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DGI Brief - Nov 10, 2016

Good Thursday to all. Today's top 3 global issues news are about #Russia #Bangladesh and #SouthAfrica:

- RUSSIA’s court ruled LinkedIn broke a law requiring personal data on Russian citizens to be stored on servers within Russia. The punishment will be a complete blockage of LinkedIn across Russia. Meanwhile, Russian antitrust regular opened a case against Microsoft for failing to give sufficient time to for Windows 10 operating system anti-virus development. Why it matters: According to the complaint, Microsoft allowed just a few days instead of the usual 2-month period, giving an “unjustified advantage” to its Windows Defender software & cutting out competing anti-virus software makers out of the market. LinkedIn expressed a desire to meet with Russia’s telecom/media regular Roskomnadzor to resolve the issue after its appeals were rejected by the courts. Whichever position you take on the issues, it is clear that data wars are alive & well.

- BANGLADESH’s long-running dispute with foreign donors & World Bank (WB) over climate change action program delivery finally culminated with multi-donor, World Bank-administered Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) closing & millions of unspent monies refunded. Why it matters: Bangladesh is poor. It is continuously present on global corruption & impunity indexes. But it is also truly expert in 20+ years of climate change mitigation efforts, considered by world scientists as ahead of the curve. Yet its successful multi-million Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) wasn’t deemed good enough by int’l donors who decided to go with BCCRF instead. A snub to Bangladeshi capabilities that highlights more common problem with international aid. Foreign donors insist they know better & distrust local institutions, instead putting in place administratively complex & expensive substitute mechanisms that themselves have serious issues with efficiency, transparency & accountability. Time to reform aid to be more horizontal instead of “the West knows best”.

- SOUTH AFRICA’s Parliament held another fiery session where the ruling/majority African National Congress party defeated a motion to remove President Zuma for corruption & series of scandals presented by the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. The vote was 214 to 126. Why it matters: There have been several reports by watchdog agencies linking Zuma to possible ethical & constitutional violations. One centers on his relationship with the powerful business family, the Guptas, accused of meddling in government affairs & exerting undue influence over official appointments. Another on Zuma spending millions of public funds on upgrades to his private home. It is understandable that the ANC will stand behind its leader, but does it want to be the party of accepting corruption in such a volatile economic, political & social environment? Sure majority of voters still see the Democratic Alliance as the white party, but how long can the ANC count on this sentiment while loosing people’s trust? They better start pivoting ahead of the 2019 presidential election (Zuma will not run due to 2 term limit).

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