media deploys a ‘blind spot’ this reality. So, here now a ‘just in case’ overview…

The “China Challenge” for Australia’s economy

For those yet to encounter the debate surrounding Chinese investment in Australia it is largely is as follows. While Australians may welcome the economic growth and greater wealth that comes Click to continue reading

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The growing importance of Germany to Africa and the world

 

Recent years has seen ample discussion of the growing trade and economic relationship of China with numerous African nations. Accordingly, this has led to debate surrounding the USA’s ongoing status as a trade leader on the African continent; and how this may change with China’s rise. Yet, thus far there has been little in-depth coverage of the capacity for growth in trade and political links with African nations and Germany, and the EU more broadly. All signs show this will change fast.

Germany offers the African continent an array of advantages.  While ongoing challenges remain with Greece and the Euro, domestically Germany has enjoyed a long and sustained period of economic growth in recent years, and this has largely occurred alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel’s record ten-year tenure as Germany’s leader. Stability in a nation’s politics generally encourages confidence in its economics. Further, Eurozone crisis has shown Berlin’s leadership in maintaining a (relative) cohesion in the EU, and increasingly viewed as the de-facto leading nation of Europe.

Further, while much has rightfully been written of China’s growing presence across Africa, it is undoubted Beijing main priorities reside within Asia. This is evidenced by its territorial skirmishes in the South Click to continue reading

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