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How Pollution is a Drag on Development
From Lahore and Delhi to Hanoi and Guangzhou, the most polluted cities on earth are in the 85 world. On this episode, we consider how the problem of pollution looms over the world's fastest-growing places, damaging both public health and economic development. First, journalist Pia Heikkila (@piaheikkila) reports from Delhi, where consistently hazardous levels of smog have given rise to a new anti-pollution industry. Then, we talk with Urvashi Narain, a senior environmental economist at the...
NAFTA: The View From Mexico
This week, Canada, Mexico, and the United States begin yet another round of talks about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement – what President Donald Trump has deemed "the worst trade deal in history." On this episode of the podcast, we focus on NAFTA from Mexico's perspective: how it has affected the country, and what's at stake if it collapses. First, reporter Maya Kroth (@theemaya) brings us a story about a craft beer brewer in Tijuana whose success depends upon a free...
Saudi Arabia and the Future of the Regional Order
Saudi Arabia is in a moment of profound transformation. From allowing women to drive to rounding up prominent businessmen at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton, the actions of the royal family - driven by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman - captured the world's attention in 2017, and will only continue to do so in the year ahead. In this special edition of the podcast recorded in Abu Dhabi, we consider the changes unfolding in Saudi Arabia from a regional perspective. In conversation with emerge85 Lab...
The Emerging World in 2017
In this year-end conversation, Emerge85 Lab co-directors Afshin Molavi and Mishaal Al Gergawi sit down with Joseph Dana, the lab's editor-in-chief, to take stock of 2017 in the 85 world and consider what lies ahead. They discuss the return of growth, unexpected shifts in Iran and Saudi Arabia, why Americans still use iMessage, spices, horror movies, and much more. Don't miss it. Also, listeners: we'd love to hear from you! We're doing a series about cinema, and we want to know about a...
India's Biometric Program Puts a Billion Identities at Stake
India's Supreme Court is reckoning with one of the nation's most ambitious and contested initiatives in recent years: the biometric identification database known as Aadhaar. Aadhaar has amassed the data—including iris scans, photos, and fingerprints—of more than a billion Indians, and is supposed to improve the distribution of welfare benefits and reduce corruption. But critics argue it has gone too far, representing an intrusion into the lives of Indians as well as a security risk. Host...
In East Africa, Clothing Gets Political
Used clothes from the West are ubiquitous across the African continent. But now, leaders in several East African countries are trying to phase out imports of foreign hand-me-downs, arguing that they stifle local textile industries. Host Afshin Molavi talks with Simon Allison (@simonallison), Africa editor of the Mail and Guardian, about how the used clothing debate throws issues around trade, aid, and globalization into sharp relief. Plus, a look at fashion and social change in Rwanda with...
The Man Who Brought Ride Sharing to the Middle East
Careem, the fast-growing, car-hailing app, is the Middle East's only 'unicorn' – a private tech company worth more than $1bn. Abdulla Elyas, co-founder of Careem, talks to host Afshin Molavi about the company, its future, and his own entrepreneurial highs and lows. He also offers tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in the region. In the second segment, emerge85 collaborator Kerning Cultures offers a reported segment on the social mobility and rise of the Filipino middle class in Dubai.
Mexico between Two Earthquakes
Mexico City experienced a major earthquake on September 19, 2017 – exactly 32 years to the day that a similar quake struck the North American city. Journalist and scholar Andres Martinez explains why these two earthquakes can serve as bookends for Mexico 'then and now', pointing out the dramatic gains that have been made over the past three decades in society, politics, and the economy. He also discusses the "two Mexicos" that exist side-by-side in a country that is experiencing dramatic...
Asia's Air Travel Revolution
This week Afshin Molavi looks at the air travel revolution reshaping Asia, and also explores why Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan is claiming Dubai as his own city. Molavi speaks with Max Hirsh, a professor at the University of Hong Kong and author of the book, "Airport Urbanism: Infrastructure and Mobility in Asia." Hirsh argues that the unprecedented airport build up across East Asia has helped spur an air travel revolution that is reshaping economies and societies across the region. A...
Easternization: The Rise of Asia and Decline of the West
The fourth episode of the 85% takes us to London, where host Afshin Molavi speaks with Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times and author of the book, Easternization: Asia's Rise and America's Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond. For some 500 years, the West dominated the world. That is no longer true, Rachman argues, and he says the rise of China, India and other Asian powers are rewriting our global script. The extraordinary rise of Chinese travelers...
The Next Africa: The Great Turnaround Story of the 21st Century?
In the third episode of The 85%, host Afshin Molavi sits down with Africa markets specialist Aubrey Hruby to discuss the promise and challenges of African markets in the 21st century. Hruby argues that Africa could become "the great turnaround story of the 21st century," while also noting that the continent's more immediate jobs challenge should be "keeping us all awake at night." Hruby is co-author of The Next Africa: An Emerging Continent Becomes a Global Powerhouse, and a non-resident...
Chris Schroeder on Startups in Emerging Markets
In the second episode of The 85%, host Afshin Molavi sits down with technology expert Chris Schroeder to discuss the power of the supercomputers we all carry in our pockets and startups in Emerging Markets. They also discuss what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur anywhere in the world. In the second segment of the show, Molavi speaks with emerge85's senior editor Joseph Dana about two recent articles on the lab. They detail the debate over mega infrastructure projects in Istanbul...
What Is The 85%?
In this pilot episode, co-directors Afshin Molavi and Mishaal Al Gergawi join the lab's senior editor Joseph Dana for a discussion about the lab's origin, mission and goals.