ASEAN POWERS AHEAD Energy minister meet to spark joint energy projects Ten ASEAN energy ministers will meet in the Philippines
ASEAN POWERS AHEAD
Energy minister meet to spark joint energy projects
Ten ASEAN energy ministers will meet in the Philippines today to commence a week-long series of meetings to advance– among other joint energy projects– the ASEAN Power Grid initiative.
Part of the overall vision to maximise economic unification among member states, the proposed grid will link participating countries through an integrated energy infrastructure. The Association– many countries of which are experiencing rapid economic and population growth– looks to benefit from reduced overall energy costs.
This week’s meeting will reiterate the economic benefits of the project to the region; however, the ministers will likely deliberate on the risks associated with such a plan in a region characterised by localised ethnic and religious conflicts. Such integration is a high-stakes proposal, as a terrorist or cyber-attack on a unified grid could have devastating consequences for all countries relying on said grid.
The success of the plan will depend on member countries’ confidence in the strength of the grid’s security.
TRUMP SEEKS NEW DEAL
Trump to meet with Netanyahu and Abbas at the UN to restart talks
In an attempt to resuscitate stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace deliberations, US President Donald Trump will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. On the sidelines of the UN General Debate’s opening later this week, Mr Trump will host a similar meeting with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Earlier talks in May between President Trump and the two leaders proved inconclusive. Relations between the US president and Mr Abbas have grown tense, as Mr Trump has abandoned the “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict, a policy that has been actively promoted by the US for decades. Relations between the US and Israel also walk a fine line, as President Trump has chastised the expansion of Israeli settlements
Eager to demonstrate his skills as a negotiator, Trump will likely attempt to find any common ground that could promote a resumption of talks between the two leaders.
Regardless, given the mounting contention concerning certain issues, like the possession and administration of East Jerusalem, it is improbable that there will be any changes to the conflict’s status quo.
A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB
Algerian PM to present action plan for ailing economy
Today, Algeria’s Parliament will hear Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia’s plan for addressing the country’s ongoing economic crisis.
Since mid-2014, Algeria has grappled with a 50% slump in oil prices, free-falling foreign reserves, and high youth unemployment. Income from oil accounts for 40% of Algeria’s GDP and 60% of government revenues. Such dependence suggests that a diversification and reformation the energy sector is needed.
Regardless, the Algerian government has not incentivised investors in tourism or agricultural sectors, and excessive import restrictions and anti-privatisation efforts deter foreign investment in energy, as has preventing state-owned industries privatising.
Forced to rationalise social spending, the government remains hesitant to introduce deep subsidy reforms, because fear of a repeat of the 1988 popular uprisings from such measures after the oil price crash, led to civil war ending in 2000.
With succession rumours flying after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 2013 stroke and public dissatisfaction rising, the pressure is on the new PM to save the day