The BBC and Me on Refugees and More

Oct 16, 2015 by August Turak, in Audio
BBC_Episode_4Had a great time last night on the BBC show Business Matters. I was joined by Dr. Saqib Qureshi, author of Reconstructing Strategy: Dancing with the Objectivity God. I am huge fan of the BBC and honored to be an ongoing contributor. You can listen here to the show if by some act of God you missed me last night!!

Overview of this episode:

The long war in Syria has left its immediate neighbours struggling to cope with huge numbers of refugees - numbers that dwarf the figures that are proving so hard for Europe's collective leadership to tackle. The UN Refugee Agency's planning figures project a possible 937,000 Syrians in Jordan - and as many as 1.8 million in Lebanon. These are relatively small economies, and the Syrian crisis follows large-scale arrivals of Iraqis and Palestinians. The World Bank wants to lend the countries money, but get wealthier donors to pick up the interest on those loans. We hear from Shanta Devarajan, regional chief economist for Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank.

Afghanistan is proving a hard conflict for the US to walk away from. On Thursday, President Obama announced that more than 5,000 US soldiers would stay in the country into 2017. The main problem is that Afghanistan's own army just isn't strong enough to counter the growing threat from the Taliban and the self-styled Islamic State group. We ask Shukria Barakzai, an Afghan member of parliament, how likely the US really is to withdraw its troops in 2017. We also speak to Richard Fontaine from the Center for a New American Security in Washington DC.

Italy's centre-left government has taken a big step back from austerity. Its latest budget is being seen as something of a giveaway - one that is likely to cost up to 30 billion euros. A planned rise in sales tax is being frozen, there will be 600 million euro spent on an anti-poverty programme, and there is a 450 million euro investment plan for the less wealthy south. All this largesse from a government with a debt burden of more than two trillion euros - among the highest in Europe. Lorenzo Codogno, a former chief economist at the national treasury, tells us whether he thinks Italy can afford it.

We are joined by our guests Dr Saqib Qureshi, author of Reconstructing Strategy: Dancing with the Objectivity God and August Turak, entrepreneur, executive and author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks from Durham, North Carolina.

(Photo: Syrian woman and her two children on the streets of Beirut. Credit: AFP)