Negotiations for a trade such as this has been in the works for seven years, though only now are the extensive efforts coming to fruition. Concluding with a deal on April 7, Japan and Australia finally reached an accord on a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott express mutual respect for one another, citing security and neoliberal economic agendas as important ties that have connected the two men and their respective nations for some time. A Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, renewed in 2010, was initially signed between Japan and Australia in 2007 as a formal recognition of their devotion to the defense and support of one another. The Declaration came after years of informal cooperation, in such contexts as United Nations peacekeeping operations in the 1990s. More recently, Abbott has praised Japan’s democratic values and presence in international security activity.

Japan’s agriculture lobby, however, expressed concerns of an internationally aggressive competition and was opposed to easing access to food imports. Though Abe clearly favored opening Japan’s economy to increased competition, Australia was understandably concerned that the rigorous final round of negotiations would fall through as a result of the Japanese lobbying group’s hold on the ruling party that it elected. Yet the signed agreement builds on a trade treaty of 1957 that contributed heavily to the positive sentiment between the two nations. The new free trade agreement, then, is expected to build on the great business and cultural relations, and is consequently considered by many trade officials to be the best deal the Japanese economy has ever granted to another country.

The final version of the free trade agreement calls for joint compromise in both economies. While Japan is now required to phase out its current 38.5 percent tariff on Australian beef exports, Japan will end tariffs on Japanese vehicles, electronics and household appliances. Within 15 years, the Japanese beef tariff is expected to reach only 23.5 percent, with a subsequent decrease to 19.5 percent in 18 years. The Australian Trade Ministry also reported that Japan would increase cheese imports and simultaneously phase out tariffs on fruits, honey, vegetables, nuts and wine. Prime Minister Abbot has thus declared that Japan is “Australia’s best friend in Asia.”

Some argue that the free trade agreement between Australia and Japan, in bringing both nations closer to the United States as a result, could risk a free trade agreement with China, Australia’s number one trade partner. However, Japan is Australia’s number two partner, and the political and security ties could make a difference in the long run. After seven years of intense negotiations, one can only hope that Australia and Japan have made the correct decision.

– Jaclyn Stutz

Sources: The Conversation, Sydney Morning Herald
Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

During the past three decades, more than 500 million people in China were lifted out of extreme poverty. And now, those people are buying the same goods that Americans have been purchasing for decades.

The Birth of Entrepreneurship in China

Peasants wanted ownership over the land they farmed and they did not achieve this under Mao Zedong’s rule. Deng Xiao Ping dismantled the farm communes set up by Mao and established a household responsibility system that led towards a more stable society, thus allowing for the establishment of a civil society with growth in the non-government sector. In about 40 years, the number of Chinese NGOs went from 6,100 to 354,000.

Emerging Market Consumer

The number of Chinese people earning $1,000 or more is equal to the number of people earning the same amount in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey combined. China has been catching up to western markets and it has been catching up faster than other markets.

Youth in China Earning More and Spending More

The new generation in China has more education and therefore, more opportunities to work outside of factories. The young Chinese people have the highest incomes and they are willing to spend it. Specifically, they are spending more to be connected; they are buying smartphones. As incomes rise, consumers spend money on food, personal care products and smartphones.


China is the first developing country to half the number of people living in poverty. During the past 34 years, the number of people suffering from hunger was reduced from one-third to one-tenth. China is not only lifting its own people out of poverty, it is also lending aid to Asia and Africa. These efforts have made the China Development Bank the world’s largest lender.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Skoll World Forum, The Atlantic, CNN
Photo: Flickr

orphanage tourism
The number of orphanages in Cambodia has nearly doubled since 2007, yet the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that there are now fewer orphans in Cambodia than ever before. The reason for this discrepancy? Orphanage tourism.

Volunteering at a local orphanage has become a bucket-list item for many tourists and the preferred feel-good end to a trip full of festivals, massages, cooking classes, and guided tours. Regardless of skill-sets or language barriers, most orphanages throw open their doors to well-meaning travelers, but for a price.

UNICEF’s statistics show that of the estimated 12,000 children living in Cambodian orphanages today, only 28 percent have lost both their parents. Most of the children in these establishments are serving as — for lack of a kinder expression — tourist attractions.

The inflation of orphanages has come an explosive 250 percent increase of travelers into the country.

Parents who cannot afford to feed or educate their children have started sending them to one of the newly sprung-up orphanages in the hopes that they will find a better life through the pocket change of tourists. But while a few orphanages deliver on their promises to desperate parents that their children will be educated, most do not.

Tuk tuk drivers are often commissioned by orphanages to deliver optimistic tourists, and again by market vendors if the tourists are brought to them first to purchase school supplies.

Smart travelers are able to find the few genuine orphanages, but it takes determination, and a willingness to accept their own limitations; trained child workers and long-standing volunteers are almost always more qualified to care for orphans, and the quick turn-around time of visitors often just deepens a child’s feelings of abandonment.

It’s common for unwieldy volunteers to pamper their own conscience more than those they are aiming to help, because while this sometimes leads to a life of humanitarian work, most times it just leads to cool Facebook pictures. Travelers wishing to spend some of their vacation doing volunteer work must be careful to put their money in the hands of people with similar motives.

– Lydia Caswell

Sources: The Telegraph, Forbes
Photo: Mangine

Thus far, Kenya’s economy depends largely on tourism, specifically safari tours. Travelers often spend the night in Nairobi, the region’s gateway to business, before their safari adventure. Kenya also benefits from pineapple production–a top five producer worldwide–through exporting both canned pineapple and juice concentrates. But there is much more to the booming country than tourism and agriculture. So what else is special about this east African nation?

Kenya is Young and Friendly

Youths serve as optimists for the future and in Nairobi, they keep the economy going. More than 60% of the population is less than 25 years old. Kenyans tend to be warm-hearted and welcoming to foreigners. While the national language in Swahili, many Kenyans speak English at a high level and are willing to converse with tourists about Kenyan culture.

While Kenya is sophisticated compared to its East African neighbors, the country still suffers from unemployment and poor infrastructure. Many of Kenya’s young cannot get jobs due to a lack of skills and opportunities.

The Diaspora Returns

Waiting an hour and a half for a pizza in Nairobi? Rotesh Doshi would rather not. After studying at the London School of Economics, he pursued work opportunities abroad. When he had the chance to bring United States-based franchise, Naked Pizza, to Nairobi, he took it and ran with it.

Although it is his hometown, Doshi found many challenges to setting up a business in Nairobi, including poor infrastructure, government bureaucracy and a short supply of skilled human labor. “You often ask yourself ‘is it worth it’ when a lot more things go wrong than right,” Doshi said. “But there is nothing else that I would rather be doing right now, especially being part of that growth story in my own country.”

Promising Entertainment Industry

Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar win for her supporting performance in 12 Years a Slave gives Kenya’s entertainment industry a ray of hope. With 40% of Kenya’s workforce unemployed, and 70% of those being less than 35 years old, successes like Nyong’o’s show young people that they can, in fact, make it in the entertainment sector, which can then boost the economy.

The government hopes to do this through establishing a film school and promoting the entertainment industry as a legitimate avenue for job creation. Kenya looks to Nigeria for inspiration. Nigeria’s film industry, referred to as “Nollywood,” produces about 50 films per week–many more than Hollywood and second only to India’s Bollywood.

Attracting New Businesses

Food processing giant Del Monte set up a Kenyan branch called Cirio Del Monte Kenya to take advantage of the region’s high-yielding pineapple production. In the technology sector, Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung announced plans for a new assembly plant in Nairobi, positioning the city as the East African center of operation.

With businesses like Proctor & Gamble, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and IBM opening regional hubs in Nairobi comes the opportunity for more employment for the country’s youth. Foreign businesses that are setting up their African headquarters in centrally located Nairobi also benefit local businesses, like Kenya Airways.

– Haley Sklut 

Sources: BBC, How We Made It In Africa, All Africa, US Embassy, Career Nation
Photo: Sida

Citizens of the European Union (EU) have successfully gathered groundbreaking support towards establishing unconditional basic income. A petition for the unconditional basic income initiative began in 2013 and it has spread widely. The petition has officially gained 285,041 signatures from EU citizens across 28 countries.

The movement fell short of their goal to reach the one million signatures needed for the European Commission to “win their consideration of unconditional basic income as a new form of ‘emancipatory welfare.” However, the initiative was brought to Switzerland, where it managed to get 100,000 signatures.

Unlike the United States—where most legislation has to pass through representatives to be implemented—popular initiatives in Switzerland are able to gain more ground. The proposal is also possible because the Swiss political system allows for a very direct form of democracy. Moreover, unconditional basic income is part of a larger movement across the globe to address the pressing issue of rampant economic inequality.

The people of Switzerland have been successful in introducing legislation that would limit the salary of CEOs to “12 times the salary of the lowest paid employee.”

Considering how unconventional the proposal is—in which the suggested amount of $2,800 a month would be unconditionally provided to the people of Switzerland—gathering the votes required is considered to be a long shot. But, the movement represents a rapidly growing public concern.

It aims to account for some of the 21st century problems that arise due to a capitalist mode of economy.

For instance, the unconditional basic income initiative would allow for jobs to be distributed more widely and equally. Currently, France has three million people who are jobless and five million people working more than necessary. This sort of unequal employment distribution in France is also evident across nations on an international scale.

There is an element of controversy to the movement though, where debates regarding human rights and entitlements circulate the issue. The initiative reflects a strong public opinion however, in which human nature is regarded as creative as opposed to lazy. It would allow for people to have the tools to realize their potential and have a dignified existence, rather than being left out of what society has to offer.

As stated by a leader behind the unconditional basic income initiative, “This would lead to a paradigm change.”

Jugal Patel

Sources: Business Week, Forbes, Basic Income, Business Insider
Photo: RT

As of next month, Chile will once again call Michelle Bachelet, leader of the popular Socialist Party, its president.

Although she left office with an 84 percent approval rate, Chilean law prohibits presidents from serving consecutive terms. However, in the four years since Bachelet left office, millions of citizens have openly protested for the return of many of her reforms — specifically demanded, are her reforms concerning education, environmental protection and income inequality.

Students are especially excited for Bachelet’s return. Her plan is to raise corporate taxes to 25 percent and use the money to fund the overhaul of secondary and higher education. This is the first step of what Bachelet hopes is a gradual move towards free public universities.

The influence of former president Augusto Pinochet, which ended central control and funding of public schools, left the education system in Chile diminished in quality skewed for the benefit of the elite. The majority of universities there today are private and expensive; and the country has not seen a new public university built in over 20 years.

Bachelet became the first female president of Chile in 2006; she served the traditional four-year term until 2010. She is often considered one of the most admired presidents in modern Chilean history, especially since the end of Pinochet’s 17-year dictatorship in 1990.

Many of the problems facing the Latin American country today are blamed on Pinochet’s abuse of power. Amongst other things, he is most criticized for ending land reform by selling off the nation’s water. This created a small pocket of economic elite and sparked the growing wealth distribution gap, which Bachelet has dedicated her career to fighting.

Education reform was central to the success of Bachelet’s last presidential term, and throughout her campaign she has vowed to continue it. Early in her first term, in April 2006, demonstrations of high school students broke out across the country, voicing frustrations with the quality and price of their education.

It became known as the “Penguin Revolution,” named for the black-and-white uniforms common among Chilean students.

Bachelet addressed this by immediately setting up an educational advisory committee. The committee, comprised of 81 advisory members from an array of political affiliations and socioeconomic backgrounds, functioned as a forum for the proposal of education bills.

Many of them were effective by August 2009 under the signing of the Education Reform Bill, which decentralized the system and created new regulatory government agencies.

When Bachelet’s term ended in 2010, students once again found themselves frustrated by their lack of representation within the education system and began protesting against current president Sebastián Piñera. Throughout 2011 and 2012, the streets of Santiago were filled nearly every Thursday with students demanding the reinstating of certain funding and other reforms for higher education.

She recently ran for office a second time, succeeding long-time political rival Evelyn Matthei. Now Bachelet and her education and economic reforms will return to office in March. Her popularity was proven on December 15, 2013 with reports of applause and tears accompanying her acceptance speech in Santiago.

Although the anticipation is high, there are also concerns regarding Chile’s immediate economic future and skepticism surrounding how Bachelet will handle it.

Chile’s economy has been growing rapidly in recent years, increasing by 5.6 percent last year.

However, there are fears that it will soon begin to slow, since much of its gross domestic product is tied to its primary export copper, which is at risk of declining prices in the global market. Many speculate that copper wealth will be Bachelet’s weapon for the underfunded public schools system, but if the copper market suffers, so will education.

Regardless, Bachelet is still followed by a reputation for charisma, intelligence and understanding of the common citizen. Her constituents widely agree that her future term as the president of Chile will be productive and positive.

As Paolo Bustamente, who admits to voting for Bachelet, said: “Abroad you often hear that this country has been growing and progressing more than others in Latin America, but it can’t just be a matter of growth. We need urgent educational reform, improvements to health and I feel Bachelet can fulfill promises of deep changes this time around.”

 – Stefanie Doucette

Sources: Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTimeForbesThe GuardianUnited Nations, CNN, Inter Press Service News Agency, MercoPress

Tech Hub for Rwanda Startups
To make positive change in the world, we don’t just need tons of money, popularity or political influence, we need the right tools.

By getting the right people together in one place, specifically one that fosters intellectual development and creativity, we can make great things happen.

This is the belief of kLab, a tech hub in Rwanda where young people can bring their startup ideas and receive free Wi-Fi, workspace and mentorship from professors, business owners, and community leaders.

kLab – which stands for “knowledge lab” – has been operating for over a year and was officially launched in October 2013. The center is funded by the Rwanda private Sector Federation, the Rwanda Development Board and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“The knowledge lab is an innovation center where fresh and young graduates come to work on their projects, especially in the tech industry,” said Jovani Ntabgoba, kLab’s general manager, at the launch.

kLab currently offers the services of 21 different mentors to its over 80 tenants. The startups at the center range from online shopping websites to improved medical technology. The mentors offer these young people the ability to truly flesh out their ideas and turn them into much more.

“The culture is collaboration, but it’s not just collaboration; it’s positioning oneself at an age where you receive the best mentorship that you cannot find anywhere else in Rwanda,” Ntabgoba said. “At kLab we have all of the knowledge that is required for a tenant to develop their business.”

The power of this collaboration has led to the beginning of many bright futures for startups that focus on the vision of the country of Rwanda: to turn the nation into a knowledge-based economy. However, young Rwandans are challenged daily by a lack of skills due to the fact that the educational curriculum is not yet “innovation-oriented.”

One of the more recent kLab successes is GIRA ICT – a startup that combats a large roadblock to widespread internet usage in Africa: hardware prices. By partnering with big name manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, HP and Lenovo, GIRA ICT allows consumers to pay for their devices in monthly installments in order to increase hardware ownership across the country.

“We started as a group of five entrepreneurs, so we came into kLab and they gave us a free space to work in. We could enjoy internet… they provided us with mentors,” said project supervisor Alphonse Ruhigira.

GIRA ICT has also been collaborating with the government to supplement the One Laptop per Child program. Founded by Nadia Uwamahoro, this effort provides teachers with laptops that they can pay off over a span of four years. So far, this has helped about 100 teachers to attain laptops and the number is steadily increasing.

“It’s a brilliant innovation and she is doing brilliant business,” says Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwandan Minister for Youth and ICT of Uwamahoro. “She’s taken computers to places where they were seeing and touching them for the first time by lowering the affordability challenge.”

Through efforts such as GIRA ICT, kLab is pushing Rwanda towards its goal of becoming a middle-income country by the year 2020.

“I want you to understand the uniqueness of this kLab compared to many other iHubs in the region. The uniqueness of this one is that you are in this building and you are not alone in this building,” said Michael Bezy, associate director of Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, who works with kLab in order to provide mentorship to its tenants.

“You look at that and you say ‘I have entrepreneurs here, I have a world-class university, I have IT businesses and I have IT infrastructure.’ That looks to me like a mini Silicon Valley,” said Bezy.

– Samantha Davis

Sources: Wired, kLab, Wired
Photo: Wired

For many people the nonprofit sector, also known as the “third sector,” can offer an exciting and rewarding career. With the exception of where the funding comes from, nonprofit organizations often are run very similarly to for-profit organizations. They also have to adhere to the same policies and may even hire similarly qualified people. This article will provide an overview of the types of jobs available in the nonprofit sector as well as some of the things to consider when looking for a non-profit job.


The development department is one of the largest and highest paying job categories in the nonprofit sector. Development professionals work on gathering the resources that fund the programs and initiatives run by the organization. These jobs are needed in order for the organization to stay alive thus affording the position to pay well and stay in the position of not likely to be cut. Jobs in development also tend to be less competitive than jobs in other departments. Such jobs here can include:

– Director of Development
– Fundraiser
– Proposal Writer
– Communication Professional


Being part of the program department is exciting and rewarding, especially since those who work in this department get to put their organization’s mission into action. These are the people who will be developing and implementing disaster relief plans in developing countries, or providing services to people with mental health challenges. Unfortunately program careers are very competitive and have a high burn out. These jobs include:

– Program Manager
– Program Assistant
– Policy Analyst
– Technical Advisor


Just like private sector companies, nonprofit sectors also need an administrative team to help organizations keep on their feet and run smoothly. These jobs are also good stepping-stones into programs careers or management level jobs.

– Human Resources
– Office Manager
– Receptionist

Important Things to Consider About Careers in the Nonprofit Sector

1. You’ll have to wear many hats – Nonprofits don’t always have the funds to hire a large staff, this means you may have to be the graphic designer, the social media coordinator and the grant writer.

2. You need to be passionate about the cause – Employers aren’t just looking for talented qualified workers, they are also looking for people who are passionate about the cause and will work hard to achieve the organization’s goals.

3. You’ll probably make less money – Nonprofits have less resources, this means your office may be less plush and your salary smaller.

4. Volunteer first – It’s important to volunteer or intern at a nonprofit to see if you like the culture and are actually passionate about the job. This also proves your commitment to an employer and can open up job opportunities.

5. Nonprofits are run like any other business – Managing finances and being cost effective are just as important to nonprofits as they are to businesses.

– Elizabeth Brown

Sources: Miami University, US News, Forbes
Gif: Borgen Project

PovertyCure Film Festival
What is PovertyCure? In a nutshell, this organization consists of a Christian-based, International network of organizations that employ policies to help reduce global poverty. PovertyCure then bonds these businesses through employee practices, environmentally sound structuring, donations of profits and the education of citizens in surrounding communities.

The companies that join PovertyCure soon realize that more than one billion people are trying to survive on less than two dollars per day. PovertyCure has also given talks and spoken at seminars around the United States, and they have employees working with organizations in nine different countries so far.

The foundation recently hosted a film festival in New York City that featured competition from all over the world. The festival’s theme was global poverty and the films that resulted from the contest ranged from inspiring and harrowing to enlightening. “Eviction” was the ten thousand dollar grand prize winner of the PovertyCure film festival held on December 12, 2013 at the Helen Mills theatre.

The festival drew participants filming about the human struggle of dealing with poverty every day, a deeper look into the types of people affected by poverty, war and what life looks like on the other side of the poverty line.

Most of the films emphasized how similar the people affected by extreme poverty are to everyone else. Everyone smiles the same way, no matter what nation they were born in. Furthermore, though the poor are no less intelligent or motivated, they are at a disadvantage and many people are in a position to help.

Using businesses as a way to fight poverty is a new method and one that could yield extremely effective results. Treating those who live in poverty around the world not as a burden on the economy but as a market in and of itself is the main concept of the ‘entrepreneurial’ solution to poverty. Using supply and demand while also creating jobs and markets for those struggling with poverty is just one way PovertyCure and other companies help to resolve the issues across the globe.

Outside of the film festival and working network of international companies, PovertyCure has a six episode DVD series. Looking into the causes of wealth and what those in a position of success and communities do to thrive in their environments is one of the methods in which PovertyCure believes to be necessary in ending global poverty.

Instead of researching why poverty happens, research why wealth happens and educate those struggling with financial devastation.

Use an entrepreneurial mindset to seek out and destroy the failing practices that pull nations into corruption and economical disaster. Teach communities to thrive and help themselves and each other. Through art, film and business, PovertyCure is trying to reach people on a human level.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: PovertyCure Forbes, Palm Springs International Film Society
Photo: Vimeo

business solution
Almost three billion people live on less than $2 dollars per day. Paul Polak, one of the co-authors of the Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2013), believes that social entrepreneurship is the solution to ending global poverty.

From a marketing standpoint, those 2.8 billion people represent an enormous international market that is not being utilized in the economy. Innovation and technological advancements in the world of supply and demand could put products on the market that are affordable to those nearly three billion people. With a market of that size, anyone is bound to enjoy capital gain as well as improve the lives of countless people in need.

Author Paul Polak founded a business to sell cheap irrigation pumps to farmers in Bangladesh to increase their access to clean, healthy drinking water. The market for the water pumps raised the average income of the farmers by $150 million dollars a year. Contaminated water systems spread disease quickly to a massive amount of people, contributing to the ‘water crisis’ that plagues societies around the world.

What is the water crisis? Countries with no access to clean water are more heavily riddled with disease, rendering them unable to work and contribute to the economy. Medical treatment is expensive even for people who are working, so the inability to work combined with the need for disease treatment puts a heavy financial strain on a massive number of people- all because their drinking water is basically poisoning them. Unclean water spreads disease and consequently causes the economy to get stuck in a downward spiral deeper into poverty and distress. Of the 3.4 million water, sanitation, and hygiene-related deaths that occur annually, 99%  in the developing world.

Polak believes that selling affordable products that improve the lives of people in developing countries could benefit both the entrepreneurs marketing these products and the customers who are buying them. The Business Solution to Poverty outlines how companies focusing on the market in developing countries could bring an end to global poverty in approximately 30 years.

Another book called, “Thirty Years to Peace,” that more extensively details the business solution to global poverty timeline, is reported to be released in the next year. America has the wealth and manpower to launch these initiatives and the fact that it is a hugely profitable market should make it attractive to executives across the nation. There is no downside to ending global poverty through business ventures.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Philstar, Project Humanity, Forbes
Photo: Giphy.com