NYTimes: Opinion: The Global Farmland Rush – Over the last decade, as populations have grown, “capital has flowed across borders and crop yields have leveled off, food-importing nations and private investors have been securing land abroad to use for agriculture.” While poorer governments generally embrace these deals, their people risk “losing their patrimony, not to mention their sources of food.” Investors typically promise to create local jobs, produce higher crop yields and improve food security, yet few of these benefits actually materialize. (Michael Kugelman)
Devex: Another budget showdown in Brussels – Tomorrow, EU leaders will gather to discuss the regional bloc’s multiannual budget, and the “outlook for development cooperation remains uncertain.” European aid groups have been campaigning to encourage leaders to “retain a robust development budget between 2014 and 2020.” Several European leaders have been pressing for steep across-the-board cuts, and even if these don’t materialize, areas such as Europe’s agricultural sector are more likely to be spared than the development sector. (Jenny Lei Ravelo)
AlJazeera: Substandard drugs blamed for TB crisis – A recent study indicates that “fake or substandard drugs are in full circulation in Africa, India and other developing countries,” where they are prompting the rise of treatment-resistant strains of TB. Nearly nine million people around the world have TB, including 400,000 with a multidrug-resistant form of the disease.
CNN: Did you have more cash than Zimbabwe’s government last week? – Zimbabwe’s finance minister disclosed last week that his government had $217 U.S. left in its public bank account. Transparency International ranks Zimbabwe at 163 in the world in its latest corruption rankings, while The World Bank ranks it 172 for ease of doing business. The country’s “basic problem is not economic, but political.” Robert Mugabe and has ZANU PF party control many of the most important ministries, the police, and the military and the “ruling party continues to steal this poor country blind.”