First suggestion: look at this website to understand the Rwandan Political Violence in 1994. After 20 years we deserve detailed explanations of what happened. The Christian Davenport’s webpage is full of significant information. Here you’ll find “3 things to know about Rwanda”: 1) There Were Several Forms of Violence at Once (e.g., genocide, politicide, civil war, reprisal killing, random political violence), 2) The Perpetrators Include the Extremist Hutu Government, the Rwandan Patriotic Front as well as ordinary Rwandans 3) The Majority of Victims were Likely Hutu and not Tutsi
OECD releases the “Peer Review” of Italian Development Cooperation, 2014. According to the OECD: “Italy has raised its foreign aid contributions and its future targets, reversing a trend of falling development assistance”. Indeed, Italian Official Development assistance (ODA) decreased steadily between 2008 and 2012, but it rose in 2013. We should remember that the UN target for ODA is 0.7% of gross national income (GNI), while the Italian ODA/GNI ratio was 0.14% in 2012. The review finds that: “the country’s contribution to international development could be more effective with a clearer overall strategy and closer co-ordination across government departments”. OECD recommends institutional changes to improve the running, delivery and evaluation of development programmes. As stated by the review, some of these issues may be addressed in a reform bill being examined in Parliament.
The Atlantic provides a complex and thought-provoking article by Ian Morris on war, civilization and the future of mankind. In the words of the author: “The average person is now roughly 20 times less likely to die violently than the average person was in the Stone Age”. Optimism has recently shaped the debate on the future of war. Take a look if you are interested in such controversial issue.
SIPRI has released new figures on world military expenditure, accounting a fall of 1.9 per cent in real terms since 2012. Such drop in the global total comes from decreases in Western countries, led by the United States. But military spending in the rest of the world excluding the USA increased by 1.8 per cent. The next three highest spenders—China, Russia and Saudi Arabia—all made substantial increases. According to the SIPRI: “Austerity policies continued to determine trends in Western and Central Europe and in other Western countries”. But military spending in the Middle East increased by 4.0 per cent in 2013 (while in Africa augmented by 8.3 per cent). The first country in Africa with military spending over $10 billion? Algeria (Arab spring is far far away)
Finally, Guinea-Bissau. Two years and one day after the coup in the March-April 2012 presidential polls, Guinea-Bissau will finally hold elections on 13 April 2014. As reported by the International Crisis Group: political and military leaders had no choice but to hold elections to avoid bankruptcy and escape from continuing international isolation. The country, which became a strategic hub in the “African Route” of cocaine (from Latin America to Europe), is considered as the first “narco-state” because of the significant role played by drug cartels. But several studies have recently illustrated how the mainstream view on “mafia-state” or “narco-state” is misleading (for a different perspective here and here).