Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


Masterplan to position South Africa as ‘globally significant’ renewables manufacturer (Engineering News)

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) director-general Advocate Thabo Mokoena reports that government intends using the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM), which is currently being drafted, to position the country as a “globally significant” producer of inputs used in renewable-energy plants. In a keynote address to the virtual Enlit Africa conference on Tuesday, Mokoena said the SAREM would help “coordinate the renewable-energy requirements” to support such an industrialisation drive and to boost manufacturing employment. The DMRE, together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, was currently prioritising the establishment of a multistakeholder SAREM executive oversight committee, which would guide and champion industrialisation across renewables value chains.

Progress made in implementing economic recovery plan (SAnewS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says progress has been made in implementing the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. “The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is a necessary response to the severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “The Plan aims to ensure a swift and lasting economic recovery, with measures to limit the immediate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable workers and households, and to revive economic growth in the short-and medium-term. “According to data released by the South African Revenue Service, South Africa experienced a cumulative trade surplus of close to R150 billion for the first four months of this year. “This reflects a massive increase in our exports to the rest of the world, driven largely by the unique strategic value of our mineral resources,” President Ramaphosa said.

Cabinet hard at work to grow economy, create jobs (SAnews)

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says government continues to work hard to ensure that the economy retains jobs and creates new ones. Addressing a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Ntshavheni said the executive had noted with concern the results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, which revealed that the country’s unemployment rate had reached 32.6% in the first three months of 2021. In the first quarter of 2021, the number of unemployed persons also remained almost unchanged at 7.2 million, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, increasing by 8 000. The survey revealed that the number of discouraged work seekers increased by 201 000, which was a 6.9% difference between the two quarters. This was a net increase of 164 000 in the not economically active population.

Trevor Manuel Reflects on South Africa’s Lost Decade (IMF Finance & Development)

When the apartheid regime ceded power following South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, the economy was in shambles. Debt service costs as a share of GDP were crippling. Trevor Manuel – a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and appointed minister of finance – revamped the budgeting process and set a stringent deficit reduction target. By 2006, the economy was growing at its fastest pace in more than two decades. In this podcast, Manuel looks back at what drove the country’s longest phase of economic growth and how he believes the ruling party he helped establish has lost its way.

We’re ready to back pharmaceuticals – VP (The Herald)

Zimbabwe needs to make more of the medicines and other medical consumables its people use and local pharmaceutical companies should move beyond their largely retail role and invest in production, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday. Speaking at the launch of the pharmaceutical manufacturing strategy for Zimbabwe 2021-2025, which runs under the theme; “Enhancing productivity and competitiveness of the Zimbabwe pharmaceutical industry”, VP Chiwenga noted that local pharmaceutical firms produced just 12 percent of medical consumables. That low threshold was at variance with the country’s industrialisation strategy as espoused by President Mnangagwa and the Government was prepared to back local production by buying the products.

“The need for increased local production in all sectors therefore cannot be overemphasised, especially in the pharmaceutical sector where local companies are producing only 12 percent of the medicines consumed locally. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is going to give its full support to this sector because an unhealthy population cannot develop a country. The pharmaceutical industry is challenged that this 12 percent is unacceptable and we can no longer take it. What we used to do in the past in exporting to the region must come back. “We will produce for the country and we shall export. Do not be sales agents of selling medicines manufactured by others: we need ours.”

Govt accelerates infrastructure development (The Herald)

The Second Republic is among other things prioritising infrastructure development projects some of which are being made possible with the aid of a robust private-public partnership model, a Cabinet minister said yesterday. The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Felix Mhona said the Government has in the last three years adopted an accelerated drive for infrastructural development. He said this was part of President Mnangagwa’s vision of creating an upper-middle-income economy by 2030. Minister Mhona made the remarks after touring the construction works under the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post upgrading and modernisation of the project which is being implemented by the Government and the Zimborders consortium.

Digital inclusivity set to narrow urban, rural divide (The Herald)

Digital inclusivity will narrow the divides between urban and rural communities and between the rich and the poor, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in Mutare yesterday when stressing the Government goal of seamless connectivity for every citizen. In her keynote address to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information’s workshop, Minister Mutsvangwa said: “The internet of both human beings and things will strive to deliver all sorts of gadgetry to the populace, be it cellphones, laptops, tablets, set top boxes, intelligent household appliances, and even self-driving cars. “That way, we will ensure that every Zimbabwean is truly a national as well as global citizen in a digitally interlinked world of goods, services and ideas. This is a stupendous assignment before all of us. It demands a fully engaged national legislature.”

Key exchange control regulations on imports (The Herald)

RBZ Circular 1 of 2021 (the circular) requires authorised dealers (banks) to seek prior Exchange Control approval for the funding, from the auction, of all non-current expenditures in respect of goods already received or services already rendered. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s website, importers of goods and services are allowed to effect foreign payments through their Authorised Dealers (Banks) without seeking prior Exchange Control approval from the apex bank.

Export earnings to Kenya, South Sudan drop (Daily Monitor)

Uganda’s exports with regional market dropped with the largest drops reported in Kenya, DR Congo and South Sudan. The three countries, especially Kenya and South Sudan, are some of Uganda’s largest trade partners. However, according to data from Bank of Uganda, trade with the three countries declined in April, resulting from, among other trade blockades and civil unrest in some of the regional trading partners. During the period Uganda exports to Kenya declined to $38.4m (Shs136b) down from $49.9m (Shs177b) in March, which is the lowest the country has earned since July 2020 when earnings dropped to $38.3m (shs135b). Uganda has experienced trade wars from her biggest regional markets, with exports such as maize, sugar, milk and poultry products all banned from entering countries such as Kenya. However, there has been progress in negotiations to lift such blockades that have since last year cost Uganda huge earnings.

About 75 percent of agribusiness firms not aware of AfCFTA – GSS (GhanaWeb)

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has revealed that about 75 percent of firms in Ghana are not aware of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. This was contained in GSS’s latest report which assessed the impact of COVID-19 on agribusinesses in Ghana. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) started trading on January 1, 2021. However, when firms were asked whether they are aware of the AfCFTA agreement, only 25.6 percent of agribusiness firms across all sectors are aware of the AfCFTA. Agribusinesses comprise firms in the agriculture sector and those in the industry and service sectors that contribute to the agriculture production value chain.

South Sudan, Malawi sign pact to spur trade (Xinhua)

South Sudan and Malawi on Thursday signed a trade agreement that will see Lilongwe export its surplus food to Juba to help ease the widening cereals deficit in the east African nation. Kuol Athian, minister of Trade and Industry, revealed that the deal will allow Malawian businesses to export food to South Sudan which is facing this year’s highest cereals deficit estimated at 465,600 metric tons. “There is shortage of food in the country (South Sudan), we have been importing from neighboring countries but our friends from Malawi government have seen our suffering and want to rescue us,” Athian told journalists in Juba. Sosten Gwengwe, Malawian minister of Trade, disclosed that his country is looking forward to exporting food to offset this year’s cereals surplus estimated at 1.2 million metric tons.

Almost all of Cameroon’s official diamond production is exported to The UAE and Belgium, BEAC data show (Business in Cameroon)

Pending the commissioning of its mines, Cameroon’s share in the world diamond market is still insignificant. Most of the country’s productions (over 96% in 2018, according to BEAC data) are exported to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Belgium, according to the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). In a recent report on the world diamond market, the central bank of CEMAC states revealed that in 2018, Cameroon exported 55.31% of its production to the United Arab Emirates, 40.95% to Belgium, and 3.73% to Switzerland.

Minister of trade urges businesses to get their products accredited (Togo First)

In comparison to previous years, Togo has significantly improved its ranking under the “Trading across borders” indicator by adopting multiple reforms that focus mainly on the digitization and reduction in delays, for import and export procedures related to import and export. In comparison to previous years, Togo has significantly improved its ranking on the “Trading across borders” index by adopting multiple reforms that focus mainly on the digitalization and reduction in delays, for import and export procedures related to import and export.

Libya’s oil sector needs foreign investors: NOC chairman Sanalla (Libya Herald)

Speaking at the Libya Investment Forum 2021 yesterday, National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman Mustafa Sanalla talked of launching new projects to advance the Libyan oil sector, the renewal of out of service oil fields, getting the best benefit from renewable energies and the need for foreign investors. Sanalla explained that the Libyan oil and gas sector has faced many setbacks in the last few years due to armed conflicts and disorder. This had led to the closure of many oil and gas fields and export terminals and resulted in an extreme reduction of daily production for prolonged periods of time. “Our crude oil production went down repeatedly to as low as 100 thousand b/d, 7% of our regular production capacity. The prolonged shutdown of our production and export facilities caused excessive corrosion and damage to equipment, storage tanks and pipelines consequently limiting our capacity when these facilities were gradually put back online.

Sanalla concluded his speech by saying: “Oil and gas revenues currently represent 95% of Libya’s export earnings. The NOC is making great efforts to ensure that the country’s oil and gas resources are wisely and sustainably produced, monetized and turned into the badly needed income for the development of the country and for improving the welfare of the Libyan citizens.”


AfCFTA is the bigger picture: ZNCC (The Herald)

Business leaders regard the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as the bigger picture for economic growth and have commended Government for being proactive in assisting the country to tap into that wider market. However, and in order to sustain credibility amongst the country’s trading partners, business is urging the Government to finalize the tariff offer regime that would guide the implementation of the historic deal.

In his welcome remarks at the opening of a three-day Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) training workshop on ACFTA in Gweru, ZNCC president Dr Tinashe Manzungu said the all stakeholders should embrace the ACFTA concept. “We as private sector are alive to the realities that borders are collapsing before our eyes, customs duty will be wiped away as a reliable revenue source for the treasury and if we are not braced, we will end up becoming a ‘supermarket economy’ or ‘cash till’ economy to the rest of the world.”

Dr Manzungu said the business sector was enthused by Government efforts in implementing the EU-funded SADC Trade Related Facility aimed at strengthening Zimbabwe’s National Quality Infrastructure development of the regulatory framework, training of staff and procurement of equipment.

African regions must work together to make AfCFTA work – Cummings Jr (GhanaWeb)

Countries must work together to “level up” their regions in order to make the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) a success, a former Chief Administrator at Coca Cola turned political leader has suggested. Alexander B. Cummings Jr, currently the standard-bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) in Liberia, said: “International structures must offer nations opportunities to complement and compete with each other and allow the private sector to operate with efficiency.” He was speaking during the 2021 Horasis Global Meeting, which was held virtually on Tuesday.

“Poorer nations must operate on a level playing field with their stronger neighbours, as this rewards innovation and excellence. “Wealthier countries investing in poorer neighbours pays off for all. “This spurs economic activity back into the investor country, builds better bilateral and regional ties and builds security and stability. “This increases equality and generates opportunity on an ever-increasing scale, with a disproportionate benefit to poorer nations,” Mr Cummings added.

East Africa Finance ministers present 2021/22 budgets (The East African)

East African Finance ministers present their national budgets in their respective parliaments for the fiscal year 2021/22 today. According to the East Africa Community (EAC) Treaty, partner states are required to read their budgets simultaneously. But only the three founding member states – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – read their budgets today.

Budget 2021/22: What traders want in new government budget (The Citizen)

Operators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) want the government to increase the Agriculture budget while at the same time looking into setting indicative prices for clearing goods out of Customs control. Tanzania Business Community general secretary Abdallah Mwinyi said the Customs commissioner had the discretion in valuation of goods to determine the duty payable. He noted that even if a business person shows a receipt for the goods purchased, the system will still want to value the goods and come up with fresh valuation. “This is not a good option. We have raised our concerns several times, but to no avail. This system creates a loophole for corruption as businesses are sometimes compelled to negotiate with officials so that they can pay at affordable rates,” he said.

Uhuru’s legacy infrastructure projects get Sh10 billion top-up (Business Daily)

The National Treasury has increased the allocation for ongoing road construction in the country as President Uhuru Kenyatta races against time to seal his legacy on infrastructure developments. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said Sh94.7 billion will go towards the ongoing roads and bridge construction in the year starting July, an 11 percent increase from Sh84.7 billion in the current financial year. The Sh10 billion increase comes at a time the State has been investing heavily in road construction, a move that has opened up the country for trade and investment. Some of the roads under construction include the Sh50 billion first double-decker road linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. The road is expected to reduce the traffic gridlocks along Mombasa Road.

Tanzania waives custom duty on Covid 19 fighting equipment (The Citizen)

The government has waived customs duty on raw materials used to produce equipment used in fighting against Covid 19 pandemic including facial masks, sanitizers, ventilators and special protective clothing used by doctors and health workers known as Personal Protective (PPE). This was stated today, June 10, 2021, by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Mwigulu Nchemba while presenting to parliament the Government’s proposals on revenue and expenditure estimates for the financial year 2021/22. Dr Mwigulu made the remarks while reading a proposal to continue implementing tariff rates through the East African Community Customs Management Act of 2004. ”Reducing tariffs to 0 percent from the previous rates of 10 percent and 25 percent for one year on raw materials used in the production of special equipment used in the fight against Covid 19,’

EAC Partner States encouraged to exploit potential for export of raw cotton (EAC)

EAC Partner States have been called upon to exploit the huge potential for export of raw cotton to the world market. Kenya’s Principal Secretary for EAC, Dr. Kevit Desai, said that the region produces 100,000 metric tonnes of cotton compared to an existing export potential of 400,000 metric tonnes. Dr. Desai said that EAC exports to the world market currently stands at 8% adding that to increase the volume of exports, value chains such as textiles need to be promoted to boost exports. “We need to harness science, technology and innovation to boost exports by investing in greater capacity to produce leather and textiles, and turn a crop like pyrethrum into aerosols,” said the PS.

Botswana/Zambia’s Kazungula Bridge: ‘A critical milestone in North-South Transport Corridor’ (The Africa Report)

On 10 May, the presidents of Botswana and Zambia officially opened the new Kazungula Bridge and one-stop border posts, aimed at ushering in more traffic. The bridge is part of the Trans-African Highway Network and the North-South corridor link between the SADC and COMESA free trade areas. The presence of three more presidents from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) underlined the significance of the opening ceremony. Zambia and Botswana funded the $259m infrastructure project. The plan was to unplug the Zambezi River barrier and link the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia to South Africa and Namibia via Botswana.

African airlines see rising demand as global air cargo surges by 12% (The Guardian Nigeria)

New data for the global air cargo market has shown a general increase in demand for African airlines among the top gainers. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) cargo market report for April 2021, released yesterday, showed that demand continued to outperform pre-COVID levels (April 2019) with demand up 12 per cent. Global demand was up 12 per cent compared to April 2019 and 7.8 per cent compared to March 2021. Seasonally adjusted demand is now five per cent higher than the pre-crisis August 2018 peak. African airlines’ cargo demand in April increased 30.6 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, the strongest of all regions and the fourth consecutive month of growth at or above 25 per cent compared to 2019. Robust expansion on the Asia-Africa trade lanes contributed to the strong growth. April international capacity increased by 0.6 per cent compared to April 2019.

Nigeria missing on African airlines ranking by traffic (TheCable)

Nigerian aviation companies failed to make the list of top African airlines in terms of passenger traffic in 2020. This is according to the Africa air transport report recently released by African Airlines Association (AFRAA), which ranked airlines based on domestic, intra-Africa and intercontinental traffic. The report gives an in-depth analysis of Africa’s air transport industry performance for 2020 covering: financial performance, passenger and cargo traffic evolution, airport ranking, intra-Africa connectivity and openness. It noted that intra-African connectivity remains low and advised African airlines to take the opportunity to develop their Intra-African network, especially in this period where the European Union (EU) has limited travels to Europe.

SARA hosts high-level regional rail conference (Chronicle)

Unlocking new financing and diversifying operations would be under spotlight today as players in Southern Africa’s railway transport sector and key stakeholders meet to deliberate on issues affecting the industry. “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about new challenges and opportunities in the railway industry,” said SARA.

Project to harmonise African automotive standards showing progress, says AAAM (Engineering News)

The project to harmonise standards across the automotive sector in Africa is progressing well, reports the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM). The AAAM says the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is continuing its support to the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) as it works to harmonise standards in order to facilitate the accelerated development of the automotive industry across the continent.

Climate change is a threat to Africa’s transport systems: What must be done (Down to Earth)

Transportation infrastructure, such as roads and railway systems, is one of the sectors most threatened by climate change. Extreme weather events – such as flooding, sea level rises and storm surges – repeatedly wreak havoc on transport networks. In Africa, extreme weather is a threat that can cause extensive structural damage. It can also accelerate the ageing of infrastructure components. This can lead to considerable financial losses. For instance, a recent report on Tanzania uncovered the vulnerability of the country’s transportation systems. Long stretches of road and rail networks are exposed to extreme flooding events, with growing exposure in the future. The report estimated that worst-case disruptions to Tanzania’s multi-modal transport networks could cause losses of up to $1.4 million per day. In addition, damage to these networks can disrupt the flow of goods and people, thereby lowering economic productivity.

Workshop on inclusive fisheries governance framework held in Accra (GhanaWeb)

Workshop on inclusive fisheries governance framework held in Accra A regional workshop on the popularization and dissemination of a comprehensive strategic framework for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development for the West Africa region has been held in Accra. The two-day meeting was to improve awareness on the regional framework and also to solicit the inputs and concerns of ECOWAS member states to ensure its smooth implementation. The workshop was also to help member states develop a roadmap that will facilitate the alignment of national strategies towards the harmonization of fisheries governance across the sub-region.

UK-Africa Forum on Trade, Policy and Reform to examine the future of trade and avenues for policy reform (Africanews)

Invest Africa, a Pan-African business and investment platform, aims to build constructive dialogue between policy makers and business leaders from the UK and Africa during the Forum. James Duddridge MP, Minister for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, H.M. Trade Commissioner for Africa, and His Excellency Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Ghana will feature in the programme.

The Forum comes at an opportune time as trading under the AfCFTA commenced on the 1 January 2021, accelerating intra-African trade, and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market. This, combined with the UK’s departure from the European Union, has seen a rise in investment interest in Africa. The UK trade envoy to Egypt was recently quoted in the UK press, saying that Egypt ‘can be the “gateway” to an explosion of trade with Africa.’ Earlier this year, Helen Grant, Conservative MP and trade envoy to Nigeria claimed a trade deal with the country could be significant for the UK. Ms Grant boasted of Nigeria’s emerging economy and the impact it could have for British business in terms of financial services, agriculture, and tech. In March 2021, the UK signed a trade partnership agreement with Ghana, that secures tariff-free trade and provides a platform for greater economic and cultural cooperation. In practical terms, it means that Ghanaian products such as bananas, tinned tuna and cocoa will benefit from tariff-free access to the United Kingdom.

Global economy

Members approach text-based discussions for an urgent IP response to COVID-19 (WTO)

In an extensive discussion with the participation of 48 delegations, members reiterated their well-known differences on where the emphasis should be placed to ensure their shared objective of a rapid and effective response to the pandemic. They expressed their willingness to engage constructively in a discussion based on two proposals tabled by members, namely the revised proposal for a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement (IP/C/W/669/Rev1), co-sponsored by over 60 delegations, and the communication from the European Union on urgent trade policy responses to the pandemic (IP/C/W/680). The co-proponents of the proposal to waive certain TRIPS Agreement obligations detailed the main points of their revised text. They stressed that the updated proposal takes into account the existence of virus mutations and new variants which have a significant impact on public health measures. It also underlines the importance of diversifying production and supply to increase access to vaccines and other medical products, and the need to preserve incentives for research and innovation.

ECA’s Songwe echoes Africa’s expectation from the G7 summit (UNECA)

Leaders of the Group of Seven nations (G7) including the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, are scheduled to meet for a three-day summit in the UK from 11 to 13 June 2021. Their discussions will focus mainly on issues relating to COVID-19 recovery, climate change and trade. Ahead of the G7 summit, Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) conveyed the following three points, which capture Africa’s expectation from the G7 leaders. Ms Songwe echoed the need for a “historic vaccines roadmap where the G7 stop hoarding, start sharing the financing, the doses and the manufacturing capacity needed to deliver on vaccine access.” This, she added, would mean “one billion doses donated soonest, with two billion donated by the end of the year; the ACT Accelerator and the African vaccines facility fully funded, and the tech shared so we can manufacture vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics locally.”

Nine in 10 African nations set to miss urgent COVID vaccination goal (UN News)

At 32 million doses, Africa accounts for less than one per cent of the more than 2.1 billion doses administered globally. Just two per cent of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose, and only 9.4 million Africans are fully vaccinated. “It’s do or die on dose sharing for Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines.” According to WHO’s latest situation update, the pandemic “is trending upwards in 10 African countries”. Four nations have seen a 30 per cent increase in cases in the past seven days, compared with the previous week. Most of the new cases were in Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia and over half were in nine southern African countries. Vaccines have become “increasingly scarce”, the UN health agency said, adding that at the current rate of delivery, only seven African nations will meet the goal of immunizing one in 10 people by September.

Biden pledges 500M doses, calls on world leaders to join him (Daily Union)

President Joe Biden urged global leaders Thursday to join him in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling nations around the world after he promised the U.S. would donate 500 million doses to help speed the pandemic’s end and bolster the strategic position of the world’s wealthiest democracies. Speaking in England before a summit of the Group of Seven world leaders, Biden announced the U.S. commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month. He argued it was in both America’s interests and the world’s to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere.

Special Drawing Rights: Saving the global economy and bolstering recovery in pandemic times (EURODAD)

In the wake of the liquidity and fiscal crisis across developing countries generated by the global pandemic, the role of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) has formed an important part of the discussion on economic recovery. During the crisis, developed countries have accounted for nearly 80 per cent of all fiscal efforts, while many low-income countries (LICs) have cut spending or have directed more funds to repaying creditors than they have to their own health sectors. In the 15 months since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, multilateral efforts have not sufficiently accelerated comprehensive efforts to respond to the multiple dimensions of health and economic crises in developing countries, particularly through financing and provision of immediate liquidity. The unequal distribution of vaccines and the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus threaten to prolong the crisis, with developing countries continuing to bear the brunt of the exacerbation of poverty and inequality. Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 has effectively been derailed, with many developing countries set back by years or decades when it comes to achieving the Goals.

World Bank Global Economic Prospects: Global Recovery Strong but Uneven as Many Developing Countries Struggle with the Pandemic’s Lasting Effects

The global economy is expected to expand 5.6% in 2021, the fastest post-recession pace in 80 years, largely on strong rebounds from a few major economies. However, many emerging market and developing economies continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the World Bank says in its June 2021 Global Economic Prospects. “While there are welcome signs of global recovery, the pandemic continues to inflict poverty and inequality on people in developing countries around the world,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “Globally coordinated efforts are essential to accelerate vaccine distribution and debt relief, particularly for low-income countries. As the health crisis eases, policymakers will need to address the pandemic’s lasting effects and take steps to spur green, resilient, and inclusive growth while safeguarding macroeconomic stability.”

Emerging market and developing economies as a group are forecast to expand 6% this year, supported by higher demand and elevated commodity prices. However, the recovery in many countries is being held back by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and lagging vaccination progress, as well as the withdrawal of policy support in some instances.

“Linkages through trade and global value chains have been a vital engine of economic advancement for developing economies and lifted many people out of poverty. However, at current trends, global trade growth is set to slow down over the next decade,” World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth and Financial Institutions Indermit Gill said. “As developing economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, cutting trade costs can create an environment conducive to re-engaging in global supply chains and reigniting trade growth.”

Getting Back to Growth (IMF Blog)

Producing and consuming more goods and services for the same amount of work sounds too good to be true. In fact, it’s entirely possible. Higher productivity is one of the key ingredients to higher economic growth and incomes. It’s all about how workers become more productive. The pandemic accelerated the shift toward digitalization and automation, including through e-commerce and remote-work – and these trends seem unlikely to reverse. With sectors impacted very differently by the pandemic, some degree of ‘resource reallocation’ is likely occurring – for example, shifts in workers across firms as they are laid off or hired. This is occurring for at least two (possibly related) reasons: (i) the churn of businesses entering and exiting the market and (ii) changes in consumer demand.


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