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DGI Brief - Nov 1, 2016

Happy Tuesday, all. Today's top 3 global issues news are about #Yemen #gendergap and the newest #China #Malaysia alliance:

- YEMEN was already one of the poorest countries in the region, but 19 months of brutal war has made the situation truly dire. Half of the country is food insecure, with >1.5 million children acutely malnourished. 7.6 million people are now declared at risk of cholera, around 3.8 million of them are children & another deadly threat is looming – health officials recorded number of cases of measles. Why it matters: Measles is a highly infectious airborne virus & has the potential to spread rapidly amongst people not vaccinated, which with a broken healthcare system is the case for many of Yemen’s children. Cholera also promises to ravage Yemen given the limited access to clean water & high levels of malnutrition. Millions of people are at risk of dying from easily preventable/treatable diseases yet the parties to the conflict cannot fathom ceasefire, let alone peace talks & expect the humanitarian community to clean up their mess. Shameless.

- WORLD: Newest McKinsey & USB Wealth Management reports show that if countries around the world increased national female participation to match just the best in their region (not a high bar in most cases), we’d add $12 trillion to the world economy by 2025. Why it matters: economic growth projections globally are sluggish at best, yet we seem to be ignoring the data elephant in the room. We can increase the world economy by 11% by closing the gender gap – on employment, pay & leadership. It would take serious commitments & reforms of our systems, but the return on investment is guaranteed. So why does the World Economic Forum warn that the gender gap has actually widened in the last 4 years & could take 170 years for us to close it & women to reach parity!

- During his state visit to CHINA this week, MALAYSIA’s Prime Minister Najib Razak signed number of agreements with his counterpart to enhance cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, trade, investment and law enforcement & most importantly defense cooperation in the South China Sea. Why it matters: Malaysia claims South China Sea waters north of Borneo & indicated they’d never compromise on its claim before China. But… PM Najib is implicated in a US investigation into massive fraud by 1MDB, an investment fund he founded. Western foreign investment has dropped because of this scandal & the associated political risks while Western capitals turn away. A ripe scenario for China to step in & embrace the bruised leader, offering to overlook his indiscretions & give him 5-star treatment…for a little concession on the critical territorial dispute. The willingness to disregard good values, behavior & business is sharply redrawing old alliances. It just seems like a race to the bottom.

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