Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ethnic map of Britain

For some reason typing in "ethnic map of Britain" into Google image search doesn't produce an ethnic map of Britain. At least not in the top 100 or so. This is strange since you can Google an ethnic map of somewhere far away, like Afghanistan.

There is one hit, an Independent newspaper headline, for "race map of Britain". That's from 2006 and there are interesting details in the captions, so I'll post it again below. As you can see, the title is a misnomer as 99.9% of the "diversity" is in England.

This map is not quite what I was looking for because a "diversity" map includes Jewish people and no doubt Poles, Irish and other white foreigners. I'd like to know at least the proportion of white to non-white. That map would better show up broad cultural and linguistic differences between Britons.

So the only thing to do was to draw up a map myself. Wikipedia is not the most up to date or accurate source on demographics but it was the quickest and good enough for starters. Here it is that map.

(This is not yet an ethnic map but it's a start.)

Again, like the Independent map diversity is very much an English phenomenon. The regions, counties with long coastlines, hills, the large land areas with low population densities have the lowest concentration of non-white Britons.

Our largest non-white groups, South Asian and Black Britons, are mostly to be found on the flat lands of England, along a SE/NW economic corridor between London and Manchester. The corridor also extends down to East Sussex which may have something to do with the Channel Tunnel and ferry ports, or it could just be because those counties are close to London.

It's pretty startling how the South West, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have got away with so little diversity, all +98% white. I wonder if there is a reason for that?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Afghanistan-Britain-India nexus

David Cameron has visited India and with him half the cabinet and the great and good of British industry and culture. The intention is to increase trade (currently £11bn) and help British ngoligarchs like Tescos and Oxfam get a better foothold in India.

India by 2014 may have an internal market worth £352bn. This would be much less than China's £975bn consumer market in 2008, but a lot of Indians speak English so it's understandable the government of the day up-sticks and moves to Bangalore even if a slice of the Shanghai pie is bigger. In return, India would like Indians to be able to move to Britain to work, learn and use the NHS - that's something not so easy to do with the European Union cap on non-EU migrants.

Nethertheless there is something Britain can do to put India in our gratitude. Help keep the new trade route with north Afghanistan open. India wants to put Tajik north Afghanistan in its geopolitical pocket. This as much to challenge Chinese influence in Central Asia as anything to do with Pakistan - serious Indo-Pak conflict, beyond posturing, being essentially over for now.

Indeed, as the once great power which drew up the lines in the region, the British Commonwealth is arguably a bridge between the two old feuding sub-continent states. Anyhow, now they both possess nuclear weapons, I believe the Indo-Pak elites have also recognised wider war is futile and have decided on putting partisan objectives before national ones. It worked so well in Western Europe.

The British role involves squaddies jumping on IEDs on Afghan roads so the trucks can pass through, or just by hanging around to make an obstacle of themselves to any organised Pashtun move on the more developed north. But you say Pakistan doesn't seem to get anything out of this deal - it's just a "Afghan-Britain-India" nexus,will never happen - not quite. Prediction: Pakistan will be given "Pashtunistan" or a Pashtun state will be created under the wing of Pakistan.


Pakistan will get their "strategic depth".  Indians will be able to develop and advance on Central Asia. British NGO workers will get their paid humanitarian missions holidays indefinitely. British brass will be able to play with their toys and those of north Afghanistan. Big business will get a slice of India. Have I just elucidated the pathway in the state formerly known as Afghanistan by which everyone wins (supposedly)?

The ethnicity map below is from this Stratfor article by the excellent George Friedman (who hasn't yet, to my knowledge, written about the Afghan-Britain-India nexus). There are many available on the net but this one is particularly clear and colourful. 
The Pashtun are coloured orange, Tajik and Uzbek in the north are green and brown respectively. The trade route from Afghanistan to India goes through the Kyber Pass, directly East of Kabul on this map. The Pashtun region being coloured entirely orange glosses over its social complexity. Pashtuns are riven by tribal divisions (e.g. Durrani vs. Ghizai) and by cultural rifts between their few urban settlements, the rural farmers and the Pashtun nomads.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jobs for the girls?

Since there is no civil society in Afghanistan I found it somewhat surprising to find in the directory of development organization the non-state has 174 civil society development organizations. Judging by Afghanistan's neighbours, civil society organizations aren't particularly interested in Central Asia. Why Afghanistan? It might therefore be useful to do a more detailed analysis of what non-governmental organizations (NGOs) there are in Afghanistan and what they stand for.

So I've created an unofficial chart (below) based on my own imperfect categorisation of the different organizations numbered "CSO" (Civil Society Organisation).

The two most nebulous categories are friendship and campaigns. The campaigns section includes landmine organizations and some peace and democracy NGOs, but women's groups have been totalled separately. Friendship included voluntary organizations and ones along the lines of "American Friends of Afghanistan". The Other section contained coordinating meta-NGOs, some which used the word "technical" and some that didn't fit in any of the main categories.

Included in Relief/Aid section are so-called humanitarian organizations like Oxfam and World Vision. The largest aid organizations also have a political agenda. This is that they want to deliver aid in a militarily secure environment, because if they stopped delivering aid people would choose to hold on to their money to give later rather than give it to sit in Oxfam's or whatever's bank account.

The results: I expected more human rights organizations. For example, there appears to be no Amnesty International office in Afghanistan. AI  does qualify as a development organization on other country pages, like Barbados (what an onerous posting that is). Afghanistan must be just way too much of a tough gig.

Afghanistan is awash with generic humanitarian organizations and medical non-governmentals. These are mostly young doctors and middle class university graduates who can't get jobs back in Europe. One reason why middle class Westerners like to fund middle class institutions like relief giving NGOs is because it gives their middle class children, many of whom are daughters, a platform to travel the world that doesn't involve getting shot at.

There's a strong combined showing by women and children, which makes up more than 10% of the total. This isn't much of a surprise as one of the original justifications for being in Afghanistan was to better the lot of the women. A quarter of the seats in the Afghan Parliament are reserved for women even though only 18% of young Afghan women are literate. At the 2010 elections 28% of those elected were female.

The bulk of the educated women in the Afghan parliament likely come from the more literate Afghan ethnic groups, like the Tajiks, who do not oppress their women as much. Tajikis are a non-tribal, urban group who are everywhere, but predominate in the north and west making up about 27% of the Afghan population. Unlike the Pashtun, the Tajiks are an ethnic force for holding Afghanistan together as a post-racial Anglo-Saxon type state but, of course, the Tajiks already have a state called Tajikistan next door.

So on the one hand we have pressure from the Tajik community to keep Afghanistan going as a non-state because it increases their political influence, and on the other we have pressure from the development community to keep Afghanistan going because it provides something for their daughters to do. Is the Afghan war being extended way beyond its demonstrable failure because it provides jobs for the girls?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gorilla, gorilla

I've often wondered if poor states get development help from states, international government organizations (IGOs) and civil society operators (CSOs) because they are poor and need help - like is supposed to happen. Or whether they get aid because they are a good place for global AIDministrators to have a paid holiday on charitable donations. With data from the fascinating directory of development organization I've decided to test whether my cynicism has any factual support.

As wikipedia tells us, development aid is different from humanitarian aid because it is designed to make the recipient country more wealthy over the long haul. The idea is to enable a poor state become rich enough to overcome humanitarian crises on its own and so not need any emergency assistance from foreign taxpayers or donating citizens ever again. Official development assistance (ODA) is usually provided in form of small grants and loans, while non-governmentals often help out with equipment, medical care, expertise in a field of knowledge, teaching and research. Since poor states have the greatest need for all of these things we should find the poorest states have more development organizations than their more wealthy neighbours - assuming there is no war going on.

Caveat: An assumption of mine is that many of the listed CSOs in the directory will be staffed by local administrators who are funded by international donors either directly or through their government which received the funds. I assume further that if these organizations don't have a foreign representative working with them, they or the government department which took the donor's money, will get a visit from a foreign aid coordinator representing the international donor once a year - who would check-in to ensure nobody was getting ripped off. The point I'm making is that if a bunch of money is donated somewhere that will usually entail one or more foreign official paying a visit to see where that money has gone. If international donors don't check up, just hand over the cash then there can be no paid-for holiday for someone. (My data is not so fine grained that I can filter-out the domestic CSOs and just look at international CSOs).

Note on methodology: I've chosen landlocked African states and split them into regional groups based on their closest neighbours and climatic zone. They're in groups because I want to compare like with like. For example, Chad will never have the Victoria Falls so its level of tourism will unlikely ever be comparable to Zambia unless there is a major war there. Its bio-inheritance, from savannah and charismatic megafauna like elephants and cheetahs in the south to Sahara desert in the north, is more similar to its neighbour Niger. African regions also have politics that make cross-regional comparison problematic. For example, the Mugabe Zimbabwe regime has lead to an increase in tourism to Zambia, and the history of genocide in Rwanda and Burundi might be expected to affect those nations.

Central Africa: Central African Republic, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi

With the poor and landlocked Central African states an obvious trend is the number of development organizations increase with population size. We can assume that a major reason why Uganda has over ten times more development organizations and nearly seven times more official development aid than the Central African Republic is because it has a nearly seven times larger population. Uganda has a greater number of poor than the Central African Republic and throw in a more complex development agenda (complicated by such issues as Uganda's south/north Bantu/Nihlotic split) you attract, like flies to a dunghill, many more development organizations.

Uganda's total number of development organizations does however look very high to me - but I can't tell from the chart if it is appropriate for a country of its size. A comparison with Ethiopia, to Uganda's north east, might therefore be revealing. Ethiopia apparently has a population of 88 million, a per capita GDP $400 less than Uganda's, and receives a lot more ODA. Yet at 598, Ethiopia has 271 fewer development organizations than Uganda, whose number of development offices begins to look suspiciously inflated.

Now turn to a comparison of Rwanda and Burundi: again we run into a possible case of development office inflation. Rwanda's population is 19% larger than its neighbour but has two-thirds more development organizations (including finance, training, private sectors etc.) and one third more CSOs, all both no doubt funded in part or whole by Rwanda's 83% fatter ODA budget. Both Burundi and Rwanda have had periods of genocide in recent history and they both have a similar level of infant mortality and HIV infection, so in terms of international pity the two states should be about equal.

Like Ugandans are more wealthy than Ethiopians, so Rwandans are slightly richer (if that word can be used to distinguish two shitpoor states) than Burundi. In 2008 Burundi scored slightly lower (better) on the Freedom House number (Civil liberties + Political Rights) so political oppression is unlikely signficant. You'd expect Rwanda to have a few more development organizations compared to Burundi but Burundi is so incredibly poor and development organizations are supposed to help a country develop, aren't they?

What explains the development organization profile of Uganda vs. Ethiopia and Rwanda vs. Burundi - why do the poorer states not have a higher number of development organizations compared to their comparable neighbours? I suggest Uganda and Rwanda have popular tourist attractions which global tranzis like to visit. International organizations and non-governmental groups are more likely to develop a funding relationship or set up a regional office in a state with a major tourist attraction than one which does not because when the global tranzi goes on work call he or she can take time out to visit - perk of the job, if you like. It only makes sense.

On this matter Uganda has three World Heritage sites, which is five less than Ethiopia's, but one of them is the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the hugely popular and endangered Mountain Gorilla. Big Ape tourism is one reason Uganda has 500,000 more tourists a year than beautiful Ethiopia. What about Rwanda? You guessed it, there are Mountain Gorillas there too, in Volcanoes National Park. But not in Burundi, which means the latter now lags Rwanda's tourist figures upwards 388%.

South Central Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana

Malawi possesses the largest population, yet despite high infant mortality and elevated levels of HIV infection, and being the second poorest of the states, it is, relatively speaking, the worst off for development organizations. Sure, in this region the competition is very high, with Malawi not being badly off for tourists. But possessing a land area of just over 100 square kilometres it does not have the same potential for safari tourism that its three-seven times larger neighbours can exploit. In 2009 Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana had between 28-36% of their land area protected in environmental law compared to 15% in Malawi.

Excluding the fun Mugabe's having at Zimbabwean's expense (which probably suppresses Zimbabwe's ODA and CSO figures) Malawi would undoubtedly be the poorest of the four states badly in need of the most development organizations. Another telling figure on the chart is the number of IGOs that want to set up office in Malawi - not many. That Malawi posted a comparatively reasonable FH number of 8, compared to Zimbabwe's 13 did not seem to help much. Like Zambia, Zimbabwe possesses half of the Victoria Falls natural wonder. It also possesses a total of five World Heritage sites.

I would guess that the very high HIV infection rate in wealthy Botswana, another excellent development safari holiday destination, accounts for much of its stupendous levels of ODA.

West Central Africa: Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad

Mali, of Timbuktu yore, dominates the development industry in this region whilst being neither the poorest or the largest population. Mali possesses four World Heritage sites (three of them for cultural importance). However, I hear objections the sub-Saharan African state's relative political stability of FH 5 may provide an 'innocent' explanation for the high number of IGOs, CSOs and development assistance, at least compared to its neighbour Burkina Faso, FH 8.

I'm loathe to accept this as an explanation. We know from Zimbabwe's high level of development organization that a very oppressive state does not always deter the committed development tourist, so a mere 3 points on the FH scale between Mali and Burkina Faso isn't going to matter. The four World Heritage sites must richly appeal to the tranzi's sense of non-Western civilization. The preference for providing aid to Mali could only be motivated by tourism. Mali and Burkina Faso both have charismatic mega-fauna, like hippopotamus, giraffe and elephant, but Mali has the Timbuktu too.

Further east into Niger, the Second Taureg Rebellion and a habit of tourists going missing might explain why Niger, which has the same level of population as Burkina Faso, is not yet challenging in the big fauna tourism market. Given the political instability in Niger and attacks on foreigners the state's lower numbers of development organization and ODA cannot be a surprise. Chad is the wealthiest, least populous, and has the most oppressive government of the four. This might explain why it's per capita number of development organizations sits closer to Niger than Mali and Burkina Faso. There's not much to visit in Chad that cannot be seen somewhere better, so Chad ends up with fewer IGOs than Botswana.

Southern Africa: Lesotho and Swaziland

The last case study is a very clear example of development tourism. The richer, more oppressive state with smaller population has come to possess the greater number of development organization (the amount of ODA though is weighted heavily in favour of the more populous, freer state). Does the International Baby-Food Action Network really have to have a base in Swaziland and not in Lesotho where there is an equally serious problem of child mortality (and presumably more babies dying)?

Sources: TOT 1-9 | POP (M) | GDP p/c ($) | ODA ($) | FH# 2008 | HIV | INF. M | Tourists 1/2 |

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Not all cleaner fish

If it achieves nothing else, the presence of Western forces in Afghanistan will continue to provide employment for countless transnational hangers-on (see 1 and 6).

Two poor Central Asian states. Two different development profiles.

1. International Organizations
2. Government Institutions
3. Private Sector
4. Finance Institutions
5. Training and Research
6. Civil Society
7. Consultancy
8. Information
9. Grantmakers

Source: Directory of Development Organizations.

In terms of natural resources, Uzbekistan has decent reserves of natural gas which might explain its higher GDP but Afghanistan has huge mineral resources

Uzbekistan's advantage really is that it has a cooperation bonus as a functioning state: the largest ethnic group within its boundaries makes up 80% of the population, compared to 40% in Afghanistan. 

No amount of transnational busy-bodies with guns and/or clip-boards is going to put Afghanistan together. The best chance of stability in the region is a split-state solution, which leaves ethnic groups the majority in their own states. 

But if there were actually a balance of power in the region the tranzis might have to go home. But now they have their feet on the ground, how hard is that going to be?