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tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Country focus

Clothing and Textile Masterplan Brings Hope to Msinga Factory (the dtic)

The South African Retail-Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather (R-CTFL) Value Chain Masterplan has brought optimism and delight to many women in rural Keates Drift in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal. The area, which is one the poorest in South Africa since its shoe factory closed its doors 26 years ago, and left 3000 families without any source of income, is slowly building its way up in the clothing and textile sector.

Third quarter exports grow as economies recover – TIPS (Engineering News)

South Africa’s exports have benefitted from the recovery of the Chinese economy and rising global demand for commodities, such as precious stones, which has led to growth exceeding pre-Covid-19 lockdown levels during the third quarter of 2020, Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies’ (TIPS’s) third-quarter ‘Export Tracker’ shows. The Export Tracker found that South Africa’s exports for the third quarter of 2020 grew by 9.2% year-on-year and by 40.2% quarter-on-quarter, amounting to R388-billion.

Infrastructure roll-out to support economy needs basic service delivery over long term (Engineering News)

Addressing the current fiscal imbalance in the economy through accelerated and efficient infrastructure procurement and achieving the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) requires a strategic focus on not just the short-term, but the medium- to long-term delivery of basic services in South Africa, says industry body the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE). To revitalise and rebuild the South African economy, the government must focus on five key pillars that are fundamental to service delivery, namely technology, skills development, grass-roots society, sustainability and integration of key institutions to have a common vision linked to the objectives of the NDP.

Kenya Airways makes history by converting Boeing Dreamliner into cargo aircraft (CGTN Africa)

Kenya Airways (KQ) and privately held aerospace company Avianor have made history with the first-ever cabin cargo repurposing of a Boeing 787 into a so-called “preighter”. A “preighter” is a passenger aircraft that has been converted to carry cargo. The term, and the need for preighters, came about as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The joint project between Kenya Airways and Avianor will help meet the growing demand for increased cargo capacity as well as the demand for essential and medical goods while supporting future commercial opportunities thereby contributing to the stimulation of the local and regional economies. It also demonstrates Kenya Airways and Avianor’s role as trailblazers in the aero industry.

Kenya hinging on digital technologies to transform economy post-COVID (Kenya Presidency)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has hailed the contribution of digital technologies to Kenya’s transformation saying ICTs are helping the country to create employment opportunities for its youth and enhance delivery of public services. On the African continent, the President observed that digital technologies have enabled both Governments and the private sector to continue operating optimally despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “In the face of containment measures necessitated by the pandemic (Covid-19), technology has kept governments and businesses running; and enabled international cooperation and engagements, such as we are involved in today to be sustained,” the President said.

Manufacturers of hand sanitizers decry substandard products (The Independent)

Manufacturers of hand sanitizers have decried the presence of substandard and counterfeit products on the market. The demand for hand sanitizers shot up in April last year following the outbreak of coronavirus in Uganda, as Ugandans learnt that it was an effective way of killing almost of all germs. By October 2020, at least 210 companies, both small and large-scale had been certified by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, to manufacture hand sanitizers. The emergency need for prevention of the pandemic forced UNBS to invoke the provisions of the standards developed in 2013 for hand sanitizers and septic agents or disinfectants, to ensure quality standard products on the market.

Uganda’s Suubula e-commerce Platform Launches Mobile Apps; Eyes Africa Free Trade Area (chimpreports.com)

Suubula.com, Uganda’s fastest-growing online marketplace, has launched its mobile applications to promote African-made goods after the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) became operational on January 1, 2021. The digital platform provides unlimited space to traders, innovators and producers to list their goods and services targeting millions of customers. “Now that the AfCFTA is operational, Uganda and the rest of Africa must exploit this intra-Africa trade milestone to market and sell their goods online across the continent,” said Suubula CEO Camble Hope.

Zimbabweans develop barcoding for Covid-19 certificates (The Herald)

Barcoding is now generated automatically in a system developed by Zimbabweans and already exported to other Sadc countries to identify genuine Covid-19 certificates as those checking the codes are able to immediately see who was tested and when, along with the result. A number of people have been arrested for issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, while Klossad Laboratories was shut down after some of its employees were exposed for facilitating the practice. Ministry of Health and Child Care spokesperson Mr Donald Mujiri yesterday said the barcoding came through a public-private sector partnership to add security to genuine certificates and make counterfeits easy to detect.

Zimbabwean agribusiness companies eye Dubai to boost trade (Emirates News Agency)

Dubai is seeing growing interest from Zimbabwean agribusiness companies that are keen to leverage the emirate as a strategic hub for boost trade, industry experts said during a recent webinar. The virtual forum, organised by Dubai Chamber’s representative office in Mozambique in cooperation with DEAT Capital, DP World and Dubai Exports, examined existing trade synergies between the UAE and Zimbabwe and identified high-potential bilateral business opportunities in the agri-business sector.

In his keynote address, Dr. Masuka stated that Zimbabwe remains steadfast in its drive to re-engage with the rest of the world in doing business to grow its exports and ultimately realise its Vision 2030. The minister elaborated on the Zimbabwean government’s new strategies and noted that “Zimbabwe is open for business from seed to fork”, and described the virtual forum as an “appropriate and opportune as it supports our objective to diversify and grow exports.”

COVID-19 Pandemic Pushes Rwanda into Recession, Severely Impacts Human Capital (World Bank)

The Rwandan economy has fallen into its first recession due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and could potentially compromise years of gains in poverty reduction. Released today, the 16th edition of the World Bank Rwanda Economic Update, Protect and Promote Human Capital in a post-COVID-19 World, says the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have dropped by 0.2 percent in 2020, compared to a projected expansion of 8 percent before the COVID-19 outbreak. This dire economic effect has severely adverse implications for households, as thousands are facing unemployment, revenue losses and increased consumption prices are pushed into poverty.

Burundian Products set to Access Wider Regional Markets (COMESA)

Burundi export products are set to access the larger regional market following improvement of their quality standards. This has been made possible through the provision of laboratory equipment to the agency responsible for Standardization and Quality Control (BBN) in Burundi. The equipment, provided under the COMESA Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM), include a UV spectrophotometer, a flame photometer, a pH meter, a fiber analyzer, a distillation unit for protein analysis, a sugar analyzer, an alcohol analyzer, an oxygen and carbon dioxide analyzer.

Nigeria records $2.9bn in annual oil and gas exports in November (Premium Times)

Nigeria sold $2.89 billion worth of oil and gas between November 2019 and November 2020, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said. The country suffered significant loss of revenue in 2020 due the fall in oil prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In its report, the NNPC sad it recorded a trading surplus of N13.43 billion for the month of November 2020, up by 54 per cent when compared to the N8.71billion surplus recorded in October 2020.

Five Questions About Nigeria’s Road to Recovery (IMF)

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed Nigeria at a critical juncture. The country entered the crisis with falling per capita income, high inflation, and governance challenges. Policy adjustments and reforms designed to shift the country from its dependence on oil and to diversify the economy toward private sector-led growth will set Nigeria on a more sustainable path to recovery. The IMF’s latest economic assessment of Africa’s largest economy recommends exchange rate reforms and strengthened efforts to increase government revenues.

Naira depreciates as external reserves decline persists to $36.12bn (Vangurad)

The naira last week buckled under the weight of increased dollar demand, depreciatiating in both the parallel market and the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, even as the nation’s external reserves declined further to $36.12 billion last week. Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that the external reserves fell to $36.116 billion Wednesday last week from $36.395 billion Wednesday the previous week. This translated to a $279 million week-on-week (w/w) decline and it represents the second weekly decline in the reserves since December 17th.

Outlook 2021: Eyeballing Major Economic Indicators in 2020 - Trade Balance (Proshare Nigeria Limited)

Nigeria’s merchandise trade balance as of Q3 2020 stood at N8.37trn. The trade balance increased by +34.15% when compared with the previous quarter (Q2 2020) while it declined by -8.85% when compared with Q3 2019. Nigeria’s crude oil exports amounted to N2.42trn, non-crude oil exports N561.18bn, non-oil exports N214.65bn. This reveals that Nigeria’s export revenue base is weak and is still heavily reliant on oil export revenue as its main source of foreign exchange earnings. The rise in Nigeria’s imports could be attributed to the pent-up import demand for machinery, mineral products, chemical & allied products. On the other hand, the significant decline in export could be attributed to the decline in lower oil prices and OPEC + production cuts

Nigeria’s China’s major investment destination in Africa (Vanguard)

Despite its fragile economy in recent years, Nigeria remains Chinese major investment destination in Africa, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria said on Monday. Addressing a media event in Abuja to mark 50 years of Nigeria-China relations, the Chinese Charged de Affaires in Nigeria, Mr. Zhao Yong, disclosed also that China’s trade with Africa has hit $208.7 billion with foreign direct investment totalling $49.1 billion. Yong stated: “Despite the adverse effects of the Covid-19, the bilateral trade volume from January to October of 2020 increased by 0.7% year on year, which was 14% higher than the trade growth rate between China and Africa as a whole. Nigeria surpassed Angola and South Africa respectively to become China’s second largest trading partners and largest export market in Africa.

Sisi Affirms Egypt’s Full Support for Advancing AU Institutions (Egypt State Information Service)

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Saturday 06/02/2021 reaffirmed Egypt’s full support for achieving the desired goals for advancing the African Union and its institutions, fully implementing the Agenda 2063 and its first 10-year plan and putting the 2021 theme “Arts, Culture and Heritage” into force. Addressing the 34th African Union summit, Sisi greeted Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on assuming the AU chairmanship, wishing him success in addressing the current challenges, including the repercussions of coronavirus pandemic, the implementation of the pan-African Free Trade Agreement, and the activation of recommendations for the institutional, financial and administrative reform of the African Union.

India-Tunisia Business Council launched with collaboration of Ministry, Trade and Academia (Businessworld)

The India Tunisia Economic Forum held recently gave impetus to the growing possibilities between India and Tunisia. Indian Economic Trade Organization organized this event which was attended by representation from the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs based in Tunis, business owners, Academia, and industrialists. The Forum raised major concern over expanding trade and tourism between India and Tunisia. An MOU was signed between Tunisia Africa Business Council and Indian Economic Trade Organization by Anis Jaziri, President, Tunisia Africa Business Council and Dr Asif Iqbal, President of the IETO.


News from Africa and Africa’s international trade relations

Zambia is latest country to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement (UNECA)

Zambia has submitted the instruments of its ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to the African Union Commission, AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said. “I was delighted to receive the Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia HE Emmanuel Mwamba, alongside AU Commissioner Albert Muchamba, who deposited the instruments of ratification to the AfCFTA, making Zambia the 36th AU member to fully accede to the agreement,” Mr. Mahamat said on 5 February 2021. With Zambia’s ratification, only 18 member states are left to comply with the requirement.

See tralac’s Status of Ratification infographic

African ministers meet with IMF, ECA on immediate economic response to COVID-19 (UNECA)

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe, on Friday 5 February 2021 met with African Ministers in charge of finance and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, to discuss immediate economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the virtual meeting, which was convened by the ECA and IMF, the ministers were unanimous in their call for additional liquidity, $500 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDR), better market access, more concessional resources and an extension in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), given the prolonged nature of the pandemic. 

On access to the markets, Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, said “there’s a strong case for vulnerable countries to access the markets at affordable rate to afford essentials such as PPEs and food for their populations.” The objective of the meeting was to “seek IMF support in forging a way out of the crisis by transforming existing liquidity instruments and easing market access to alleviate the debt burden and provide much needed liquidity for the continent,” said Ms Songwe.

Africa SDG Report Adds Index on Leaving No One Behind (IISD Reporting Services)

The 2020 edition of the Africa SDG Index and dashboards report, published by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), shows the status of 52 African countries in terms of progress towards the 17 SDGs. The 2020 edition also introduces a new index on the 2030 Agenda’s overarching ambition of leaving no one behind. On responding to COVID-19 in 2020, the report indicates that countries in Africa have reallocated resources and took early measures to lock down activity and curb the spread of the virus. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this prevented the speed of growth in cases and mortality that occurred elsewhere.

Digitisation Can Help Africa’s Supply Chain Meet Demand (Taarifa Rwanda)

While it is likely few people outside the supply chain industry would have given much thought to the sector before 2020, it didn’t take long for Covid-19 to change that. Across Africa, informal merchants and logistic firms alike battled to navigate the unpredictable supply and demand brought about by the pandemic. We all felt the impact of the supply chain under strain. Even the most basic and essential goods were difficult to come by. And the challenge is not over yet. With recent announcements around Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and other pharmaceuticals, conversations around finding solutions to this global manufacturing and distribution issue have come to the fore.

Africa’s digital transformation risks becoming trapped in geopolitical competition (Mail & Guardian)

Expanding internet connectivity is not a new issue in Africa. Despite some progress, notably in internet coverage, the growing usage gap (access to the internet, but the inability to use it) has been steadily increasing. In sub-Saharan Africa, it went from 36% in 2014 to 49% in 201, which is twice the global average. This is because of several factors, including the affordability of data and handsets, as well as digital literacy. The Covid-19 pandemic further galvanised the debate on connectivity in Africa. In connected regions of the world, accessible, reliable and affordable internet allowed children to continue their education uninterrupted.

The Tax and Investment Desk of Centurion Plus Launches the AfCFTA Impact Report (Africanews)

The long-awaited African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is finally operational, wherein trading commenced on the 1st of January 2021. This marks a celebrated milestone for intra-Africa trade. The AfCFTA eliminates tariffs on 90 per cent of goods produced on the continent, tackles non-tariff barriers to trade and guarantees the free movement of persons. While the private sector in Africa has been grappling with dealing with the effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AfCFTA provides for key benefits such as open borders, improved contracts, and better structured value chains.

Taking this into account, the Tax and Investment Desk of Centurion Plus launches the AfCFTA Impact Report, which will provide critical business impact assessment, especially for multinational companies and investors conducting business in Africa under AfCFTA protocols. This will be a bespoke report for each entity and will be powered by Centurion’s fully integrated resource base of country-qualified and internationally mobile professionals in all 54 countries in Africa.

The Launch of Team Energy Should be a Rallying Call for Africa’s Private Sector (Africanews)

The African Energy Chamber participated in the launch of Team Energy, an initiative of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to create an informal grouping of African clean energy investors, project developers, and institutions dedicated to the fight again energy poverty. Team Energy aims at serving as a catalyst for transformative private sector investments in clean energy under the ECA’s SDG7 Initiative. The initiative was launched at the end of the 4th Africa Business Forum of the ECA, which was opened by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the ECA.

Impact of African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) on Africa’s energy sector (Engineering News)

The AfCFTA envisions to expand intra-African trade and intensify regional integration by successively eliminating tariffs on 90% of product categories. Successful implementation of the agreement is set to have a profound impact on the continent’s energy sector. Regional integration pertaining to energy represents a viable solution for emerging economies, to enhance their energy landscapes in furtherance of realizing social, environmental and economic benefits. Regional integration is pivotal to ensure that energy resources get from localities where they are most affordable, to where they are required.

The 2021 Africa Energy Indaba is set to assemble leaders from the regional and international power and energy community to discuss the status of critical projects, identify lucrative investment and development opportunities, how best to capitalise on those prospects, as well as to share industry best practice.

Regional Task Force Meeting on the Review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) (East African Business Council)

The Regional Task Force Meeting on the Review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) took place in Nairobi, Kenya recently. The meeting was attended by experts from the EAC Partner States, EAC Secretariat, EABC and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). In his remarks during the closing session of the meeting, EABC CEO, Dr. Peter Mathuki urged EAC Partner States to stop competing with each other but instead take note of each other’s comparative advantage to boost Intra-EAC trade. He further emphasized the following: Noted the importance of the CET in encouraging forward & backward value addition in the manufacturing sector; Emphasized the importance of “Buy East Africa, Build East Africa”; Appreciated the Partner States for the progress made in finding convergence of the tariff lines under consideration for the rate above 25%; and Urged Partner States to fast track the finalization of the comprehensive review of the CET to spur local production & increase Intra-EAC Trade.

SADC Executive Secretary H.E. Dr Tax briefs Incoming SADC Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi

Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, on 8 February, 2021 paid a virtual courtesy call on the Incoming Chairperson of SADC, His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, as Malawi prepares to assume the rotational Chairship of SADC at the 41st Summit of Heads of State and Government. H.E. Dr Tax informed the Incoming Chairperson that the strategic direction of SADC is guided by the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050 which were adopted by the 40th SADC Summit in August 2020. These are based on a firm foundation of Peace, Security and Democratic Governance and are premised on the three pillars of Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Development in Support of Regional Integration; and Social and Human Capital Development.

COVID-19 pandemic leaves Germany’s Africa policy in limbo (DW)

An important date was missing from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calendar last year – the annual summit with African Heads of States and Germany’s business elites. The meeting has become a routine in Berlin since 2017. German companies would not have been able to make many investment commitments anyway. “The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact in Africa due to lockdowns in almost all countries and the consequences of the measures we have taken to combat the pandemic,” said Günter Nooke, Merkel’s Africa representative.

Figures from Germany’s investment bank do not look good either: German net direct investments in sub-Saharan Africa from January to September 2020 were €698 million ($840 million) – around €171 million less than in the same period in 2019. Nevertheless, the government wants to stick to its policy. “Concentrating on investments by private companies in Africa and on self-sustaining economic development remain the right thing to do, irrespective of the pandemic that comes our way,” Nooke told DW.

Top 10 Issues that will Strengthen Africa-China Ties in 2021 (The African Exponent)

Over the years, the relationship between Africa and China has been the basis for many debates, with critics divided on whether the partnership has done more harm than good to the African continent. But it is difficult to ignore that certain underlying issues will continue to strengthen African-China ties in the new year, regardless of the enormous criticisms that have trailed the relationship in recent years. Below are 10 issues that will contribute to strengthening African-China ties in 2021.

UK’s five offers for East Africa to come out stronger from current challenges (The East African)

This is an extraordinary moment for all nations as we wrestle with huge, interlinked challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, economic uncertainty and a range of security threats. To meet these challenges and come out stronger on the other side, we need to work together more closely than ever. The UK has a unique offer for East Africa – and that is what I have been discussing during my visit to the region last week, meeting leaders in Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The first element of our offer must be working together to tackle Covid-19. Second, we are deepening our trade partnerships and supporting countries to build free and open economies. Third, we are building our partnership on security, which is a pre-condition for prosperity. Fourth, we want to work together to tackle climate change, which is vital for security, resilience and sustainable development in the region. Fifth, the UK is a longstanding leader in development – the World Bank said the UK is the only country to meet the needs of the world’s poorest during the pandemic.

EU-Africa partnership must reflect ‘realities of African agriculture’ (EURACTIV)

Future agrifood partnerships between the EU and Africa take into account the realities of farming in Africa, especially in the context of a drive for a greener transition, agrifood stakeholders have warned. The comments come in the context of talks between the two continents aimed at agreeing a new EU-Africa ‘strategic partnership’. The European Union is reshaping its approach to Africa, hoping to promote long-term sustainable food systems and help their people cope with the side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, visions for a green transition must be keeping with the specific circumstances on the African continent, stakeholders highlighted during a recent event on sustainable food systems and trade.


Global economy

US Chamber of Commerce drives for FTAs with Kenya, UK (Fibre2fashion.com)

The US Chamber of Commerce has come out in strong support of efforts to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United Kingdom and Kenya. The one with Kenya may serve as a model for future trade and investment engagement with Africa, it said, urging the US administration to favorably explore these FTAs and continue halted negotiations.

WTO chief: Why the choice of an African woman is a big deal (DW)

The election of a new director-general requires the consensus of all WTO members. The Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala already had broad support from World Trade Organization (WTO) members, including China, the European Union, the African Union, Japan and Australia. Her challenger, Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean trade minister, withdrew her candidacy last Friday. “I know that she will discharge her duties very well as she has done in a lot of jobs she has held before,” Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, a former minister of national planning, told DW. The WTO, a Geneva-based body tasked with promoting free trade, has been without a permanent leader since Roberto Azevedo stepped down a year earlier than planned at the end of August 2020.

Participants in domestic regulation negotiations for services commit to maintain momentum (WTO)

Participants in the negotiations on services domestic regulation reaffirmed on 4 February their commitment to reaching a “meaningful” outcome by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) when they met for the first time in 2021. Noting participants’ intention to “maintain momentum”, the Chair, Jaime Coghi of Costa Rica, reported the shared view that an outcome by MC12, due to take place this year, was “viable”. In an effort to streamline procedures required for services suppliers to operate, remove red tape and enhance transparency and predictability of regulatory frameworks, the negotiations aim to reduce the costs of doing business and facilitate businesses’ participation in international services trade.

Poor Countries’ Technology Dilemma (Project Syndicate)

Economic development relies on the creation of more productive jobs for an ever-rising share of the workforce. Traditionally, it was industrialization that enabled poor countries to embark on this transformation. Factory work may not have been glorious, but it enabled farmers to become blue-collar workers, transforming the economy and society as a result. Many low-income countries in Africa and elsewhere hope to travel a similar path in the future. There’s a rub, however, in Africa’s manufacturing renaissance. Even where industrialization is putting down deeper roots, few good jobs have been created in the more modern, formal, and productive manufacturing branches.

The West vs the Global South: You Have the Numbers. We Have the Money (Inter Press Service)

When the 134-member Group of 77, the largest single coalition of developing countries, was trying to strike a hard bargain in its negotiations with Western nations years ago, one of its envoys famously declared: “You have the numbers. We have the money.” But that implicit threat – signifying the power of the purse – did not deter the G77 from playing a key role in helping shape the UN’s socio-economic agenda, including sustainable development, environmental protection, universal health care, South-South cooperation, eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Social development key pillar for ‘sustainable and resilient’ world – Commission hears (UN News)

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the key role social development plays in protecting people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as the planet”, Munir Akram, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador and the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) told the in-person opening session of the Commission for Social Development in New York. He upheld that it is also “one of the critical pillars” for making the world “more sustainable and resilient”.  

The Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Finance: How to help climate-vulnerable and fragile states adapt to climate change (Flood Resilience Portal)

The evidence is clear: climate finance is not going to the most climate-vulnerable countries and populations. The majority of the most climate-vulnerable countries received less than $20 per person per year in climate change adaptation financing from 2010–2017. This is particularly troubling as climate change is already affecting the lives and livelihoods of communities in climate-vulnerable countries, especially in fragile states. For example, from 2004-2014, 58% of disaster-related deaths occurred in the top 30 fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Nation vows to keep up good work in poverty alleviation (Chinadaily USA)

China’s achievements in poverty reduction and its new pledges to consolidate last year’s results were not made easily, especially in the face of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said the pandemic has been affecting poorer nations disproportionately by fueling mass unemployment, pay cuts and deficits. Against such headwinds, China will work to create mechanisms to monitor the recurrence of poverty and keep empowering vulnerable farmers, according to a Communist Party of China Central Committee proposal unveiled in November.

2021 a ‘crucial year’ for climate change, UN chief tells Member States (UN News)

António Guterres was speaking to Member States meeting as part of the preparations towards the latest annual UN climate conference, known as COP26, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. Originally scheduled for last year, it had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The world remains way off target in staying within the 1.5-degree limit of the Paris Agreement,” Mr. Guterres told ambassadors. “This is why we need more ambition, more ambition on mitigation, ambition on adaptation and ambition on finance.” Describing 2021 as “a crucial year in the fight against climate change”, the Secretary-General looked to Member States to build on this momentum on the road to Glasgow.

US-China phase one trade deal largely a ‘failure’, new study suggests (South China Morning Post)

A large part of the phase one trade deal between China and the United States that entered into force almost one year ago was a “failure”, according to a new report, although “several elements are worth keeping and building upon”. The US and China signed their long-awaited deal in January 2020. As part of it, China committed to buying US$200 billion in additional goods and services over 2020-21 on top of 2017’s levels. But a report released by the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Monday, US exports of phase one goods to China in 2020 fell more than 40 per cent short of the target.

15 Fastest Growing Developing Countries in 2020 (Yahoo! Finance)

In this article we are going to list the 15 fastest growing developing countries in 2020. The fastest growing developing countries in 2020 are from various locations geographically, with Africa surprisingly having its fair share of entries. We have used both the IMF’s identification of developing countries and its latest report on the real GDP growth of the countries to come up with our rankings. Rather than simply use one year’s rankings, especially in a year as volatile as this one, we have used the last decade i.e. from 2011 to 2020 to ascertain the actual fastest growing developing countries.