Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


Net-zero goal could be new ‘shared vision that binds’ South Africa (Engineering News)

A just transition towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 offers significant opportunities for a new growth path built on green industrialisation and could provide the anchor for a new “shared vision that binds us”, former Deputy Finance Minister and State Capture whistle-blower Mcebisi Jonas contends. Delivering a keynote address during a virtual meeting of the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC), Jonas argued that the just transition was not merely about reducing carbon emissions but also about placing the country on a new green industrialisation path to simultaneously address growth, jobs and transformation.

SMMEs crucial to SA’s post-pandemic recovery – Busa (Eyewitness News)

Busa president Bonang Mohale has called on business, labour and the government to collaborate to boost small businesses SMMEs are crucial to South Africa’s post-pandemic recovery, says the new president of Business Unity SA (Busa) Bonang Mohale, who is also chancellor of the University of Free State. “The small business sector is in crisis. The small business sector has suffered huge job losses because of Coronavirus lockdowns and is an area where help is failing and where interventions need to be adjusted to have a rapid and significant effect.”

Communities are the Core of the SA Economy – Deputy Minister Gina (the dtic)

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina says communities are the core of the country’s economy and should play a key role in working together with businesses operating within the communities.

According to Gina, the recent looting in KwaZulu-Natal emphasised the need for both communities and businesses to work hand in hand to protect the economy and the infrastructure that brings both growth and employment in the area. “As government we have been given a mandate to restore and re-build the economy for all the communities that were affected by the recent looting and anarchy. We have a huge task to make sure the future of these local and township economies are protected and restored,” said Gina.

Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs (Business Daily)

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus. Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year. Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections. Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

In imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

Why food safety standards are important for Kenya’s exports (Nation)

Kenya is a major player in international food export, especially in horticulture produce such as vegetables and fruits. This means standards have always to be strictly observed across the value chains for produce to be accepted in both local and international markets.

Codex Alimentarius, also known as the ‘Food Code’, is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Recent studies have analysed the reasons for low productivity and competitiveness in these value chains such as the need of specialised extension services and lack of knowledge on appropriate good agricultural practices. These value chains for exports are also lacking compliance with market requirements and standards. The national quality infrastructure has an advanced quality infrastructure. However, some conformity assessment services are not yet fully recognised by the targeted international markets.

Revamped rail from Naivasha to Malaba nears completion (The Standard)

The linking of the rail transport between Kenya and Uganda will be completed in a month, a senior government official has said. Once linked, it will see the transportation of cargo from Mombasa to Naivasha done through the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), and later through the meter-gauge rail from Naivasha to Malaba. This came as the government announced plans to introduce a 24-hour service at the Port of Mombasa and the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha. Principal Secretary for East African Community (EAC) Kevit Desai who visited the ICD in Mai Mahiu that has been operational since last year said the government was keen on a seamless transfer of cargo from Mombasa to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. “The EAC is working on a seamless interconnectivity and this will be achieved in a month when works on the meter-gauge railway line are complete,” he told the press.

Governance of Uganda’s oil, gas and mining sector remains weak (The East African)

Despite improvements in the governance of Uganda’s natural resources, its nascent oil and gas sector — as well as that of mining — are still classified as weak, with widening gaps between the laws and practice, that could impact the country’s push for transparency, a new index reveals. The 2021 Resource Governance Index (RGI) released on September 2, shows Uganda scored 49 points — an improvement by five points in 2017 — in the petroleum sector, while in mining it registered 55 points.

In Tanzania, tackling markets to bolster small business (Trade for Development News)

The vast majority of those farming seaweed on the shores of Zanzibar are women. It is difficult labor that involves long hours in the water and heavy burdens. And, as water temperatures rise, people are forced to work farther and farther from land. The occupation has offered an economic benefit to many women and youth in Tanzania, who have been able to support their households with the income generated from selling their products to the market. With the seaweed industry a global business, a new partnership between the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is targeting this sector, along with four other agri-business value chains in the country, that can bring a host of benefits to women and youth through trade development. Here’s how.

Trade feud: GUTA calls for resumption of closure of Nigerian-owned retail shops (Class FM Online)

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has appealed to the Committee on Foreign Retail Trade, to as a matter of urgency resume operations to close down shops of undocumented foreign retailers. GUTA’s resolution follows a move by the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) to reject the special dispensation granted them by the Government of Ghana despite a series of diplomatic efforts by both Ghana and Nigeria Governments. GUTA in a statement explained that in a joint committee meeting of Ghana and Nigeria, when the committee asked the leadership of the Nigerian traders to provide it with the data of their membership and other relevant documentation on their businesses to enable the committee to discuss the issue and make an informed decision in line with the committee’s terms of reference, the Nigerian traders asked for time to produce the documents, which was granted. At the meeting, however, the Nigerian traders failed to provide the needed information, and told the committee that they could not comply with the request of the joint committee.

COVID-19 erodes Ghana’s 20 years gains made in tourism (News Ghana)

Information available to Newsghana has it that gains made over the last two (2) decades in the tourism industry in Ghana were eroded whereas the global Travel and Tourism industry has been badly bruised by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the Ghanaian destination raked in US$3.3 billion with a total of 1.3 million tourists arrivals by the end of 2019 according to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). However, the COVID-19 pandemic had reduced the gains made by two-thirds in 2020 and depressed the tourism value chain indicators. The industry requires a re-set and overhaul and demands innovation, technology application, and concerted efforts to turn it around. For Ghana to recover from the pandemic shocks, there is the need to increase the vaccination drive and to vaccinate two-thirds of the Ghanaian population for the development of “herd” immunity.

As the Travel and Tourism industry cannot return to pre-COVID-19 arrival levels until 2023 or later according to experts’ projection, domestic and regional tourism drive presents the only opportunity and, therefore, a magic wand to revolutionize and increase visitor numbers at the Ghanaian attractions.

Uncertainty trails Nigeria’s production despite OPEC projection (The Guardian Nigeria)

Nigeria’s capacity to improve its crude oil production despite a higher price regime, remains undermined by deteriorating production capacity and technical disruptions, even as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) adjusts global demand potential. OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR), published yesterday, showed that Nigeria pumped 1.27 million barrels per day (mbpd) last month, lower than 1.38mbpd in July. Oil has continued to trade above $70 a barrel, with Nigeria unable to take advantage of the rally due to fuel subsidy and poor production capacity.

If Nigeria is able to ramp up crude oil sales to the 2022 assigned levels of 1.8 million barrels per day, the nation’s earnings might improve, inadvertently strengthening the stability of the exchange rate and ability to repay foreign loans.

Rat race for digital economy (The Nation Newspaper)

The stats are grim. Last year, the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said 40 per cent or 83 million Nigerians live in poverty. Although Nigeria’s poverty profile for this year has yet to been released, it is estimated that the number of poor people will increase to 90 million, or 45 per cent of the population, in 2022. Yet, it is the ambition of the Federal Government to lift 100 million people out of extreme poverty and also achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is believed that information communication technologies (ICTs) can help accelerate progress towards every single one of the 17 SDGs. To achieve meaningful development, ICT must be combined with innovative policies, services, and solutions. Most least developed countries are already recording impressive progress towards SDG 9, with significant impact in the areas of financial inclusion, poverty reduction and improved health.

Ethio-Kenya consultation on energy sector cooperation (borkena.com)

Ethiopia and Kenya are discussing cooperation in the energy sector. ENA, Ethiopian State Media, reported on Monday government authorities from the two countries met for consultation over partnership in the energy sector. Kenya’s Minister for Energy, Charles Keter, and Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele led the discussion in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Mr. Charles Keter disclosed that the deliberation was on the issue of finalizing power exchange agreement between the two countries. 

The electric power transmission project – a joint investment between the two countries that is believed to contribute to regional economic integration – is a US$1.3 project. 

Egypt starts Industrial Modernization Centre restructure: Trade Minister (Daily News Egypt)

Nevine Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry, announced the start of a comprehensive plan to restructure the Industrial Modernization Centre (IMC) with the aim of updating its regulations, and contractual and financial procedures, in order to achieve transparency and sustainability at the centre. She added that the restructuring also includes qualifying young employees to assume leadership positions within the centre. 


Afreximbank rolls out tools to spur trade (The East African)

The African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) has rolled out infrastructure for use by both governments and private sector to increase intra-continent trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).One of the products is the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), a centralised payment system to limit the cost and lengthy correspondent involved in banking relations and settlements. The bank considers it a simple, low-cost and risk-controlled payment clearing and settlement system. In a recent interview with The EastAfrican in Nairobi, the bank’s CEO Kanayo Awani said the participation and contribution of the Kenyan public and private sectors but especially women was key to the success of the AfCFTA is.

“Afreximbank wants to support Kenya address constraints to industrialisation by supporting infrastructure needs and facilitate the production of value-added exports and services,” said Awani. This will be done through development of agro-processing, light manufacturing and tradeable service sectors, while ensuring markets for the goods and services.

Osinbajo: Africa Has Prospect for Opportunities in Next 10 Years (THISDAY Newspapers)

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that the next 10 years offers great opportunities for Africa’s socio-economic transformation anchored on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This target, he said, is realisable despite the monumental challenges posed by climate change, particularly energy transition and related issues. Advising African insurance practitioners to leverage opportunities in the AfCFTA, the Vice President stressed that every smart economic grouping, whether governments or businesses, must be thinking, planning and strategizing for the projected new times.

FG urges underwriters to key into AfCFTA to drive economic growth (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Federal Government has advised insurance companies in Nigeria to explore the huge opportunities in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for market expansion and economic stability Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who addressed the insurance industry leaders at the just-concluded investiture of Tope Smart as the 47th African Insurance Organisation (AIO), stated that more trade in goods would translate to more underwriting businesses.

“The free trade agreement presents a major opportunity for African countries. By some estimates, if we get it right, we can bring several millions out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.5 per day. There are potential income gains of up to $450 billion as cutting red tapes and simplifying customs procedures alone could drive up to $250 billion,” he said.

Greening the African Continental Free Trade Area (Brookings Institution)

Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) began earlier this year, with massive potential to boost inclusive economic growth and reduce inequality and poverty in Africa. Indeed, the World Bank predicts that 30 million Africans could be lifted out of extreme poverty, while incomes could rise by $450 billion by 2035. Exports could increase by $560 billion, while wages may increase by 10.3 percent and 9.8 percent for unskilled and skilled workers, respectively. The AfCFTA is not a panacea, though, and new complex challenges (e.g., COVID-19 and climate change) have exposed the vulnerability of social and economic systems across the world, highlighting their interconnectedness and emphasizing the need for collaboration around radical and sustainable solutions.

Thus, many experts believe that the AfCFTA can be an important tool as Africa looks to navigate these complex challenges. Indeed, in terms of addressing climate change-related challenges, the final negotiations over and implementation of the landmark trade agreement are creating opportunities to install and enforce new climate-friendly policies. For example, the AfCFTA can promote environmentally friendly protocols and e-commerce or advance the development of green value chains for minerals. Moreover, the momentum behind a climate-friendly AfCFTA can further bolster green industrialization and encourage investment in green infrastructure that will integrate climate risks and act as a buffer against current polluting infrastructure.

70% of Cross-Border Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa is propelled by Women – ECOWAS (GBC Ghana Online)

Director in charge of the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, Bolanle Adetoun, has asserted that about 70% of the cross-border trade in the sub region is done by women, making them a critical factor in development discourse and action. She observed that cross-border trading by women provides livelihood for a lot of families in border communities. As such, strong efforts should be made to support such cross-border cooperation development initiatives to promote regional integration especially through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Initiative.

Finance Minister lauds ECOWAS Commission for production of Vision 2050 (BusinessGhana)

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, has lauded the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission for producing the Draft ECOWAS Vision 2050, a successor to Vision 2020. He said ECOWAS Vision 2050 was a very important milestone in the Community’s journey to the realisation of “an integrated, peaceful and prosperous West Africa” by 2050. “It is also important that I congratulate all major actors in the region for the achievements and successes recorded during the implementation of the ECOWAS Vision 2020,” Mr Ofori-Atta said in a speech read on his behalf at the opening experts’ meeting to validate the Draft ECOWAS Vision 2050.

The Vision 2020, which had the ambition of transforming the Community from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of Peoples expired last year. The Vision 2050 is, therefore, needed to provide the region with a new and a medium-term strategic plan that takes into account current development dynamics.

Africa Finance Corporation Plans $500 Million Infrastructure Climate Resilient Fund under newly created asset management division, AFC Capital Partners (AFC)

As part of its drive to address Africa’s vulnerability to climate risk, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has created an independent asset management arm, AFC Capital Partners, with a debut offering: the Infrastructure Climate Resilient Fund (ICRF). AFC Capital Partners plans to raise US$500m in the next twelve months and US$2 billion over the next three years. The ICRF will act as a direct investor and a co-investment fund to enhance the quality of African ports, roads, bridges, rail, telecommunications, clean energy, and logistics in the face of rising temperatures and sea levels due to climate change.

The continent that has contributed the least to climate change is the most exposed because of housing, transport, industrial, and energy structures ill equipped to survive storms, floods, droughts, wildfires, and other hazards from extreme weather patterns. According to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, without urgent intervention, the cost of structural damage caused by natural disasters will increase to US$415 billion a year by 2030 from between US$250-300 billion now. Damage to rail tracks, roads, bridges, seaports, and power grids will add to an infrastructure deficit currently at US$130–170 billion per year. The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimated that a total of US$2.3 trillion worth of infrastructure is needed across Africa.

“Significant financing is urgently required to build physical infrastructure that will survive the forces of climate change,” said Ayaan. “The good news is that much of this investment is compatible with competitive returns for investors through leveraging the expertise, relationships, and blended finance models that have been tried and assessed for many years by Africa Finance Corporation.”

African countries face reduced remittances in 2021 (The East African)

African countries are staring at a significant decline in remittances from their citizens working abroad this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic that has seen many migrants lose jobs and others grapple with reduced incomes. This signals hardships to millions of African households that depend on their friends and relatives working abroad for a financial lifeline, with governments staring at declines in foreign exchange reserves. A new report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) projects remittances—money sent by migrants back home—to drop by 5.4 percent to $41 billion in 2021 from $44 billion last year. The report, titled “African regional review of implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”, shows that the bleak situation has been compounded by the high cost of sending money to Africa from abroad.

UN launches the first regional online portal to bring together all African countries with data and evidence on sustainable development (UNECA)

Measuring and evaluating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa became much easier as a group of regional UN entities launched the first online data portal that brings together statistical data harvested across all countries on the continent. Today, 17 regional UN entities, under the Africa Regional Collaborative Platform (RCP), unveiled the Africa UN Data for Development Platform. This is the first platform to serve as a one-stop-shop repository that captures high-quality data and evidence on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs from all the African countries. It is also the first of its kind to raise the profile of statistical progress toward the African Union vision – Agenda 2063.

“With barely nine years left to achieve the SDGs, making use of common and harmonized data is essential to accelerate progress. The launch of this new platform marks a milestone in actions towards the Agenda 2030 and the African Union 2063 Agenda. Reliable and collective data will allow all actors to make the best possible evidence-based policy action to accelerate the SDGs, strengthen collaboration, avoid unnecessary duplication and make sure that we can address gaps, really leaving no one behind,” said Assistant Secretary-General Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa at the UN Development Programme, who also serves as Vice-Chair of the Africa RCP, at the virtual launch event.

Africa’s journey to COP26 (Lexology)

In August 2021, the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report confirmed that human influence has undoubtedly warmed the climate system and raised the global surface temperature. The report, which is supported by the physical science of climate change, also confirmed that some changes which already affecting the climate system are irreversible. As in the rest of the world, climate change has, and will continue to have, a significant impact on African countries and the lives and livelihoods of Africans. Africa will be particularly affected given its lack of financial resources, technical capacity and infrastructure. Many Africans rely on ecosystem goods for livelihoods and the continent has less well developed agricultural production systems than more developed countries. According to the UNFCCC, some of the more serious changes include rainfall patterns, where droughts and flooding will have a direct impact on the viability of subsistence farming, and an increase in habitats hospitable to vectors of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever. The consequences of these changes will include increased competition for resources (specifically water and arable land), internal displacement, migration, poverty, and famine.

In an attempt to deal with the consequences of climate change, most African countries have signed and ratified the Paris Agreement. Africa’s historical contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has to date been less than the rest of the world’s (for example, in 2017 African CO2 emissions were just four per cent of global fossil fuel emissions). However, if the current projections population growth and urbanisation projections are correct, Africa’s emissions may rise by thirty percent in the next decade. These increased emissions will be contrary to the objectives envisaged under the Paris Agreement.

Stakeholders commit to inclusive approach to transforming African food systems (Tribune Online)

African leaders have renewed their commitment to adopt a more holistic and inclusive approach to food systems in the continent to better tackle hunger, poverty and improve nutrition while conserving natural resources. The declaration was made at the conclusion of the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit, which convened more than 8,000 delegates from 103 countries, including six African Heads of State, 20 ministers, global business leaders, farmers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, scientists, and international development partners.

Oil, gas, mining… Africa’s inherited colonial borders that fuel discord (The Africa Report)

According to the African Union (AU), only a third of African borders have been precisely defined and materialised. At issue are the maps with approximate outlines, left by colonists at the time of independence, which are open to interpretation. This is the case in the Gulf of Guinea, where the question of maritime borders became thorny from 1990 onwards, when hydrocarbon deposits were discovered there, which provoked a race to appropriate the various seas between the countries in the area.

Africa set to become global climate migration ‘hotspot’ (Engineering News)

A new World Bank report warns that sub-Saharan African could make up 86-million of the world’s 216-million climate migrants by 2050, while North Africa could have the largest share of internal climate migrants relative to total population. Titled ‘Groundswell’, the report updates and expands on modelling contained in a 2018 report by the same name.

Nigeria, ECOWAS, AU should team up to boost food security - Gov Bagudu – The Sun Nigeria

Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has said Nigeria should pursue collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Africa Union (AU) to boost food security and industrialisation across the continent.

According to the governor: ‘We have been talking about solving about Nigeria problems, without solving West Africa countries problems. You can’t solve West African countries problems without solving African Nations problems. That Africa as the continent is smaller in population than two counties in the world. ‘This is enough message to all of us that we can complement ourselves rather than compete with each other and we would all be better for it.’

He added that based on past experience, it is possible for yields to double within the shortest period, stressing that African nations have the knowledge, technologies and ideas they could share among themselves for rapid development.

The 8th COMESA Annual Research Forum gets Underway (COMESA)

The 8th COMESA Annual Research Forum began today with close to 100 participants from the regional governments, the academia, think tanks and the private sector attending. The forum will discuss emerging topical issues in regional integration under the theme: Rethinking Trade and Doing Business in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic”.

Ms Kapwepwe said the theme of the forum is inspired by the fundamental need to build resilience around productivity, productive capacities and sustained regional trade even amid the worst of shocks. “Indeed, enhancing regional trade remains a key strategy to recovery of our economies. But the conduct of trade must shift away from the “business as usual” to take a new path guided by the dictates of the 4th Industrial revolution bolstered by policies to encourage innovation and integration to propel the region into new frontiers of business and human development,” she said.

China-Africa trade soars in 2021 (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)

Trade between China and Africa soared by 40.5 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of 2021, hitting a record high of $139.1 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce, told a news conference in Beijing that African products have enjoyed increasing recognition in the Chinese market, with imports from Africa increasing by 46.3 percent to $59.3 billion during the January-July period. In addition, imports of agricultural produce such as rubber, cotton and coffee doubled over the same period last year.

He noted the rebound in foreign direct investment in Africa and the deepened infrastructure cooperation showed Chinese investors’ strong confidence in Africa.


Container Control Programme launches pioneering Women’s Professional Development Programme (WCO)

The UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme Women’s Network launched its professional development training course for women Customs officers by organizing its first edition online from 2 to 27 August 2021

Addressing the training participants, John Brandolino, UNODC Director for Treaty Affairs said: “When women lead, we all win. I am sure you agree that it is time for a reset. The UNODC is listening to you, and we are committed to empowering more women to lead.” The Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Ricardo Treviño Chapa, added that “we all agree that, over the decades, women have proven their competencies and qualifications to manage Customs activities both at the operational and managerial levels. However, we still need to do more progress. We are aware that Customs, similarly to other national law enforcement agencies, is still very much a male-dominated profession.”

Global chem industry proposes WTO reforms to lower trade barriers (ICIS)

A group representing the world’s chemical trade organisations is urging the World Trade Organization (WTO) to adopt policies and reforms that would clear up trade barriers and make it easier for countries to buy and sell the materials critical for everything from automobiles to healthcare to sustainability. The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) outlined the proposals in a consensus paper it released on Monday. “No one has seen an entire global industry coalesce around clear actions for the WTO membership quite like this before,” according to a statement by Lisa Schroeter, global director of trade and investment policy at Dow and chair of ICCA’s Trade Policy Network.

The ICCA released its position paper at a time when the flow of trade goods is already being constrained by factors outside of WTO policy. Shipping rates have soared, causing global markets to splinter into regional ones. The coronavirus pandemic has restricted production at manufacturing plants and activity at ports. Winter Storm Uri and Hurricane Ida shut down chemical plants in the US that supplied goods to markets around the world. Regarding sustainability, one challenge is the existence of conflicting regulations among trade partners, said Alejandra Acosta, former regulatory official with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina. In other instances, environmental policy is lacking.

Is unconventional monetary policy reaching its limits? (United Nations)

Since the onset of the pandemic, central banks around the world have deployed massive stimulus to limit the economic damage and support the recovery. Just like after the global financial crisis of 2007–08, unconventional monetary policy measures have played a crucial role in the response to COVID-19. Developed country central banks have purchased trillions worth of securities through quantitative easing programs, leading to an unprecedented expansion of their balance sheets. At the same time, the pandemic has marked a turning point for monetary policy among developing countries. Many central banks have for the first time used asset purchase programmes, aiming to tackle market dysfunctionality and boost confidence. While disentangling the effects of quantitative easing from those of other policy actions is difficult, the programs appear to have been relatively successful at times of severe financial distress. During the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis, the massive asset purchases by developed country central banks helped mitigate the most adverse feedback loops between financial markets and the real economy by providing liquidity and suppressing long-term yields. Similarly, the asset purchases in developing countries seem to have contributed to stabilizing distressed bond markets in the early stages of the pandemic.

China’s Global Network of Shipping Ports Reveal Beijing’s Strategy (VOA Asia)

A powerhouse in global trade, China has more shipping ports at home than any other country. Key investments add about another 100 ports in at least 60 nations. And Beijing is looking for more. 

Another gigantic Chinese shipping company, COSCO Shipping, is poised to expand its footprint in Europe by taking a stake in the port of Hamburg. Negotiations have been reportedly going well, and a deal is expected soon. 

If COSCO succeeds, it would be the company’s eighth port investment in Europe. The state-owned company’s previous investment involves the acquisition of Greece’s Port of Piraeus, one of the world’s most important shipping centers located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The Chinese government does not have an official platform summarizing the overall data for China’s overseas port projects, but publicly available information shows that Beijing now has a foothold in at least 100 ports in 63 countries. 

Aviation will soar high again (The Standard)

Cargo is expected to remain a strong business for airlines with Capacity Ton-Kilometres (CTKs) projected to grow by 13.1 per cent. Aviation is among the few delicate sectors that folded first and are likely to be among the last sectors of the economy to emerge from the Covid-19 induced coma. For more than 12 months now, aviation has faltered upon great turbulence that has been characterised largely by images of parked aircraft on runways and empty check-in (and check out lobbies) at airports. Despite the catastrophe, the sector is poised to come back to life by building back better, just like any other part of the economic pie. According to an April report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines across the world posted net losses of 126.4 billion dollars last year on the back of the greatest depression for the industry in modern history.


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