"Asia and Africa today"
- is a scientificl monthly journal (in Russian)
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Included in Russian Science Citation Index on
WoS platform, and EBSCO Publishing.
ISSN 0321-5075
Published since July 1957.

 

 "Asia and Africa today" № 4 2018

 

 

Aziaafrika 04 2018

 

 Top Problem

RUSSIAN-JAPANESE POLITICAL RELATIONS (2012-2017)
Victor V. KUZMINKOV, PhD (Political Science), Assistant Professor, Japanese Language Department, Institute of Foreign Languages, Moscow City University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040013
      The article examines the current state of Russian-Japanese political relations since December 2012 until September 2017. Four months after taking office, S.Abe officially visited Russia, denoting the Russian direction as priority in its foreign policy. The sides agreed to resume talks on concluding a peace treaty.
      In 2013, the international situation contributed to the Russian-Japanese rapprochement, but by early 2014 the situation had changed. After Japan joined the sanctions against Russia, the bilateral dialogue was severely damaged. In order to force the deadlocked negotiations, S.Abe proposed a «new approach» and a program of economic interaction. The Russian side agreed to resume negotiations, but in the statements of the officials the problem of the peace treaty was clearly separated from the territorial issue.
      During President V.Putin’s visit to Japan, the sides agreed begin to consult on joint economic activities in the southern Kuril Islands. The idea of joint economic activity is not new - it has been repeatedly discussed to a greater or lesser extent, but it has been unclaimed because of a lack of consensus on the issue of the legal framework.
      The article notes dynamics and problems of the development of bilateral relations in this period. According to the author the main problems are differences in the views and interests of the both sides. The author believes that the accumulated dynamics in Russian-Japanese relations will continue in the near future, but in the long term this will not lead to progress in bilateral relations.
Keywords: Russia, Japan, Kurile islands, personal diplomacy, peace treaty, joint economic activity

 

ROLE OF CASTES IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA
Evgeniya S. YURLOVA, PhD (History), Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040025
      The caste system is one of the oldest institutions in India. Deeply rooted in the religious ideas of the Hindus and built on a strict hierarchical subordination, it played for many centuries a huge role in the cultural, social and economic relations in this country.
      Despite the fact that the caste system has undergone many transformations after India attained independence, caste system remains an important feature of her socio-economic and cultural life. Socio-economic changes experienced in India over 70 years of independence have been quite significant. However, caste continues to be an important, even critical factor in many spheres of life, especially politics.
      Castes experience internal change and at the same time changes the society. This process, as well as the role of the caste in politics, is largely a result of the complex processes taking place in contemporary India. It is, of course, not easy to reconcile the socio-economic and political interests of communities in a society as diverse as that of India, as its complexity of unique religious stratification does not lose its relevance even as it continues to reform. Caste continues to be important, even critical, and variable in the manner in which inequalities are structured and reproduced. The Indian political system with its parliamentary democracy, universal suffrage and reservation system for backward classes (scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes), the role of caste based on the ancient Hindu worldviews has not only decreased, but even increased.
Keywords: India, Ambedkar, Hinduism, caste, Dalits, Other Backward Classes, reservation

 

 Policy, Economy

FACTOR OF THE DPRK IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST
Leonid E. KOZLOV, PhD (Political Science), Far Eastern Federal University, Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040037
      In the article, we assess how likely it will be to involve the DPRK in the implementation of Russian regional policy in the Far East.
      The Far East in the post-Soviet period is chronically the most backward macro-region of Russia, along with the Northern Caucasus. The Russian government considers international business as one of the key drivers of the development of the region.
      We analyze the role and weight of the DPRK in the functioning of the regional economy, historical experience, the political environment and the infrastructure basis of bilateral cooperation, possible directions of industrial cooperation in the interests of the development of the Far East.
      It is concluded that the DPRK has a direct impact on the economy of the Far Eastern Federal District to a minimal extent. In the absolute majority, these ties are concentrated in the Primorsky Territory. Its indirect influence lies in the fact that inter-Korean tensions are holding back large-scale trilateral projects that could seriously improve the infrastructure and logistics of the Far East, give jobs to local subcontractors, introduce neglected farmlands, mineral deposits, and other natural resources into economic turnover. The main obstacles to expansion of trade, we believe the nature and structure of the economy of the DPRK, aimed at autarkic survival in an unfavorable international situation. The softening of the sanctions regime by Russia and creating of common industrial zones on the Russian side of the border will help to use the resource of the DPRK for the development of the Far East.
Keywords: Far East, DPRK, regional policy, spatial development, economic ties

 

SUKUK PRICING FACTORS: ECONOMETRIC STUDY
Adel DALAL, Post-graduate student, Higher School of Economics - Saint-Petersburg ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040049
      The goal of this paper is to determine unique price factors of sukuk, Islamic instruments, which are similar to conventional bonds. To achieve the defined research goal, we have briefly investigated principles of sukuk and structures of funding process and reviewed contemporary research on pricing of Islamic bonds and possible factors of sukuk price.
      For the purpose of the study we conducted an econometric analysis on the time-series sample of three currently tradable sukuk issuances originated in Malaysia between 2014 and 2017. Regression model was built to determine relationship between prices of Islamic bonds and factors such as asset value, LIBOR and prices of conventional bonds. Our findings confirmed the positive relationship between the sukuk price and price for underlying asset. Moreover, we have determined the positive relationship between sukuk price and conventional bonds’ price of the same issuer. LIBOR was found to be insignificant to the price of sukuk certificate.
      Results of this analysis confirm the linkage of sukuk to real economic activities, as the prices of bonds are correlated with underlying assets. Furthermore, findings showed that the independence of Islamic bonds from interest-based markets is proved, since sukuk prices are not linked to LIBOR, which underpins their non-debt nature. For this reason, we propose to consider sukuk as an alternative source of funding, which provides a new framework for global financial system, and possesses the high potential for diversification, securitization and developing of emerging markets.
Keywords: bonds, sukuk, Islamic finance, pricing, risks, diversification

 

THE PROMISING FORMAT FOR COOPERATION WITH SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
(Sub-Saharan Africa as a region for farsighted international cooperation with the involvement of Russian entrepreneurship)
Grigory G. SHALAMOV, Post-graduate student, Faculty of Global Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Svetlana E. SOLDATOVA, PhD (Economics), Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Management, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040050
      The purpose of the study is to justify the need and usefulness of a new strategy based on creating own value chains by Russian companies with the participation of producers from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
      The article highlights reasons for such format of cooperation between Russian business and African continent. Analytical data of international economic organizations (OECD, IMF, IBRD, UNCTAD) and publications of leading experts in the field of modern economic cooperation serves as the basis of current model analysis of foreign economic relations and economic growth in the SSA countries.
      The authors also focuses on key factors of social consequences of economic growth in SSA. Special attention is given to the forms and results of African producers’s integration into global value chains (GVCs), which is managed by western companies. The authors describes the difficult economic situation in cocoa industry in SSA and substantiates the potential benefits that African entrepreneurs can receive from cooperation with Russian partners by means of specially selected food chain (from the cultivation of cocoa beans to the production of chocolate).
      The article expresses the advantages of the new format of international economic activity that Russian chocolate producers can obtain on the domestic and foreign markets. They need stable and manageable channels for supplying semi-finished products which can be used for the production of the final product, and revising their own position in the product processing chain.
      The final part of the article examines the problems and obstacles of implementing the new format for Russian-African economic cooperation. The role of governmental structures in supporting Russian business in SSA is also shown. The authors state the importance of effective communication of the relevant state departments with the business community and make proposals to resolve existing problems.
Keywords: sub-Saharan Africa, strategy of international economic activity, global value chains

 

CHINA: THE ROLE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS IN CREATION OF “XIAOKANG” SOCIETY
Valentina V. CHUVANKOVA, PhD (Economics), Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040062
      The period of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) in China is determined by the decisive stage in the complete construction of the small welfare society “xiaokang”. The article analyses the main directions of raising the standard of living of Chinese citizens by expanding mass entrepreneurial and innovative activities, searching for new forms of business in cities and rural areas.
      The author of the article analyses dynamics of average per capita income growth and the wages of the urban and rural population in the second decade of the 21st century. The author introduces economic potential and employment opportunities for private and individual enterprises, which are basic element of small and medium business in the country.
      The private sector of the economy is the most important source of economic growth and employment of the country’s population. Small and medium-sized businesses in China create new jobs, actively participate in the development of innovative technologies, ensure the growth of incomes and welfare of citizens, and as a result - the increase in consumer demand. It is small and medium business - an indispensable condition for the formation of the middle class - a social foundation that ensures the stable development of Chinese society.
      The Chinese government is making unprecedented efforts to stimulate the economic growth of small and medium-sized businesses, the main component of which are individual and private enterprises, increasing government spending on services and supporting their development.
Keywords: China, 13th Five-year Plan, «xiaokang» society, small and medium business, income and wages, middle class

 

NIGERIANS: “AFRICAN INTELLIGENTSIA” OF GREAT BRITAIN
Grigory A. KARPOV, PhD (History), Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040074
      The article is devoted to the study of the Nigerian diaspora in Britain, which is the largest African diaspora in the country.
      The study contains key information regarding how the diaspora came to be in the post-colonial era, and details the main causes and channels of Nigerian migration to the UK. The study focuses on analyzing the specifics of Nigerian migrants and their successful integration into British society, especially in the field of education. Nigerians have found a certain linguistic balance, in which their native languages (Yoruba and Igbo) are not lost while the English language is successfully mastered. Nigerians also have a distinctly high amount of social activity compared with other Africans. The rapid growth in the number of British Nigerians in the last 15-20 years has mainly been due to families reuniting. Nigerians usually obtain British citizenship based on lengthy residency and marriage registration.
      Ethnic and community solidarity, together with the preservation of the extended family, ensures the cohesion of the Nigerian diaspora; ample remittances are paid to relatives in Nigeria, and migrants retain influence in their home country. At the heart of Nigerians’ solidarity is an identity that is not centered on one of the most diverse and ethnically diverse African states, but on their own «small homeland» - a specific community, genus, nationality, and language group. This has led to a habit of solving all issues at the local level through traditional power institutions, relying on themselves, their relatives, and fellow tribesmen. At the same time, ethno-tribal patronage limits educated Nigerians’ opportunities for self-realization and contributes to the «brain drain», which causes significant harm to the economy of Nigeria.
      The article may be of interest to both specialists and a wide range of readers interested in the issues of African migration to the countries of Western Europe.
Keywords: United Kingdom, Africa, migration, integration, Nigerian diaspora

 

 Events, Facts, Comments

THE ELECTION OF UNESCO HEAD: HOW CAIRO PERCEIVED THE PARIS FAILURE
Sergey A. ALEKSANDROV, PhD (History) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Elena M. SAVICHEVA, PhD (History), Associated Professor, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040086
      The paper explores the features of the General Director election campaign in UNESCO in October 2017. A record number of candidates - 9, four of whom represented the Arab states, were nominated as successor of Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), who led the organization since 2009 for two consecutive terms. The main struggle unfolded among the representatives of France, Qatar and Egypt.
      The election campaign reflected sharp contradictions between the Arab countries, in particular, between Egypt and Qatar, whose representatives could not find a mutually beneficial compromise and act together, so that the representative of the Arab world would get the prestigious post of the UNESCO head. For the period of the organization’s existence, 7 out of 10 elected leaders represented Europe or North America.
      Particular attention is paid to the evaluation of the election campaign and its results in the Egyptian media. They described the victory of the former Minister of Culture of France O. Azulay as «an act of provocation against the Arab states», stressing that UNESCO has become “the arena of clashes and discussions on issues that are acute for Arabs, in particular the status of Jerusalem».
      Besides that the Egyptian media noted that the Egypt’s candidate led a professionally built, honest and impeccable in moral terms campaign. Analyzing the reasons for her failure they pointed to such negative aspects of the electoral process as behind-the-scenes lobbying, unfair play of competitors, and use of administrative resources by the winning party.
Keywords: UNESCO, elections, contenders, competition, Arab countries, Egypt, France

 

INTER-AFGHAN SETTLEMENT: MEETING IN OMAN
Kseniya R. ISHBULDINA, Post-graduate student, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040086
      The article analyses the results of the Quadrilateral Cooperation Group (QCG) meeting in Oman, in which the representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US took part. The meeting of the QCG in the Gulf state is taking place after a gap of 16 months. The objective was to revive talks on encouraging the Taliban to come to the negotiating table and enhance regional antiterrorism cooperation. However, the Taliban’s reluctance to engage in peace talks along with mistrust between Kabul and Islamabad have led to a lack of progress during this session.
      Unlike the past, no joint statement was issued after the talks. In August 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the «new strategy» for Afghanistan and South Asia promising intensification in the military efforts and asking Pakistan to eliminate terrorists’ «safe havens» on its territory. Islamabad, however, rejected these allegations. Kabul, for its part, continued to accuse Islamabad of supporting and harbouring the Afghan Taliban even during the work of the QCG.
      Besides, within four days, between 16 and 19 October, the wave of Taliban suicide attacks targeting Afghan police compounds and government facilities in Ghazni, Paktia and Kandahar provinces occured. Furthermore, terrorists attacked worshippers in mosques in Kabul city and Ghor province. These attacks caused tremendous human casualties among both Afghan government forces and civilians.Afghan military analysts immediately accused Pakistan of involvement in these events.
      Thus, the meeting was rather focused on easing the tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan than providing the way to direct talks with the Taliban, but have ended without any breakthrough.
Keywords: Quadrilateral Cooperation Group, Afghanistan, national reconciliation process, Pakistan

 

 Point of View

EVENTS IN ETHIOPIA IN 1974-1975: A REVOLUTION OR SOMETHING ELSE?
Ivan D. LOSHKARIOV, Instructor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040104
      The article analyses the socio-political characteristics of the events in Ethiopia that occurred in 1974-1975. Usually these events are called a revolution (or even two revolutions - February and September). However, there are serious reasons to believe that the events described do not fully correspond to the most general criteria of the concept of «revolution».
      The most important causes of what happened in Ethiopia in 1974-1975 include the growing contradictions around the system of land tenure and land ownership, interethnic friction and the loss of the social base of the monarchical regime.
      Characterizing the events described as revolutionary, we can name the strong appeal of the new authorities to agrarian and ethnic problems, the removal of a significant number of restrictions for peasants and ethnic minorities. The key documents of the so-called «Derg» (the Coordination Committee of the Armed Forces, then the Supreme Military Administrative Council) declared broad rights in the educational and information spheres for ethnic groups, recognized the limited right to self-determination. At the same time, much of the declared was never really implemented. Moreover, some continuity of the positions of the «new» and «old» authorities on the Eritrean problem was traced.
      The most significant objection to the use of the term «revolution» is that the military as a social group pushed the remaining strata from the control process. At the initial stage of the dismantling of the imperial regime, trade unions, religious and student organizations actively joined the process, but then lost influence or were dissolved. This demonstrates a narrow social base of the Derg transformations.
      Thus, the events in Ethiopia in 1974-1975 need proper conceptual reflection, and the article can be considered an invitation to a discussion.
Keywords: Ethiopia, revolution, the Derg, empire

 

 Foreign Expert Opinion

EFFECTS OF GDP PER CAPITA ON MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATION PENETRATION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
IBE Godwin Eznina (Nigeria), Post-graduate student, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040116
      The influence of telecommunication in economic and social development is great. Some researchers established positive relationship between telecommunication development and economic development across the nations of the world as it reduced the gap between the rich and the poor. Before the advent of the mobile telecommunication, electronic communication was restricted to government cycles and well-established enterprises especially in Africa.
      This study investigates the influence of GDP per capita on mobile penetration in 42 Sub-Saharan Africa countries. 2016 data of GDP per capita, penetration rate and number of subscribers for the countries were used. The statistical tool employed is a panel regression analysis adopting an ordinary least square method of estimation; the data was analyzed with the aid of EVIEW version 9. The statistical models and correlation analysis indicates the relationship between GDP per capita and mobile penetration rates, the model generated revealed that penetration rate and the number of subscribers contributes to GDP per capita and that the two variables can be used to predict it. The models generated can also be used for future projections.
      The result of the study is in line with previous studies which support positive relationship between penetration rates and economic development. The importance of telecommunication to national developments are enumerated, while operators are expected to improve quality of service and customer satisfaction, the government must make effort to promote macroeconomic stability, the most important thing being sustenance of good governance.
      Other things that can improve the economy and the level of GDP per capita must also be vigorously pursued. The governments of these countries are therefore advised to pursue efforts that can improve mobile penetration as it’s capable of improving their economies.
Keywords: GDP per capita, telecommunication, penetration, Sub-Sahara, Africa

 

 Scientific Life

LEIPZIG WORKSHOP: SPACES OF INTERACTION BETWEEN THE SOCIALIST CAMP AND GLOBAL SOUTH IN THE COLD WAR ERA
Yury S. SKUBKO, PhD (Economics, Art), Senior Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
DOI: 10.7868/S0321507518040128
      A workshop “Spaces of Interaction between the Socialist Camp and the Global South - Knowledge Production, Trade and scientific-Technical Cooperation in the Cold War Era” was held in Leipzig University Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1199 on 26-27 October 2017.
      Tens of scholars from Europe (mainly from former socialist countries), countries of Africa and Asia and the USA participated. Acting and former members of international organizations also took part. The scientific meeting sought to overcome the well-known, nevertheless oversimplifying model of the Global Cold War in which the Socialist Bloc was presented as an autarkic and isolated group of countries and the Global South was displayed as the passive victim of a Western-led globalization.
      Contributing to the recent debates that are challenging this rather outdated model, the workshop tried to highlight the significance of the various relations between the Socialist Bloc and the developing countries. COMECON countries and Non-aligned movement impact on decolonization and efforts to create a new, more just world economic order were particularly discussed. Most reports noted a gradual shift from ideological indoctrination towards a more pragmatic approach to foreign economic policies of socialist countries.
Keywords: Soviet block, global South, COMECON, interaction, New world economic order

 

 Post-Graduate Column

FOREIGN ECONOMIC STRATEGY OF KOREA
SONG Byung Jik (Republic of Korea), Post-graduate student, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (hitiger1@ naver.com)
DOI: 10.7868/S032150751804013X
      The author of the article pays particular attention to the changes in the volume of FDI in Korea after Korea joined the WTO in 1995 and analyzed the actual aspects of them.
      The author concludes that Korean government is trying to actually use the WTO system and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which are characterized by free trade, in order to attract foreign investments. In the 1990s the Republic of Korea has paid attention to the globalization of the economy, and at the same time regional trade has been intensified in the world, for example the European Union (EU), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and others. In this situation, the Republic of Korea, for which the key tool of economic development is trade, actively participated in the Uruguay Round Agreements for the purpose of opening the market, and then in 1995 it became a member of the WTO.
      As a result, the Republic of Korea was able to reduce the economic costs of trade barriers and take effective action against countermeasures. WTO helps to attract FDI, which play a significant role in the sustainable provision of foreign exchange reserves, the growth of production and export volume, job creation, technology development, industrial restructuring. In addition, under the conditions of membership in the WTO international credibility of Korean economy will rise, and investment risk will be reduced. As a result, the volume of FDI in Korea will grow.
      Thus, in this article the author explains the benefits of Korea’s active participation in globalization.
Keywords: Republic of Korea, free trade, Foreign Direct Investment, WTO system, Free Trade Agreement, international competitiveness