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A major alliance between two ascending regions of the world has been bubbling under the surface of public awareness for years. This alliance is of the economic variety, and has the potential to reshape the socioeconomic and political future of our world. The size of China’s investment in Africa is truly massive; or is it? As many may not know, China has been in the news for its lending and investing activities in Africa over the recent years. According to new research and investigation, however, the scope and hype of the Chinese activity in Africa may be over-exaggerated.

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In a legally-binding agreement reached in last years' COP21 conference, over 195 nations pledged to reduce carbon emissions from 2020 onward. The ultimate goal of the conference was to adapt measures that would . The passing of this agreement--the first of its kind--appears indicative of the current worldview of climate change. Most world leaders are now unified in the idea that climate change is an increasingly urgent global concern. As a result, the pressure to utilize renewable energy sources has never been higher. Such resources, including hyrdo-electric power, wind turbines, and solar cells, are growing in both popularity and efficiency. Now, the goal is to deviate totally from fossil fuels, both in daily energy use and in international business.

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. These products allow companies to track and manage their business operations in an efficient manner. In its most simple terms, warehousing is the process of storing materials and filling orders from one end of the supply chain to the other.  In response to the growing needs of e-commerce, major changes in labor and technology will be occurring within these warehouses. According to the , in 2015, it took 60.4 hours to train new staff to “full productivity”, up 26% from 2013. This figure just further demonstrates that companies are already adjusting their supply chains to meet demand for faster delivery by consumers.

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The Aussie real-estate market is an increasingly mercurial frontier for investors and home-owners alike. Housing markets are no stranger to high rates of default and bad debt, but Australia’s . The whole world was crippled when America’s housing bubble, launched to dangerous heights by massive collateralized debt obligations and junk bonds, eventually exploded in a manner that shook the global economy. Australian default rates are nothing short of shocking and have narrowly avoided causing American 2008-esque crashes in the past several years. The uncertainty from this part of Australia’s economy adds fuel to its fire, but other times it serves to strengthen its own currency and outperform other sectors of the global economy. But everything has a cost, and though Australia might not be facing the immediate risk of a bubble, a slow and painful demise is usually in store for those who mistake healthy credit margins for insurmountable housing debt.

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Recent pushes for an increase in environmental consciousness have resulted in increased demand for renewable energy. Along with the increased awareness, the Paris Climate Conference highlighted the importance and urgency behind the situation. All of the recent talk surrounding green energy is expected to significantly increase investment and production in the industry, but multiple factors are currently holding back it's success.

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Cap and trade programs are being implemented in many countries and regions all over the world. A is a system that sets a “cap” limiting the amount of pollution a company, institution, or household can emit. The trade aspect of the program refers to a market where companies buy and sell allowances depending on if they will be over or under the cap. In essence, it’s a polluter-pays principle. Cap and trade allows the market to decide where emissions can be condensed with the lowest cost, while cutting down on the pollution that is causing climate change.

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A Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) is an . Essentially, when using an SRI framework, an investor not only considers a company’s financial information but also the way in which the company operates. A major trend in recent years with SRI is the sustainability and environmental impact of a company.  found that as of 2013, approximately one out of every six dollars under professional management in the U.S. was invested according to SRI strategies. This number is staggering, especially when put in the context that .

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Environmental, Social and Governance criteria (ESG) are the standards that investors are increasingly using to evaluate a corporation’s operations and performance. About one-third of companies have , and ESG criteria have started to shape their business strategies. Investors seeking companies that meet ESG criteria value returns, but don’t prioritize profits over .

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The concept of sustainable business practices is gaining traction on a global scale. Investors and customers alike are placing a greater emphasis on sustainability and green business initiatives. As a result, companies around the world are being forced to innovate, or risk falling behind their competitors and out of favor with customers and investors.

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Many of the world’s poorest countries have been struggling as of late in terms of growth. This is due largely in part to a strong dollar, which makes it harder for other countries to pay back the U.S.  said Tim Jones, economist at the Jubilee Debt Campaign. This means many of the countries who rely on exporting world commodities are being hurt in multiple ways recently. This is because both the strong dollar and the dropping prices of these commodities are driving their development budgets into the ground. An example of this is in Sierra Leone, where the price of iron ore dipping as well as the Ebola breakout have hampered the country’s ability to develop. The World Bank will be dealing with an increase in loan requests due to the fall of commodity prices as well.

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Going back to the early 2000's, African countries were too risky to invest in, as they were vulnerable to a variety of problems. African bonds were virtually nowhere to be found, with South Africa the only Sub-Saharan country selling dollar-denominated bonds at the time. Year after year, other Sub-Saharan African Countries have gradually begun issuing sovereign debt.  

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For pro basketball fans everywhere, it comes as no news that last night was Kobe Bryant’s final game as a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant has become a household name, not just in America, but globally. Kobe Bryant has ridden the larger wave of global basketball, with a particularly massive (and growing) fan following in China. Sports, and American culture of many varieties have become commoditized and are now consumed in massive quantities throughout the world.

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Since the BRICs acronym was first developed in 2001, the BRICS have been a symbol for economic growth and an increasingly global economy. Until recently, the five BRICS countries all enjoyed above average growth rates, and were seen as the leading emerging economies in the world. The acronym originally referred to four countries, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, until 2010, when South Africa was . Recently, the BRICS have seen their high growth rates decrease, and in Russia and Brazil, are crippling their economies. Through these uneasy times, the BRICS development bank hopes to renew some growth in the slumping economies.

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“Fintech” has been used lately as that have challenged and changed the more traditional aspects of finance, such as wealth management, lending, insurance, and payments. A current key challenge that the financial technology industry is facing is if the industry can continue to grow while facing increasing amounts of financial regulation.

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In a statement recently released by the Angolan Finance Ministry, the government stated that it would begin working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help restore the economy after recent difficulties due to the major decline in oil prices. Specific discussions are expected to begin next week during the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington. Angola’s economy relies heavily on oil, which accounts for more than 95% of the country’s export earnings and two-thirds of government revenue. As a result of crude oil prices currently being valued at less than half of the level it reached in mid-2014, Angola and other oil-dominating countries, such as Nigeria, Egypt, and Libya, are struggling to stay afloat economically.

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Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), gave a speech concerning the global economy last Tuesday in Frankfurt, Germany. The speech covered several facets of international business and economics, including free trade, political risks to worldwide economies, income inequality, and recent policy actions. . Lagarde warned that unless more is done to kickstart economic growth, the global economy will fall behind. Her speech precedes, and perhaps sets the tone for, the IMF and World Bank spring meetings, set to take place in Washington D.C.

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Have you visited the globalEDGE Business Beat乐动体育董事长 page lately? The latest segments feature conversations with members of the international business community, including professors and professionals from the private sector. Visit the globalEDGE Business Beat page today to learn more about global security and anti-counterfeiting, micro-entrepreneurs’ involvement in the sharing economy, and the role of Indian academics in the global marketplace. 

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Named after the town in Luxembourg where the agreement was signed, the allows for the dissolution of internal borders and implementation of passport-free movement within its member nations. After taking effect in 1995, the Schengen Area is currently comprised of 26 European nations of which 22 are also members of the European Union. The four non-EU members are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, while the only six EU members outside the Schengen zone are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom. Since its implementation, the Schengen agreement has eased the flow of both goods and services across the area providing a major economic benefit to member economies with people making , along with the crossing of . Naturally, this opening of borders has been instrumental in the growth of many industries across the Schengen zone, specifically tourism and transportation. However, after the recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, the Schengen Agreement, and all its associated economic benefits, could be in jeopardy.

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On Sunday April 3, in what is being called the biggest leak of confidential information ever. The leak amounts to approximately . The leaked documents reveal corruption and shady business dealings of politicians, world leaders, and celebrities. The leak exposes how major banks, law firms, and asset management companies manage the wealth of the world’s most powerful people.

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Whether it is an expansion of one company, the merging of multiple, or simply a business deal, international business is an art often underestimated or taken for granted altogether. The opportunities offered by the expansion of markets is unattainable when confined to one area and can offer tremendous rewards if executed properly. Most businesses, however, are unaware of what really sets international business apart from operating locally. Following are observations by a seasoned participant in the teaching, researching, and consulting of international business as well as supporting statistics.