Azerbaijan announces military drills
Azerbaijan armed forces announced, on Wednesday, that they would conduct large-scale exercises from March 15th to March 18th. The drills will involve up to 10,000 personnel and approximately 100 tanks. According to the reports, the drills are to practice counterterrorism and related activities in difficult terrain. With the magnitude of the drill, it is best to believe that it will be conducted with Russia’s help.
This shows that Azerbaijan is serious about deepening its relations with Russia. What many will also be looking out for is the economic relations between both countries. It is important to remember that earlier in the year, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire Caucasus region.
According to Putin, they had taken concrete steps to build economic ties and develop infrastructure projects. The leaders of these countries also decided to remove the obstacles in transportation links that can impede trade.
No doubt that fulfillment of these words will bring immense benefit to the entire region. We must now watch and see if all these will be implemented.
European Union moves to make chips.
It is no longer news that there have been several production halts because of the global shortage of microchips. This shortage has affected the supply chain in the manufacturing industry and caused production halts.s
Why is there a shortage of chips? The COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for electronics as many people now worked and schooled from home. The effects of the U.S. trade war with China, started under former President Trump, is also one of the reasons this shortage happened.
Now the European Union has joined the long list of those who want to increase the production of these chips. The EU has announced that it wants 20% of such chips, in terms of value, to be manufactured within the EU by 2030. The production was at about 10% in 2020. \
No doubt, we may see more countries decide to improve their chip production, but the question remains, when will the impact be felt in supply chains? SMI, one of the largest chip producers, warned that lead times for equipment procurement had extended, owing to supply chain disruptions, and as for investment in new production facilities, building a new plant takes 18 to 24 months. It only means the production halts will be felt for a long while.
It is time for a reevaluation of fundamental supply chain strategies in this industry. Manufacturers will need to re-evaluate their inventory strategies and the just-in-time delivery practices traditionally adopted to save costs.
China’s Strategic Moves in Africa
China has not hidden its desire to invest heavily in Africa and exert its economic influence over the continent. For over two decades, China has invested in different infrastructure across Africa, and cancelled debts. In 2008, the U.S. was Africa’s biggest trade ally as the U.S.-Africa trade was about $100billion. However, that number had dropped to $56 billion by 2019 and the China-Africa trade rose from $102 billion to $192 billion within the same 11-year period.
China’s influence in Africa has also been solidified with China heading powerful leadership positions within international institutions that play important roles in Africa. Out of 15 United Nations agencies, China heads four of them.
China’s increasing influence has global implications especially for America, and if left unmatched Chinese companies will outcompete U.S. companies as they bid for contracts in Africa.
What can the U.S. do?
The Trump administration ignored Africa and Donald Trump was the first U.S. president in 27 years to avoid Africa. Although the Biden administration has vowed to engage more with Africa, China is moving pretty fast and by the time America is ready, it may be too late.
Washington sounds an alarm over Taiwan.
Washington’s top military officer in Asia-Pacific, Admiral Philip Davidson, has announced that China may be accelerating plans to supplant America’s military authority in Taiwan, by invading it by 2027.
Taiwan broke away from China after the civil war but it lives under constant threat of invasion by China. The Chinese leaders view the island as part of their territory, and they have vowed to one day take it back.
Ex-president, Donald Trump, aligned more to Taiwan as he feuded with China over trade and national security issues. President Biden is also towing the same line, and with this call from the Admiral, two things are clear:
- The U.S administration will continue to do all within its power to weaken the Chinese hold over Taiwan.
- The U.S administration will also continue to do all within its power to strengthen Washington’s influence over the Island.
White House confirms talks with China.
The White House has confirmed that the U.S. and China are considering holding talks in Alaska. If confirmed, it will be the first high-level face-to-face official meeting between representatives of the two governments since Biden took office in January.
While the current administration has released official statements that make it clear that the trade war will continue, we must not ignore this meeting as both countries still recognise that there are things that can benefit them both.
Source- Geopolitical Futures , MSN News