Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

Coleman maps the intersections between political reform, economic growth, and U.S. policy in the developing world.

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Showing posts for "Economic Development"

Algeria’s Presidential Election and the Challenges Ahead

by Isobel Coleman
A woman stands at a bus stop beside election campaign posters of Algerian president and presidential candidate Abdelaziz Bouteflika at Bab El Oued district in Algiers, April 14, 2014. (Zohra Bensemra/Courtesy Reuters) A woman stands at a bus stop beside election campaign posters of Algerian president and presidential candidate Abdelaziz Bouteflika at Bab El Oued district in Algiers, April 14, 2014. (Zohra Bensemra/Courtesy Reuters)

Algerians head to the polls today to vote in presidential elections. Although six candidates are running, the country’s long-serving president, seventy-seven year old Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is expected to coast to a fourth term. In a region rife with revolution, Algeria is caught in a political time warp. The ruling elite swim against the tide of political change that the Arab uprisings unleashed. They rally around the ailing Bouteflika–who suffered a stroke in 2013 and has rarely been seen in public during the campaign–as the candidate of stability and security. Read more »

Guest Post: Daniel Markey on Reorienting U.S.-Pakistan Strategy

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 5, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Jason Lee). Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 5, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Jason Lee).

Since 9/11, U.S. policymakers have tended to consider Pakistan in the context of the war in Afghanistan and the counterterrorism campaign against al-Qaeda. This year, however, U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan will end. In addition, the security threat posed by international terrorism is increasingly diffuse, with al-Qaeda and its affiliates seemingly less dependent on safe havens along the Af-Pak border than they were in the past. In this context, an “Af-Pak” framework for U.S. strategy is no longer wise. Read more »

Why There Is “No Exit from Pakistan”

by Isobel Coleman
The Pakistan-Afghanistan border, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/Naseer Ahmed). The Pakistan-Afghanistan border, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters/Naseer Ahmed).

Last week, my colleague Daniel Markey published his latest book: No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad. The book is a timely, if sober, reminder that Pakistan is too big and too messy to fix, yet too strategic to ignore, much as some U.S. policymakers would like to. Read more »

Guest Post: Daniel Markey on No Exit from Pakistan

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
An internally displaced girl at a UN refugee camp outside of Islamabad, Pakistan, May 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Faisal Mahmood). An internally displaced girl at a UN refugee camp outside of Islamabad, Pakistan, May 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Faisal Mahmood).

This guest post is from my colleague, Daniel Markey, a Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. Here he discusses his latest book: No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad. Read more »

Washington Should Suspend Aid to Egypt

by Isobel Coleman
Riot police fire tear gas during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, Cairo, Egypt, August 14, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany). Riot police fire tear gas during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, Cairo, Egypt, August 14, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany).

The Egyptian military’s recent violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood makes clear that, despite their claims to the contrary, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his armed forces have no intention of supporting Egypt’s democratic process. It is time that Washington call the military’s actions what they are: a coup. Read more »

Inclusive Economic Growth and Brazil’s Protests

by Isobel Coleman
Demonstrators march toward the Mineirao Stadium, where Nigeria was playing Tahiti in the Confederations Cup, during one of the many protests around Brazil's major cities in Belo Horizonte June 17, 2013 (Pedro Vilela/Courtesy Reuters). Demonstrators march toward the Mineirao Stadium, where Nigeria was playing Tahiti in the Confederations Cup, during one of the many protests around Brazil's major cities in Belo Horizonte on June 17, 2013 (Pedro Vilela/Courtesy Reuters).

Brazil’s weeklong protests, which have brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets across the country, have scored their first victory: officials in the major cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro have agreed to rescind the 20 cent bus fare hike that sparked the protests in the first place. But this conciliatory move, far from placating the crowds, seems to have energized their demands. Large marches are planned for today with demands now focused on better education and health care and greater efforts to tackle corruption. Read more »

Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions

by Isobel Coleman
A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ciudad Juarez on July 1, 2012 (Jorge Luis Gonzalez/Courtesy Reuters). A man casts his vote at a polling station in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on July 1, 2012 (Jorge Luis Gonzalez/Courtesy Reuters).

Today marks the publication of a new Council on Foreign Relations book, Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, which I co-edited with my colleague Terra Lawson-Remer; other CFR colleagues, John Campbell, Joshua Kurlantzick, and Shannon O’Neil contributed chapters, as did scholars from other institutions. The book looks at eight different countries–Mexico, Brazil, Poland, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Nigeria–that have been through democratic transitions, some successful, others less so. Read more »

Youth Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa

by Isobel Coleman
Graph by author. Data are from ILO's Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO's 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD's second quarter 2012 data. Graph by author. Data are from ILO's Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report. Regional data are from ILO's 2012 preliminary estimates; U.S. and E.U. data are from the OECD's second quarter 2012 data.

As the graph above makes painfully clear, the Middle East and North Africa face significant challenges when it comes to youth unemployment. A World Economic Forum report from 2012 notes, “Unemployment in the MENA region is the highest in the world…and largely a youth phenomenon.” Read more »

Rached Ghannouchi and Tunisia’s Transition

by Isobel Coleman
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, Tunisia's main Islamist political party, speaks during a demonstration in Tunis on February 16, 2013 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters). Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Nahda movement, Tunisia's main Islamist political party, speaks during a demonstration in Tunis on February 16, 2013 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, my colleague Ed Husain and I hosted a meeting with Rached Ghannouchi—the cofounder and president of Tunisia’s Islamist Nahda party—at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The audio is available here. Read more »

Financial Inclusion and the World’s “Unbanked” Population

by Isobel Coleman
A man leaves an M-PESA booth after a money transaction in Nairobi on May 12, 2009 (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters). A man leaves an M-Pesa booth after a money transaction in Nairobi on May 12, 2009 (Noor Khamis/Courtesy Reuters).

Imagine life without a bank account. Completing a simple financial transaction can require traveling a distance, incurring expenses, and losing precious income. Savings are more difficult to track and certainly don’t earn interest. Theft or loss of the proverbial “cookie jar” is a constant worry. Indeed, studies show that informal savers lose as much as 25 percent of their hard-earned cash each year due to theft and loss. Yet for over 2.5 billion people globally, this inconvenient, inefficient, and expensive reality is the case. Read more »