tralac’s Daily News Selection
Underway in Addis Ababa: The 33rd AU Summit kicks off with the 39th Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee
For two days, the 39th Session of the PRC will consider the reports of the various activities of their sub-committees, reports of the AU organs and their activities. The PRC will further exchange views on the draft agenda, as well as the draft Decisions and Declarations of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, and those of the 33rd AU Assembly, before adopting its report. Opening statement by H.E. Osama Abdel Khalek (Chairperson of the PRC and Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt): After 11 months, 50 meetings and 200 work hours, allow me to take you through a quick snap shot of what we accomplished together through the Egyptian year of Chairmanship to the African Union and its Permanent Representatives Committee, by dividing it into three main domains. First: Improving the internal work methods with the Commission; Second: Pursuing the main objectives, priorities, and projects of our African Agenda; Third: Partnership Meetings and Engagement with diplomatic and international community.
To be followed by:
36th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (6-7 February)
33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly (9-10 February)
The Africa Business Forum: Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity (11 February)
The Lomé Initiative (signed over the weekend) seeks to strengthen and coordinate the fight against the trafficking of substandard and falsified medicines and other medical products. Our aim is to expand to the rest of the African continent. The signing of a Political Declaration (pdf), and of a Framework Agreement with a clearly defined agenda, will enable: The speedy introduction of new legislation criminalising this trafficking in a coordinated manner across signatory states; The signing and ratification of the Medicrime Convention and the Palermo Convention against transnational organised crime; The introduction of mechanisms ensuring the rigorous application of new criminal legislation at the national level, and enhancing intergovernmental coordination; Other states to join the Initiative. Speech by WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
For the first time, African leaders are putting falsified and substandard medicines on the highest political agenda. Thank you to the leaders present here for this political commitment. Your commitment sends a clear message that African leaders will fight falsified and substandard medicines aggressively and urgently. We appreciate the emphasis in the Lomé Declaration on criminalizing the trafficking of falsified medicines. This is an important element of our fight. Two of the 12 actions in WHO’s strategy relate to tightening legal frameworks to fight the criminals who traffic in it.
Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement: ratification update (COMESA)
Namibia has become the eighth country to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement, moving the region closer to having a fully operational Agreement this year. Six more countries are required for the Agreement to enter into force. Tripartite Coordinator at COMESA Secretariat, Dr Seth Gor has confirmed in Lusaka that seven more countries from the EAC-COMESA-SADC are at advanced stages of ratifying the important document which will spur intra-regional trade. “We are optimistic that the remaining six countries will ratify the Agreement and we can have it fully operational this year,” Dr Gor said. He has also revealed that the Republic of Burundi deposited its instrument of ratification in November 2019.
The Creative Africa Exchange Weekend (CAX WKND), Africa’s first continental event dedicated to promoting exchange within the creative and cultural industry, kicked off in Kigali with Professor Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank, announcing a $500m envelope to support the production and trade of African cultural and creative products over the next two years. Prof. Oramah said the funds, which would build on what the Bank was already doing, would be accessible as lines of credit to banks, direct financing to operators and as guarantees.
He commended Egypt’s “astronomical growth in creative exports over the last decade” and the Nollywood industry’s increasing importance which had prompted the Nigerian government, in its Economic Recovery and Growth plan, to forecast export revenues of $1bn from the industry by 2020. He described the African market as the lowest hanging fruit for African creative products but noted that, until recently, “that market was fragmented and balkanized, such that a Senegalese knew more about creative products in France than in Ghana”. With the AfCFTA in force and trading starting in July, Africa would begin to break down the borders and a single market for creative products would emerge. [Related: Afreximbank signs term sheet for $190 facility to Made in Africa Inc.]
Jen Snowball: How international trade can unlock the potential of the cultural economy in developing countries (The Conversation)
Building on a recent meeting hosted by UNCTAD in Geneva, this article outlines some of the trends and challenges in growing international cultural trade. Research in both developed and developing countries shows that the vast majority of cultural or creative industry firms are micro enterprises employing fewer than 10 people. In sub-Saharan Africa, there is also a high level of informality, with an International Labour Organisation report estimating that the informal sector accounts for 66% of employment in the region. Small, informal firms face particular difficulties in the cultural economy of the developing world. This affects their ability to benefit from international trade. One of the key factors affecting the ability of these firms to thrive is their access to e-commerce, according to a UNCTAD report. A recent PWC report on the entertainment and media outlook in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania underscores this. It points to the rising proportion of digital revenue in the sector. Yet African small and medium sized enterprises have low adoption rates of e-commerce technologies like mobile-money. This means that they risk being excluded from the digital economy that increasingly facilitates trade. This also translates into a generally low proportions of cultural and creative industry firms who have access to international markets, as shown by some South African research.
This is an important moment for emerging markets to capitalise on the globalisation and culture nexus. New trading partners with emerging markets, as well as with traditional, developed economies, are growing. There is clear potential for cultural trade to contribute to sustainable development. But this is not an automatically positive relationship, and specific policies to manage challenges, especially for micro-enterprises, will be needed.
KfW Ipex-Bank reveals Africa export financing programme (Global Trade Review)
German development bank KfW Ipex-Bank has revealed a new CIRR export financing programme designed to support large-volume German exports to Africa. Under the Africa CIRR programme, banks can grant loans to buyers of German exports in Africa, or to banks in the buyer’s country at the commercial interest reference rate. KfW Ipex-Bank, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, has launched and will administer the Africa CIRR initiative. A spokesperson for the bank tells GTR that automotive goods and machinery – both large export sectors for Germany – are likely sectors to receive backing.
Needs-based climate finance in Southern Africa: technical workshop report (UNFCCC)
The objective of the technical workshop on needs-based climate finance was to initiate the development of the Southern African Climate Finance Mobilization and Access Strategy and provide an opportunity to take stock of the state of climate finance, determine needs and priorities and exchange knowledge and information among experts in the region. Participants agreed on regional priorities (pdf) which could include trans-boundary and multi-country projects to facilitate effectiveness and efficiency towards scalability, standardized cooperation, information sharing and learning. A regional finance facility to support national banks, improve capacity of national bank, a common risk instrument to cover project exposure to exchange rate risk, a regional insurance facility to cover disasters and exposure to short onset harmful effects of climate change, and support entities seeking accreditation with GCF. A regional financing approach for water, energy and transport. Participants agreed that the strategy shall be endorsed at SADC Ministerial level through the SADC Council of Ministers on Environment and Natural Resources. Ministries of finance should be part of engagement and endorsement process. [Note: Technical and country presentations are also available for download]
Related: Zimbabwe will host the Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (24-27 February, Victoria Falls)
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting: reports, initiatives
Accelerating the impact of industrial IoT in small and medium‑sized enterprises: a protocol for action. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises are critical to the global economy; however, they are losing ground in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. SME contribution to US GDP fell nearly five percentage points from 1990 to 2014, the latest year. This trend should alarm policymakers, particularly in emerging markets where smaller companies are the primary drivers of economic opportunity and social mobility, creating 90% of new jobs, according to the International Trade Center. Extract (pdf): The Policy Protocol forms the basis of the pilot programme being launched by the State of São Paulo. In 2020 the pilot programme will scale up in partnership with federal government initiatives, which aims to support over 2,000 small and medium-sized manufacturing companies across Brazil by 2021. However, the learnings from this work are applicable well beyond Brazil’s borders. The World Economic Forum is in discussions with industry leaders and policy‑makers around the world to adapt the learnings from Brazil to their own context and deliver on the promise of a more inclusive Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Shaping a multiconceptual world. The 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum coincides with a period of profound global change. These events prompted the Forum to draw on its network of diverse experts – heads of leading global think tanks and research institutions – to develop a new report (pdf) with 10 chapters that explore the emerging shape of geopolitics. The authors: Børge Brende (World Economic Forum), John R. Allen (Brookings Institution), Yoichi Funabashi (Asia Pacific Initiative), L. Enrique García R. (Council on Foreign Relations of Latin America and the Caribbean), Jane Harman (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), Fyodor Lukyanov (Council on Foreign and Defense Policy), Robin Niblett (Chatham House), Samir Saran (Observer Research Foundation), Amos Yadlin (Institute for National Security Studies), Qi Zhenhong (China Institute of International Studies).
Global Social Mobility Index 2020: why economies benefit from fixing inequality. This report is structured as follows (pdf): The first part of the report reviews the underlying concepts employed in creating the Global Social Mobility Index and briefly outlines the methods used to calculate it. It then presents the 2020 rankings, overall trends and commentaries for selected countries. In addition, an in-focus section provides a big data-driven exploration of wages across various industries and job categories in the United States as well as a key component of social mobility, the extent of professional networks, based on research conducted in collaboration with LinkedIn, ADP and Burning Glass Technologies. The Economy Profiles contained in the second part of the report give a more detailed picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each country’s performance. Interactive versions of the Economy Profiles are available on the report website.
Jobs of Tomorrow: mapping opportunity in the New Economy. Through new data sources, we can gain unprecedented insights into emerging opportunities for employment in the global economy, and granular understanding of the skill sets needed by professionals. This new data reveals (pdf) that 96 jobs across seven professional clusters are fast emerging in tandem reflecting “digital” and “human” factors driving growth in the professions of tomorrow. The jobs of the future are set to grow by 51% in the horizon up to 2020 and we project they will present 6.1 million job opportunities globally. These reflect the adoption of new technologies—giving rise to greater demand for Green Economy jobs, roles at the forefront of the Data and AI economy as well as new roles in Engineering, Cloud Computing, and Product Development. On the other hand, emerging professions also reflect the continuing importance of human interaction in the new economy, giving rise to greater demand for Care economy jobs; roles in Marketing, Sales and Content production; as well as roles at the forefront of People and Culture. The growth and absolute scale of these opportunities will be distinctively determined by the choices and investments made by governments today.
UpLink: a new global platform to unleash entrepreneurs on the world’s toughest problems. The World Economic Forum will soon launch UpLink, an open platform to scale up bright ideas the world needs, created with Salesforce, Deloitte and LinkedIn. The platform will help forge new approaches to address the world’s most pressing challenges, as set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Uplink will connect the next generation of change-makers and social entrepreneurs to networks of leaders who have the resources, expertise, and experience to create an impact. Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, says: “By pairing the World Economic Forum’s unrivalled ability to convene leaders from across all stakeholder groups with UpLink’s potential for massive, open participation, we have created a unique formula for catalyzing the knowledge, ideas and actions necessary to solve our world’s greatest development challenges.”