Global Review by roberto Pucciano Ceo of anchorage group global
The central Asian republic of Uzbekistan is undergoing a change of regime for the first time in a quarter of a century. News of the death of the authoritarian President Islam Karimov first leaked out through a statement by the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in early September, and was later officially confirmed. The delay in a formal announcement may have indicated a power struggle behind the scenes, as the dictator had left no nominated successor. Presidential elections are due to be held in December 2016. Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev is the country’s acting president in the interim. The regime of Karimov was widely criticized for being oppressive. The former dictator had pointed to an Islamist insurgency as a reason for clampdowns on dissidents and restrictions on democratic freedoms. The country became independent in 1991, following the demise of the Soviet Union. It has experienced economic growth, with the help of gas, cotton and oil exports. GDP has soared from around $10 billion to over $60 billion in the 2000s, according to World Bank data. Control of corruption is poor, with the country ranked 153rd on the Transparency Index. Life expectancy has improved from under 60 to 68 in the past few decades, and the literacy rate is nearly 100%.
The landlocked, southern African nation of Zambia has experienced relative political stability over the years. Edgar Lungu succeeded Michael Sata, who died in office in 2014, and became the nation’s sixth President since independence from colonial rule in the 1960s, winning his own term in elections in August 2016. Although there has been economic development in recent years, much has depended on exports of copper, which has been subject to falls in the international price. Around two-thirds of the population still live in poverty, according to the BBC. GDP rose sharply in the first years of the new century, but has fallen off in recent years. A bad harvest in 2015 compounded difficulties, according to a World Bank report. The country’s counter-corruption ranking is midtable, being placed 76th out of 168 nations on the Transparency Index. Health indicators have recovered. Life expectancy actually fell during the 1990s, mainly owing to the spread of AIDS, but has improved considerably since. Life expectancy fell to below 50 at the turn of the millennium, but reached 60 by 2014, according to the World Bank. The literacy rate is 71%. The country’s population is growing quickly, and the current population of 13 million is set to triple by 2050.