Yesterday evening after flying in to Baku from Istanbul – where I had a good meeting during the day – I found some friends in the hotel and we had a dinner to catch-up.


With Mikhail Kashubsky & Dilavar Farzaliev

I have been many times in Azerbaijan. The Azeri people always offer outstanding world class hospitality. 

It is always a pleasure to be here. 

Today I gave a speech about ‘The role of Customs in the development of economy at the Baku Higher Oil School.


Great participation from professors and students. Also a lot of media coverage. You can find one of the articles below. 


It was fun talking the students, future engineers in the oil iandustry, the most important business in the country.  


I love doing this type of lectures and speeches. 

Click here on the link to read the entire article

Swedish Health & Statistics Profesor Hans Rosling, a world famous scientist working with health care improvement and poverty reduction has just launched a new set of statistics through his system Gapminder, showing his latest theories on global development. Rosling works with with world leaders, multinational institutions and philanthropists like e.g. Bill Gates on major global issues. 

One of theories, proven by his unique collected and displayed Gapminder statistical facts, is that our view on extreme poverty is outdated and simply wrong. He is espcially angry with the common view, also among political leaders an media, that Africa is bot improving and that poverty is increasing. This is totally wrong. First of all, Africa is very diversified between the different countries. Secondly, seven out of the ten most dynamic and growing economies in the world is African. Thirdly, poverty has decreased tremendously in the wirld during the last decade, the world is also more stabile with better health, longer avarage life age and fewer wars than ever before. All proven by public statistics analysed and presented by Roslings team through Gapminder – a revolutionary non-profit statistical software instrument. Rosling is avgreat personality and charachter. When a Danish journalist on live-TV tried to argue against Roslings findings, he simply stated; “this is not a debate. It is about facts. I am right and you are wrong”. Touche! 

Now Rosling is on mission to get world politicians to do something about what he considers to be the real global challange, namely so called ‘fragile states’. These are countries tormented by civil war and thus lawless land ruled by warlords and criminals. As Rosling comments, “it is in the fragile states we see an increasing extremism, growth of terrorism, contraband/smuggling and estblishment of organized crime. The international community needs to address this before it is too late. Fragile states are dangerous for all of us – and many different perspectives and dimensions”. 


I couldn’t agree more. We are starting to see how these lawless zones are attracting all kinds of criminality, pirates and organized crime. Money talks and the warlords need money to finance and protect their own criminal activities and operations. This is becoming a global danger of unknown magnitude. From a global trade perspective this is a threat to the supply chain, and from a people movement perspective it is a disaster. The fragile states are the main producers of refugees, people moving to save their lives.


We need to address the topic of fragile states in a more comprehensive and systematic way. It is simply not acceptable the way it is. Rosling is right – the rest is wrong.

It will get worse before it gets better. 

World Trade Organization (WTO) has published its annual report for 2016 covering the organization’s activities in 2015 and early 2016. The Report begins with a message from Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, who looks back at a memorable year for the WTO marked by the organization’s 20-year anniversary and the successful conclusion of the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. 


This is really interesting report. To read it, click here: WTO Annual Report 2016

FC Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has hit out at a German politician following the latter’s controversial comments towards Bayern player Jerome Boateng.

The deputy leader of the anti-immigration party stated at the weekend that “people like Boateng as a footballer, but wouldn’t want to live next to someone like him” in an apparent reference to the Bayern defender’s foreign roots.

The statement sparked controversy in Germany and Rummenigge has now taken aim at the right-wing politician. 

“Discrimination of any kind in sport and this society deserves the red card,” Rummenigge said in a statement on the official Bayern website.

“Jerome Boateng is a wonderful human being and an example to follow as a professional football player at this club. We are proud that he also plays for the German national team.” 

The 27-year-old Boateng was born in Berlin and has won 57 caps for Germany, playing a key role in their successful 2014 World Cup campaign. The defender has a Ghanaian father, with his brother Kevin-Prince Boateng having represented the African country at international level.

Well done Karl-Heinz! This is real leadership. We all have to take a stand against racism. And I agree – it deserves a permanent red card.

This week Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven appointed a new Swedish Trade Minister. 


The new Trade Minister Ann Linde is one of the most experienced Swedish politicians in international affairs. She has a long successful political career representing the leading and ruling Social Democratic Party. 

Linde will also have responsibility for European Union Affairs and she has outstanding experience and knowledge of EU affairs and trade issues. She also has a very large international network which now come in handy.

The appointment of Ann Linde, a very competent and strong politician, as dedicated Trade Minister is another strategic move by Government to further strenghten the Swedish position on the international arena and to improve our representation in international organizations and institutions.