When Pakistan is awash in Chinese FDI; World’s e-waste at new high of 42m tonnes; Xenophobia crisis for South Africa

1 When Pakistan is awash in Chinese FDI (Cyril Almeida in Dawn) Numbers sometimes tell a tale of their own. So, chew on these figures a minute: $5.4 billion, $3.7bn, $2.1bn, $1.6bn, $820 million, $1.4bn, $1.6bn and $710m. That’s the Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan for each fiscal year from 2007-08 to the first nine months of 2014-15. Not very impressive, is it?

Peak FDI was $5.4bn in 2007-08, the year after the highest GDP growth rate of the Musharraf era of roughly 7pc. In the first nine months of this fiscal year, FDI (basically, foreigners setting up or buying businesses inside Pakistan) from every country of the world, including China, was $710m.

Now, compare that to the figure you’re going to be hearing a lot this week: $46bn. The Chinese are coming and President Xi is bringing $46bn worth of surprises with him. $46bn is three times the total FDI Pakistan has received from every country in the world put together over the past eight years combined.

Even if a few of those already hyped billions ever materialise, be pretty sure they will be flowing from the desperate braggart — that would be us — to the shrewd rich guy — that would be the Chinese. Oh, and every time you hear $46bn this week, do yourself a favour and think of $710m, the wretched sum Pakistan has attracted from investors in every country of the world combined over the past nine months.


2 World’ electrical waste at new high of 42m tonnes (The Guardian) A record amount of electrical and electronic waste was discarded around the world in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said.

Last year, 41.8m tonnes of so-called e-waste – mostly fridges, washing machines and other domestic appliances at the end of their life – was dumped, the UN report said. That’s the equivalent of 1.15m heavy trucks, forming a line 23,000km (14,300 miles) long, according to the report, compiled by the United Nations University, the UN’s educational and research branch.

Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled, it said. In 2013, the e-waste total was 39.8m tonnes – and on present trends, the 50-million-tonne mark could be reached in 2018. Topping the list for per-capita waste last year was Norway, with 28.4kg per inhabitant. It was followed by Switzerland (26.3kg), Iceland (26.1kg), Denmark (24.0kg), Britain (23.5kg), the Netherlands (23.4kg), Sweden (22.3kg), France (22.2kg) and the US and Austria (22.1kg).

The region with the lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant was Africa, with 1.7kg per person. It generated a total of 1.9m tonnes of waste. Almost 60% of e-waste by weight came from large and small kitchen, bathroom and laundry appliances. Seven percent was generated by discarded mobile phones, calculators, personal computers and printers.


3 Xenophobia crisis for South Africa (San Francisco Chronicle) South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma on Saturday canceled a foreign trip in order to deal with a wave of attacks on immigrants that have killed at least six people. In the latest violence, mobs attacked shops owned by foreign nationals in a poor area of Johannesburg.

There was a heavy police presence in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg after rioters looted some shops, burned tires and built street barricades overnight. Police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to stop the unrest, the report said. Several shops and cars owned by immigrants were torched in downtown Johannesburg in recent days.

Attacks on immigrants, many of them from other African countries, in and around Durban have subsided after the deaths of six people there, police said. Some 112 people were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal province, which includes Durban, during the riots there, according to authorities.

Some South Africans have accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them in a country with high unemployment. The government has said it is addressing complaints about undocumented migrants, while noting that many foreign nationals are living legally in South Africa and contributing to economic development.

About 60 people died in similar unrest in South Africa in 2008. In January this year, four people died during a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and other violence in Soweto and other areas of Johannesburg. Many immigrants are from neighboring Zimbabwe. Its president, Robert Mugabe, said he was glad that the South African government had denounced the violence. Mugabe is currently chairman of the African Union as well as a regional group, the Southern African Development Community.



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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