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OCP Policy Center’s blog is an open debate and exchange platform where experts share comments, reviews, analyses, charts, opinions and facts related to the Think Tank’s programs and research topics.


Trials against ISIS

Helmut Sorge | Posted : August 15, 2018


It was a cage. A size large enough to transport six sheep to the market. The cage was made out of wood, possibly the local carpenter was praised for his work by the President of the court.  Wood is difficult to find these days, wood to resist the fury of a human being, forced to stand in the cage and listen to the verdict for his or her crime -- death by hanging, or life in prison. The woman standing in the cage on one of these hot, muggy days in Baghdad seemed fragile, yet controlled. She did not wail or cry or shout to the three judges facing her. Possibly Djamila Boutoutao, 29-year-old and mother of a two year old daughter, was expecting the darkness of the sentence, since she was familiar with darkness of war.  Her husband was killed in 2016, two years after they had arrived from their hometown Lille in the self-proclaimed caliphate of the Islamic State. A year later she lost her son, Abdullah.

Quand les grands se fâchent, le monde panique !

Tayeb Ghazi | Posted : August 13, 2018

Depuis la fin de l’année 2017, le président Donald Trump mène plusieurs batailles commerciales, contre différents partenaires, sous prétextes de sauver des emplois industriels américains et de réduire le déficit commercial des États-Unis. S’il est difficile de se prononcer sur les effets des combats commerciaux amorcés par le président Trump, l’importance des opposants et des échanges pour l’économie mondiale en fait une source de risque pour la croissance, les emplois et les prix à l’échelle planétaire.

Benefits and Costs of Opening Brazil’s Foreign Trade

Otaviano Canuto | Posted : August 13, 2018

The Brazilian economy pays a price in terms of productivity foregone because of its lack of trade openness. A trade opening process would bring an adjustment impact that could nonetheless be mitigated with public policies that facilitate labor mobility and job migration. Benefits from trade opening would also hinge on policy improvements in complementary areas, such as infrastructure investments, business environment and others.

Running the Risk of Turning the Planet into a Garbage Dump

Helmut Sorge | Posted : August 09, 2018

Garbage, at times, stinks of gold. E-waste, toxic, or nuclear trash, is making the Mafia wealthy, allowing crime syndicates to perfume their bank accounts, or fill their safes with cash. Waste management is extremely lucrative. The EU’s trash business has an estimated turnover of over 100 billion yearly. The largest 25 European waste management firms employ 130,000 people. Now, multiply on the global scale—much of it illegal, and therefore often in cash. Welcome to the Godfather. It is well known to movie fans, who admired Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather,” that Southern Italian Mafia groups like Ndrangheta , Camorra, Cosa Nostra, have been for decades cashing in on a variety of activities. Brutal and powerful, from Rome to New York, London, Rio and beyond, these mafia groups cash in on construction sites, protection scheme’s, kidnapping, drug deals, boxing promoters, unions, film production, and even control part of the trash hauling business in Manhattan. One of my friends, managing director of a famous hotel near Madison Avenue, told me about one of his recent meetings with a representative of daily trash haulers based in Brooklyn. The mafia had raised its price by 25 percent and made it clear to the hotel manager how they would react to a refusal: “Until you agree we will empty a full garbage truck each day in front of your hotel lobby. Your guest(s) will enjoy the smell.”

The Little Summit that Could : Looking back on the 31st African Union Summit in Nouakchott

Malik Abaddi | Posted : August 08, 2018

The African Union goes to Mauritania

Under the theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption”, the 31st Summit of the African Union was held in early July in the desert capital Nouakchott. In a bitter prelude in late June, the AU’s commitment to this central theme was dealt a blow with the sudden – and public – resignation of Ghana’s Daniel Batidam from the AU Advisory Board on Corruption. Off to a rocky start, the summit had an even rougher road ahead of it. 

Global imbalances and currency bullying

Otaviano Canuto | Posted : August 06, 2018

The IMF released last July 24 its latest assessments of the current account balances for the 30 largest economies in its External Sector Report 2018 (ESR). There was no major change in 2017 relative to previous years and the reconfiguration of surpluses and deficits that has prevailed since 2013 was essentially extended. However, there are reasons to expect more abrupt alterations ahead, as the U.S. fiscal easing under high employment conditions unfolds. Given the context of ongoing U.S.-led trade wars, as well as the recent bout of Chinese exchange rate depreciation, one may wonder about the prospects of currencies also becoming subject to war or rather to what Citi has called “currency bullying”.

Chinese Trash Refusal and its Consequences: A Wake-up Call for the World

Helmut Sorge | Posted : August 01, 2018



For Simon Elin, chief executive of the British Recycling Association, it’s “a tough time” his industry and country are facing just now. He does not think about Brexit, Britain trying to leave the E.U., dreaming to return to glorious times as a world power, one day soon. His colleague Arnaud Brunet, head of the Bureau of International Recycling, predicted “catastrophic environmental problems.” An assessment the London Times shared: “The world is drowning in plastic as China is shutting the door to waste.”

Food Security in Morocco and India: Different Challenges for Joint Answers?

Ihssane Guennoun | Posted : August 01, 2018

“This article has been originally published in “Morocco in Focus 2018”, the magazine of the Moroccan Embassy in New Delhi, India on the occasion of the Morocco National Day 2018.”