Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


the dtic Supports SA Pharmaceutical Companies to Exhibit at Africa Health 2021 (The Department of Trade Industry and Competition)

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) has provided support to ten South African Medical Device manufacturers to enable them to showcase their manufacturing capabilities during the virtual Africa Health 2021 exhibition that will take place from 25–29 October 2021. Africa Health 2021 will enable the South African Medical Device exhibitors to meet and develop business relations with buyers and distributors from across Africa and the world, thereby increasing the opportunity for exports of South African-made products. Africa Health is the continent’s largest healthcare exhibition and congress. It is a leading platform for healthcare professionals and medical experts across Africa to collaborate and share insights to addressing the continent’s specific healthcare needs.

According to the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Fikile Majola, there are approximately 140 medical device companies in South Africa who are involved in some degree of local manufacture or in the medical device value chain, most of which are Small and Medium Enterprises who require government’s assistance to profile and market their capabilities at the South African Pavilion that is part of the Africa Health Exhibition 2021. “The SA Pavilion will showcase South African capabilities in this sector boosting confidence in local capability and promoting deepening of local value chains that government is advocating for. The South African Medical Devices industry is estimated to be worth R20 billion and has one of the highest potentials for growth. Despite the value of the local market, South Africa is still net dependant on imports of medical devices,” says Majola.

Hydrogen Society Roadmap to guide South Africa’s hydrogen rollout – Nzimande (Engineering News)

The Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM), which was approved by Cabinet on September 14, provides a “clear indication” of how hydrogen and fuel cell technologies could be a “game changer” for the South African economy, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande noted during the Hydrogen Economy Indaba – Series 3 event on October 21. He added, however, that, before South African could derive the full benefits of a hydrogen economy, several challenges had to be overcome. These included the further development of hydrogen technology, which Nzimande said had yet to fully mature to the point where it could be deployed in a cost-effective manner and at scale. Secondly, he said, the infrastructure to support the deployment of hydrogen energy, particularly in mobility applications, such as in vehicles, was almost non-existent in South Africa.

Taking on these challenges was only possible if local communities participate in the reskilling opportunities to support the hydrogen economy, said Nzimande.

TZ- Burundi trade ties boom timely (Dailynews)

TANZANIA and Burundi have, for decades, enjoyed good diplomatic ties and as years unfold there have been cementing of the relations, extending the same to trade ties. The two East African Community (EAC) member states have been working together on several fronts. A visit to Burundi by President Samia Suluhu Hassan on July 16 and 17 this year and the visit by her Burundian counterpart, Mr Evariste Ndayishimiye to Tanzania have brought the partnership to greater heights.

Tanzania is continuing to upgrade the ports of Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Karema, Kasanga and Kabwe to ease the movement of people and goods. Strengthening of trade relations has been seen as technocrats from Works and Transport Ministries from both countries had their strategic meeting in August, special focus being come up with a partnership in the use of Dar es Salaam Port and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

The factory that is at 40 per cent of its completion set for October next year will, among other things, provide employment opportunities to Tanzanians, with 3,000 direct employments and 7,000 other indirect jobs.

An improved railway line connecting the two countries will definitely play a crucial role in increasing the volume of Burundi’s cargoes imported through Dar es Salaam Port. We witnessed last Friday, President Ndayishimiye laying a foundation stone for the construction of a 400bn/- Ntracom fertiliser factory being built at Nala area in the capital city Dodoma and that is owned by a Burundian.

Millers to be fined for delayed sugar cane payments (Business Daily)

Sugar millers will be penalised for delaying payments for sugar cane deliveries if Parliament adopts proposed changes to the law, in a bid to protect farmers. Parliament last week approved changes to the Sugar Bill, 2019 that will require millers to pay farmers within a given period for cane delivered, failure to which they shall pay fines.Lawmakers voted by acclamation to include the penalty in the Bill that was passed and now awaits presidential assent.The changes are aimed at protecting farmers who have taken a huge hit from the struggles of the once-lucrative sector.Cash-strapped sugar millers owe farmers billions of shillings in delayed payment, amid cash flow struggles that have seen the State opt to lease them in a bid to revive the industry.

Cement companies expand clinker production to lower costs (Business Daily)

Cement firms are investing billions of shillings to build new or expand clinker plants as local production of the raw material is cheaper, making it a key competitive advantage.A report by the National Independent Clinker Verification Committee found that six companies have started or are set to embark on expanding clinker plants capacity by 4.4 million tonnes per annum.

“By 2025, an additional clinker capacity of 4.4 million tonnes will be produced by six players, which shall increase the industry’s production capacity to 10.7 illion tonnes,” says the report of the committee comprising cement firms.The committee, formed after a section of players with the biggest clinker production capacity lobbied the State to raise import duty on the commodity from 10 to 25 percent, says firms producing their own clinker have a significant cost advantage.

CBN’s eNaira for launch today (The Nation Newspaper)

President Muhammadu Buhari will unveil the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), known as the eNaira, today at the State House, Abuja. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in February barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies, warning of “severe regulatory sanctions” and freezing accounts of firms it said are using them. CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele has said the eNaira would operate as a wallet against which customers could hold funds in their bank account.

“The eNaira, therefore, marks a major step forward in the evolution of money and the CBN is committed to ensuring that the eNaira, like the physical Naira, is accessible by everyone,” the bank said in a statement.

ePayment deepens customer satisfaction, says Remita (The Nation Newspaper)

Business Lead, Special Projects and Fintech Partnerships, SystemSpecs, Kayode Osinulu, has called on stakeholders in the logistics and supply chain sector to adopt e-payment to improve customer satisfaction and retention.

During the virtual panel at the Conclase Business Webinar 2.0, he said the move would fast-track the delivery process and increase accountability for sustenance. Osinulu said epayments remain a game-changer for the logistics industry to create more value and manage the process preceding pick-up down to delivery.

73% Debt Servicing Puts Nigeria’s Economy On Edge (LEADERSHIP)

he federal government plans to borrow a fresh N6 trillion next year to finance the 2022 budget, thus further increasing the country current debt portfolio. Out of this, it also hopes to spend almost N4 trillion to service its outstanding debt obligations. Financial analysts and economists have described the country’s borrowing spree as quite worrisome and a burden for the next generation. This situation, experts believe, would further put the economy on edge, more so as Nigeria’s debt to revenue ratio is very high at 73 per cent.

Over the past five years, the country has spent $5.2 billion to service its external debt, and N8.6 trillion for domestic debt, which analysts say is worrisome,.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, advises countries to reduce debt financing and rely on domestic revenue generation to finance spendings.

How Nigerian brands can win in Africa, against all odds (Nairametrics)

The year 2021 has probably seen the worst food inflation in Nigeria, and even the statistics agree with this. Compared to 2020 which saw 19.56% inflation in December, and the year before where we had a 14.67% food inflation in December 2019. The year 2021 has broken all past records already with almost 23% food inflation in March 2021, and the year still has four months to go. Besides the constantly increasing price of the food items, maybe what one should consider more worrisome is the availability. A 2021 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2021) – prepared by 16 leading global and regional organizations belonging to the Global Network against Food Crises – has listed Nigeria among six countries in Africa with worsening food crisis, with predictions that place 13 million Nigerians at risk of falling into acute food insecurity in the coming months. The report recommended the federal government establish a food reserve to avert a crisis likely to arise from food shortages. The reasons for the imminent food insecurity and dangerously increasing food inflation are not far-fetched. Simple secondary school economics taught us that inflation is the higher prices that result from too much money chasing few goods.

The next practical question will now be – where did all the goods go?

Reduce manufacturing cost for development - Sampson Asaki (GhanaWeb)

Sampson Awingobit Asaki, Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, has called on the government to reduce the cost of production for manufacturers to facilitate development. According to him, the government must take a critical look at the operational cost of companies, especially the utility tariffs, to help manufacturers to deal with production costs, which is currently a big challenge rendering so many businesses unprofitable.

Meridian Ports Services commissions fourth berth (News Ghana)

The Meridian Ports Services (MPS) Terminal Three has commissioned the fourth Berth for business to double its total annual handling capacity to 2.5 million TEUs. Mr Mohammed Samara, Chief Executive Officer of MPS told the Ghana News Agency that MPS is optimistic that the investments made in the facility would make Tema a force to reckon with in the transshipment business.

He said, “the fourth berth has to come, this would be mainly the next step that we would take to secure the transshipment hub concept in Tema Port and to add capacity to cater for the AfCFTA because the continental trade needs infrastructure and connectivity.”

Trade with Turkey set to ‘rise dramatically’: Nigerian official (Yeni Şafak)

Over the next few years, trade between Turkey and Nigeria will rise “dramatically� from its current level of $2 billion, according to Nigeria’s top trade official.Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Third Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul, which ended Friday, Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s industry, trade and investment minister, called the forum a “step in the right direction.�

“I believe it will bring our countries closer,� said Adebayo. “And I also believe that it gives us an opportunity to discuss the various areas of interest, especially trade opportunities, that exist between both countries.�

‘Technology Will be Vital to Increase Remittance Inflow’ (THISDAY)

The Chief Executive Officer, Baxi, Degbola Abudu, has revealed that improved technology adoption would increase remittance inflow in Africa especially Nigeria, noting that the global remittance market is estimated at $25million inflow opportunities. He also stated that to serve the more than 55% of Nigerian consumers currently excluded from formal financial services, Nigerian fintechs that have built strong agent networks that are the crucial interface to reach Nigeria’s 31million financially underserved and 67million financially unserved populations.

He remarked that the newly launched electronic payment platform has the technology and mobile wallet agents, while Baxi have the agents, so there is opportunity for connection between both platforms, “so the MFS agents who have mobile wallets can move money to the Baxi agents to give those people who requests at agent location and vice-versa.”

Roadmap for a more inclusive and fiscally sustainable post-COVID economy in Mauritania (World Bank Blog)

The COVID-19 crisis has severely affected the Mauritanian economy and reversed years of poverty reduction. As a result, the economy contracted by 1.5% in 2020. This led to employment and income losses, pushing an estimated 48,000 people into extreme poverty. Like during the commodity crisis of 2015 , the COVID-19 shock presents the government with an opportunity for further policy reform and steers the economy in a new direction, which may put it in a stronger position to weather future shocks. Our latest Public Expenditure Review shows that the government can take several measures to maintain fiscal sustainability in the future while improving service delivery in key social sectors.


Transcript of October 2021 African Sub-Saharan Press Briefing (IMF)

The pandemic has shown us the deeply interconnected nature of our planet. Global challenges such as ending the current pandemic or addressing climate change require global solutions. The path to addressing both these major challenges on a global scale runs directly through Sub-Saharan Africa. Before taking your questions, I would like to draw on our latest assessments of the economic outlook, challenges, and immediate policy priorities. But before delving into that, I would like to first take a moment to reflect on how the region is contending with the ongoing pandemic. The global health crisis has revealed two very different realities. What has emerged is two worlds. One mainly of the most advanced economies where recovery continues apace, fueled by a plentiful vaccine supply. The other in vulnerable emerging and developing economies where differences in policy space and the slower vaccine rollout is slowing progress.

Since April when we last updated our Regional Economic Outlook, Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit by a third wave of the pandemic, this time with the more contagious delta variant with infection rates often rising to triple, quadruple the rates that we’ve seen in earlier waves. Thankfully, this wave has now eased over the past month or so, but there is little reason to believe there won’t be repeated waves going forward.

AfCFTA will only succeed if the RECs and protocols are addressed-Addy (News Ghana)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will only succeed if the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and AfCFTA protocols are addressed, Mr J Wendell Addy, the Chairperson for the Africa Private Sector Summit (APSS), has said. He said it was important the AfCFTA Secretariat successfully implemented these protocols signed by the Heads of States at the Regional and Continental levels. Mr Addy made these remarks at a press conference to end the four days APSS summit held in Accra. The Summit was on the theme: “Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giants in Implementation of RECs and AfCFTA – Leveraging Strategic Opportunities for Africa’s Turnaround.”

The Chairperson said if the Continent truly wanted AfCFTA to succeed then the business community must have an engaging environment. “They should engage in areas like infrastructural development on the Continent and the issue of common currency,” he added.

AfCFTA/China sign MoU on establishing Expert Group on Economic Cooperation (GhanaWeb)

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the Ministry of Commerce of China, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing an Expert Group on Economic Cooperation. The virtual event, was signed between Mr Wamkele MENE, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat and Mr Qian Keming, Vice Minister of Commerce of China. Accordingly, with this MoU, the AfCFTA Secretariat and Ministry of Commerce of China agreed to establish an Expert Group to collaborate in the following areas such as experience-sharing on intellectual property rights, customs procedures, digital trade, competition policy and exchange concepts, policies and share progress on the Institutional capacity and implementation of the AfCFTA. Mr Mene in his remarks noted that China and Africa shared common aspirations rooted in mutual cooperation and the need to build China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership adhering to the principle of achieving shared growth and through discussion and collaboration.

“China is a strong partner to Africa and has provided Africa with significant development and investment support over the past decade,” he said. “China continues to invest in infrastructure and industrial projects in Africa via its Belt and Road Initiative, and has opened up its market of 1.4 billion consumers to African products.”

Africa must close its science and technology gap to take full advantage of the AfCFTA says Ameenah Gurib-Fakim at Afreximbank’s fifth annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture (Afreximbank)

H.E. Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the former President of Mauritius and Laureate of the 2007 L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, delivered a trenchant address at the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) fifth annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture on “the importance of science, technology and innovation in the transformation of African economies”. She called on African leaders to close the region’s science and technology gap to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Professor Gurib-Fakim, delivered the keynote speech at the Bank’s annual flagship event and laid bare a raft of statistics that showed that Africa is falling well behind the rest of the world in science, technology, and innovation (STI). Only 0.1% of all patent applications are registered in Africa, compared to 65% in Asia and 25% in North America. Africa is also responsible for only 2% of the world’s research output and 1% of research spending. Furthermore, the laggards in Africa have 11 researchers per million people whilst the best performing countries in the world, such as South Korea and Denmark had between 7,000-8,000 scientists and researchers per million people.

“How can a continent with the largest share of arable land, a continent with the youngest population, a continent that has fueled all of the world’s industrial revolution, a continent that has helped drive the mobile phone industry, a continent that is at the cusp of supporting the world’s energy transition to greener technology with a large store of rare earth deposits accept such dismal statistics?” she asked.

African Railway Roundtable demands AfCFTA Railway Forum (The Nation Newspaper)

The Director, African Railway Roundtable, Mr Olawale Rasheed has called on the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) to urgently convey an “AFCFTA Railway Forum.” In a statement issued in Abuja, Rasheed who is also the Managing Director of African Railway Consulting Limited said “the Forum is imperative because the question of connectivity and ease of movement of goods and services are at the heart of common economic union and prosperity envisaged under AFCFTA.

Securing Regional Market for African Airlines through SAATM (THISDAY)

After the demise of many national carriers in Africa, the continent lost its air travel market to mostly European and Middle East carriers, which now control over 70 per cent of the market. So the African Union established the Single African Air Travel Market to increase market share for African airlines and rejig the economy of the region.

For the aviation industry to develop and contribute significantly to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many countries in Africa, create thousands of jobs in the continent and produce skilled manpower as pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, schedulers, airspace managers and others, African airlines must dominate the African market.

The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in 2018 as a way to push African airlines to begin to nibble into the huge market dominated by foreign carriers.

Africa beyond Aid is possible - UNDP (News Ghana)

Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, the Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, says the continent can commence a journey towards an Africa Beyond Aid through a collective resolve to move it to a place of empowered lives. She urged African businesses to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to add value to products across sectors to meet the demands of the market. Ms Eziakonwa said this at the closing ceremony of the three-day Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Accra on the theme: “Africa Beyond Aid – Maximising Opportunities in the AfCFTA”.

Ms Eziakonwa said she had been inspired to see the work of the continent’s courageous producers from fabric manufacturers of the legendary kente, to shea butter processors up north, which had promoted Africa in the world market. She said Africa’s quest to rid itself of the dependence on aid required action and transformation in an environment that intentionally supported the youth to succeed.

Africa Investment Forum: Projects worth $140 million on the table to boost vaccines and healthcare in West and East Africa (AfDB)

Members of the Africa Investment Forum team showcased two projects during a virtual investor roundtable as the continent looks to boost its healthcare sector and attract much-needed investment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The projects, jointly worth around $140 million and located in East and West Africa, were previewed for potential investors.

Nicolaou said Africa’s disease burden—the highest of any continent—made preventive care, including vaccines, all the more important for Africans. The need for pharmaceuticals will increase the requirements for partnerships that can overcome constraints such as research & development. Other challenges mentioned by the participants include overcoming cold chain and last-mile-delivery issues, and ways to scale up pilot technologies, such as the use of drones to facilitate vaccine delivery.

Health is one of five priority investment sectors under the Africa Investment Forum’s Unified Response to Covid-19 pillars. The others are agribusiness, energy and climate change, ICT/Telecoms, and industrialization and trade.

Climate change triggers food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa (UN Africa Renewal)

“In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 3% by 2050. This presents a serious challenge for climate adaptation and resilience actions because not only are physical conditions getting worse, but also the number of people being affected is increasing,” she said in the foreword.

Food insecurity: The compounded effects of protracted conflicts, political instability, climate variability, pest outbreaks and economic crises, exacerbated by the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, were the key drivers of a significant increase in food insecurity. A desert locust invasion of historic proportions, which began in 2019, continued to have a major impact in East and the Horn of Africa in 2020. Food insecurity increases by 5–20 percentage points with each flood or drought in sub-Saharan Africa. Associated deterioration in health and in children’s school attendance can worsen longer-term income and gender inequalities. In 2020, there was an almost 40% increase in population affected by food insecurity compared with the previous year.

Investments: In sub-Saharan Africa, adaptation costs are estimated at US$ 30–50 billion (2–3% of regional gross domestic product (GDP)) each year over the next decade, to avoid even higher costs of additional disaster relief. Climate-resilient development in Africa requires investments in hydrometeorological infrastructure and early warning systems to prepare for escalating high-impact hazardous events.

Five ways in which finance for climate adaptation in Africa falls short (The Conversation)

Back in 2009, the world’s wealthier nations pledged to mobilise US$100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change. The funding would be used to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce or prevent emissions. The world’s poorest countries are expected to be hit hardest by climate change extremes such as droughts, floods and cyclones. And African countries are among the most vulnerable to those impacts on food security, health, economies and ecosystems. For example, crop yield loss projections are larger for tropical regions of Africa. And poorer populations in sub-Saharan Africa are at highest risk of malnutrition. At the same time, Africa’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming are among the lowest globally. Without financial support, climate change is projected to push tens of millions more Africans into extreme poverty by 2030. Our new research, based on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), tracked funding for adaptation to African nations from 2014 to 2018. The funding came from governments in wealthy countries and development banks. The work is important as there has been no extensive mapping of climate finance to Africa to date.

Profit from illicit mining, not political power, behind insurgency in Great Lakes (The East African)

Huge profits from smuggling of minerals is the main reason behind a surge in rebel movements in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. And in what could provide further evidence that natural resources, rather than a search for political power is behind insurgencies, a UN Special Envoy this week said countries connected by trade must be involved in ending the fighting.Huang Xia, the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region says there must be unity among regional countries, and those that import minerals from the region to ensure the mines do not become a centre of bloodshed.Mr Huang was speaking at the Annual Open Debate on the Great Lakes Region at the UN Security Council this past Wednesday in New York under the theme; “Supporting the renewed commitment of the countries of the Great Lakes region to peace and development.”

AU-EU ministerial meeting kicks off in Kigali (The New Times)

About 500 participants including over 60 foreign affairs ministers of the European Union and the African Union will ton Monday court in Kigali for the AU-EU Ministerial Meeting. It’s the first summit that will be hosted since January 2019. Ministers are expected to exchange views on the EU-AU partnership and how to strengthen cooperation, reads part of a media advisory note.

Canada-Africa collaboration: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address Africa Accelerating 2021 (Africanews)

The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business is pleased to announce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the opening of its 3-day programming from 26 to 28 October 2021. ‘‘The Prime Minister’s message will focus on Canadian efforts at home and on the African continent for the restart of African economies,’’ said Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, Chair of the Board of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business. He added that ‘‘the address will underscore that Canada and Africa have many opportunities to be strong partners, with reference to existing programs, future opportunities and his visit last year to the African Union’’.


Exporting out of Covid-induced economic crisis (The Express Tribune)

The dynamics involved in international trading activities are becoming as complex as ever as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic-induced shock and reopens borders. The Trade and Development Report 2021 of Unctad predicts that the global economy will grow 5.3% as it recovers from the adverse impact of Covid-19. This will be the fastest growth in the last five decades. The report also suggests that the impact of the pandemic on the global South is greater than the impact it felt during the previous financial crisis. It is expected that the world economy will lose approximately $13 trillion between 2020 and 2022 relative to the pre-pandemic predictions of world output level.

DDG Zhang: Cooperation in trade and investment needed to revitalize world economy (WTO)

trade and investment have been phenomenal drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction in many parts of the world over the past 30 years. In particular, participation in global value chains has been a force for economic diversification, job creation and development. With servicification and digitization, global value chains have made trade and investment flows increasingly interlinked and mutually reinforcing. They are the “two sides of the same coin”. The imperative to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic has made this twin role of trade and investment flows more important than ever before. The pandemic has brought massive disruptions to all aspects of our social and economic lives. In particular, it has acted as a massive ‘stress test’ both for the world trade and investment — causing unprecedented shocks to global value chains. In 2020, the value of global trade in goods and services fell by 9.6%. Global investment was hit much harder — with FDI flows falling more steeply, by 35%. Greenfield projects in developing countries which are key for industrial and infrastructure development fell by 42% in 2020. Today’s hyper-connected global economy has made the world more susceptible to shocks — but it has also made it more resilient when they strike. The multilateral trading system has again stood the test of time more than many expected as its core principles and rules helped to prevent the world from sliding into a full-fledged protectionism.

Coordinated global response key to MSMEs’ post-pandemic economic recovery — DDG Zhang (WTO)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant negative impact on our citizens and our businesses, in particular on those operating as MSMEs all over the world. MSMEs are the backbone of many economies. According to the WTO’s research, MSMEs represent 95 per cent of companies across the globe and account for 60 per cent of the world’s total employment. They contribute to around 35 per cent of GDP in developing countries and around 50 per cent in developed countries. They are major employers of women and young people, and a key driver of innovation and economic growth. Unfortunately, when the whole world is facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSMEs are among those that have been hit hardest by the crisis. A study by the UN International Trade Centre shows that 60% of micro and 57% of small businesses have been strongly affected by the pandemic, compared with 43% of large firms. Due to their limited resources, surviving the crisis has been daunting for MSMEs. Therefore, it is important to have policies in place to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on MSMEs. A coordinated global response is crucial to helping MSMEs respond and recover from the pandemic.

At the WTO, Members have been considering MSME-related issues through various policy dialogues. Focused discussions are taking place within the MSMEs Informal Working Group. The Group has recently finalized its draft ministerial declaration. Some WTO Members, including members of the MSME Group, also issued a “Statement on highlighting the importance of MSMEs in the time of COVID-19” in May 2020. This statement called for further actions to foster the involvement of MSMEs in international trade and to ensure that supply chains remain open and connected. Members expect more to be delivered soon particularly at the WTO’s upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference.

Steps to establish a global alliance of special economic zones taken at UNCTAD investment forum | UNCTAD (UNCTAD)

Initial steps toward the founding of GASEZ (Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones) were taken today by special economic zones associations from across the globe. The alliance will enhance global networking to facilitate trade and investment promotion, spur collective policy advocacy for SEZs, and support programmes for the exchange of best practices and modernization of the zones.

The future establishment of a global alliance of special economic zones (SEZs) was tabled this week at UNCTAD’s 7th World Investment Forum amid recognition that the zones are critical for economic development but need to adapt to keep pace with a changing climate, digital transformation and other factors influencing their viability.

“SEZs are faced with a myriad of challenges and opportunities arising from the triple mega-drivers: the new industrial revolution, the sustainability imperative and the realignment of global economic governance,” said James Zhan, UNCTAD investment and enterprise director. “Mobilizing global support for SEZs and their endeavour to attract investment for sustainable development requires a concerted effort by the SEZ community. This alliance now provides this space,” he said.

Virtual Working Group on Gender Equality and Diversity discusses gender responsive and inclusive trade facilitation with private sector representatives (WCO)

The WCO Virtual Working Group (VWG) on Gender Equality & Diversity (GED) met through an online meeting on the 20th of October to discuss gender responsive and inclusive trade facilitation. The key point 4 of the WCO Declaration on Gender Equality and Diversity in Customs was recalled, which advocates for an enhanced cooperation with relevant stakeholders on the topic of GED, to foster a harmonized and coordinated approach in implementing a gender equal and inclusive Customs environment throughout the whole trade process.

The need for greater awareness on the different impacts, challenges and opportunities that trade policies can have on women and men was highlighted, as well as the benefits of mainstreaming gender into trade policies to enable women and other marginalized groups to benefit more from the opportunities that trade can bring. The unique challenges that women traders face entering the global business market were also stressed

WHO, WIPO, WTO update information note on integrated health, trade, IP response to COVID-19 (WTO)

The update contains developments up until 30 August 2021, including on the impact of COVID-19 on health systems and responses at the global level, policy challenges, meeting the demand for health technologies and medical services, international trade, intellectual property aspects, international initiatives to support research and development and equitable access, regulatory responses, transparency and mapping the way forward. The Trilateral Study is a result of the more than 10 years of trilateral cooperation between the secretariats of WHO, WIPO and the WTO. It seeks to strengthen the understanding of the ever-evolving interplay between the distinct policy domains of health, trade and intellectual property and their effect on innovation and access to health technologies, such as medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and medical devices.

Financing the 2030 Agenda: an SDG alignment framework for Public Development Banks (ODI)

To align with the multidimensional scope of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, PDBs must incorporate the imperative of the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient and equitable socio-economic models in all their financing decisions and project cycles. Up to now, many SDG alignment discussions have been limited to mapping exercises. Some actors perceive ‘SDG investments’ as equivalent to infrastructure investments, without questioning whether infrastructures are designed sustainably. The present study applies a much deeper comprehension of the 2030 Agenda, arguing that alignment with the Paris Agreement and SDGs must go hand in hand.

Virtue and a reward: Linking sustainable policies with sovereign debt (World Bank Blog)

the global pandemic is drawing renewed attention to the interlocking challenges of rising sovereign debt levels, climate change and environmental degradation. Addressing these problems will require unprecedented levels of investment, and policy makers are looking for ways to link the solutions.

The corporate sector has already started making these connections through sustainability-linked loans and bonds (SLBs), which tie the interest paid to investors to the issuer’s ability to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) on environmental or social policies. Unlike sustainable debt, such as green or blue bonds, an SLB has no restrictions on the use of proceeds. Instead, it is designed to promote sustainability while providing general-use liquidity to the issuer.

Now, several countries are considering issuing sovereign debt that follows this model. These bonds would allow nations to raise debt to deal with immediate COVID-related costs and general-purpose budget finance needs while signaling commitments to medium-term sustainable development goals that contribute to sustainable development and reduce potential financial risks.

The debt could be linked to policy, program or project objectives. In addition, it would avoid costly budget tagging and project identification because the proceeds would be used for general-purpose financing and would provide capital incentives for governments prepared to commit to ambitious targets.

Scaling up green fuels in the shipping industry: Global Maritime Forum expert | United Nations (United Nations)

What are some of the sustainable transport solutions in the maritime sector, and what can ordinary citizens do to contribute? Johannah Christiansen, CEO of the Global Maritime Forum, joined our virtual studio to discuss sustainable shipping in connection with the recent Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference. Ms. Christiansen highlighted the importance of green fuels and their potential for global application. Unfortunately, unlike the personal vehicle and other transport sectors, direct electrification of the maritime transport industry is still limited. Electrification is suited for short sea shipping, but for longer distances, green fuels are the solution. A new set of green fuels, made primarily with renewable energy, needs to be applied at scale in the shipping sector, she said.

Comprehensive assessment on marine litter and plastic pollution confirms need for urgent global action (UN Environment)

A drastic reduction in unnecessary, avoidable and problematic plastic is crucial to addressing the global pollution crisis, according to a comprehensive assessment released today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). An accelerated transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, the removal of subsidies and a shift towards circular approaches will help reduce plastic waste at the needed scale. From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution shows that there is a growing threat in all ecosystems from source to sea. It also shows that while we have the know-how, we need the political will and urgent action by government to tackle the mounting crisis. The report will inform discussions at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in 2022, where countries will come together to decide a way forward for global cooperation. Plastic pollution leakage into aquatic ecosystems has grown sharply in recent years and is projected to more than double by 2030, with dire consequences for human health, the global economy, biodiversity and the climate.

Business leaders join Secretary-General to ramp up delivery of critical investment tools to mobilize investment in sustainable development | United Nations (United Nations)

At their annual meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today, the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance issued a joint statement outlining concrete actions for the future. Recognized for trailblazing work in sustainable development finance, the group is working with the UN to develop guidelines and products that align the existing finance and investment ecosystem with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “As private sector leaders, you have a great responsibility”, Guterres said. “Our goals are clear: Build a sustainable, net zero, resilient, and equitable world; better align investment with sustainable development; and act on our commitments – with credible timelines, targets, and plans. I count on the members of the GISD Alliance to catalyze greater investment for developing countries and make net zero and sustainability the core of everyone’s policies and business models.”

GISD also has sprung into action to address crises, including in 2020 by developing a COVID Bond Call to Action, which prompted companies and governments to use innovative social bonds to respond to the pandemic, contributing to a sustainable economic recovery.

How to build more sustainable, healthier, more equitable food systems (WEF)

At the World Economic Forum, our mission is to improve the state of the world through public-private cooperation. We believe in the transformative power of innovation and entrepreneurship. And we believe that only systems change can solve some of the most wicked challenges we are facing today. Those include the climate crisis, the social and economic crises many societies are facing, and of course, the COVID crisis and its fallout. The last year has been a pivotal one in many areas. But one area that concerns all of us gathered here today, is that food re-emerged at the centre of the global agenda. That comeback was marked first of all by positive signs.

But there were also more worrying reasons for food to return to the global agenda. In many part of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic could still go from a health crisis, to an economic crisis, to a food crisis. In some of the most vulnerable regions, this threat is exacerbated by existing and emerging conflict, and the impacts of climate change.

So, as we get back on our feet after the COVID crisis, we need to rebuild in a way that is healthier, more sustainable, more equitable and fairer for all.

Why climate change and cyber risk will shape the next decade (WEF)

Climate change has overtaken pandemics as the biggest worry for risk experts. At the same time, cyber risks are becoming more serious. These are the key takeaways from the newly published 2021 AXA Future Risk Report, which starkly illustrates the need for governments and corporations to work more closely together to reinforce societal and economic resilience. Similarly, the World Economic Forum in its 2021 Global Risk Report, finds that with the world more attuned to risk, lessons can be drawn to strengthen response and resilience.

Climate change returned to the top of the experts’ risk ranking in the 2021 survey, having been displaced by pandemic risk in 2020. We asked experts to rank their top five risks over a five- to ten-year timescale, and it came as no surprise that climate risks are back on top after a year of heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and freezes.

ICC brings the world to COP26 with virtual climate forum - ICC - International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

The Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum hosted by ICC from 1 –13 November 2021 will bring together more than 10,000 public and private sector participants from over 120 countries to align their climate ambitions and actions for the next decade.

The forum will also help catalyse coherent dialogue on critical climate, energy and environment related issues and the necessary regulatory frameworks and incentives needed to enable rapid decarbonisation of the global economy – particularly to lower the barriers to action for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Sage Chief Executive Steve Hare said: ”For global climate commitments to be met we must simplify the journey to net zero for small- and mid-sized businesses, who represent over 99% of all businesses in many countries. Gathering virtually on the margins of COP26 is a great way to ensure that SMBs stay front of mind as we collectively seek to accelerate climate action.”


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