All Articles Tagged "development"
Is being confident relevant to one’s existence? Does it make a difference in having low or high self-esteem? What exactly is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the realistic respect, or favorable impression a person has of themselves. It is who one believes they are, believing in their abilities, or the lack thereof. It is also who one believes they can be or desire to be. Self-esteem or the lack of comes from within and is revealed in the way a person walks, talks, their style of dress, the way they interact with others, etc.
A person’s self-esteem is a key part in who they are, who they will become, and what they will do. It starts developing as a child, and continues to develop as an adult. The relationships we encounter, the people we surround ourselves with, our parents, community, etc. all play an intricate part in the initial development of self-esteem.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has closed its doors in Ghana. It was done with neither explanation nor expansive news coverage. And given that the closure came the same week in which President Obama addressed the nation regarding our military campaign in Libya, it was both odd and ironic. Add to the equation that when Obama visited Ghana in 2009 he touted it and other African nations as important trade partners, and any reasonable person would be caught scratching their head.
Last I checked, the U.S. was still trying to recover from its greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. How does closing up shop in Ghana increase the options of U.S.-based multinational corporations? Since when have the primary Ghanaian exports of gold and cocoa depreciated in value or been of little consequence to the United States? It makes no sense financially or politically on any level.
If the U.S. is about the business of exporting democracy around the globe (and it is), how does that not include the economic infrastructure to support it? It sends the message globally that the money of Ghana specifically is somehow not worth spending and the continent more generally not worth developing. Ghana has long been the shining example of African democracy and capitalism. Such a move by the Obama administration contradicts stated political and economic agendas.
Maybe “nation-building” only applies to those countries which can help sway U.S. presidential elections. Waging war against an African nation with Muslim undertones likely garners more electoral college clout than corporate trade with another. Nevertheless, there fails to be any explanation as to why we’ve thrown in the towel on Ghana. Trade with Ghana and bombing Libya ostensibly should not be mutually exclusive.
To be fair, the policy shift does not preclude companies from going in on their own and building direct economic bridges with Ghana — that too should be given serious consideration. At the same time, however, the involvement of the U.S. Department of Commerce allows a wider channel for trade and thus a larger benefit for both companies and countries.
The consistent drumbeat of recent years has been that the continent of Africa will be the next battleground in the war on terror. The argument suggests that dictatorships and abject poverty serve as fertile breeding grounds for anti-American sentiment. This is all the more reason to position America as being about the business of building African nations — not just bombing them.
What’s more distressing is the not-so-subtle manner in which President Obama has continued to connect the supposed dots between the war on terror, the military intervention in Libya and the Bush Doctrine. Let’s look back at the first paragraph of his recent speech on Libya:
“I want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. They have moved with incredible speed and strength. Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved. Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda around the globe.”
All nicely tied together with a bow, complete with a not-so-random al Qaeda reference.
African-Americans may or may not be emotionally impacted by our African military and economic strategy. We are not a monolithic group and it would be presumptuous to assume there is a consistent level of concern for what happens in the motherland. But as long as the multitude of us willingly refer to one-another as “African-Americans,” the economic relationship of the United States with Ghana can not be ignored.
Morris W. O’Kelly (Mo’Kelly) is author of the syndicated entertainment and socio-political column The Mo’Kelly Report. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mo’Kelly can be reached at email@example.com and he welcomes all commentary. Follow Morris W. O’Kelly on Twitter: @mrmokelly
By Steven Barboza
While Washington is preoccupied with war in Afghanistan and Arab liberation movements, Beijing is feeding its insatiable “Made in China” machine by cranking out mega-deals to develop Africa’s infrastructure in return for rights to grab resources, such as minerals and oil.
Some African leaders compare these resource-for-infrastructure swaps to Marshall Plans — deals big enough to jumpstart economies. But critics in the West say the swaps amount to a “Great Chinese Takeout” or a series of sweetheart deals for the Asian colossus.
China’s biggest bet on the continent is a $6 billion accord with Congo, a country buried in debt but rich in virtually every known mineral, from gold and diamonds to coltan, a key element in cell phones, computer chips, nuclear reactors, and PlayStations. Congo has 80% of the world’s coltan reserves.
In return for rights to extract more than 11 million tons of copper and 620,000 tons of cobalt from Congo mines over 25 years, China has agreed to build 2,000 miles of roads and 1,800 miles of railway tracks, hundreds of schools and health clinics, and two airports.
Though the U.S. already operates huge mining projects in the Congo, Westerners gripe about the so-called “bonanza” from which China stands to profit $42 billion on its initial investment.
“I don’t see the Congress of the United States allocating money for building the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Faida Mitifu, Congo’s ambassador to the U.S., told the Atlanta Post. “So the Congolese have decided for the first time to rightfully trade their mineral resources in exchange for developing infrastructure in different areas. I don’t see anything negative about a country wanting to improve its infrastructure.”
By global business standards, this deal may not be the biggest. Still, it is roughly the equivalent of Congo’s annual national budget: a mere $5.69 billion for one of Africa’s most populous countries, with 68 million people.
Joseph Kabila, Congo’s president, said his ministers identified several infrastructure needs, then he shopped around for help. Now Chinese-led crews are filling potholes, laying asphalt over dirt roads and generally helping to bring the nation one step closer to the 21st century so Congolese farmers and merchants can deliver their goods to market.
“We are still at the very beginning, but it’s opening jobs for Congolese. We hope [the deal] will open up greater opportunities in terms of jobs and infrastructure. That will eventually change greatly the lives of the Congolese,” said Mitifu. “Little by little we are eliminating our dependency on imported food.”
She estimated that 70% of workers in new projects will be Congolese, and 30% will be Chinese.
by Steven Barboza
Has Detroit reached its tipping point? Is the implosion of the American auto industry a kind of man-made Katrina for the Motor City? Or will Detroit rise up from its ash heap of urban devastation and round a corner as adroitly and smoothly as a newfangled gas-electric hybrid?
Whether this city, once our most prosperous manufacturing hub and the fourth largest city in the nation (now it’s the 11th), ultimately will make a comeback is anybody’s guess. But to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain: Reports of its death are an exaggeration.
Detroit is still headquarters of the nation’s auto industry, the largest single manufacturing and retail business in the country. City leaders just need a better roadmap.
“To put it bluntly, Detroit has to become relevant,” said Robin Doyle, an urban planning professor at Wayne State University. “Detroit is a major city within a major region that has lost its relevance because it lost its centrality. The city has to be made more attractive to visitors, to investment and development. That’s what the city is trying to do. It’s struggling, but it is trying to move in that direction.”
A major problem, as Boyle has pointed out, is that Detroit remains quintessentially a 20th century model of industry in a world that has marched into the 21st century. People aren’t buying Detroit products like they used to.
As a result, much of the city has become a mausoleum, with abandoned auto plants, burned-out homes and forlorn residents.
“There are many areas of Detroit that have maybe one, two or three households on a block,” Boyle said. “The houses themselves may be in reasonable condition, but the neighborhoods have disappeared.”
Detroit has fallen apart at its seams. The murder rate has soared. The unemployment rate skyrocketed to 28.9% at one point (today it is at 21%). The city can’t afford to provide services to many neighborhoods. And at one point, listings of tax foreclosures in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, went on for 137 pages in the Detroit Free Press. The school system is ailing with the state of Michigan approving the closure of half of the districts schools, leaving Detroit with only 72 public schools by 2014.
Residents want to pack up and leave – and they have. The city’s population has fallen from a high of more than 1.85 million in 1950 to 912,000 in 2008.
As the city shrank, so did property values. Residential units that went for $98,000 on average are now a steal at $12,400. And still, no one wants them, so an estimated 102,000 housing units stand vacant, nearly 28% of the city’s total.
Detroit’s once bright life has deteriorated so badly that a reporter who grew up there admitted that his first inclination upon returning was to weep.
by R. Asmerom
Much has been made about China’s involvement in sub-Saharan Africa. Some call it a new phase of colonialism for the continent and others cite it as a much needed economic injection into territories starving for opportunities.
Whatever the case, China wants the world to know that its “massive grab” for African resources is not totally selfish. Recently, according to Fast Company, the Information Office of the State Council issued a white paper to tout the mutually beneficial relationship between China, the country, and Africa, the continent. Amidst worldwide criticism of China’s intensive efforts to exploit the continents resources, including oil in Nigeria, it seems apparent that the country is looking to calm accusations of an inequitable relationship. As it stands today, the second largest world economy has a lot invested in Africa. Whether the involvement is a plus for Africans, or a negative presence, depends on the standards by which the investments are measured.
“The positive side of the China-Africa relationship is that China offers another source of investment and is an important purchaser of African raw materials, especially oil and minerals, that Africa needs to sell to someone, said David Shinn, an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs of George Washington University. “These arrangements are, in my view, win-win-win arrangements. The Africans get needed infrastructure but Chinese companies build the projects with money provided by Chinese banks that is paid back by the African country usually in the form of oil or minerals.”
Is it fair to say that some business is better than no business? The Africa we see today, mired in conflict and poverty, is a manifestation of the centuries of colonialism, exploitation and faulty aid relationships with the IMF and World Bank.
(Washington Post) — When Somera Capital Management announced the redevelopment of Laurel Mall in 2007, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based firm was confident the project would be wrapped up by this year. Then the recession hit. Financing dried up. And the chances of turning the ailing, enclosed mall into a thriving mixed-use town center became slim. The owner has since watched occupancy fall to 15 percent, while waiting for a construction loan to come through. Somera’s plight mirrors that of a number of local retail developers that started projects while the market was flushed with capital only to find themselves stalled once financing evaporated. Some of these players are finding a way out of the financial bind by teaming with private equity partners, but others have been less fortunate.
(Amsterdam News) — The Department of Transportation plans to engage more Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBE) for the rebuilding of the Kosciuszko Bridge that connects Brooklyn and Queens. At a workshop held earlier this month in Long Island City, nearly 150 community stakeholders, construction trade organizations, contractors and government services gathered to learn more about the opportunities. The approximately $700 million project, expected to be completed by 2020, will replace the current Kosciuszko Bridge with a new bridge on the east side of the existing bridge.
(Atlanta Journal Constitution) — The Georgia Department of Transportation will meet with five developers in early November to get their ideas and questions for a long-proposed but never built transit hub in downtown Atlanta. GDOT released the list on its website late Thursday. Three Atlanta-based development firms will have meetings. Jacoby Development, which bought the closed Ford plant in Hapeville for redevelopment, also is known for its role in making Atlantic Station a reality. Cousins Properties, a large, publicly traded real estate investment trust, develops, owns and manages office towers and shopping centers such as The Avenues. Portman Holdings and John Portman & Associates has developed more than a dozen buildings downtown, including AmericasMart, and pioneering “atrium-style” hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
(International Business Times) — The key to kick-starting the U.S. economy and create hundreds of thousands of desperately-needed jobs lies in developing America’s one-hundred largest cities, according to a report from Bruce Katz, Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. “If we unleash the energies in our [metropolitan areas], we can compete with anyone,” Katz wrote. “Our 100 largest metropolitan areas constitute a new economic geography, seamlessly integrating cities and suburbs, exurbs and rural towns. Together, they house almost two-thirds of our population, generate 74 percent of our gross domestic product and disproportionately concentrate the assets that drive economic success: patents, advanced research and venture capital, college graduates and Ph.D.s, and air, rail and sea hubs.”
(Washington Post) — When Greer Johnson Gillis met with reporters on the west bank of the Anacostia River in December tooutline construction plans for the new 11th Street Bridge, we could see a few workers in mid-river preparing to remove wood pilings. From the same shoreline today, it’s hard to tell there’s a river out there. The water view is obscured by barges, dozens of workers, cranes and concrete piers for the new bridge. Gillis, the District’s deputy chief engineer, says it’s more than 25 percent done and on track for completion in 2013.