IPSAN NEWS |The News Site for IPS Inter Press Service


This was the news site for IPS Inter Press Service.
Content is from the site's 2011 archived pages.
We suggest viewing the content in its historical context.

IPS Inter Press Service is a communication institution with a global news agency at its core. With roughly 70% of its journalists reporting directly from the countries of the South, IPS has been in a unique position to analyse the impact of globalisation from Southern points of view. IPS is convinced of the need to accompany the new global geography of power with new information channels that link our societies and citizens. In 2008 IPS accepted the 2008 ‘South-South Leadership Award’ from the United Nations for its role in promoting stronger ties among developing nations and media outlets.

As part of this overall commitment to South-South co-operation, IPS has developed editorial, capacity-building and networking initiatives linked to the IBSA grouping. In April 2010 IPS was privileged to host the IBSA Editors Forum in Brazilia, which brought together leading media personalities from the three countries. Recommendations about strengthening communication channels between India, Brazil and South Africa were presented to Presidents Zuma and Da Silva, and Prime Minister Singh.

The creation of this IBSA news and media portal was one of the recommendations of the 2010 Editors Forum. Through communication bridges like this, the impetus and understanding of what IBSA can mean and represent moves beyond the political elite and the corporate sector, to involve citizens. Because IBSA has been created amongst some of the world’s largest democracies, which share values and openness, this is an achievable goal.

The Government of Brazil is the current Chair of the IPS Core Group of donors and supporters, which India and South Africa attend. IPS has worked with South South Co-operation Unit of UNDP in developing its work in this area and has a longstanding partnership with the G77.

Visit IPS www.ips.org for more information about IPS the institution.


IPS-Inter Press Service
Via Panisperna, 207
00184 Rome
tel: +39 06 485692
fax: +39 06 4817877
e-mail: headquarters[at]ips.org




BRAZIL The Happiest Emerging Nation

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

By Fabiana Frayssinet RIO DE JANEIRO, Jul 6 (IPS)RIO DE JANEIRO, Jul 6 (IPS) The reputation of Brazilians as cheerful, happy-go-lucky people is starting to be reflected in the cold reality of statistics. A study has put numbers to that state of well-being by quantifying the significant reduction in social inequality in the last few years, an area in which South Americas giant has outdone other emerging nations.

The study, "Os emergentes dos Emergentes", presented by the Getulio Vargas Foundations Centre for Social Policies with support from the Inter-American Development Bank, compares Brazils economic and social performance with that of Russia, India, China and South Africa, the other members of the so-called BRICS group of nations.

These emerging countries are home to over half of the worlds poor. But according to investment bank Goldman Sachs, by 2050 the combined size of the BRICS economies will exceed that of the Group of 7 richest countries.

Based on data from the Gallup World Poll 2009 on "the degree of life satisfaction," the coordinator of the study, Marcelo Neri, compared the "happiness index" of the BRICS countries, and found that on a scale of 0 to 10, Brazil has a rate of 8.7, South Africa and Russia 5.2, and China and India 4.5.

"We outdo the other countries on this," Neri said in an interview with IPS. "But furthermore, Brazil is the only BRICS country that improved its global happiness ranking, moving up from 22nd in 2006 to 17th in 2009."

Joking about the Brazilian tendency to declare Brazil "o mais grande do mundo" (the greatest in the world), the economist quipped that although this country forms part of BRICS, what really makes him happy is being "one of the BIG," referring to the countries that have won the greatest number of World Cup football championships Brazil (five), Italy (four) and Germany (three).

Joking aside, what has made Brazilians happiest is neither football nor their world-famous carnival, but the dizzying rate at which the poor have been leaving poverty behind since 2003.

One of the things the study seeks to identify is whether macroeconomic growth is felt by the common citizen, and which segments of the population it has benefited in each of the BRICS countries.

The study reports that since 2003, some 48.7 million Brazilians have pulled out of poverty.

The millions of people who climbed into the middle class during the government of left-wing President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) were able to do so thanks to the countrys economic stability, the expansion of formal sector employment, and government cash transfer programmes like "Bolsa Familia", Neri said.

"Its as if an entire Spain or Argentina had left poverty behind and joined the middle class," said Neri, who added that he was surprised by "the size of the new consumer class."

"Its a gigantic contingent of people who are being incorporated into the market," he said, which would explain, for example, the recently proposed merger between Brazils biggest supermarket chain Po de Acar and French retailer Carrefour.

"Many people now want to eat more, and better," he said.

According to the study, category C people with monthly incomes between 750 and 3,233 dollars is now the biggest in Brazil, comprising 55 percent of the countrys 191 million people.

Referring to the socioeconomic categories of A through E, the researchers describe those in category A as having a minimum monthly income of 4,215 dollars, while the income level in category B is 3,233 to 4,215 dollars, C is 750 to 3,233 dollars, D is 468 to 750 dollars, and E is below 468 dollars.

The study also says the appearance of "a new emerging class in an emerging country" is taking place in a context of astonishingly fast reduction in social inequality. Brazil is the BRICS country that, although it has not grown at the same rate as the others, has best redistributed wealth, the statistics show.

One indicator of that, Neri said, is that household income grew annually at an average of 1.8 percent faster than GDP, while in China household income grew more slowly than GDP by approximately the same proportion, in the 2003-2010 period.

"Microsocial questions are improving more than macroeconomic indicators, unlike in the other BRICS countries," Neri said.

Since 2003, for example, the income of the poorest 50 percent of Brazilians grew 68 percent, while the incomes of the wealthiest 10 percent grew just 10 percent.

Brazil also had the second-best rate of annual household income growth among the poorest quintile of the population, with an increase of 6.3 percent, after China (8.5 percent), and followed by South Africa (5.8 percent) and India (one percent).

"Social inequality is falling in Brazil, while it is rising in the other BRICS countries," he said.

The economist cited the cases of China and India, where it is the best-educated and highest-earning portion of the population that is seeing improvements.

In Brazil, by contrast, the growth is felt by the unskilled and less-educated who have often served as virtual slave labour as domestics, restaurant or construction workers, or rural labourers groups that have now begun to join the formal labour market.

Economist Adhemar Mineiro of the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Research (DIEESE), a research centre that supports trade unions, attributes these results to the increases in the minimum wage and, to a lesser extent, to the cash transfer programmes implemented since 2003, when Lula became president.

"What is apparently happening in Brazil, partly driven by these policies, is an enormous expansion of credit for consumption, and thus a broadening of the category of economic citizens or consumers," Mineiro, who is also an adviser to the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), the largest regional workers organisation in the Americas, told IPS.

But the economist also pointed to a political and historical factor: "In Brazil, after many years, a period of democracy in politics has finally coincided with a cycle of economic growth, which hadnt occurred since the second half of the 1950s."

Mineiro warned, however, that there is "a bit of overconfidence" in the idea that the population that is leaving poverty behind "almost immediately becomes a kind of new middle class." He said other components, not just economic but sociological and anthropological, must also be taken into account in this phenomenon.

"It is essential to see whether, as this process continues, the expansion of consumption actually becomes an engine of economic growth, generating a long-term structural processor whether the conservative sectors will insist on integrating the country into the world market as an exporter of farm and mineral commodities, as up to now," Mineiro said.

Despite the growing optimism and "happiness," Neri also admitted that Brazil still has a long way to go, because 24 million Brazilians are still excluded from the economic benefits.

A long way to go to change the logic of a famous Brazilian song by Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, whose chorus says "Sadness has no endbut happiness does".


TRADE: Brazil and Africa Ready to Do the Samba

Friday, July 1st, 2011

By Servaas van den Bosch WINDHOEK, Jul 1 (IPS) African trade with India and China flourished over the past decade but, with unemployment rising and industrialisation failing to take hold, cracks are appearing in Africa’s much-vaunted Look East doctrine. Meanwhile, from across the Atlantic, Brazil is making inroads into the continent.


Navigating Challenges, Brazil Steps Up AIDS Response

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

By Elizabeth Whitman UNITED NATIONS, Jun 25 (IPS) Long heralded as a model for the global response to HIV/AIDS, Brazil is intensifying its actions, at home and abroad, in the face of potential setbacks including an arising need for new treatment regimens, the resultant increase in drug prices and the debate over intellectual property [...]


BRAZIL: Rousseff Wants Those Who Have More to Pay More

Friday, June 17th, 2011

By Fabiana Frayssinet RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 17 (IPS) The Brazilian government of Dilma Rousseff is attempting to push through long-delayed reforms of the tax system, which is one of the most onerous and unequal in the world, with a tax burden as heavy as that of many rich countries, but accompanied by deficient [...]


CUBA: South-South Diplomacy Props Up Economic Modernisation | IBSA

Monday, June 13th, 2011

By Patricia Grogg HAVANA, Jun 13 (IPS) The diplomatic offensive undertaken by Cuba in recent weeks is propping up the most important medium-term development programmes implemented as part of what the Raúl Castro government describes as the updating of the economic system without abandoning socialism.


BRAZIL: Haiti Is Here | IBSA

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

By Fabiana Frayssinet RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 9 (IPS) In the powerful verses of the song Haiti, Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil described similarities between two countries at different ends of the development spectrum in Latin America, summed up by the words Haiti is here.


BRAZIL From War on Drugs to Community Policing in Rio | IBSA

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

By Fabiana Frayssinet RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 2 (IPS) Four decades after Washington declared its "war on drugs" and began to spread the doctrine south of the U.S. border, the government of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro decided to shift away from that approach towards a strategy focused on community policing.


BRAZIL Amazon Dams Mean Progress for Some, Lost Livelihoods for Others | IBSA

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

By Mario Osava * Tierramrica PORTO VELHO, Brazil, May 25 (IPS) The Amazonian town of Mutum-Paran, in the northern Brazilian state of Rondnia, is disappearing. Its last remaining buildings must be dismantled before it is flooded by the construction of the Jirau hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River.


BRAZIL: Megaprojects Revive Class Struggle | IBSA

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
irau hydroelectric dam construction site. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

By Mario Osava PORTO VELHO, Brazil, May 18 (IPS) The rage was proportional to the size of the crowd cornered between the jungle and the wall that will dam up the Madeira River in northwest Brazil. Over the space of three days, workers set fire to some 50 buses and other vehicles, work installations [...]


BRAZIL Women Break Down Barriers in Heavy Construction | IBSA

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

By Mario Osava PORTO VELHO, Brazil, May 17 (IPS) They represent just seven percent of the workers building the Santo Antonio hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River, which cuts across the Amazon jungle in northwest Brazil. But the women workers total 1,200, and many of them have had to break down barriers to jobs [...]





ECONOMY: Malawians Keen to Build Trade Ties with India | IBSA

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

By Claire Ngozo LILONGWE, May 10 (IPS) By Claire Ngozo

LILONGWE, May 10 (IPS) Building on historical relationships, Malawians have set their sights on strengthening trade and investment relations with India in sectors as diverse as agriculture, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals.

Malawi’s interest in investment from India comes at a time when Africa’s regional economic giant, South Africa, is also strengthening its relations with the Asian country through the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) dialogue forum. IBSA is a trilateral development initiative aimed at promoting South-South cooperation and exchange.

At the end of Mar. 2011, Malawian trade minister Eunice Kazembe attended the seventh India-Africa Business Conclave in New Delhi, India, where she approached Indian investors to explore trade opportunities in Malawi’s mining, tourism and energy industries.

The India-Africa Business Conclave is a yearly trade and investment event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Exim Bank, which is India’s premier export finance institution, together with the country’s ministries of external affairs and commerce.

There are so many untapped business opportunities in Malawi which India should explore, Kazembe told investors gathered at the conclave. The opportunities that exist in Malawi include that the country has enjoyed peace and tranquillity and a business environment that will open markets for your products across the region.

According to a proposal from Malawi’s ministry of trade, the southern African country is seeking Indian investment in a pharmaceutical plant, especially for AIDS drugs. The plant’s estimated cost would be 800 million dollars.

Malawi is also looking for investment in automation machinery for the country’s tax collecting authority, the Malawi Revenue Authority, and is seeking markets for agricultural produce. Agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy and up to 85 percent of Malawians depend on the land for their livelihoods.

Kazembe’s trip followed a visit by Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika to India in Nov. 2010 aimed at raising investment.

Malawian businesspeople also visited India in Oct. 2010, led by the country’s Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI).

The relationship should benefit both countries and improve the living standards of citizens, said MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira. MCCI went to India to promote investment opportunities in mining, general and agro-processing, information technology, manufacturing and healthcare.

Entrepreneurs such as James Kanduna of Mkando in Mulanje district, southern Malawi, have also woken up to the Indian potential. Kanduna is a farmer who grows pigeon peas.

In 2010 he went around talking to Indian traders based in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre, asking if they could assist him in identifying a market for the pigeon peas he had been growing for seven years. I learnt that India is a big consumer of pigeon peas and that there is a huge market for the crop, Kanduna told IPS.

He received a telephone call in Nov. 2010 from an Indian trader who was visiting the country. I had a meeting with him and four Indian traders based in the country and we agreed on modalities of shipping the produce to India. I have since stepped up my efforts and am expecting to harvest up to 20 tons which I will export to India, said Kanduna.

The farmer said he would produce more in the next growing season if he finds the Indian market lucrative.

A number of private companies with Indian connections have made major advances in Malawi. One such company is Rab Processors Ltd, founded in 1983 by the Jakhura family. The company is a leading player in the agro-industry in Malawi and specialises in exports of agricultural produce grown in Malawi, as well as provision of farm inputs.

Chairperson of Rab Processors Gaffar Jakhura told IPS that the company employs 1,500 people in Malawi and has an annual turnover of 80 million dollars. The Asian community in Malawi has made a considerable contribution to the economy of the country, especially those Indians involved in the trading and small-to-medium scale manufacturing sectors, according to Jakhura.

Another Indian company that has made its mark in the Malawi economy is Airtel, the country’s largest mobile network company, boasting 2,5 million subscribers. Close to 3,7 million of the country’s total population of 13,1 million use mobile phones.

Airtel founder and chairperson Sunil Bharti Mittal visited Malawi in March 2011 and assured Malawians that the company would be investing more in Malawi in the next year. From 2010 onwards, Airtel has been putting an initial investment of 100 million dollars into Malawi for the first three years.


ENVIRONMENT-INDIA Kerala Waits for Relief from Endosulfan Tragedy | IBSA

Monday, April 25th, 2011
Endosulfan goes by another trade name, Parrysulfan, in this photo taken from a cardamom plantation in Idukki, Kerala. Endosulfan is banned in Kerala. Credit:K.S. Harikrishnan/IPS

K. S. Harikrishnan KASARGOD, India, Apr 25, 2011 (IPS) Ajith, a nine-year old boy from Badiyadukka village in the southern Indian state of Kerala, waits patiently for his mother to return from the market and take him to the toilet. His bones are so deformed, he is totally immobile.


INDIA Some Brain Drains Back | IBSA

Friday, April 15th, 2011

By Keya Acharya BANGALORE, Apr 15, 2011 (IPS) They were the face of India’s brain drain the best and the brightest government-educated scholars who eventually left for foreign shores. Now, they have opted to give back as a gesture of thanks for the top-notch education they received.


More Economic BRICS in the Development Wall | IBSA

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

By Ranjit Devraj NEW DELHI, Apr 13 (IPS) As BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders prepare for Thursday’s summit in the resort town of Sanya in China’s southern Hainan province, experts here say there are limits to how ‘political’ the grouping can get.


DEVELOPMENT: India and South Africa Ever-Tightening Relations | IBSA

Monday, April 11th, 2011

By Louise Redvers JOHANNESBURG, Apr 11 (IPS) Much is made about China’s footprint in Africa but what about its emerging markets rival India? As the world’s fourth largest economy, and with a middle class of more than 400 million people (larger than the entire population of the U.S.), India is an increasingly big player [...]


DEVELOPMENT BRICS to Promote More Inclusive Global Partnership | IBSA

Friday, April 8th, 2011

By Gordon Ross BEIJING, Apr 9 (IPS) At the upcoming Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit, to be held on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan Apr. 14, discussion will focus not only on deepening economic ties among members, but will also likely touch on global political events, including the crisis [...]


INDIA: EU Trade Deal May Curb Affordable Drug Supply | IBSA

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

By Ranjit Devraj NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (IPS) As India prepares to seal a sweeping trade and investment deal with the European Union (EU) in April, civil society groups are campaigning to limit the deal’s repercussions within the local generic drug industry here upon which millions of people around the globe depend.


INDIA: Engaging Africa With Software and Soft Power | IBSA

Friday, March 18th, 2011

By Ranjit Devraj NEW DELHI, Mar 18 (IPS) India cannot match rival China’s massive investments in Africa, but it is using its information technology capabilities and its affordable university courses to stay relevant on the continent.


India, Wary of China and Pakistan, Boosts Arms Stockpiles | IBSA

Monday, March 14th, 2011

By Thalif Deen UNITED NATIONS, Mar 14 (IPS) As it projects its political and economic power in Asia and vigourously pushes its longstanding claims for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council India is also steadily strengthening its military might in the sprawling continent.


Businesses in Brazil Rediscover "Route to the Indies" | IBSA

Friday, March 11th, 2011

By Fabiana Frayssinet RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 12 (IPS) Companies from Brazil and India whose bilateral trade flow rose nearly threefold in the last three years are starting to diversify and complement their business dealings in order to strengthen the two emerging powers economic presence in the world, in a