Client Opinion Pieces

Explore a featured selection of my authored and co-authored work for clients below, which have been featured in a wide range of global media. Topics range from agricultural development, science, public health, climate action, and more. 

How a Data and AI Revolution is Helping Africa’s Farmers Build Resilience and Productivity Through More Accurate Predictions

Dr. Racine Ly, Director, Department of Data Management, Digital Products, and Technology, AKADEMIYA2063, discusses how the emerging technology revolution is helping Africa’s farmers build resilience through innovative crop production predictions.

From climate change and conflicts to health crises, plant disease, and pest outbreaks, Africa’s food production systems are constantly battling numerous threats. Countering these shocks would require accessible data and quality evidence, not only for A

African farmers have a data problem – but modern technology can help

From automated tractors, temperature and moisture sensors, all the way to aerial imagery and drones, farmers in most advanced agricultural systems are in an increasingly digital world, with a range of vital data available at the touch of a button.

Yet, despite increasing threats such as climate change and the spread of new pests and diseases, farmers in Africa with access to data remains limited – often passed down from the previous generation or fellow farmers – to inform what and how they gro

How the Rise of Timor-Leste’s Aquaculture Sector Is a Blueprint for Other Small Island Nations

How the Rise of Timor-Leste’s Aquaculture Sector Is a Blueprint for Other Small Island Nations

PENANG, Malaysia, May 3 2023 (IPS) - For Timor-Leste, as with most other islands in the Pacific, fortunes are to be found in fish – an equity food available to all regardless of status.

Nevertheless, the island is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change, hampering domestic food production and contributing to Timor-Leste’s ranking of 110th out of 121 countries for malnutrition. Meanwhile, th

In wake of ‘natural’ disasters, not reducing biodiversity loss is a big missed opportunity (commentary)

Floods, heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires – a changing climate is bringing with it ever more frequent and destructive so-called “natural” disasters, often impacting the most vulnerable areas and communities of the world.

Amidst these rising impacts, the role of nature is too often framed as “creating” such events. Yet, as both science and traditional knowledge attest, nature is not only our best defense against climate-related hazards, it is also a bountiful source of benefits and advantages f

What food banks need to prevent the worst of the coming recession

After a year of rising inflation and shocks to supply chains during 2022, little relief is expected in 2023, with many of the world’s economies now staring down the prospect of recession in the coming year.

So much so, as countries and international businesses gathered at Davos, the World Economic Forum is called for “bold collective action” to address the “sheer number of ongoing crises.”

Ultimately, the access to healthy food will be at the forefront of the coming economic upset, with acute

The African innovations unlocking new pathways to scale access to climate finance

Climate change has reduced productivity growth of African food systems by 34 per cent since 1961. Still, continued warming to 2C this century could cause crop yields to fall by up to 20 per cent by 2030, endangering countless lives and livelihoods alike. In the face of this urgent challenge, there remains a huge gap in Africa’s current climate adaptation funding, estimated to be within the region of US$41.3 billion – annually – for the entire continent. To bridge this climate finance gap, Africa

Here’s where Africa can find the food revamp cash it needs | Context

From Rwanda to Benin to Zimbabwe, African countries are finding ways to source climate change adaptation funds at home

While African countries have nearly doubled their annual public expenditure in agriculture since the mid-1990s, absolute funding levels have started to stagnate and decline. This is happening at a time when the continent also faces a climate adaptation finance gap of some $41.3 billion.

While high-income countries must continue to meet their obligations to fund climate adaptat

Food banks in Africa: a novel solution to the continent’s hunger and climate crises

Yet, when this land fails, due to climate stress and persistent drought rendering swathes of pastureland unviable for the grazing of livestock, the specter of hunger and deprivation follows close behind. However, for many of the Maasai, relief has come from what some might consider an unexpected source: food banks. Traversing inaccessible terrain and the interference of wild elephants, the refrigerated trucks of Food Banking Kenya are able to overcome numerous obstacles with the support of local

Livestock is a form of climate justice in the Global South

Global North perceptions of the livestock sector should not be imposed on poor countries that suffer from undernutrition.

As the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) proceeds in Egypt, few seem to be acknowledging that the elephant in the room is actually a cow. The livestock sector has faced global scrutiny for its contribution to climate change, but is reducing livestock production actually a fair, or even an honest, climate outcome?

The answer is less than straightforward w

It’s time for climate compensation at COP27 | Context

Rich nations should demonstrate their commitment to human rights, climate justice, and social equity with loss and damage funding

The scales of climate loss and damage are heavily weighted against the most vulnerable low-emitting economies, with an ever-growing disparity between the proportionate cost of climate change to high- versus low-income countries.

Moreover, this disaster has devastated Pakistan’s largest employment sector – agriculture – which will cause reverberations throughout live

The world cannot fix the global food crisis without rural women

A shocking jump in the number of women compared to men facing food insecurity lays bare a broadening gender gap, with women now shouldering a disproportionate amount of the burden in the current global food crisis.

A recent report from CARE found that 150 million more women than men were considered “food insecure” in 2021. This is an unconscionable jump from 2018, when this imbalance was an already unacceptable 18 million.

The same research highlights that the greater the gender equality gap,

Three things scientists don’t know about women farmers and climate change but really should

Ensuring climate solutions work for both women & men farmers should be high priority at Bonn Climate Change Conference

Just how well agriculture and food systems can cope with rising temperatures, floods and other climate shocks and stresses will be determined first and foremost by how much both women and men farmers can adapt to climate change.

Farmers need to be supported to continue building resilient food systems that can nourish and sustain lives despite rising challenges, which have been

Smarter management of water can help feed Africa

Stretching through 11 countries, and serving more than 300 million people, the Nile provides freshwater for a range of diverse uses, chief among them is agriculture.

Yet the pressures of climate change and population growth means competition for increasingly strained water resources is intensifying.

With 95% of African agriculture depending on progressively unpredictable rains, the smart and sustainable use of the continent’s water resources for irrigation will not only define Africa’s future

Platform: How the humble potato is already helping to end world hunger

Consumed by more than a billion people worldwide, including many of the world’s poorest, potato has long been one of the most important crops to avert hunger.

With vulnerable smallholder farmers undertaking around a third of global production, potato provides a crucial stopgap thanks to a growing period of as little as three months.

Yet, in some of the world’s remaining potato frontiers, a range of obstacles are preventing this staple food from delivering its full range of benefits to sustaina

Why Europe needs to talk about livestock vaccination

As the EU continues its ongoing review of animal welfare legislation, one of the largest recorded outbreaks of bird flu is tearing through the poultry sector, forcing the pre-emptive culling of millions of chickens.

And with nine out of 10 consumers calling for better standards of care and treatment for farm animals, the outbreak across most EU countries and beyond is prompting both producers and policymakers to pay closer attention to the role of livestock vaccination.

Unlike the relatively s
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Topics range from US big tech, business news, the 2020 US Election, US-China relations, and more.

Wildberries, “Russia’s Amazon,” goes head to head with the e-commerce giant in Europe

Founded in 2004 by former teacher Tatyana Bakalchuk, Wildberries has since leapfrogged larger competitors to become one of the country’s largest online retailers.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to remarkable growth in the global e-commerce industry, but global giants like Amazon.com, Inc. haven’t been the only ones to profit.

A report from International Business Machines Corporation’s (IBM) United States Retail Index in August 2020 suggested that the pandemic had accelerated the shift away f

Uber drivers declared “workers” in the UK. What does this mean for the “gig economy?”

The ruling could be transformative for Uber’s business not just in the UK, but worldwide.

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has delivered a devastating ruling for Uber Technologies, Inc., declaring its drivers to be “workers” and, in the process, entitling thousands of drivers in the UK to minimum wage and other rights.

The ruling, which originated in a 2016 employment tribunal in which two former drivers argued they “worked” for Uber, could be transformative for Uber’s business not just in t

Janet Yellen calls for “big” stimulus under Biden administration as US recovery slows

The unprecedented public health crisis remains deeply entwined with a difficult economic climate, underscoring the significant challenges that await the Biden administration.

Now that Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, attention has turned to America’s ongoing recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

With more than 400,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, the country remains in the depths of what the new president has referred to as a “dark wi

What is Biden’s plan to vaccinate America?

President-elect Joe Biden has outlined a plan to accelerate the delivery of vaccines to Americans, calling the rollout overseen by President Donald Trump a “dismal failure thus far.”

The rollout of vaccination programs across the world has accelerated hopes that the end of the coronavirus pandemic is within sight.

But before that end can be realized, more grim news is on the way for the United States.

Experts have projected that the US remains on course to see some 500,000 Americans dead from

Telegram and Signal user numbers soar after WhatsApp rules change

The new policy changes will primarily benefit companies and businesses, which will now be allowed to use WhatsApp’s metadata to produce more targeted advertising and marketing.

A change in the privacy policy of WhatsApp has triggered an exodus of users to the rival messaging platforms Telegram and Signal.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook Inc., requires users to accept recent changes to its privacy policy if they wish to continue using the app. These changes stipulate that the popular messa

What direction will US-China relations take under President Biden?

Under the Biden administration, a different strategy will likely be sought to counter those issues in US-China trade highlighted during the Trump years.

The trade war between the United States and China is likely to be one of the lasting legacies of the Trump administration. Such a legacy should come as no surprise, as then-candidate Trump’s criticism of Chinese trade practices was a key feature of his 2016 presidential campaign.

Yet, after years of tit-for-tat tariffs and sanctions, it appear

US housing market faces unaffordability crisis after coronavirus

Though mortgage rates have been driven low, affordability has not followed and prices have surged over the last year as a result of the pandemic.

Amid the coronavirus-induced instability afflicting Americans’ savings, jobs and livelihoods, there has been one constant – house prices in the United States continue to rise.

A major house price index has shown that prices of houses in 20 US cities rose in October 2020 by some 7.95% on a year-on-year basis and faced a 1.6% rise from the previous mon

After chaos at US Capitol, President Trump is frozen out of social media

The growing conflict between Trump and social media platforms came to a head after the disturbing events of January 6.

Every four years following a presidential election, a joint session of Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote in what is, typically, a ceremonial affair.

The events of January 6, 2021, were anything but ceremonial.

Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, DC that day for a long-planned march to “Save America.” The rally had been boosted online in ri

China’s scrutiny of tech companies fuels crackdown fears

Chinese tech companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are closing out the year under significantly more financial and regulatory scrutiny than ever before.

Growing antitrust scrutiny and allegations of monopolistic behavior have led to mass uncertainty among big tech companies operating in the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese tech companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are closing out the year under significantly more financi

How will the Biden administration handle Australia-China tensions?

China’s economic and diplomatic conflict with Australia will play a central role in dictating how the new US president navigates relations with the world’s second-largest economy.

Following his inauguration in January, President-elect Joe Biden will face a number of immediate challenges.

The former vice president’s incoming administration will need to take control of an accelerating vaccination program throughout the United States at a time when the coronavirus remains in high circulation. The

How has US-China trade evolved under President Trump?

As President Donald Trump’s term now comes to an end, the future of US-China relations will likely remain volatile under President-elect Joe Biden.

The United States’ trade relationship with China has dominated President Donald Trump’s time in office, which shouldn’t come as any surprise given the president’s tough talk on China during his 2016 presidential campaign.

During that campaign, Trump often spoke critically of US-China trade relations, at one time claiming that China was responsible

Are “vaccination passports” the future of international travel?

The rollout of effective vaccinations promises relief to certain industries that have been relentlessly battered by the pandemic.

With the numbers of vaccinated individuals slowly rising around the United States, a tantalizing prospect has risen for the not-so-distant future – a return to relative normality.

A vaccine that has been proven successful, safe and is widely-available has long been hailed as the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic, which to date has now killed nearly 34

SoftBank CEO wants his company to go private Insiders aren’t so sure

Son is reportedly looking to continue selling assets in order to fund a buyback of shares held in the company, until SoftBank can make the return to being privately-held.

Japanese investment giant Softbank Group Corp. could be taking a radical turn and going private.

At least, according to the alleged plans of founder and chief executive officer Masayoshi Son.

Son is reportedly looking to continue selling assets in order to fund a buyback of shares held in the company, until SoftBank can make

Did concerns over the US debt lead to a smaller stimulus package?

The US$900 billion bipartisan bill is on the lower end of what has been more than half a year’s worth of proposals for further coronavirus stimulus and economic relief.

With agreement having been reached on the latest coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill, some lawmakers have begun to reignite old concerns over the United States national debt.

Both as a result of the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic and the policies undertaken throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, US national de

Switzerland and Vietnam declared “currency manipulators” by the US

The designation adds yet another foreign policy conundrum for the incoming Biden administration to ponder, alongside the overarching and dominating issue of US-China relations.

The United States government recently declared Switzerland and Vietnam to be “currency manipulators,” a phrase that is not used lightly by the Treasury Department, nor those accused.

Currency manipulation can occur in a number of forms, but typically refers to interventions by national governments to shift the value of

Vaccine developer AstraZeneca acquires Alexion in a controversial move

Investors are uncertain about the acquisition’s merits, due to Alexion’s huge price tag and its relatively meager contribution to AstraZeneca’s future.

British-Swedish vaccine developer AstraZeneca PLC is acquiring the Boston, Massachusetts-based rare diseases specialist Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a bid to secure a post-coronavirus expansion for the company.

In a deal worth some US$39 billion, AstraZeneca will be acquiring Alexion in what will be the biggest deal in AstraZeneca’s history

What does Biden’s economic team say about his priorities?

The team will be tasked with fulfilling the Biden-Harris pledge to “build back better” following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Biden-Harris team has begun unveiling its nominees for the top positions in its economic team, showcasing a preference for prior Washington political experience.

The team will be tasked with fulfilling the Biden-Harris pledge to “build back better” following the coronavirus pandemic, as well as “creating an economy that gives every single American a fair shot and an eq

After a difficult 2020, where is Huawei now?

Now, after a long year of uncertainty and instability for Huawei, it appears the company’s woes are still not at an end.

Huawei Technologies Co. is one of a number of Chinese companies that has come under intense pressure in 2020.

The Chinese telecoms and smartphone giant has been targeted by the Trump administration for allegedly installing “backdoors” into its 5G network infrastructure.

As a result, authorities in the United States have claimed that Huawei’s operations pose a national secur
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