Author: Michael Farquharson

Michael writes for The Borgen Project from Madison, WI. His academic interests include international relations, economics, current affairs and politics. Michael was born in France, grew-up in the U.K. and now lives in the U.S.A.. He also has a passion for cooking.

SEATTLE — In Nov. 2016, the Colombian government and the left-wing FARC guerrilla organization formally signed a peace agreement, bringing to an end 52 years of civil war. The conflict killed 260,000 people and left more than six million internally displaced. The peace agreement will potentially usher in a new wave of tourism and business to a country that has already seen steady growth rates in foreign visitors since the mid-2000s. An increase in tourism in Colombia also presents a golden opportunity for U.S. companies hoping to grow their businesses overseas. In the 1990s and early 2000s, violence and civil…

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last month, the Trump administration proposed drastic cuts to the State Department and USAID. More than 120 retired generals, more than 100 faith leaders and numerous members of Congress have spoken out against the proposed changes. Going a step further, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) has proposed an alternative foreign affairs budget that would double the budget over the course of five years. Sen. Murphy is a current member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Under the Obama administration, he served as the Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East, South Asia and…

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SEATTLE — The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked nation located in the mountains of the eastern Himalayas. The country is home to 770,000 people and shares borders with both China and India. In 2008, Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected parliament. Over the course of five years, from 2007 to 2012, the percentage of people living in poverty in Bhutan reduced by almost half. The government recently stated its desire to reduce the poverty rate to five percent by 2018, and a booming hydropower industry could help achieve that goal.…

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — In April, the credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to “junk” status. South Africa’s credit rating downgrade is part of a brewing crisis in the country. A country’s credit rating is important because it indicates to international creditors the risk of lending to that particular country. Governments borrow money by selling bonds to investors with the promise of repayment with interest. A downgrade, particularly to “junk” status, will likely make it much harder for the South African government to borrow money on the international market, which has ramifications…

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SEATTLE — Lesotho is a small landlocked country completely enveloped by South Africa and with a population of around two million. The country has the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence among adults in the world and there is widespread unemployment and poverty. Hunger in Lesotho is also a major issue. Frequent droughts create widespread food insecurity and cause malnutrition and other avoidable health-related problems. The recent El Niño weather phenomenon is having a devastating effect on crop yields and the country is in the midst of a major food security crisis. According to the U.N. World Food Program (WFP), more than…

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BEIJING — China is currently spending billions of dollars on infrastructure projects in Africa. Chinese investments in sub-Saharan Africa have increased significantly since the early 2000s and Ethiopia has been a major beneficiary. According to a Brookings Institution report, Chinese infrastructure investment in Ethiopia totaled $4.7 billion between 2009-2012. Ethiopia is the second-most populated country in Africa with a population of around 100 million. Between 2003 and 2015, the country experienced an average economic growth rate of 10.8 percent. In conjunction with robust economic growth, the percentage of Ethiopians living in extreme poverty — less than $1.90 per day –…

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