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'A Richer World' - is greater prosperity leading to more equality?

ProgrammingKevin Perry

A live TV debate from the Davos World Economic Forum will launch the BBC’s latest pan service global season ‘A Richer World’ it has been announced. 

BBC World News TV (WN) and BBC World Service (WS) will host three months of dedicated content across TV, radio and online examining whether better health, increased wealth and greater prosperity is leading to more equality across the globe or are the richer getting richer and the poor poorer?

Starting with ‘The World Debate: A Richer World – But For Whom?’ on January 23rd when Evan Davies will be joined by a prestigious panel live from Davos on BBC World News TV, the season will travel around the world offering a huge variety of programmes, online reports, news features, graphics, short films, social media call-outs and debates.

Life in emerging economies across Africa and in India will be put in the spotlight together with more established economic powers such as China and the USA.

With a dedicated website at bbc.com/richerworld, a hashtag #bbcricherworld and features on the Facebook pages, the services’ global audience will be encouraged to participate. Whether it’s sharing the contents of their fridges to discuss consumption patterns, suggesting the best night clubs in East Africa or taking part in radio or TV debates their experiences and thoughts will be represented.

Launching the season Director of World Service Group Fran Unsworth said:

“The Richer World Season brings together the best of our international services to provide dynamic, engaging content for our 265 million viewers and listeners around the world. With projects such as Soup and Fridgeonomics the teams bring creative new angles to hard and soft news stories that affect people around the world. The BBC occupies a unique position – only we have the worldwide expertise, from our World Service journalists to our global newsgathering teams, to deliver seasons like this.”

BBC World Service Commissioning Editor, Steve Titherington said:

“It is one of the paradoxes of our age that statistically we live in a richer world with marked improvements in the way many of us live but it’s still not clear who benefits most, or what we want to do with this new prosperity. Get rich, have fun or tackle inequality and other problems. This is a chance to look globally at what a richer world might give us.”

 

Highlights include:

·         Dying for a better life in Australia - Australia has shut the door on asylum seekers arriving by boat, sending them to detention camps on remote Pacific islands. Even if their asylum applications are successful, they will never be allowed to live in Australia but will be resettled instead in Papua New Guinea. For this BBC Persian TV documentary reporter Fariba Sahraei travels to the region to investigate conditions inside one camp and to look at the human cost of Australia’s controversial re-settlement policy.

·         Fridgeonomics – As research suggests about two thirds of India’s population do not have a fridge, WS’s The Food Chain and World Have Your Say together with WN Talking Business examine what food and access to fridges say about changing wealth, consumption and lifestyles. World Have Your Say will host a radio debate in India presented by Anu Anand while former Focus On Africa Editor Elizabeth Ohene  will be exploring how fridges are changing Africa in a special radio documentary.  Readers of our website will be sharing their stories too of what fridges mean to their lifestyles. 

·         The Best Nightclub in Africa? – DJ Edu from BBC’s urban music station 1Extra explores the music, the business and the lives of clubbers across countries  such as Kenya, DR Congo, South Africa and Nigeria as he goes on the search of the best night club, producing features for Focus on Africa, aGlobal Beats Special and documentaries for WS and WN.

·         BBC Soup – (from March 14th) For these WN (March 14th & March 21st) and WS (March 21st) documentaries and features, the BBC takes an innovative crowd funding business idea from Detroit, USA and takes it around the world. The Detroit Soup project helps ideas find funding through a simple scheme: people gather once a month and for $5 receive a meal of soup and salad. They then listen to selected locals pitch their big idea and afterwards everyone casts a vote. Once counted, the winner gets to take home all the money to help put their idea into action. The BBC team visit Detroit and Kathmandu to explore whether the idea can work anywhere and what Nepal can teach America. Online we will be providing readers to the website with the materials and advice necessary to stage their own Soup events.

·         Tata: India’s Global Giant – (February 3rd & 7th) This TV and radio documentary with accompanying online feature takes a look at an India’s largest and most global company with a reputation for ethical capitalism. As Tata funds a day of sport for British school children it’s an intriguing sign of our changing times.  Tata has turned around Jaguar and is shoring up Europe’s steel-making industry with its purchase of the Anglo-Dutch Corus group in 2008.   It now earns 70% of its revenue overseas.  Zareer Masani tells the story of this 150 year old Indian giant.

·         Living India – (From 10th March) A three part radio series by Rupa Jha explores the new India through the lives of ordinary people and asks why so many people are still living in poverty, without basic amenities and is a change of government offering any hope to the silent majority.

·         My Africa – Three radio documentaries (from February 10th) created from a personal journey by WS Newsday presenter Alan Kasujja. Alan travels across Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to look at how new technology and urban business development is reshaping Africa and asks whether this is the best way forward for everyone.

·         Our World:  Made in America (February 14/15th) - From Walmart to Apple, from Colorado to California, companies across the United States say they are bringing jobs back from overseas.  As wages rise in countries such as China and India, is the tide turning on one of the biggest trends in globalisation – the outsourcing of work from the rich to the developing world?

·         Talking Business; America- Enriching the Rich (February 13th) - America like the rest of world has grown richer over the past thirty years but that additional wealth has ended up in the hands of a tiny few.  The very rich have got richer and the poor and the middle classes have lost out.   A panel of leading economists and business heads join Linda Yueh to discuss why and whether inequality matters.

·         Your Rubbish, Our Hope: The rejuvenation of Gramacho – (January 21st) a radio documentary and accompanying online feature examines if Brazil will successfully develop what was its largest landfill into a world-leading recycling facility using the community of workers who used to sustain a living from the site.

·         Global with Matthew Amroliwala – (Ongoing) The flagship daily TV show will be the home of the Richer World season on BBC World News, with guests and discussions around the key themes

·         Singapore at 50 (February 28th) - One of the extraordinary economic success stories of the late 20th Century, Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence in 2015.  For this WN documentary and online feature Sharanjit Leyl who was born and brought up in Singapore delves into her family’s history to explore how the country transformed itself into one of the wealthiest per capita economies in the world.

·         China: When Wealth is not Enough (January 31st) - Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been raised out of poverty in the last 30 years, but some of the country’s richest feel deprived of spiritual wealth. This WN documentary looks at the growing trend of Chinese billionaires forming relationships with Buddhist gurus or Living Buddhas to help them to engage with less worldly priorities in their lives. In turn, the Living Buddhas are using the funds to build and restore monasteries in Tibet. Are such relationships changing the face of modern China?

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