Interview in the Days of  the Coronavirus

Posted on April 15, 2020

Dennis Vacco and Jon Purizhansky – regular guests of the program “War and Peace” – were supposed to come to Israel in March 2020. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made adjustments. We recorded this interview “in the distance.” How is America struggling with this disease, what is happening in New York State and what will the world be like after coronavirus?

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Coronavirus and Impact on Global Labor Markets

Posted on March 3, 2020

COVID-19 has been rapidly spreading around the globe.  The disease has had a significant human impact with loss of life, travel limitations, mass quarantines, and financial loss.  Accordingly, it has also drastically impacted global labor market.

The coronavirus has been in confirmed in at least 47 countries around the world. While disease was first encountered in China – its impact is now in every continent. In Europe, Italy has the most recorded cases at 528, of which results in 14 deaths. Global efforts being led by the numerous countries and the World Health Organization are trying to contain the disease to limit exposure and prevent more loss of life.

Japan has seen a steady rise in cases as well, largely as a result of its proximity to China. Japan recently took the extreme step to close all schools in effort to stop the disease from spreading. President Trump has publicly spoken about the disease and has encouraged citizens to be precautious such that the disease is not spread in the US.

In the Middle East, Iran has confirmed at least 245 cases of which 26 included loss of life.  The Iranian government cancelled Friday prayers as an effort to limit spreading of the disease.

The many travel restrictions and increased regulations around travel have drastically impacted the global labor markets. Workers are finding it hard to travel cross-border.  They past travels have to be clearly documented to ensure they have not been in high exposure countries, and this takes time and often results in workers being sent back to their country of origin.

With the disease having such a global impact, and the spread seemingly increasing – there does not appear to be a resolution in the near term. For this reason, workers and employers are encouraged to work with their governments to understand the requirements needed to validate travelers information such that delays and stops are limited.

Many border patrol or military troops that are often assigned with assisting travelers have been quarantines. In South Korea, more than 9500 troops are under quarantine.  In addition, many government resources are being reallocated and diverted to combat the disease which is contributing to longer delays for labor related travel.

It is documented that a factory worker from China infected some co-workers in Germany, resulting in 400 other workers being quarantines. For this reason, employers should be vigilant about testing workers from infected countries to ensure their entire workforce is not susceptible to the disease.

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Labor and Migration Policy Shapers – Global Migration Group

Posted on February 17, 2020

Many of today’s international migration policies and norms have been devised and set by an influential group known as the Global Migration Group. The Global Migration Group was devised by the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in 2006. It’s an inter-agency group bringing together key opinion leaders involved in the area of global migration. The Global Migration Group main focus was to improve and address the challenges posed by international migration.

The Global Migration Group was particularly effective as it was comprised of 14 UN agencies, the World Bank, and the International Organization for Migration to address migration issues. The neutrality of the group was maintained through a 6-month rotating chair by various member agency. Accordingly, during each 6-month a new theme was adopted to help guide the Group’s activity per term. UNICEF was one of the Group’s members and adopted the theme of youth and climate change during two of the 6 month terms it chaired. These are topics particular of interest to UNICEF hence it was able to drive the Group’s focus on these themes while shaping the activities of the Group. Other themes adopted by the Group include correlations between migrations and the environmental impact, human settlement, and population movement.

Global migration is a topic that impacts hundreds of millions of people around the worldIt is critical to have global support to provide a safe and effective infrastructure in this area. The topic is so broad that impacts numerous other topics – such as human rights, women’s rights, climate change, wealth and income disparity, all traversing through geo-political lines and corporate profit. Accordingly, the Group can help provide a legal and political framework to address issues that may arise through cross-border migration. It provides a basis for countries to solve issues that may arise without having to start from square one.

One of the Group’s main focuses is upon the impacts of migration on youth. Younger populations are very much impacted by migration as they are more willing to seek new opportunities around the world. While these opportunities may provide monetary gain, there are also inherent risks and other issues imposed. Along with global migration comes placing culturally different people together in new environments. Greater equal opportunity in communities of origin, transit and destination can ensure the well being of young migrants and maximize their contributions as workers, entrepreneurs, students and members of society.

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Shifting Global Trade Policies

Posted on February 13, 2020

The Brookings Institute recently released a study on shifting global trade policies.  The study is focused upon a three-year term and takes into consideration numerous macro-economic factors such as US and China trade war.  Such a comprehensive study brings insight into global trade – but also touches upon the broad patterns impacting global labor and migration.

One of the study’s most interesting findings is that there is a shift away from open trade. The Study focused on G-20 countries during what was deemed a populist era (2017 – 2019).  In a hyper competitive environment many countries observed and imposed regulations that increased tariffs.  This effort was largely commented upon on the United States and China.  However, it also impacted nearly the entire world, and especially the G-20.  Accordingly, certain sentiments believe that the US/China tariff dispute had ripple effects throughout the world.  Nonetheless, essentially the entire global economy was impacted.

When the global economy is impacted – global migration and labor is directly and indirectly affected.  When certain countries were subjected to higher tariffs for commodity related goods, employers often seek to mitigate the rising costs by importing lower priced labor.  As a result, new patterns of labor and migration can be observed.

The Study further identified many recent trade policies concentrated upon a smaller number of goods than previous years.  Moreover, there were an increased number of protectionist acts during this period, impacting a more concentrated listing of goods than during the financial crises of previous years.  In addition, during the same time period trade reforms have diminished from previous years.  The imbalance in trade reforms has led to a less even playing field.

The Brookings Institute’s Study took a deep look at specific countries around the world, and particularly the G-20.  The Brookings Institution’s studies are generally widely lauded for their detailed and analytical approach to derive a macro-economic basis for theory.  The Brookings Institute often publishes such reports and studies since it was founded in 1916.  The organization is a Think Tank based in Washington DC.

Much of the research and policy education provided is around social sciences, including economics, public policy, foreign policy, governance, global economy, and economic development.  Accordingly, many of these areas tie directly into global labor and organized migration.  Hence, their research into various areas ties in the labor markets and is closely followed by labor policy regulators, employers, and public interest groups.


Global Forum on Migration and Development

Posted on February 2, 2020

The 12th annual Global Forum on Migration and Development was kicked off on January 21, 2020 in Quito, Ecuador.  The Forum will be hosted by Ecuadorean government officials and attended by minister level officials, shaping migration policy, from throughout the world.  This is a great event that routinely brings together thought leaders, key opinion stakeholders, and policy shapers to foster discussion and knowledge capital in the arena of labor and global migration policy.

This year’s Forum includes three central themes:

1) Coordinated responses to mixed movements: Partnerships and collective action to protect rights;

2) Migration narratives and communication: What role, responsibility and resources do governments have?

3) Addressing human mobility as part of urban and rural development strategies.  Having a diverse group of attendees from mixed backgrounds and cultures will yield a broad discussion around impactful effects of migration in various countries and territories.

A portion of the meeting will be allocated to business meetings and round-table discussions.  Since 2016 such meetings between private sector and government officials have been planned and executed at the Forum.  It’s important for the private sector to get involved in the global migration and labor discussion Ultimately it’s the private sector that is shaping the supply/demand curve within this space, thus they should be at the table when discussing and shaping policy.

The Forum also provides round table opportunities for regional countries to meet and confer.  Such round tables are scheduled for the Middle-East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.  Such round  tables are vital to bring key stakeholders together to discuss an important and mutually impactful discussion point.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development is not a part of the United Nations, but it is closely aligned with the UN.  In fact, it was UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan who recommended and endorsed a global migration forum in 2006.  The Forum is open to all Member states and to observers of the United Nations.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development has several key agenda items, including in-part: To provide a forum and medium for key policy makes to meet and confer to discuss key issues around global migration.  In addition, they strive to promote best practices to protect all stakeholders in the migration supply chain.  The Forum also supports the identification of gaps and shared solutions to resolve and satiate such gaps.

The Forum sets standards around migration and development and fosters partnerships between countries, and also between countries and the private sector.  Such Forums advance a key global issue that needs cooperation, compassion, and a cultivation for solution.

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New Report Finds Millions Affected by Insufficient Pay

Posted on January 27, 2020

A new report by the International Labor Organization finds that nearly 5 0 0 million people lack access to paid work.  The report further found that this group may also be working fewer paid hours than they would like.  Such large numbers of underemployed persons are a draw on the global economy.

The report, titled the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2 0 2 0   , takes a macro and micro economic view to the global labor markets.  The report projects that unemployment may rise by around two and a half million in 2020.  Although global unemployment has been steady for nearly the past decade, that may change this year in-part to lack of employment opportunities for new entrants to the market.  This is not an unusual affect when the economy grows it often takes time for the labor market to catch up – but it is a metric that is directly ties populations to under-or-un employed markets.

“For millions of ordinary people, it’s increasingly difficult to build better lives through work,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Persisting and substantial work-related inequalities and exclusion are preventing them from finding decent work and better futures. That’s an extremely serious finding that has profound and worrying implications for social cohesion.”

The detailed report provided several metrics forecasting the state of the market:

  • The global number of unemployed (188 million),
  • There are nearly 165 million people that don’t have enough paid work and
  • There are nearly 120 million people that have either given up actively searching for work or otherwise lack access to the market.
  • In total, more than 470 million people worldwide are affected.

In addition, the report projected that poverty, both extreme and moderate, may increase over the next year in some countries.  Much of this is expected to affect developing countries.  Today, poverty is affecting over six hundred million (630 million) workers throughout the global economy.  A global, wide-reaching, effort is required to help satiate this now growing issue.  The report further identified that many younger workers (15-24) are also seeing less opportunity and may see further job loss.

The International Labor Organization is an agency of the United Nations.  The ILO was founded in 1919.  It serves to give an equal voice to workers, employers, and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labor standards and in shaping policies and programs.

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How Can International Labor Practices Be Shared Globally?

Posted on January 16, 2020

We now live in a world where globalization has brought the challenges associated with international labor standards into the light for debate and reform. International labor practices are protocols for governments that evolved to help protect justice and dignity for workers. Governments, employers, and their employees all work together with international experts to help shapes this unique set of rules.

Work is essential in a person’s life, and international labor practices help to keep a level playing field in the global economy. And the more international labor practices that come into play, the more protected workers will be.

Labor Practices

Governments, multinational enterprises, employers, workers’ organizations, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations have nothing to lose and everything to gain when they chose to incorporate and uphold these labor practices in their organizations. They can be used on both the national and international levels, and the more they are used, the more people will benefit.

International labor practices can be shared globally when the proper process has been completed.

When these labor laws are drafted (with social policy in consideration) into an internationally acceptable standard, then they can begin to work their magic on the employees and organizations, making life better for everyone involved.

Accountability is key! With international labor practices, global organizations are held accountable for any violations that were outlined in the agreement. So how to we continue to spread labor practices globally?

These days we are more connected than ever with our phones, computers, social media platforms, and so on. Using this connectivity, we can help “get the word out there” and build better networks to promote the remarkable process improvement of labor rights. Labor rights are just as fundamental as human rights. The more we increase knowledge, the more we can protect people around the world.

When more people unite together to improve international labor practices, we provide better opportunities for families to live in safer communities and access better medical care, and for children to receive better education. International labor practices also help improve equality for women and minorities and protect children with child labor laws.

The more support that services such as the International Labor Organization and World Trade Organization receive, the more they can help globalize labor laws and support those who need help most. Everyone wins when it comes to a better economy and a better life! 

After all,

“It is the purpose of the government to see that not only the legitimate interests of the few are protected, but that the welfare and rights of the many are conserved.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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What Biggest issues in Global Migration/Labor Today?

Posted on January 13, 2020

Global migration and labor are one of the hottest topics when it comes to politics and international relations today. With over 100 million migrant workers living all over the world, there are so many benefits of global migration in the labor industry, such as boosting the working-age population and skill contribution. Still, many adverse effects are also associated.

Migration can result in negative effects on the countries of origin. Those with higher skills and education, who immigrate in high numbers from poor countries, are making their home country even more “poor” by not staying and investing in the economy, especially when they are leaving the crucial areas of health and education. These outflows can also create job shortages, particularly in less densely populated regions. Depending on the area, this can also result in food/housing/water shortages, disease outbreak, and it could also make the area more prone to major disasters.

Immigration can also have devastating long term social effects. Children can be negatively affected psychologically by a family torn apart if one or more family members leave the country to find work. This can result in difficulty at school and even violence.

Tajikistan is an excellent example when it comes to some of the most significant issues in global migration and labor. As a country that has been redefining itself since its former soviet days, it has been experiencing a significantly high level of labor migration over the past ten years.

Migrants who received a higher education send money to their families back home more often than migrants with lower education. Still, one significant issue with this is that the skills and knowledge usually obtained before travel often go unused and eventually become outdated in the new country. This is because migrants rarely get to work in their specialized fields in their new home.

Also, just because migrants have higher skills, this does not automatically mean higher wages. This can be a devastating reality for those who have sacrificed just about everything to make a better life for themselves and their families. Xenophobia and discrimination are two other issues when it comes to global immigration and the workforce. This problem is world-wide, but the International Labor Organization (ILO) is doing all they can to mitigate and eliminate the issue.

By embracing immigration and understanding how to better care for migrant workers and their families, and by protecting migrants from discrimination, immigration can become less of a risk and more of a sustainable foundation for economies everywhere — a worldwide win-win!

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What is the United Nations International Organization of Migration?

Posted on January 10, 2020

The United Nations International Organization of Migration was founded in war-torn Western Europe in 1951. It was much-needed establishment following World War II for the 11 million people who had been displaced during the time. The IOM was successfully able to arrange transport for at least 1 million people during its first decade of existence, reuniting families and bringing people to better communities.

The IOM has been able to aid in the multitude of both man-made and natural disasters that have occurred since it was founded. It has come a long way from its beginning, now operating with over 10,000 staff members in over 150 different countries.

The IOM is an organization that coordinates with government, intergovernmental, and non-governmental partners all over the world on issues related to migration. It serves to ensure orderly and compassionate migration by providing aid and advice to both governments and migrants, helping to provide safe and organized migration benefits.

Its mission is genuinely humanitarian-based, as it is an organization by the people, for the people. It is considered the migration agency and serves as a significant source of information when it comes to complex debates arguing the social, economic, and political impacts of migration in this age.

There is much to concentrate on when it comes to the significant issue of migration.

The four main areas of focus for the IOM include:

-Migration and development

-Facilitating migration

-Regulating migration

-Forced migration

IOM offers the best and data on migration trends throughout the world. Their website provides a wealth of information such as their extensive and up-to-date glossary of migration terms, their migration data portal, which provides a fascinating interactive visual on the current and past migration patterns, and so much more. This is useful to many researchers seeking vital information and wishing to review worldwide trends.

The world of migration would undoubtedly be quite chaotic without the United Nations IOM. It has proven itself as a necessary tool for millions. With support, this organization will persevere and continue saving countless lives, and changing them for the better as it has since its humble beginning! IOM is helping to make global migration successful and is overall one of the investments for the worldwide economy. You can show your support by visiting their website and make a donation today.

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Why Should Corporate America Advocate for Ethical Global Labor?

Posted on January 8, 2020

Global ethics is one of the most contentious subjects when discussing the complicated world of economics. Because the United States of America is the world’s most powerful country, it has the most resources to be able to advocate for global ethical law.

America leads by example—the promise of the “American Dream” is alive and well for many immigrants these days. Along with leading by example, by our own ethical standards, it would seem to be fairest for Corporate America to step up and advocate for human rights around the world.

Arguably, America offers the most protection for any immigrant with our own labor laws, that is, if the migrant is legally allowed to stay in the US. America was built on immigration, and much of America’s power comes from its size and human capital. The country is reverberating with the voice of the founding fathers, with a focus on preservation of the inherent rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Just because unfair treatment isn’t happening on the “home front” in America does not mean the country cannot step in and do something about it. America has the resources, including voices and funds, to help continue developing ethical global labor laws to protect people around the world.

Corporations engage in unethical behavior because of their own poor standards and values, the ethical “climate” within the company, or as a result of their unrealistic expectations in employee performance. This can be prevented. By advocating for enforcement of ethical global labor laws, America is giving the most valuable gift it could give to the rest of the world. Ultimately, better treatment results in happier workers, further resulting in better productivity, better organizations, and, finally, a better world. It all adds up in the big picture!

Of course America is not the only one who can advocate. When united with the Corporate European Union, together, these two powers could dramatically change the world for the better!

The right to fair pay for labor is a fundamental human right—yet it is so often overlooked or taken advantage of in other countries. Desperate people lack a voice and are therefore subject to abuse—but corporate America will be that voice! America has always been there to help when other counties are in crisis. Global ethics should be considered an emergency, and the sooner we put more attention into fixing it, then more stable economies will be, and more peace is likely spread throughout the world. That is especially important in times like these!

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Ethical Global Labor Practices

Posted on January 6, 2020

Nelson Mandela once said,

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

By implementing ethical global labor practices and socially responsible policies, we are bettering the trade world by ensuring both the communities and the environments are being taken care of rather than taken advantage of. It should also be noted that global labor practices like fair trade are equally good for the reputation of the partnering organization, creating a beautiful and trusting interdependent relationship.

It is easy for some major corporations to profit off of desperate workers in desperate situations. After all, this has been a problem since the beginning of humankind. While it still happens all over the world, consumers are starting to take notice, and support for fair trade companies grows stronger every day.

Ethical global labor practices ensure fair trade for both parties. Fairtrade ensures that the corporations of developed countries pay a sustainable (or appropriate) price to the producers in the developing countries for their quality labor and products and also embrace sustainable environmental practices.

Besides the fair trade of money for the product and the proper treatment of the environment, fair trade also ensures that the product is a result of zero child labor, discrimination, or forced labor; that instead, good working conditions were the only option. Fairtrade promotes accountability at every level to ensure that human rights are protected, and social justice is assured.

These labor practices ultimately lead to skill improvement, increases in standards of living, and an overall improvement in communities for generations to come. They are a precious investment in developing economies.

For the developed organization, a fair trade relationship includes such benefits as better sales, drawing investors, increasing trust in/among those involved with the corporations, boosting morale, increasing revenue, and, overall, leading to success and growth.

Fairtrade support will likely continue to increase in popularity as more consumers are made aware of it. Labeling of products, promotion of campaigns, and recognizing World Fair Trade Day are all steps being taken to make for better trade. In a nutshell, the more ethical labor practices that can be created and promoted, the more human rights will be protected throughout the world.

We can all play our part, taking those extra few seconds at the store to look for the label that ensures ethical global labor practice. Each little action we take can result in a better life for someone else.

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United Nations: International Migrants Day

Posted on December 24, 2019

On December 18, 2019 the United Nations is celebrating International Migrants Day.  This is an important event marking a significant population that needs attention and awareness.  There are over 272 million migrants living throughout the world.  And while many of these people migrate by choice, many also migrate because they do not have a choice. War, famine, political and religious oppression – has contributed to millions of people migrating around the world seeking refuge.

Migration and labor is a closely monitored activity by the United Nations.  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres remarked all migrants are entitled to equal protection of all their human rights.  On this International Day, I urge leaders and people everywhere to bring the Global Compact to life, so that migration works for all.

Migration is not a new concept.  It has been widely documented and observed throughout human history.  And throughout time, a commonality resonates – people seek to overcome adversity and have the desire to live a better life.  Migration has become more noticeable today with improved communication, accessible transportation, and more available information.

While migration is increasing in numbers today, it has also brought up new challenges for societies. It also has served to underscore the clear linkage between migration and development, as well as the opportunities it provides for co-development, the improvement of the humane and financial health at both the origin and destination of the migrants.

The United Nations is highlighting International Migrants Day with numerous events and ceremonies to showcase the achievements and obstacles faced by migrants and refugees in light of their differing and adverse conditions.

As the number of migrants around the world continues to rise, it’s important for the United Nations to continue to hold such events to signify the importance of their cause and continue to raise awareness throughout the world.

International Migrants Day comes as the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva draws to a close. At the Forum, Antonio Guterres asked for the “international community” to do “far more” to assist with the responsibility of refugees together.

The Forum was the first of its kind, bringing together world leaders, as well as business leaders, thought-leaders, professors, and refugees themselves, to bring their perspectives and voices for more efficient support.  Such events are critical to shed on light on an increasingly important and growing global issue that affects communities and countries around the world.

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Corporations Step-up to Protect Migrant Workers

Posted on December 18, 2019

Corporations and governments throughout the world are working together to protect migrant workers. On December 9th, the Swedish clothing corporation, H&M Group, renewed its interest in this area by pledging to promote the ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers in global supply chains. The pledge was memorialized through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations agency International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Numerous corporations have renewed their efforts to support the rights of migrant workers. Many corporations make such pledges internally or with their customers, but it’s refreshing to see such a commitment as the H&M company has made with an inter-governmental agency.

The H&M Group has a particular interest in around workers’ rights. They are a multinational clothing-retail company that operates in 62 countries with over 4,500 stores and employs over 132,000 people. It is one of the largest global clothing retailers having an online presence in over thirty countries.

H&M’s Head of Sustainability, Anna Gedda, executed the MOU on behalf of the company. The company stated that “unethical recruitment practices and gaps in the governance of labor migration” are among the leading risks impacting global migrant workers in todays economy.

Migrant workers are routinely taken advantage of, there are unethical fees charged to workers, rampant fraud during the recruitment and on-boarding process, and seizure of personal documents. These have been issues for many years, and while governments have tried to remedy these practices they still exist today. Having major corporations getting involved in this area draws attention to a global issue and which can ultimately bring change.

IOM is a major United Nations initiative drawing attention to this issue. They are the leading international organization for migration and routinely work with the international community to address challenges in migration management. IOM also promotes and advances the understanding of migration issues and supports economic and community development through migration. One of their critical value statements is to uphold the dignity and well-being of migrants and their families.

IOM is the global leader in this space. The organization was founded in 1951 and is supported by 173 member states. Being an arm of the United Nations provides the resources and awareness of migration matters on a wide-global scale and the tools to drive change.

Another benefit of H&M’s very public pledge is that it will encourage other social groups and corporations to adopt similar positions to drive continued awareness to a global issue.

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Borders are Unempathetic

Posted on November 15, 2019

Unempathetic

Across Europe and the Americas, governments have gone to severe extents to halt migration. During a Thanksgiving Day conference with members of the U.S. military, President Donald Trump took his chance to revel in the increased militarization of the U.S.’s southern border in response to the incoming Central American migrant and refugee convoy. Trump stated “We have the concertina fencing and we have things that people don’t even believe. We took the old, broken wall and we wrapped it with barbed wire-plus…

We’re fighting for our country. If we don’t have borders, we don’t have a country”. Quite ironically, the U.S.’s ignoring of other nations’ borders is a large part of the reason Central American migration is occurring in the first place, as U.S. political and economic interfering in the region continues to increase violence and poverty. Now, the barbed wire ploy has caused a situation in which thousands of refugees are trapped on the Mexican border awaiting the processing of their cases, with black numbers chalked on their arms as part of a crude tracking system.

This barbed wire scheme has not panned out for some of Trump’s fellow citizens as 32 individuals were recently arrested at a pro-migrant rally on the border, organized by a Quaker group. Time Magazine explains that the demonstration “was meant to launch a national week of action called Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice, which falls between Human Rights Day on December 10 and International Migrants’ Day on December 18.

And as we ring in this year’s International Migrants’ Day right-wing efforts persist to selectively criminalize migration and all those who would sympathize with the plight of those unfortunate enough to have to endure the struggles of a migrant. 

On the other side of the globe, European nations are displaying their own borders, as xenophobia and the demonization of the other are useful means of pulling public attention from domestic disorder. Italy is a fine example: a key docking point for migrants from Africa and other regions and a fountain of racist political oratory. During Attilio Fontana’s successful campaign for president of the Lombardy earlier this year, he warned Italian radio viewers about the dangers of immigration:

“We must decide whether our ethnicity, our white race, our society should continue to exist or should be erased”

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French Police Allow Provisional Migrant Campsites

Posted on November 11, 2019

French officials have vowed to evacuate refugees from other sites after clearing the Porte de la Chapelle and Seine-Saint-Denis area. French authorities have evacuated hundreds of migrants from two sites in Paris this week, just after the government disclosed a series of procedures to a “take back control” of immigration. Roughly 600 policemen ushered the migrants from tents where they were then moved to reception centers, in a process that began under rainfall in the early morning, an AFP news agency reporter notes. The two sites near the Porte de la Chapelle were estimated to hold between 800 and 1,000 migrants.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe noted that his country must “take back control of immigration” and devise clear choices regarding refuge and assimilation. Granting refugees the right to stay in the country, he mentioned in a speech on Wednesday, must be “actively based on our principles and goals.” Many of the occupants, much of which were families with children, maintained that they were from Afghanistan or Africa.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said to Al Jazeera that these large-scale operations have occurred before. “Every time, we’re told it won’t happen again, but we need proper processing procedures when people arrive in France in order for them to have their rights respected,” Hidalgo noted. “In camps like these, about 20 percent of people are refugees who are here legally but have not been offered any kind of housing,” she reflected. “There are also homeless families.”

It appears the French government is looking to introduce immigration quotas for laborers in an attempt to address the nation’s skilled labor shortage industry. There are also plans in place to make things more difficult for refugees seeking asylum. Their access to healthcare is going to be restricted and all government services are going to be restricted as well. 

During the evacuation this week, Paris police chief Didier Lallement noted that the massive operation, the largest of its kind in years, was “decided in the framework of the implementation of the government plan”. “It did not happen by chance,” he said to reporters. “I will no longer tolerate these installations by the roadside here or anywhere else on public spaces in Paris,” he reflected. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to reign stricter on immigration, a gesture widely regarded as an attempt to keep right-wing parties from stealing votes from him in the forthcoming French elections.

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The Misleading Definitions of Refugee and Migrant

Posted on October 23, 2019

The migrant crisis in North and South America, not unlike the European crisis before it, has brought into question the practicality of long-used terms like “refugee” and “economic migrant.” The United Nation’s 1951 Refugee Convention defined a refugee as a person who has “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” In the 1980 Refugee Act, Congress consecrated that description in U.S. law as well. However, the 1951 definition was created to address the ferments of the early Cold War, especially the emigration of Soviet protesters. These days most migrants aren’t fleeing authoritative regimes that are out to get them. Nor are they merely seeking better economic opportunities. Rather, they are fleeing from states that have collapsed or that are so brittle that life has become unbearable for their citizens. 

What Europe witnessed in 2015 and what much of the Americas are experiencing today are not simply refugee currents or market-driven population drifts but rather migration for the sole purpose of survival. From 2003-2010, roughly two million people from Zimbabwe fled to South Africa and other proximal states. Many of them sought to escape inflation, bandits, and food scarcity, namely, the economic consequences of the elemental political situation, as opposed to explicit political persecution. Because most of these migrants could neither be described as either refugees or economic migrants, humanitarian aid surrounding the crisis was hindered. These outdated conventions and definitions need to be re-examined.

A great number of the migrants who arrived in Europe in 2015, chiefly those from Syria, were undeniably refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention. Other refugees, including some Kosovars and Albanians who used the Balkan paths toward Germany along with the Syrians, were simply economic migrants. But large numbers of those traversing the Aegean were escaping delicate states such as Iraq and Afghanistan. European governments were mostly unsure of how to label these migrants. In the first few months of 2019, 46% of Iraqi asylum seekers were recognized in Germany, compared with 13% in the UK.

Petitioners from failed or delicate Middle Eastern or sub-Saharan African countries faced, and continue to face, a recognition lottery of sorts whose outcome depends on whether judges and bureaucrats are prepared to reconcile today’s circumstances with Cold War categories. However, few European governments had any desire to abandon the old language and categories. Governments led by right-of-center parties didn’t wish to risk exposing themselves to possibly increased obligations and those led by left-of-center parties didn’t wish to risk threatening the 1951 Refugee Convention.

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Problems within space of Employment based international relocation

While optically the process of international employment based relocation appears to be straight forward and simple, in actuality the process is extremely inefficient and riddled with fraud, due to the absolute absence of transparency and lack of pre-arrival communications between employers in Host Countries and employees in Origination Countries.

The root of the problem is currently unavoidable presence of multiple middlemen, often unethical and greedy, between the employer in the Host Country and the employee in the Origination Country.

Essence of the problem is best described by the following hypothetical example of how a foreign migrant worker, located in a third works country, is currently relocated for employment with an employer in the EU (could also be North America, Australia, New Zealand, The Middle East, Japan or South Korea).

The process takes place as follows:

1) Employer decides to hire foreign workers.

2) Employer dedicates monthly budget ( Budget) per foreign worker that includes:

a) foreign worker’s net monthly salary;

b) monthly taxes that apply to the net salary;

c) monthly accommodation per worker;

d) monthly expense on food per worker ( typically 500g of rice/500g of vegetables/500g of meat products per day per worker)

For example, let’s assume that a construction company in the EU wishes to hire 100 general laborers and it decides to spend:

a) 700 Euros on net salary; and
b) 300 Euros on taxes; and
c) 500 housing; and
d) 500 food

Then, the employer’s budget per foreign worker per month will be 2,000 Euros.

3) Employer comes in contact with Middleman 1 and agrees that Middleman 1 will find foreign workers to accept employment with the Employer based on the terms of employment offered by the Employer. The employment terms are largely, but not totally, based on the Budget. Typically, the employer documents its intent to offer employment to foreign workers by issuing a Job Order to Middleman 1 that reflects terms of employment.

Here is an example of a Job Order:

JOB ORDER

ISSUED BY: EMPLOYER ISSUED TO: MIDDLEMAN 1

Whereby, the Employer agrees to employ 100 citizens of “Origination Country” as general laborers on the following terms:

a) 700 Euros net salary
b) employment taxes paid by the Employer
c) housing paid by the Employer
d) food (breakfast, lunch, dinner – 500g rice; 500g vegetables; 500g meat products ) covered by the Employer
e) transportation to and from work – covered by the Employer
f) overtime – covered in accordance with Host Country laws

Term of employment agreement – 2 years

NAME AND POSITION OF EMPLOYER’S REPRESENTATIVE

SIGNATURE

NOTARY STAMP

4) Middleman 1 contacts Middleman 2 and offers to sell to Middleman 2 the opportunity (The Opportunity)  to place 100 foreign construction workers with the Employer. NOTHING IS STOPPING MIDDLEMAN 1 FROM ALTERING THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE JOB ORDER AND INFORMING MIDDLEMAN 2 THAT THE SALARY WILL BE HIGHER OR THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT TERM WILL BE LONGER, ETC…

For example: Middleman 1, who secured the Job Order from the Employer, is located in the Host Country. Middleman 1 is aware that Middleman 2 has contacts in the Origination Country that may allow Middleman 2 to recruit the 100 foreign workers for employment with the Employer. Middleman 1 and Middleman 2 then enter into an agreement, whereby Middleman 2 promises to pay Middleman 1 a fixed fee (let’s assume it’s $2,000) for every foreign worker that the Employer will hire because of the efforts of Middleman 2 .

5) Middleman 2 contacts Middleman 3, who may or may not be an HR recruitment agency, licensed in the Origination Country able to offer The Opportunity to prospective foreign workers in the Origination Country. Middleman 2 and Middleman 3 then enter into an agreement, whereby Middleman 3 promises to pay Middleman 2 a fixed fee (let’s assume it’s now $4,000) for every foreign worker that the Employer will hire because of the efforts of Middleman 3.

NOTHING IS STOPPING MIDDLEMAN 2 FROM ALTERING THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE JOB ORDER RECEIVED FROM MIDDLEMAN 1 AND INFORMING MIDDLEMAN 3 THAT THE SALARY WILL BE HIGHER OR THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT TERM WILL BE LONGER, ETC…WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF UPSELLING THE OPPORTUNITY.

6) Middleman 3 will then employ the services of so-called “SUB-AGENT”, which is now Middleman 4. Middleman 4, consequently, promises to pay Middleman 3 a fixed fee (let’s assume it’s now $6,000.00) for every foreign worker that the Employer will hire because of the efforts of Middleman 4.

7) Middleman 4 recruits foreign workers, usually in remote areas of the Origination Country, and sells them The Opportunity for an amount that is higher than the amount that Middleman 4 has to pay to Middleman 3 (here in after referred to as The Fee. Let’s assume it’s now $8,000)

8) Foreign worker typically takes out a loan to pay The Fee to Middleman 4. Typically, the conditions of the original Job Order are grossly misrepresented when The Opportunity is sold by Middleman 4 to the foreign worker.

9) Middleman 4 collects the documents from foreign workers that the Employer needs to file with the authorities in the Host Country for the purpose of securing work permits for the foreign workers.

10) Middleman 4 forwards to Middleman 3 “The Fee less Middleman 4’s percentage of the Fee” and foreign workers’ documents required to support the application for the work permit in the Host Country.

11) Middleman 3 forwards to Middleman 2
“The Fee less Middleman 3’s percentage of the Fee” and foreign workers’ documents required to support the application for the work permit in the Host Country.

12) Middleman 2 forwards to Middleman 1
“The Fee less Middleman 2’s percentage of the Fee” and foreign workers’ documents required to support the application for the work permit in the Host Country.

13) Middleman 1 retains “The Fee less the percentages of the Fee retained by Middlemen 2,3 and 4” and either keeps The Fee in its entirety or shares it with the Employer. Middleman 1 submits to the Employer the foreign workers’ documents required to support the application for the work permit in the Host Country.

14) Employer files for work permits for foreign workers with the relevant government agency of the Host Country.

15) Work permits are issued.

17) Middleman 3, typically in cooperation with Middleman 4, facilitated filing for applications for Work Visas for foreign workers with the appropriate Consular Post of the Host Country that has jurisdiction over the foreign workers (typically Host Country Embassy located in Origination Country).

18) Work Visas are issued.

19)Foreign Workers fly to the Host Country to commence employment with the Employer.

20)PROBLEM STARTS

NATURE OF THE PROBLEM STEMS FROM

THE FACT THAT FOREIGN WORKERS’ EXPECTATIONS AND EMPLOYERS’ EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT ALLIGNED UPON FOREIGN WORKERS’ ARRIVAL

As long as foreign workers are required to pay fees to middlemen for the opportunity to relocate abroad for employment, various middlemen will continue to take advantage of the foreign workers , resulting in a wide array for problems both, for the worker and for the employer.

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Foreign Migrant Agricultural Workers in US

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According to the Southern Poverty Law Center , 6 out of every 10 US farm workers are undocumented immigrants.

The vast majority of workers–78%, according to the most recent National Agricultural Workers Survey– is foreign-born and crossed a border to get here (NAWS, Farmworker Justice). This is a huge problem for the whole ecosystem. Current immigration laws do no allow employers to painlessly relocate foreign workers for employment from other countries, which is why they are predominantly illegal now.

Not only employment of undocumented workers presents employers with a tremendous legal challenge, but also these workers lack basic rights, face exploitation and live in fear of reporting abuses. Historically, agricultural workers in the U.S. have been imported from other countries with vulnerable populations, have always been a disenfranchised group of workers, and have in general never had the right to vote.

Agricultural-Workers

Various geopolitical events have historically driven migration trends, such as that when the United States and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, government-subsidized corn that was cheaply produced in the U.S. began to flood the market in Mexico. With this new influx of artificially under-priced corn, farmers in Mexico could no longer afford to make a living growing corn.

Thus, millions were forced out of their jobs. Unable to find jobs in cities, they had no other option but to move to the US to look for work. It is because the US lacks a comprehensive systemic solution aimed at temporary legal relocation of foreign migrant staff to work for agricultural employers that both, employers and foreign migrants are faced with legal challenges and tremendous risks in the US.

To make things worse, undocumented status makes workers especially vulnerable to abuse, as some employers and supervisors constantly hold the “deportation card” without realization that the employer, according to current laws, is as guilty by offering employment to a foreign migrant worker as the worker accepting it. For instance, if an employer is treating a worker unfairly, a worker who speaks up to their boss can be threatened with deportation.

This significantly takes away their rights to stand up for themselves and advocate for their working conditions. The fact that abuse takes place is the direct result of the absence of adequate immigration policy in the US. Currently, the only way to gain residency residency in the U.S. is to have an immediate family member sponsor you, to get an employment-based visa requiring high levels of education, to have a case of prosecution in your homeland that is recognized by the U.S. government, or to be a genius, extremely rich, or a star athlete or artist.

Obviously, millions of foreign migrant farm workers are not eligible for any of the above referenced programs. A program aimed at establishing legal employment based relocation channels for foreign migrant workers is necessary as it will bring efficiency into the ecosystem, will create tax revenues for the government and will prevent human rights abuse.

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Global Migration of Domestic Workers

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Relocation of domestic assistants is rapidly expanding. Domestic assistants is a category of foreign migrant workers who perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to housekeeping, including cleaning and household maintenance. Other responsibilities may include cooking, laundry and ironing, shopping for food and other household errands. Particular niche, however, is taking care of the elderly.

The world population is ageing, and the number of older adults who need assistance in activities of daily living has been increasing. At the same time, the ability to provide informal care to frail older adults within the family is declining, among other things due to drop in fertility, women joining the workforce and increasing divorce rates in the West. Consequently, in most western countries the home care services are provided by paid care workers – either locals or foreign migrants. This solution is a win-win situation for both care recipients and governments. For the older adult, it allows them to stay in their homes as long as possible, as most of them hope and aspire. For governments, every day at home means a day less in public funded expensive long-term placement. For the foreign migrant workers, it creates an opportunity to relocate globally to take advantage of better economic opportunities.

Global Migration

However, while this arrangement is financially cost-effective, it entails other costs. Migrant domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to both violations of workers’ rights and work-related abuse. Violations of workers’ rights refer to disregarding rights that relate specifically to being a worker, whereas work-related abuse refers to any violent acts against a person at work or on duty. Migrant domestic workers are subjected to greater risk for exploitation and work-related abuse compared with local home care workers, as they are not as familiar with the laws of their host counties that protect employees against abuse. While their duties and rights are different from that of citizens of their host countries, they are typically still afforded the same protection as local workers.

It’s important to note that migrant care workers pay thousands of dollars to obtain a work permit in the host country. The process of global employment based relocation is full of fraud, non-transparency and inefficiencies. It’s because of these problems that migrant workers end up paying recruiters in their countries who sell them opportunities that may not reflect reality. Consequently, upon arrival, many migrant domestic workers have expectations of salaries and conditions that stem from what their recruiters sold them and not from their actual employment agreements. Additionally, in their first years of employment, most of their salaries are used towards settling the enormous debts that the workers obtained to migrate. Under these circumstances, not only tensions are created between employers and employees, but also leaving an abusive or disrespectful employer becomes more difficult.

Therefore, in light of the above-described problems and inefficiencies, a systemic technological solution is required in the global market place – a solution that will protect the employees and will provide employers with better service by connecting employees and employers on the same technological platform, while cutting out the middlemen who create the inefficiencies today. As a result, human rights abuse will be substantially mitigated globally.

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Labor Shortage in the EU

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A new report by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies that shows that, while most of central and eastern European countries have been growing at their highest rates since the global financial crisis about a decade ago, this boom may be overdue to severe shortage of labor in the EU.

Global relocation of economic migrants stands at an all-time high in modern history. With Central and Eastern Europe being a large part of the EU, both skilled and unskilled labor has migrated to Western European EU member states. Simply put – if you are a carpenter in Western Poland, then why would you work in Poland when you can make double in Germany, which is just an hour drive away. As Western Europe has been feeding on labor, originating from Eastern and Central Europe, a vacuum of labor has emerged and is growing in Central and Eastern European countries. Central and Eastern European countries, which have been struggling to fill up vacancies as more and more workers migrate to Western Europe in search of better pay. The labor shortage has pushed down unemployment rates in the region to record lows and driven job vacancies to their highest levels. The shortfall can also be attributed to a decline in the overall population. Most countries in the region have experienced shrinking populations over the past 15 years even as the total population in the EU has gone up.

The working-age population in these countries has been shrinking due to migration and other demographic factors such as low fertility rates. This shortage might result in lower GDP growth rates which could have severe implications for the welfare systems. As the aforementioned report stated, migration and low fertility rates are expected to cause the working-age population (aged 20-64) in central and eastern European countries to shrink by about 30 percent by 2050.

So, how does the EU solve its shortage of labor? Primarily by bringing in workers from outside the EEU. The organic economic trend of EU employers searching for workers globally is driving the numbers of EU bound foreign workers into dozens of millions annually.

Labor-Shortage

In December 2011, the so-called Single Permit Directive was adopted. It creates a set of rights for non-EU workers legally residing in an EU State, notably the right to equal treatment with nationals in the country they reside and work. The Directive applies to most non-EU nationals with authorization to reside and work in the EU, independently of their initial reason for admission, unless they are explicitly excluded from the scope of the Directive. Its scope includes both non-EU nationals seeking to be admitted to an EU State in order to stay and work there and those who are already resident and have access to the labor market or are already working there. It provides for:

A single permit giving the right both to residence and work

A single application procedure for this permit

A set of rights for non-EU workers, notably the right to equal treatment with nationals of the country where they reside and work, in a number of key areas: working conditions, freedom of association and joining organisations representing workers, education and vocational training, recognition of diplomas, social security, tax benefits, access to goods and services including procedures for housing and employment advice services. Some exemptions may be applied by the Member States. The right to social security can, for instance, be limited to those in employment, or who have worked for at least 6 months and who are registered as unemployed.

A foreign worker can work in the Schengen Area if she/he holds a National (D) Visa for employment purposes issued by one of the 26 European countries parts of the Schengen Zone. The fact that dozens of millions of D Visa recipients enter the EU annually coupled with the fact that the manpower recruitment industry is full of fraud, inefficiency and non-transparency creates risk not only to the economic health of the EU but also to the domestic security in Europe. European employers largely meet their employees for the first time when employees arrive.

Often times so-called “manpower brokers” or “recruiters” charge prospective employees exorbitant amounts of money by promising them unreal employment terms and when the non-European employees show up in the EU, their expectations are not aligned with the expectations of their European employers. Consequently, employees leave their employees, file complaints with government agencies and NGOs and become illegal aliens in the EU by illegally migrating in violation of their “D Visa” conditions. Jon Purizhansky from Buffalo, NY points out that without a systemic technological solution the situation will continue to get worse.

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Important to Understand Global Migration Flows

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The concept of global migration as a permanent move to a new location. Global migration is at its most active point in modern history. It’s rapidly changing the demographic, social and economic landscape of the planet. For this reason, it’s important to understand global migration flows. Data on migration flows are essential for understanding global migration patterns and how different factors and policies in countries of origin and destination may be related to flows. Currently, only 45 countries report migration flow data to the United Nations (UN DESA, 2015). Migration flows “refer to the number of migrants en70tering or leaving a 1given country during a given period of time, usually one calendar year” (UN SD, 2017). However, countries use different concepts, definitions and data collection methodologies to compile statistics on migration flows. Definitions of who counts as an international migrant vary over time in the same country and across countries. That’s why it’s important to understand how many people actually leave countries of origin and actually enter countries of destination.

Although the number may not be accurate, global estimates based on census data suggest that 0.5 percent – or approximately 37 million people – left their native country to live in another country between 2010 and 2015 (Abel, 2016). Some countries report data on annual flows to the UN Statistics Division (UN SD), who has a mandate to collect migration statistics, including on migration flows, from countries through the Demographic Yearbook data collection system. Some countries report data to OECD or the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) as well. OECD data on permanent migration inflows allow to distinguish between different types of migration flows including work, family and humanitarian migration (OECD, 2017). However, the number of countries reporting flow data is limited and the data are often not harmonized.

global migration

Absence of systemic flow data has led researchers to develop their own estimates of global migration flows based on 5-year intervals (see Abel and Sander, 2014; Raymer et al., 2013). These estimates are based on UN statistics, some of which are available from the DEMIG Country-to-Country database (C2C) of the University of Oxford, which contains bilateral migration flows data for at least 34 countries. The database also provides gender breakdowns were available and more historical depth.

Another tool worth mentioning is DTM.

The International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a system to track and monitoring population displacement and mobility, collects migration flows data through flow monitoring component in more than 30 countries. DTM flow monitoring assesses areas of high mobility, often at key entry, exit, and transit locations. Flow monitoring activities aim to derive quantitative estimates of the flow of individuals through specific locations and to collect information about the profiles, intentions, and needs of the people moving. Numbers of people moving within areas of free circulation such as the European Union or the Southern Common Market (Mercosur in Latin America) are also indicated separately in the OECD’s International Migration Database.

The system off tracking data, however, is still very fragmented and inefficient. The tracking system is dependent of collecting data from administrative sources, but such sources usually record events (e.g. issuance/renewal/withdrawal of a residence permit) and may not necessarily reflect actual migration movements (e.g. a residence permit is not renewed but the person stays in the country, or the permit is renewed but the person leaves the country).

Without a systemic global technological solution, tracking and monitoring global relocation will become more and more difficult. Creating a unified blockchain technology system will help government agencies in both, destination and origination countries, employers, and third-party organizations by tracking and storing not only migrants’ identification documents, but also their migration history (renewals, visas, approvals, denials, supporting documents, etc….). It will not only generate transparency and efficiency for all participants of the global relocation ecosystem, but it will also assist researchers to understand and quantify global relocation data.

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The Progress in Rwanda

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Rwandan economy is the fastest growing in Africa. In 1994 Rwanda experienced horrible.

Genocide that can be compared to the worst massacres in human history, including the Holocaust. So, what’s behind Rwandan economic successes?

In the year 2000, Rwandan government established Vision 2020, a long-term development strategy with its main objective to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020, based on a thriving private sector. Since then, the Rwandan economy has been growing steadily at seven percent every year, making Rwanda Africa’s fastest-growing economy.

After the 1994 genocide, Rwandan economy had been basically destroyed, but through the process of economic reconstruction, it began growing faster than the economies which are already developed. It’s important to notice that President Paul Kagame’s leadership has played a huge role with respect to economic and political stability the country has enjoyed since 1994. Economic development would have been impossible without political stability

Amazingly, under the leadership of Mr. Kagame, Rwanda has been able to attract substantial volumes of direct foreign investment in its economy.

Rwandan government additionally has established infrastructural institutions that would help it achieve its objectives enshrined in Vision 2020.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was put in place in 2009 to help oversee the country’s business regulations, foreign investments, tourism promotion, environmental conservation and broader economic and development planning.

Progress in Rwanda

In 2017, the Corruption Perception Index ranked Rwanda the third least corrupt country on the African continent behind the Seychelles and Botswana. The country is no longer just a rural agricultural economy, but it boasts a number of manufacturing and high tech companies. Its business-friendly legislation and the general environment has contributed to the diversification of the Rwandan economy.

According to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business index, Rwanda is the 29th easiest place to do business in the world – the only low-income country (LIC) in the top 30. Further, in 2018 the RDB registered over US$2 billion worth of investments. Around 173 investment projects worth US$2.006 billion, against a US$2 billion target set for the year, were registered, according to an RDB press release.

An estimated 26 percent of all investment represents export-orientated projects. Across the different sectors, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and agro-processing accounted for 57 percent of investments registered. Tourism, healthcare, and business services have attracted substantial investments as well. Building up its middle class is a key priority for the Rwandan government and, according to Rwandan Household Living Conditions Survey, one million of citizens has been pulled out of poverty between 2005 and 2011. From 1994 until 2017, Rwandan GDP per capital grew 6 times!

Nevertheless, 39 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and 16 percent lives in extreme poverty, according to government statistics. Hence, the government’s biggest challenge is still to eradicate poverty and create jobs.

Rwanda, under the leadership of Mr. Kagame, has also increased its diplomatic activity. What’s particularly noticeable is its recent alliance with the State of Israel. Since both nations suffer tragic past, a natural affinity had developed between Israel and Rwanda. When President Kagame held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they discussed opportunities for partnerships in the sector of agriculture, energy, and education. Rwanda has been learning a lot from the Startup Nation of Israel. Israel established an embassy in Rwanda and Israeli investors, military and economic experts are commonplace now. Rwanda May turn into the African version of the startup nation and eventually turn into an African powerhouse.

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