Category: China-India-Africa

Joël Ruet participates in a webinar on “COP26 and the Brahmaputra: A New Perspective based on the Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework”

Our President, Joël Ruet participated in the webinar on May 5th, 2022 on the topic “COP26 and the Brahmaputra: A New Perspective Based on the Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework”. This is the 5th in a series of webinars organized by the Maritime Research Center and M/S NirDhwani Technology Pvt Ltd.

His participation was an opportunity to continue the conversation on the blue economy started with key stakeholders, such as the Maritime Research Center.

As there are many solutions on « environmental engineering » coming from the global south towards river aspects, in particular from the Indo-African side, Joël Ruet suggested enhancing cross learning in terms of environment and engineering, notably water storage for hydroelectricity, navigation regulation and velocity regulation can have a positive impact on avoiding disasters and protecting biodiversity. At the condition of a step by step learning. The COP26 that dealt about integration of environment to adaptation and adaptation to mitigation towards cobenefits and nature based solutions opened an avenue and Joel Ruet has high hopes for the next COP which will be held in Egypt in November. Thanks to the various exchanges about the Brahmaputra region, he was able to appreciate the vast amount of knowledge that should be shared during COP 27 – “We must learn from the experience of Brahmaputra”.

The Bridge Tank at the BOAO Forum for Asia 2022: Promote Energy Integration and Build Green World

The BOAO 2022 Forum was held from April 20 to 22 in a hybrid mode, aiming to conduct an open dialogue in a post-COVID world and on the prospects of common development in the world of tomorrow.

Since 2018, The Bridge Tank has participated in the annual “Chinese Davos” event. Our President, Joel Ruet spoke at a high-level panel in the presence of Mr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China, Mr. Baodong Li, Secretary General, BOAO Forum and former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Mr. Jizhen Liu, Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and Director of State Key Laboratory of Alternate Electrical Power System with Renewable Energy Sources, Mr. Hailiang Song, President of China Energy Engineering Group Co, Mr. Jianhua Hu, President of China Merchants Group and Mr. Haiping Xiang, Chief Engineer of China National Energy Administration.

In his speech, Joël Ruet spoke about the global issues related to energy integration and trajectories. He stressed the importance of “deep decarbonation technologies” in accelerating net zero emissions by 2035-2040. Until then, he added that each country or territory will have a role to play to have its own “transition trajectory”, not only adding renewable energies but also integrating them into the networks with a more rational and efficient use.

Joël Ruet addressed the issue of adaptation, which must no longer be looked separately from other issues. He illustrated his remarks through the example of carbon sinks, which have be created from optimized ecosystems everywhere, not only in forests, but also in savannahs or mangroves.

Dr. Ruet also demonstrated that energy trajectories are already low-carbon, which is particularly the case for Africa and most of the G77 countries. It is important that these trajectories are recognized as such and therefore funded by the North and that technology and know-how transfers are funded accordingly.

In response to the question of how to implement global support to energy trajectories of the global south, the President of The Bridge Tank proposed two solutions: first, allow the South to manage itself with more funding to create local champions, keep the gas trade open to them, and ensure that their carbon sinks are recognized as an incentive to develop them; and second, enable their local financial entities to play a larger role by recognizing that “risks” are over rated there in comparison to actually high profitability.

As in the 2021 edition, Joël Ruet was one of the three French speakers, representing the circle of Think Tanks, alongside Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Henry Giscard D’Estaing, who respectively represented the political and economic worlds.

Read here the agenda of the BOAO Forum 2022.

Analytical report: China’s value chain strategy on cobalt – lessons for EU

Strategic materials are ubiquitous in all sectors relevant for the green economy and the energy transition. Regarding cobalt, it owes its current visibility to its increasing use in low carbon technologies, also called green technologies (renewable energy and rechargeable batteries). Cobalt is used as an input in the magnets of wind turbines, and for the production of the cathodes of lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride batteries, which are then incorporated in electric or hybrid vehicles. In the current context of the electrification of mobility, cobalt is therefore regarded as a strategic material. The production of cobalt is however one of the prime examples of the unequal distribution of the earth’s resources, the metal being extremely concentrated in one country: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who represents 70% of global production, and the DRC’s reserved are controlled substantially by what has now become an unavoidable actor in the cobalt value chain: China.

As a continuation of our work on analysis China’s materials strategy, we have developed a report to analysis how China has imposed itself on the cobalt value chain, both upstream and downstream, and has progressively managed to build itself a comparative, if not absolute, advantage. This report aims to conduct a combined analysis of the strategies that have been implemented both by the Chinese government as well as industrial actors in order to gain this hegemonic position on the value chain. These strategies have allowed for the constitution of a resilient and dominant Chinese ecosystem around the cobalt value chain on the international stage.

Read our report here

The Bridge Tank and French Development Agency launch their final workshop on Blue Economy

On March 16, 2022, The Bridge Tank held the final workshop in a series of three with the mandate of the French Development Agency on blue economy in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka). This workshop aimed at the identification of possible bilateral and regional cooperation with the contribution of the French know-how in the maritime field. It also aimed at open up the conversation to design solutions which the French side could contribute in response to the challenges identified during the first two workshops in collaboration with key players in the Bay of Bengal region.

The discussion was based on 6 main takeaways in terms of needs and gaps identified from the first two workshops:

  • The role of blue economy in the region
  • The role of data
  • Improving coordination
  • Strengthening private and public cooperation
  • Promoting institutional capacity building in front of data collection and coordination
  • Developing pilot projects

This workshop was comprised of three closed-door panels:

Panel 1: Institutional cooperation and ambitions at regional level with the support of French know-how

Moderator: Dr. Joël Ruet, President, The Bridge Tank

  • Dr. (Mrs) Hélène Djoufelkit, Research Director of the AFD
  • Mrs. Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director of the Friendship NGO
  • Mr. Daniel Fernando, Chairperson, Blue Resources Trust, Sri Lanka
  • Dr. Arnab Das, Executive Director & Founder, Maritime Research Centre, India
  • Mr. Matthieu Piron, Policy officer for international affairs, Directorate for Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry for the Sea
  • Mr. Benoît Gauthier, Head of the Regional Economic Service, Embassy of France in India
  • Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan, Director-General, National Maritime Foundation, India
  • Dr. P. Krishnan, Director, Bay of Bengal Inter-Governmental Organization (BOBP-IGO), regional

Panel 2: Developing nationally and regionally viable projects to enhance the value chains of blue economy

Moderator: Dr. Joël Ruet, President, The Bridge Tank

  • Mr. Manish Singhal, Deputy Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), India
  • Mr. Martin Lemenager, Senior Program Manager for Infrastructure, AFD Office in Indonesia
  • Mr. Loïc Monod, Bioeconomy research officer, France AgriMer
  • Mr. Nicolas Vuillaume, Indian Ocean Representative, Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS)
  • Dr. Mostafa A. R. Hossain, Professor, Aquatic Biodiversity & Climate Change, Department of Fish. Biology & Genetics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, consultant with AFD Bangladesh
  • Dr. Arnab Das, Executive Director & Founder, Maritime Research Centre, India
  • Mr. Aruna Maheepala, Senior Research Officer of National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency of Sri Lanka
  • Mr. Shri Aditya Dash, Vice Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), India
  • Mr. Bruno Bosle, Country director of the AFD Office in India
  • Mr. Reda Souirgi, AFD Sri Lanka, represented by Mrs. Panchali Ellepola, Project Officer
  • Mr. Benoît Chassatte, Country director of the AFD Office in Bangladesh

Panel 3: Enhancing shared resources through a regional network & general conclusion

Moderator: Dr. Joël Ruet, President, The Bridge Tank

  • Mrs. Afifat Khanam Ritika, Research Officer Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development
  • Mr. Pattabhi Rama Rao, Group Director, Ocean Observations, Modelling and Data Assimilation Group, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)
  • Dr. (Mrs) Hélène Djoufelkit, Research Director of the AFD
  • Dr. Joël Ruet, President, The Bridge Tank
  • Mr. Jacky Amprou, Regional Director for South-Asia, AFD

 

The spirit of this project is to organize a series of three workshops, co-hosted by The Bridge Tank and the French Development Agency. The first workshop, which was organized in November 26th, 2022, aimed at gathered strategic thinking of the participants ahead of developing a growing interaction between them and institutes and policy makers in the second workshop, in January 21st, 2022.

Read our report here and our executive summary here 

Watch the replay of our workshop here

HORASIS 2022 USA – Biden’s first year, Ukraine, and EU’s leadership

During the 2022 Horasis USA Meeting, held March 4, The Bridge Tank participated in a conference on Joe Biden, the European Union and Ukraine, alongside Esko Aho, Former Prime Minister of Finland, Finland, Michael D. Brown, United States Shadow Senator, District of Columbia, USA, Yves Leterme, Former Prime Minister of Belgium, Belgium, Jed Rakoff, Senior Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, USA, and chaired by Jerry Hultin, Chair, New York Academy of Sciences, USA.

The discussion centered on the American president and his responsibility as the head of a leading democratic state, particularly in light of the war in Ukraine, as well as his potential future actions. How far will the Biden leadership go? What can we expect him to accomplish before the 2024 American elections?

Our President Joel RUET flagged that:

  • Beyond US energy package, there ought to be some joint US-EU effort to quick land green finance,
  • He called for joint technology programs and shared industrial platforms
  • In line with Prime Minister Aho’s view that viewing NATO as an internal lose-win game between the US and the EU, Joel Ruet emphasized this situation has brought opportunities to jointly look at joint security issues, and have NATO evolve from defense to security,
  • In reply to Jerry Hultin’s point on the view the Global South has on Russia’s assault to Ukraine and on China, Ruet mentioned that many African countries feel they have gained much of what they could from China and leveraged on this onto other countries, and that many of them now observe the new set of tools used on Russia, advising the “West” and notably the EU to engage into a conversation on these economic tools with its strategic partners in the South, not to alienate them, and, positively, to mutualise the treatment of the Russia-Ukraine crisis through real global tools,
  • Lats but not least, echoing some concern by shadow Senator Brown, Joel Ruet offered that, even though they differ from one country to another due to history, so called ‘racial issues’ ought to be discusses more globally, not intra-societies.

Watch the full discussion here on our youtube.

The Bridge Tank and French Development Agency launch their 2nd workshop on Blue economy: implementation issues

On January 21, 2022, The Bridge Tank held the second workshop in a series of three with the mandate of the French Development Agency on blue economy in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka). Whereas the first workshop aimed at earmarking new blue economy priorities for various actors and nations in the Bay of Bengal, this second workshop: Blue Economy in the Bay of Bengal – Implementation Issues, aimed to open discussions between experts, policy makers and economic actors to identify gaps and challenges that impede a concrete and efficient implementation of blue economy value chains in the Bay of Bengal region. By linking research and operational approaches, this workshop conducted a collective inventory of data gathering and treatment systems, logistic and financial resources and gaps for sustainable blue economy activities (value chains and social and natural resilience) implementation and acceleration.

This workshop was comprised of two panels; the first panel, open to the public, was dedicated to exploring the importance of data collection towards the improvement of monitoring blue economy assets. The second panel, a closed-door round table, centered on engaging discussion between public and private entities, researchers and implementers towards the implementation of a sustainable blue economy.

Among the challenges identified, the speakers all agreed on the following 5:

  • Lack of information and coordination within countries and in the region;
  • Need for institutional capacity building;
  • Enhance resources (fisheries) enhancement; 
  • Need for increasing public and private cooperation;
  • Need for more regional joint research studies and projects. 

Panel 1: Data collection for improved monitoring of the blue economy’s assets

Speakers:

  • Dr. Shailesh Nayak, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), India
  • Ms. Akshita Sharma, Biodiversity Portfolio Manager, AFD Delhi
  • Mr. Nishan Perera, Blue Resources Trust, Sri Lanka
  • Mr. Abu Saleh Khan, Executive Director, Institute of Water Modelling, Bangladesh

Discussion participants:

  • Dr. (Mrs.) Hélène Djoufelkit, Research Director of the AFD
  • Arnab Das, Director, Maritime Research Center, India
  • Md. Adbul Wahab, EcoFish Team Leader, World Fish Bangladesh Wing
  • Dr. (Mrs.) Chime Youdon, Associate Fellows, National Maritime Foundation, India
  • Saurabh Thakur, Associate Fellows, National Maritime Foundation, India

Panel 2: National framework for improved coordination between public, private entities, researchers and implementers

  • Short presentation of take-aways from experts’ workshops and objectives by Joël Ruet, President of The Bridge Tank & Jacky Amprou, Regional Director for South-Asia, AFD
  • Round table – 5 minutes pitch of projects, initiatives or solutions from each speaker
  • Open discussion across panelists

Speakers and guests:

  • Mr. Shri Aditya Dash, Vice Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), India
  • Ms. Dharshani Lahandapura, Chairperson, The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), Sri Lanka
  • Mr. Khairul Majid Mahmud, Director, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Bangladesh
  • Ms. Panchali Ellepola, Project Officer, AFD Sri Lanka
  • Mr. Ameya Prabhu, Vice-President, Indian Chamber of Commerce, India
  • Ms. Soma Mitra-Muckerjee, Director, Head of Projects, The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, India
  • Mr. Pattabhi Rama Rao, Group Director, Ocean Observations, Modelling and Data Assimilation Group, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)
  • Mr. Reda Souirgi, Country Director Sri Lanka, AFD

With the participation of the panelists from the panel 1.

The third and final workshop in this series will be held mid-March 2022 and will aim to identify political ambitions in the sector and willingness/possibility of regional cooperation with the contribution of the French know-how in the maritime field.

Read our report here and our executive summary here.

Watch panel 1 and panel 2 of the workshop on our Youtube.r

The Bridge Tank and the French Development Agency launched a joint seminar series on blue economy in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka)

The Bridge Tank and AFD are co-hosting three workshops to understand the way in which Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka organize their blue economy strategies, adapt to the physical impacts of climate change of the fishery resource and to identify the priorities, the opportunities and the needs for action. Along with the research and operational departments of the French Development Agency (AFD), we engage with marine, coastal and fisheries resource management bodies and influential national or regional think tanks.

On November 26th 2021, the online inaugural workshop gathered strategic thinking of the participants ahead of developing a growing interaction between them and institutes and policy makers in the following workshops, planned for January and February 2022.

This first workshop aimed at earmarking new blue economy priorities for various actors and nations in the Bay of Bengal, bringing shared understandings and diagnostics, identifying opportunities and needs in socio-economic projects. It aimed to identify the regional context and issues related to the blue economy, in particular the improvement of living standards of coastal communities and resource users through sustainable management of fisheries and integrated coastal management to adapt to climate change, through two panels.

This virtual event brought together 12 speakers from 10 key organizations working on the blue economy in the region, gathering over 100 attendees.

Two panels shared speakers’ understanding of the different local issues related to the value chain of fisheries resources.

  • Panel 1: “Resilient coastal ecosystems as a crucial prerequisite for sustainable economic value chains?”

Speakers:

Dr. Arnab Das, Director, Maritime Research Centre, India

Dr Srinivas Kumar, Director, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

Ms Hasamini Sweenie Thilakarathne, Project coordinator and international affairs officer, Marine Environment Conservation Society of Sri Lanka (MECS), Sri Lanka Dr Chime Youdon & Dr Saurabh Thakur, Associate Fellows, National Maritime Foundation

Mr. Mashiur Rahaman, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock

  • Panel 2: “Sustainable fisheries and enhanced livelihood: actions on fisheries for food security, job access and climate change adaptation in the region”

Speakers:

Mrs Afifat Khanam Ritika, Research Officer, Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD)

Mr Md. Abdul Wahab, EcoFish Team Leader, WorldFish, Bangladesh Wing

Mrs Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director, Friendship NGO

Dr M.F.M. Fairoz, Dean, Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, Ocean University of Sri Lanka

Dr. Md. Sharif Uddin, Department of Fisheries, Bangladesh

To watch the workshop online, click here: Panel 1 & Panel 2 

To read the minutes report, click here

France 24 – Joël Ruet speaks on the 2021 Chinese Communist Party Congress and Chinese economic difficulties

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began its most important meeting of the year on Monday, the 8th of November 2021, which will set President Xi Jinping’s historic vision in stone. The Beijing strongman has been in power for nine years and in a year’s time will seek a third term as head of the CCP — further cementing his stature as the country’s most powerful leader since the Communist regime’s founder, Mao Tse-tung, ruled from 1949 to 1976. Why this resolution? According to Joel Ruet, President of The Bridge Tank, who spoke on this matter on French television channel France 24, it could be a sign of economic difficulties the regime faces.

Watch his intervention (in French) here.

OpEd: G20 Must Help Low Income Countries Get Out of Debt Crises

On the occasion of the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington DC, our Policy Brief on the modernization of the African Banking sector was mentioned in an OpEd in Diplomatic Courier by Joel Ruet. This paper suggests that, in addition to sovereign aid, commercial banks in Africa get a fairer rating of their (low) risks and (high) profitability and thus ease their refunding costs to deliver levers of growth and employment.

Read our policy brief here

Read the OpEd here

Issue Brief: AUKUS – A storm in the Pacific

On 15 September 2021, Australia terminated a contract with France to supply conventional submarines, in favor  of a nuclear military-technology collaboration with the United States and the United Kingdom. This breach of contract highlighted the nascent AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) military alliance, which was created in response to China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific. This tripartite alliance has only served to add insult to injury in the current tense international context, as well as to exacerbate diplomatic relations between France and the United States.

In light of the visit to Paris on October 5, 2021, of the Secretary of State of the United States, Anthony Blinken, to try and appease the situation, The Bridge Tank published an analytical note, written by retired French General Eric de La Maisonneuve.

This issue brief is based on the idea that the contract denounced by Australia, a long-term contract and considerable in financial terms, had become a limited contract in technological terms and modest in relation to the strategic stakes in the Indo-Pacific zone. This Australian reversal reveals several key points:

  • The worsening situation in the region, particularly in the South China Sea, the growing antagonism between China and the United States on trade issues, the impressive rise of the Chinese navy and its associated armaments, the multiple Sino-Australian tensions, all lead both the United States and Australia to review their arrangements.
  • If, as is to be expected, events in the area precipitate, urgency will prevail and the USA will be forced to install their bases and nuclear submarines directly in Australia, even if it means renting or loaning some of them to the latter. Here again, it is likely that this future contract under the AUKUS umbrella will have difficulty seeing the light of day.
  • France for its part should draw the consequences of this diplomatic-strategic fiasco in three directions:
    • Revise its “foreign policy/defense policy” complex,
    • Re-evaluate the European security pillar and its concretization through a Franco-German alliance under the French Presidency of the EU,
    • Rethink in this context its systems of analysis of China to better anticipate its strategy and its actions.

Read the issue brief here (in French): 2021-10-04-IB La Maisonneuve

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