Will Zimbabwe turn into another Egypt?

Annihilating around 300 Egyptians, the recent attack at Al-Rawda mosque in Sinai Peninsula has been one of the worst destruction in Egyptian history. Though no one claimed responsibility, the government suspects that Islamic State (IS) affiliate – Sinai Province group is behind the insurgency. Causalities are followers of Sufism, which is perceived as anti-Islam by few Sunni organisations. The reasons for the attack are both religious, political and strategic. The incident will remain as a black mark in the books of Egyptian history.

The attack was carried out by IS, which is a Sunni organisation, on the followers of Sufism. Egyptian society is mostly populated by Muslim Brotherhood which is also an affiliate of Sunni tradition. So, the Sunnis, who are intolerant to Sufism are mostly responsible for the attack. The reason for Muslim Brotherhood’s (Sunnis) angst against Egyptian Armed Forces is lack of their representation. For the first time in history, Muslim Brotherhood got representation in the form of Mohammad Morsi, President of Egypt from 2011 to 2013. But, in a military coup followed by elections, present President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi replaced Mohammad Morsi. Autocratic rule of el-Sisi led to resurgence of IS in Sinai Peninsula.

Sinai Peninsula is strategically located between Egypt and Israel. The organisation controlling this peninsula gains privilege to control Suez Canal, one of the trade hotspots of the world. Suez Canal connect Red sea with Mediterranean Sea reducing the efforts of the ships to travel across Africa. So, Adbul Fatah el-Sisi after assuming office in 2014, launched numerous attacks on militants in northern Sinai Peninsula. Insurgents also retaliated strongly in all the occasions. Recent attack on the mosque is one among them. The insurgents brutally attacked the ambulances which were present to rescue the victims, exemplifying their cold blooded nature and the crisis in northern peninsula. Egyptian government should crackdown the militant operations and also simultaneously provide representation to Muslim Brotherhood in the top leadership.

Further South to Egypt, another African nation is presently in crisis. Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, overthrew President Robert Mugabe with the help of military and assumed office. Tough, Mr. Mnangagwa has huge public support, a large minority of the population still supports Mr. Mugabe. If the present government fails to embrace all the sections of the society, the story of Egypt may repeat. For the disenchantment always turned into disastrous revolutions. From French Revolution in 1789 to Zimbabwe crisis in 2017, history is the silent

Zimbabwe Crisis

The hunger for power never wither away with time, but will simmer to take its worst form. At the age of 93 and after ruling Zimbabwe for 37 years, Robert Mugabe is in no mood to quit his Presidency. Hailed as an anti-colonist ruler by Zimbabweans, he is hated by the West for his economic policies. Recently, he fired his Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was direct competition to his wife for succeeding him. Now, ascertaining the disenchantment of the countrymen, military commanders have occupied the entire Presidential palace and seized the city of Harare. However, they denied making any coup in the palace explaining that the present act was just to clean the political system.

After assuming the power in 1980, when Zimbabwe attained freedom, Robert Mugabe left no stone unturned to stay in power. There were accusations of murder, massacre and purge directly on him. He leveraged the ethnic conflicts between Shona and Ndebele to hold on to his power. Being a Shona, Mr.Mugabe was also accused of being involved in Gukurahundi massacre wherein hundreds of Ndebeles were killed. He completely purged all his rivals out of the political party. Even Hitler followed a similar policy when he took over Germany in late 1920s. It created economic turmoil back then in Germany and right now, in Zimbabwe due to the hegemony of these individuals.

During his Presidency, Zimbabwe was also subjected to a worst economic crisis in the late 2000s. Involvement in Second Congo war, underreporting of spending on military and untoward corruption resulted in hyperinflation. The currency was unscrupulously printed and circulated in the economy. By 2015, Zimbabwe adopted US dollars as its official currency as the situation was out of its hand. Thus, Mugabe rendered its economy uncompetitive in the global world. He could neither maintain the social harmony nor economic stability of his country. Till certain point, Zimbabweans believed in his nationalistic rhetoric, but now someone had to control him and his wife.

After getting hitched to Mrs. Grace Mugabe in 1996, his atrocities became more discernable. She is known for her shopping spree and extravagant spending. There were also allegations of assault on her. She could easily escape the punishment given her ability to abuse power. Now that the term of Mr. Mugabe is coming to an end, the competition to replace him is intensifying. Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is the next power center who could wield equivalent power in the country as that of Mr. Mugabe. Underestimating his power, Mr. Mugabe fired him from the post expecting to clear the way for his wife. But, the game has turned against him and the repercussions are yet to be seen.

Growth of Middle Eastern Economies: What’s the next growth driver?

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It is the wonderland of the world, where oil is literally the growth engine of most of the countries. The region is beautiful with vast stretch of glaring brown deserts and sand dunes with a puddle of oasis amidst them. This article would provide a brief overview of how MENA (Middle East and North Africa) or the MEA (Middle East Asia) would be an excellent spot in the years to come.

Analyzing numerically, the data from reputed sources such as World Bank and IMF suggests that the GDP of all Middle Eastern countries have grown in a healthy manner. Apart from that, the per capita of most of the countries are quite high. To complement that, Qatar has one of the highest per capita GDP close to 60,000 USD in 2016 (World Bank). This is on par with the developed countries of the world such as US and Singapore. The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has seen a substantial change in the aura of the scenario making it a dream for many people in the world.

The tangential growth of expats and the ever-growing Airlines such as the Emirates and Etihad has contributed extensively to travel industry and investments. The duty free zones of Dubai have made it lucrative for the entire world and is one of the largest Airport retailers. On the other hand, Saudi has also grown equally with the help of Aramco which is one of the largest energy companies in the world. The countries such as Syria, Iraq and Iran are yet to recover from the internal conflicts. But these countries have the potential to be the hubs for trade in the future.

Israel is also constantly growing tackling some of the domestic issues. Bahrain and Kuwait are growing steadily (Based on Last analyzed Growth Data i.e., in 2015, nearly 2% for Kuwait and almost 3% for Bahrain). Egypt has the potential to be an amazing tourism center for the entire planet and the forecast of WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) are positive on most of the indicators. Oman has also seen a huge jump in numbers during the 1990s due to the rise in exports of oil and other commodities. It also possess a controlled rate of inflation nearing 1%. All other countries in the region are in the track for growth in the long term, with a need for efforts from business and government equally.

So, what is the next growth factor for MEA apart from oil? The recent news suggest a lot of positive changes emanating from Middle East. The appointment of Minister of Happiness in Dubai, shows the positive mindset accumulating in the UAE. The presence of service industries and hospitality industries is a testimony of a growing economy in Dubai as the number of tourists are increasing and Dubai is becoming one of the most favorite places on Earth. Apart from the modern Dubai, Abu Dhabi is also garnering popularity among the foreigners as one of the places in their bucket list.

Elsewhere, Saudi has started its efforts in planning investments of trillions of dollars into infrastructure development and connectivity. This is a huge improvement along with the news of freedom for women to drive cars. The countries have realized that oil is not a lone sustainable business for the world to thrive in the future, due to the extensive use of alternative sources of energy. Germany is one of the countries who might meet almost 50% of their requirement with renewable sources.

The recent news of Saudi Arabia willing to grant citizenship to Robot suggests that the importance of AI, latest technologies and robotics is vital for them. The world has seen a paradigm shift in terms of usage of new technologies and energy. Apart from these, companies like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad are investing abroad, thus diversifying the portfolios, which would help the growth of Middle East in terms of global presence.

One such example, is the sponsoring of events and sport clubs such as Real Madrid or Arsenal or Barcelona. The future would likely see the countries improving on connectivity amidst them, sorting out temporary tensions in the region. The diverse culture among the neighbors can be one to savor. The region can act as channel/logistic centers for transporting the goods which would earn them a fortune. The demography is an advantage for MEA as almost 30-35% of the population is young, which indicates that the drive for growth is immaculate and could be prospective in the future. Thus, MEA can be an exciting part of the world in the future and a lot depends on the policies as well.

If you have any ideas/opinions, kindly comment. Let’s discuss!!

DakshinaChitra – More than a Museum

Just beside exciting MGM Dizzee Wolrd on the ECR Road, there lies even more enthralling DakshinaChitra museum. It is a heritage site which preserves and protects South Indian culture. Both the Visual arts and performing arts are vividly exhibited in the 10 Acre sprawling area. The uniqueness of this museum lies in the way arts and artefacts are being exhibited. The culture of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka are depicted in the houses built by the organization. Each house was bought from a specific district which was the epicentre of a particular culture. They were then dismantled and then rebuilt at the museum.

The museum was conceptualized by Madras Craft Foundation, an NGO working to protect and preserve Indian culture. Later, with the grace of different organizations, the museum is still lively. Not only it depicts a wide range of arts, the museum also acts as a platform for many villagers to showcase their talent and sell their arts/artefacts. It gives the opportunity for the customers to buy genuine products directly from the artists. The performances such as traditional puppet show and dance shows from various states entertain the viewers. Also, a small glimpse of traditional games such as spin tops, break pots and board games evoke the nostalgia of childhood memories.

A major portion of the museum is allotted to the home state i.e., Tamil Nadu. The culture is highlighted in various houses. An Agraharam Brahmin house, the Ambur Art Gallery, weaver’s house from Kanchipuram Dist., and an agriculturist’s house from Thanjavur Dist are perfectly replicated. The Kalamkari art is also exhibited along with the process of weaving the Kalamkari saris. All the arts highlight the diversity of the rich heritage around us. For Kerala, the museum replicated Hindu and Syrian Christian houses. The way in which the people of Kerala adopts to the hot and humid climate can be understood through the houses built in the museum. Karnataka’s culture is exhibited through traders and weavers house from Chikmagalur and Bagalkot’s Districts respectively. For Andhra Pradesh, a typical Reddy’s house is portrayed.

DakshinChitra is around 36kms from Koyambedu Bus stand and can be easily reached by car or bus as it is on East Coast Road (ECR). Few kinds of traditional foods are available inside the museum and it also has got a family restaurant. It would atleast take half a day to cover the whole place. The museum is a must watch place for people interested in culture. It also provides a chance to create awareness on the forgotten culture to the younger generation.