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Month: November 2023

Президентка Єврокомісії розповіла про зустрічі з конгресменами США щодо допомоги Україні

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«У мене також була можливість поговорити з сенаторами і конгресменами, і ми їм пояснили, що робимо і чому вважаємо, що це надзвичайно важливо, щоб Україна мала фінансову стабільність і прогнозованість бюджету»

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Categories: Новини, Світ

Biden to Meet Latin Leaders on Economics, Migration

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U.S. President Joe Biden will host leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean at the White House on Friday to discuss economic issues and migration as he seeks to bolster ties in the region to counter China and other global competitors.

Leaders from Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay are expected to attend Friday’s gathering, as well as representatives from Mexico and Panama.

The inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, or APEP, Leaders’ Summit comes as Biden’s foreign policy agenda is dominated by the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and Ukraine’s bid to repel Russian invaders.

The United States will announce new economic tools together with the Inter-American Development Bank and private donors to aid countries hosting migrants in the Western Hemisphere, with a goal of expanding economic cooperation and curbing migrant arrivals at the U.S-Mexico border, senior administration officials said.

“When the countries are working together on a common economic agenda … it has the potential to significantly shift the economic dynamics in a region that has been moving slower than its peers on the adoption of technology, on taking advantage of the nearshoring trends,” a senior administration official said.

Biden remained convinced that targeted economic investment in refugee and migrant host countries “is critical to stabilizing migration flows,” a second official said.

Six APEP countries — Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Panama — have offered legal status to millions of people displaced in the Western Hemisphere, the official said.

“They have stepped up in big ways, and we are stepping up for them. APEP is a big part of that,” the official said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hosted a breakfast meeting for the leaders at the Treasury on Friday, telling them that the U.S. would work closely with the IDB to support efforts to better integrate the region’s supply chains.

She said Treasury strongly supported efforts by Inter-American Development Bank President Ilan Goldfajn to reform its private sector arm, IDB Invest, and would work with the bank’s other shareholders to enable a “significant” capital increase for IDB Invest.

The IDB, the region’s largest development bank, will unveil a new financing platform to serve middle- and higher-income countries, potentially mobilizing billions of dollars for investment in renewable energy, officials said.

The effort was focused on bolstering the region’s ability to compete globally in the clean energy, semiconductor and medical supplies sectors, one of the officials said.

The summit follows a similarly themed meeting of Western Hemisphere leaders in Los Angeles last year, part of a broader push aimed at strengthening regional economic ties and reducing China’s influence in the region.

At the “Summit of the Americas,” the U.S. and 19 other countries signed a nonbinding declaration agreeing to a set of measures to confront the migration crisis.

Record numbers of migrants have crossed illegally through the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, with hundreds of thousands of people heading north after traversing a perilous jungle region known as the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama.

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Лідер «Хезболли» попередив про ескалацію, але не закликав до повномасштабної війни

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Хассан Насралла, який переховується і рідко з’являється на публіці, записав відеозвернення з невідомого місця. Це сталося на тлі загострення боїв між «Хамасом» та ізраїльськими солдатами у Секторі Гази

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Categories: Новини, Світ

US Takes Up China’s Infrastructure Mantel in Africa

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This week, the U.S. State Department confirmed that Washington’s plan to refurbish and extend the Lobito Corridor — a railway that will run through mineral-rich Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to an Atlantic port in Angola — is moving full steam ahead.

Such ambitious infrastructure investments by other powers in Africa have been derailed in the past. For years, China has tried with mixed results to increase its influence in Africa and boost trade connectivity by investing in ports and railways.

Debt-incurring or unfinished projects undertaken as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, have been criticized, prompting what analysts see as a new focus on what Chinese President Xi Jinping has called a “small and beautiful” approach.

Now the West is stepping in, with the U.S., European Union, the three African nations and two financial institutions signing a memorandum of understanding last month to develop the partially existing Lobito Corridor.

Plans were outlined in an online media briefing this week, and a six-month feasibility study is expected to start before the end of the year, said Helaina Matza, the acting special coordinator for the Partnership on the Global Infrastructure Investment, or PGII. The intention is to get the 800 kilometers (500 miles) of new track built within five years at an estimated cost of more than $1 billion, she said.

When asked how the U.S. plans to sustain the project long-term and avoid the mistakes made by other foreign powers pursuing infrastructure projects on the continent, Matza was optimistic.

“It’s not all concessional financing going directly to governments,” she said, noting that a private partner, the Africa Finance Corp., is involved and will be putting “forward a plan for operation and maintenance and putting forward a plan around capacity development.”

While not mentioning China directly, she said: “I think we’ve learned from mistakes and projects that over the years, frankly, we’ve helped bail out because they needed refurbishment a little too quickly.”

Liu Pengyu, China’s Embassy spokesperson in Washington told VOA in an emailed response that there is “broad space for cooperation in the field of global infrastructure, and there is no question of various relevant initiatives contradicting or replacing each other.”

Liu also denied the frequent criticism that Beijing is using BRI and its projects to create spheres of influence.

“Any calculation to advance geopolitics in the name of infrastructure development is not welcome and doomed to fail,” he said.

Lessons from the BRI?

One of China’s largest BRI investments was the $4.7 billion Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya, which started operating in 2017 and connects the capital, Nairobi, with the port city of Mombasa.

The railway was supposed to connect to neighboring Uganda, as a way of bringing critical minerals to the coast, but it never got that far, leaving the cargo side of the business struggling. This week the Kenyan government announced a sharp increase in fares for passengers, citing rising fuel prices.

The announcement came on the heels of President William Ruto’s visit last month to China, where he was seeking a $1 billion loan to complete unfinished infrastructure projects. Some Kenyans have also criticized the project for not hiring enough locals to operate the railway.

Asked whether the existence of the BRI will help inform the new US/EU initiative, Yunnan Chen, a researcher at the global think tank Overseas Development Institute, said it has already had an impact.

“While the BRI can be criticized on many areas, one success it’s certainly had is to raise the profile of infrastructure in development, and crowded in greater interest — and welcome competition — in this space,” she said, noting the G7 now has the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment and the E.U. has the Global Gateway. The first Global Gateway forum was held last month in Brussels, where the Lobito Corridor memorandum of understanding was signed.

“The fact that U.S. has taken such a deep interest in Angola — a major BRI partner and one of the largest recipients of infrastructure lending from China — is a clear sign they want to ramp up the competition directly in China’s spheres of interest,” she said.

While some of the Chinese projects have faced “legitimate criticism,” Chen said, railway projects can be difficult to make profitable based on passengers and freight if they are not linked to the mining sector.

“The Lobito Corridor may do better than some of the East African projects, since they will likely be directly connected to minerals/mining projects that justifies the freight, but it will be a test to see how the U.S. and EU will tackle the challenges that rail construction brings,” she said.

These challenges include social and environmental impacts and management of the railway once completed, all problems the Chinese have faced. Chen said it will be interesting to see how the West now fares “given the emphasis on higher standards.”

Matza, the acting PGII coordinator, said, “Our ethos for any sort of infrastructure we invest in is that the project is transparent.”

She said the U.S. wants to ensure that “the whole corridor is successful and that people who live along that corridor can participate not only in commerce but in other activities that really benefit the economic development of themselves and their countries.”

View from Africa

So who do ordinary Africans trust more when it comes to infrastructure investment, the U.S. or China?

VOA put that question to Johannesburg residents this week to see what they think.

Musician Luyolo Yiba, 29, was cynical as he sipped a drink at a sidewalk cafe.

“Both are looking at taking minerals, so it’s tricky to say this one is better than that one,” he said, adding that he doubts the U.S. is primarily concerned with helping the African people and that he expected the money to be lost to government corruption in Africa.

Zoyisile Donshe, an entrepreneur in his 40s, said he doesn’t think there needs to be competition for influence in Africa at all.

“They see that Africa is the future,” he said. “I love America, I love China as well. They’re creating opportunities in Africa. … I think most Africans would prefer them to cooperate.”

Asked whether the Lobito Corridor could end up being linked to any Chinese-built railways in the region, Matza said it was too soon to say but did not rule it out.

“There’s a lot of work happening, there’s maybe a Tazara refurbishment,” she said, referring to a railway linking Zambia and Tanzania. 

“There’s a lot of talks about an additional rail line that can continue south and maybe out through Mozambique,” she said. “We’re taking this on one piece at a time knowing what we can finance, support and help design.”

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Блінкен заявив про необхідність «гуманітарних пауз» в Газі, Нетаньягу виключив перемир’я до звільнення заручників

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Держсекретар Ентоні Блінкен під час візиту до Ізраїлю підтвердив підтримку США, але сказав, що потрібні «гуманітарні паузи», щоб збільшити доставку допомоги палестинським цивільним жителям

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Categories: Новини, Світ

ВМС США вперше очолила жінка

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У четвер Сенат США схвалив кандидатуру адмірала Лізи Франкетті на посаду керівника ВМС, зробивши її першою жінкою на цьому посту та першою членкинею Об’єднаного комітету начальників штабів.

Раніше, як офіцер ВМФ США, Франкетті обіймала посаду директора зі стратегії, планів та політики з 2020 по 2022 рік, другого заступника начальника військово-морських операцій з розвитку бойових дій у 2020 році та командувача Шостого флоту США з 2018 по 2020 рік.

Попередник Франкетті адмірал Майк Гілдей пішов у відставку за вислугою років.

Сенат США також схвалив кандидатуру генерала Девіда Олвіна на посаду голови ВПС США. Олвін – пілот із понад 4600 годинами нальоту, у тому числі 100 – у бойових діях. Він раніше обіймав посаду заступника начальника штабу ВПС.

Читайте також: Американський флот уперше очолить жінка


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Categories: Новини, Світ

ПВК «Вагнер» може передати угрупованню «Хезболла» у Лівані російську систему ППО – ЗМІ

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Російська ПВК «Вагнер» може передати радикальному ліванському угрупованню «Хезболла» російську систему протиповітряної оборони «Панцир-С1», написало видання The World Street Journal із посиланням на американських посадовців та розвідку США.

Йдеться про систему, яка використовує зенітні ракети та гармати ППО для перехоплення літаків.

За словами одного із співрозмовників видання, Вашингтон поки не підтвердив відправлення системи, але стежить за контактами ПВК «Вагнер» та «Хезболли».

Нещодавно США відправили до Середземного моря авіаносець для стримування ліванських угруповань від розгортання північного фронту проти Ізраїлю на тлі військової операції проти палестинського радикального угруповання «Хамас» у Секторі Гази.

ПВК «Вагнер» та «Хезболла» воюють у Сирії на боці режиму президента Башара Асада. Підконтрольна Дамаску армія має на озброєнні «Панцир-С1».


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Categories: Новини, Світ

Biden to Host Inaugural Americas Economic Summit

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U.S. President Joe Biden will tout his plan to deepen Western Hemisphere economic integration on Friday when he hosts leaders from 11 other nations at the White House for the nascent Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.

Analysts say the initiative, introduced last year, may not result in a substantial trade boost or pose a significant challenge to China’s economic dominance and ambitions, but it could address other hemispheric challenges, like irregular migration.

In marketing the initiative on Thursday, Biden emphasized what he sees as a pillar of his diplomatic approach: mutual benefit.

“Together, we’re expanding opportunities for working people in both our nations, I believe, including through our Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity,” Biden said during a pre-summit meeting with Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday that this economic partnership could affect manufacturing in crucial sectors such as renewables, medical supplies and semiconductors.

She said this is an example of “friendshoring” — the move to diversify supply chains by working with close friends and allies.

Yellen said the economic partnership “offers our countries a key vehicle through which to deepen economic integration, increase the competitiveness of our region, drive private-sector investment and foster inclusive and sustainable development.”


The United States faces stiff competition. In recent years, China has significantly boosted investment in and economic relations with South America, making it that continent’s largest trading partner.

Because the U.S.-led initiative leans on private-sector investment, it can’t match China’s government-driven approach, said analyst Jason Marczak, senior director at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

“I don’t expect the U.S. to be able to match China dollar for dollar,” he told VOA. “China is not a capitalist system, and so the ways in which Chinese financing goes in the region is state-owned enterprises. It’s government money, other sources, all of which are directed by the Chinese government.”

But the U.S. can leverage its leadership by choosing projects and investments wisely and investing “in those areas that are critical for the future economic growth of the people of the Americas, and in a way that hopefully ensures that it is the actual people who ultimately benefit from this investment,” Marczak said.

Like the administration’s still-developing Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, this initiative doesn’t include new market access commitments, said economic analyst Tori Smith of the American Action Forum.

“Market access negotiations could be less necessary in this context, given that the existing network of trade agreements have tariff barriers close to zero with most participants,” she wrote March 2 in an analysis of the partnership. She noted that the U.S. has existing free-trade agreements with eight of the 11 other countries.

The partnership “is unlikely to substantially increase trade flows between the United States and the participating countries because the forum focuses very little on trade policy,” she argued.

However, this still-evolving economic agreement could address other challenges in the hemisphere, Marczak said.

“Investing in the APEC member countries, providing sustainable financing — that is all tied to migration,” he said. “Because ultimately, a country that is sending migrants, there will be less migrants that will leave the country when the economy is even stronger.”

While APEP negotiations lag considerably behind those of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework – even though the programs were announced at roughly the same time – the U.S. currently has an edge in this hemisphere, said Shannon O’Neil of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“The U.S. maintains an advantage in terms of more comprehensive ground rules, a longer history of investment, and more balanced and higher value-added trade,” she said.

Jorge Agobian contributed to this report. 

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