tralac Daily News
A new National Business Initiative (NBI) study offers support for gas as a transition fuel in South Africa’s shift from coal in the production of electricity and synthetic fuels (synfuels). The study stresses, however, that this role should be confined in the electricity sector to the provision of flexible balancing capacity for the country’s growing fleet of variable renewable-energy generators rather than to offer so-called baseload. In the manufacture of synfuels, meanwhile, it is regarded as a lower-carbon replacement for coal, until cleaner solutions, such as green hydrogen, are fully commercialised.
Poultry farmers innovate to overcome production hurdles (Business Daily)
“While most of our competitors in the East African region are afforded favourable tax regimes that spare feed ingredient and other inputs, Kenyan farmers do not enjoy similar advantages and this has continuously led to high costs of production that make poultry farming unsustainable,” Jim Tozer, the managing director at Kenchic notes.
Poultry farming used to be an enviable venture that churned out millionaires. Anyone with determination, passion and some capital was almost guaranteed to get good returns. That was then. Now, apathy exists among many Kenyan farmers, largely due to the overall increase of taxes over the last decade and higher costs of production that have seen returns continue to diminish with every passing year. Many farmers no longer find it an attractive venture, and for those still practicing, they have had to be innovative to bring down their cost of production that is among the biggest hurdles hampering growth.
Kenyan maize imports make up 58pc East Africa grains trade (Business Daily)
Kenyan maize imports account for 58 percent of the grain traded among East African countries between July and September, as poor weather affected the country’s production. Latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows that the country imported 155,610 metric tonnes of the grain in the period, followed by South Sudan at 114,660 metric tonnes. Tanzania contributed the most to the basket with 152,880 metric tonnes of exports (57 percent) while Uganda sold 117,390 metric tonnes of maize (43 percent) to Kenya and South Sudan.
Underwhelming rains in Kenya’s maize producing areas have affected production this year, with the Ministry of Agriculture projecting production will drop by 20 percent this year. To bridge the gap, the government in March lifted a ban on maize imports from Tanzania, which had been barred due for containing high levels of aflatoxin. The agriculture ministry said that the lifting of the ban saw imports rise nearly six-and-a-half times to 118,329 ninety-kilogramme bags in May from 16,137 a month earlier. “The above-average volume traded was supported by seasonal exports from Tanzania to Kenya as increasingly fresh supplies from the May-to-August harvest entered the market amid high demand in Kenya due to expectations of below average October-to-December harvest,” the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Famine Early Warning Systems Network says in its latest report “While supply was above average across many countries in the region, it was below average in Uganda which accounts for 14 percent of the production but 31 percent of the tradable surplus because of reduced carryover stocks from the previous year’s below-average harvest.”
Mobile money deals up 42 percent on economic uptick (Business Daily)
Cash handled by mobile money agents in the nine months to September jumped by Sh1.47 trillion compared to a similar period last year, indicating the growing dominance of mobile money usage in the economy. Latest data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) show agent transactions in the period rose by 41.5 percent to Sh5.02 trillion from Sh3.55 trillion in the same period in 2020.T he amount of money deposited or withdrawn in the nine-month period is almost equivalent to Sh5.21 trillion transacted in the 12 months to December 2020. The volume of transactions increased by 19.6 percent or 261.9 million times to 1.599 billion from 1.337 billion over the period, indicating increased activity with the agents. This is despite the economy still facing pandemic-induced struggles however, recovering.
Fishy business: Kenya, Uganda in new 300 tonnes fish dispute (The East African)
Kenyan traders say they are stuck with at least 300 tonnes of fish destined for export at the Ugandan border due to an ongoing row between Kampala and Nairobi. Early last month, officials from Uganda’s Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) at the Mpondwe border, one of three major crossings between the country and the Democratic Republic of Congo, impounded five Kenyan trucks carrying fish destined for DRC. Mr Hassan Ahmad, a fish exporter, at the weekend said he delivered a truckload of salted fish from Lake Turkana in Kenya to the Busia-Kenya fish market, but none of his customers is willing to buy.
According to FPU, the fish impounded last month was immature and from Ugandan lakes, which had been smuggled to Kenya, processed and repackaged for export.
Mr Godfrey Oundo Ongwabe, the national cross-border trade chairperson in Uganda, said Kampala should have investigated allegations of smuggling immature fish before impounding the fish. “Uganda should first have investigated and then written a formal report to Kenya rather than moving to impound the fish,” he said. He further expressed fear that if the matter is not resolved, Nairobi might retaliate by targeting some Ugandan goods sold to Kenyans or goods imported and exported through the Kenyan territory.
Cameroon-India Growing: Trade Development Cooperation Celebrated (Cameroon Tribune)
Cooperation ties between Cameroon and India have witnessed a great bolster within the past two years during the tenure of the first-ever resident Indian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Rakesh Maholtra following the opening of the Indian High Commission in Cameroon. The cooperation ties were celebrated on October 29, 2021 during the State dinner offered on behalf of the Head of State, President Paul Biya by the Minister of External Relations Mbella Mbella in honour of High Commissioner Rakesh Maholtra who has come to the end of his diplomatic stay in Cameroon.
In terms of trade exchange between the two countries, Minister Mbella Mbella said they stand at 904.81 million US Dollars representing an increase of more than 73 per cent. He said during the High Commissioner’s stay at the helm of the Indian diplomatic mission in Cameroon, India contributed much to socio-economic grow the of the country in the domains of public health, agriculture and energy.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has introduced fresh standards to combat the high level of rejection faced by Nigeria’s agricultural commodities at the global markets. The move according to the standards body is apt and timely to make Nigeria agro commodities competitive at the international markets, especially with the introduction of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, stated this on the sidelines of the visit of SON Governing Council to audit SON’s facilities in Ogba area of Lagos. According to him, most of the times when Nigerian goods are rejected, it is due to failing to go through standard procedure locally before exporting to other countries, saying that as long as exporters continue to ignore local available standards, their products would continue to be rejected.
He added: “Exporters do not check the standards of the country they are exporting to so as long as our exporters ignore our standards, they will still have their products rejected, but if they follow the procedures, we are here to partner and assist them to make sure that their products are accepted globally.” “If the exporters come through us and they follow the standards of our country and they follow the standards of the country they are exporting to, then they should not have a problem,” he assured.
EFFORTS to up efficiency of the Dar es Salaam Port got major boost as the port Tuesday started receiving modern work equipment purchased from 210bn/- that the government had disbursed for that purpose. The received facilities were seven Reach Stackers, three pilot boats and one large crane all worth 27bn/-. Works and Transport Minister Prof Makame Mbarawa noted that more other equipment have been ordered and will be arriving in the country between now and June next year. The move is to ensure that the country’s largest port gets enough tools for increasing operational efficiency, said Prof Mbarawa when officiating receiving of the new equipment at the port in Dar es Salaam. Prof Mbarawa said the investment made by the government was reforming the port and helping it to handle more cargo.
TZ, UK eye trade growth (Dailynews)
PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has expressed the government’s commitment to forge stronger ties with the United Kingdom, in the promotion of trade between the two countries. She pointed out that the two countries have continued to enjoy long standing business relations, noting that the UK is among the largest investors in Tanzania.
On his part, Lord Walney said their meeting has equipped him with knowledge on the various priorities set by the government of Tanzania and eased his task of promoting trade and investment. He pointed out that the information has better positioned him to encourage more UK business people to invest in Tanzania’s trade and tourism sectors. The UK Prime Minister Borris Johnson’s Special Envoy said the goal of meeting with President Samia focused on introducing himself, as Tanzanians important links with the UK in trade, investment and tourism. UK Trade envoys are parliamentarians appointed by the prime minister, drawn from across the political spectrum. The roles are unpaid and voluntary.
“So, Tanzania is part of these developing countries that is going to receive these funds because our leaders participate in these conferences and contribute and look at what opportunities our country could benefit from,” Msigwa said. The industrialised nations have committed to allocate 100 billion US dollars to help in addressing issues of climate change in different developing countries, including Tanzania.
Inside Ethiopian Airlines’ plan to dominate African skies (The East African)
Ethiopian Airlines is establishing its presence in more than six African countries through a management role or strategic partnership with the local carriers, making it a dominant player in the continent. The move is set to give East African carriers such as Kenya Airways (KQ) a run for their money. KQ will particularly feel the pinch as increased competition will likely make it harder for the carrier, which is in a deep financial mess, to fly back to profit territory, not to mention its goal of
Customs officers tasked to meet revenue target (Ghanaian Times)
The Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Colonel Kwadwo Damoah, has charged customs officers to work ceaselessly at their various duty posts to meet or exceed their target without compromise. He, therefore, charged customs officers to fasten their belts and work ceaselessly at their various duty posts to raise or exceed the amount without compromise.
“As you go to your various revenue collections and stations, I charge you to display ethical behaviour, good and exemplary conduct, and remember that the behaviour you exhibit in your interaction with our stakeholders will project GRA positively or negatively,” Colonel Damoah cautioned.
The Federal Government has promised 100% ownership of investments to investors who invest in Nigeria’s mining sector. The government said that the idea of allowing both local and foreign mining investors to own 100% of mineral mined is part of its incentives to attract investors into the mining sector. This was made known by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming 6th edition of the Nigeria Mining Week on Tuesday in Abuja. The 2021 Mining Week which is expected to hold from November 16 to November 17, has the theme: “Seven reasons to invest in Nigerian Mining”.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N145.99 billion under its Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility (NESF).
According to the CBN, “The Bank has disbursed a total of N145.99 billion under its Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility (NESF). The CBN has revised the guidelines, working with Nigerian Export-Import Bank to improve access to the intervention and stimulate non-oil export growth in Nigeria.” The apex bank has also played a substantial role in the development of the real sector, as it stated that, “Under the Real Sector Facility, the Bank released the sum of N1.00 trillion to 269 real sector projects, of which 140 are in light manufacturing, 71 in agro-based industry, 47 in services and 11 in mining.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria requires the sum of $1.5 trillion in ten years to close its infrastructure gap.
‘‘My administration has established a clear legal and regulatory framework for private financing of infrastructure to establish a standard process, especially on the monitoring and evaluation process. ‘‘We look forward to working with you in this regard,’’ Buhari said. He revealed that his administration is committed to infrastructure expansion in Nigeria, adding that new investments in critical sectors of the economy would aid in lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. ‘‘There is a nexus between infrastructure development and the overall economic development of a nation.
One country is doing what’s necessary to limit the destruction delivered by climate change. But you may have to squint to see it on a map. According to the Climate Action Tracker, as of September The Gambia was the sole nation taking steps in line with the Paris Agreement – which is meant to help all nations stave off imminent catastrophe.
What’s important is that The Gambia has specific plans to do its fair share to fix the problem – like changing the ways it cultivates rice, and how it manages the livestock that accounts for 11% of its emissions. That shouldn’t make it unique, but it does. The world’s mostly failing to make concrete changes needed to avert calamity, according to a recent report, and wealthy countries are being urged to do more as the COP26 climate summit gets underway.
Agricultural value chains will be a key lever for inclusive growth in The Gambia to address development challenges and combat fragility, according to the Country Strategy Paper (CSP 2021-2025) published by the African Development Bank. The Bank intends to support The Gambian government’s efforts to reduce food insecurity from 37.2 percent in 2020 to 30 percent in 2025, reduce the incidence of poverty in rural areas from 69.5 percent to 63 percent over the same period, and help rebuild following Covid-19. Investments are planned under the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program for $17.31 million, while $21.45 million is to be invested in the staple crop processing area. This funding, which is supported by the private sector, will help transform subsistence agriculture into a commercial activity. This transformation will help the country to gradually reduce its dependence on food imports that erode the country’s scarce foreign exchange reserves.
App improves mine security in DRC (Africanews)
Mining is an important activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo but there are security risks. Every year accidents and landslides claim dozens of lives. With a view to reducing mortality rates, a local entrepreneur created an app that allows mine managers to follow the movements of those working in the pit.
Victoire Shukuru is the founder of Min Security app and explains how it works: “Every time a digger wants to go down the pit, he wears a belt which has a GPS system that facilitates the mine managers seeing all the movements of the diggers underground. But also, thanks to the same belt, we can see the variation of the temperature underground, which allows the mine manager to see the highest variation in temperature and enables him to send oxygen to rescue people underground,” said the entrepreneur.
The need for data security in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been stressed by experts in cybersecurity. This was one of the resolutions at the second (Virtual) Africa Data Security Conclave (“the Conference”) which held recently with over 200 attendees from various African countries and the rest of the world.
One of the experts, Abiola Sanni (SAN), Professor of Law at the University of Lagos and Chairman, Board of Directors of Taxaide Technologies Limited (Taxtech), stated that “it is no gainsaid that the world’s largest economic free trade area that the AfCFTA has created needs to be fully conscious of the data security issues that awaits it, especially in the aspects of its Trade in Intangible Services and the attendant consumption of personal data in the zillions of bytes. Along with the challenges are also the opportunities for Governments, Citizens, Businesses and Practitioners alike; all of which we seek to fully explore in this year’s Conference.”
This year’s conference was themed: Data Security Considerations for a Continental Free Trade Area: The Challenges and Prospects.
African Development Bank Group President, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, said on Friday that the Bank will integrate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) into its country and regional integration strategies.
Receiving AfCTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene, in Abidjan on 29 October, Adesina said “the implementation of the free trade area will become a key component of the Bank’s lending program. We want to have a critical mass of AfCFTA-aligned investments.”
Adesina said the Bank would support the AfCTA Secretariat in implementing its various trade and industrial initiatives and programmes. “We have a responsibility to ensure that that the African Continental Free Trade Area is an industrial hub. The zone should become an area for manufacturing, not merely for trading,” Adesina stressed. He said the Bank would work closely with the AfCTA Secretariat to ensure that Africa produces at scale. “We require a large industrial manufacturing zone that generates income and competes on a local and global scale,” the African Development Bank chief said. Mene said the Secretariat would help member states remove trade barriers to boost intra-African trade. “But we cannot do so without the support of the African Development Bank,” he said, explaining … “we would just be a trading hub with no real output.”
The 12th meeting of the IATF2021 Advisory Council, held virtually on 22 October 2021 and chaired by His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the IATF2021 Advisory Council and former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, reviewed progress on final preparations for the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021), which runs from 15 to 21 November 2021.
IATF2021 provides a platform to promote trade under the AfCFTA. It will bring together continental and global buyers and sellers, and will enable stakeholders to share trade, investment and market information as well as trade finance and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent. In addition to establishing business-to-business and business-to-government exchange platforms for business deals and advisory services, IATF2021 also operates IATF2021 Virtual, an interactive online platform that replicates the physical event. IATF2021 will also focus on Africa’s creative economy as well as the automotive industry with dedicated programmes. A conference will run alongside the exhibition and will feature high-profile speakers and panellists addressing topical issues relating to trade, trade finance, payments, trade facilitation, trade-enabling infrastructure, trade standards, industrialisation, regional value chains and investment.
Trade integration can contribute to agricultural transformation, while combating food insecurity and malnutrition, underscored participants of the capacity development programme on market access. Participants of the programme, drawn from national agencies responsible for market access, noted that improved compliance with regional and global regulations and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures would be the most important factor for the realisation of Ethiopia’s desire to expand regional and global markets for its agricultural products.
Deliberating on the methods to develop a structured approach to bilateral and multilateral trade engagements, participants agreed to establish a dedicated multi-sectoral team of experts consisting of state and non-state actors to foster regional and global market access for Ethiopia’s agricultural products. The team of experts also devised strategies to work with the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) and other agencies to boost capacities needed for the national trade initiatives.
With the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Seid further said, there would be an increased focus on the need to boost intra-African trade. This, in turn, would spur the spread of animal and plant pests and diseases, calling for sound sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. Therefore, the government of Ethiopia and FAO would work together to enhance the capacities of regulatory authorities to assess pest risks in agricultural commodities and employ proper SPS measures that mitigate those risks, stressed Seid.
A fresh call has been made to COMESA countries to ensure full implementation of the guidelines for the movement of goods and services that was developed last year to facilitate regional trade during the Covid-19 pandemic. Zambia Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon Chipoka Mulenga told delegates attending the 42nd COMESA Intergovernmental Committee virtual meeting from 02 – 04 November 2021, that supply chains are still constrained and prices for inputs and consumables are rising in Member States. “Our countries have now started to experience the negative impact of Covid-19 induced disruptions of supply chains and weakening demand levels in our trading partners as our trade volumes are showing marked declines,” said the Minister.
Data from COMESA Statistics indicates that the value of intra-COMESA total exports declined by 11% from US$ 10.9 billion in 2019 to US$ 9.7 billion in 2020. Similarly, the value of COMESA’s total exports to the world decreased by 27% from US$ 123.4 billion in 2019 to US$ 90.3 billion in 2020.
Minister Mulenga urged the 21 Member States to start strategizing on how to maintain the balance between the need to keep markets open while safeguarding the legitimate public health interests of Member States.
The 21st COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit will take place on 23 November 2021. Consequently, a new Summit theme has been developed to rally Member States on the focus area in the implementation of regional integration programmes.
The theme is: “Building Resilience Through Strategic Digital Economic Integration,” and was motivated by the emerging regional and global economic and trade dynamics which have impacted heavily on the COMESA regional integration agenda, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is expected to rally Member States on how to safeguard and advance the COMESA regional integration agenda using digital platforms given the uncertain nature of shocks.
Burundi sets sight on EAC to lift economy (The East African)
Burundi, currently under European Union sanctions over its human and political rights record, is asking its East African neighbours to help unlock its economic development potential. Last week, Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye toured Tanzania on a three-day state visit to strengthen trade and investment. This was just three months after Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu paid a state visit to Burundi, resulting in several new infrastructure projects, including the construction of roads, and a renewed focus on the mining sector. During last week’s visit, the two countries signed multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects, among them the construction of the standard gauge railway that will connect three countries up to the Democratic Republic of Congo, but whose financing is yet to be finalised.
Uneca unsure EAC is ready for 2024 monetary union target (The East African)
Divergent monetary policies within the East African Community in the pre-pandemic era raise questions regarding feasibility of a monetary union as envisioned in the 2013 protocol on the establishment of a monetary union targeting adoption of a common currency by 2024. This is one of the issues raised by a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Uneca, titled Macroeconomic and Social Developments in East Africa 2020. “It is critical to examine how economies are converging before forming a monetary union. The assessment includes ceilings for headline inflation, fiscal deficit, a gross public debt and a sufficient level of foreign exchange reserves,” says the report prepared under the guidance of Uneca’s Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Andrew Mold.
AfDB projects economic growth in 13 African countries (The East African)
Economies of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and other East African countries are projected to grow by 4.1 percent this year, up from 0.4 percent in 2020, African Development Bank (AfDB) has said. The bank’s East Africa Regional Economic Outlook 2021 released on October 28 says the increased growth rate in the 13 economies including Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Ethiopia is attributed to the ongoing global economic recovery. “East Africa is the only region on the continent that avoided a recession in 2020,” reads the AfDB report.
Commodity exporters such as Tanzania have been slightly resilient during the pandemic due to export price increases in commodities, particularly gold. Countries that depend highly on tourism like Seychelles and Zanzibar have been hit hardest. Kenya and other countries with more diversified economies have experienced lower impacts of the pandemic. Generally, “East Africa is experiencing a progressive change in the composition of GDP, from predominantly agriculture to services. But the transition to higher value-added economic activities which signals structural transformation has been slow,” says the AfDB. In 2020, East Africa’s fiscal deficits widened as a result of increased public spending in response to Covid-19 amid falling domestic revenues, as domestic containment measures and disruptions in global supply chains took a toll on the region’s economies.
As the African continent continues to battle with the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), questions about COVID-19 becoming ‘endemic’ are rising among health experts and the population across the region. For much of the past two years of the pandemic, the African Union, through Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) have been at the forefront and have led the fight against coronavirus by helping member states acquire and distribute vaccines.
“It will take us much longer to control Covid-19 on the continent than we previously thought because of the very limited rates of vaccination that we have. We have only successfully vaccinated 5.5% out of the 1.2 billion people on the African continent and that is not good a position of controlling and eliminating the virus. We are getting to a point where elimination or effective control of the virus is becoming more challenging because of the slow pace at which vaccination is occurring in Africa,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa CDC during a weekly news COVID-19 media conference on 28 October 2021.
Africa’s rapid population growth, augmenting socio-economic activities, and ever-expanding urbanisation has led to the increased production and utilisation of plastic products. Plastic pollution is caused by the accumulation of plastic waste in the environment and has become one of the most pressing environmental concerns across the African continent. This is due in part to the high production of disposable plastic products that have overwhelmed the continent’s ability to dispose of them properly. Unfortunately, their incremental utilisation and production is void of efficient disposal infrastructure and management systems.
Several African countries have been increasingly reducing plastic pollution by adopting and implementing sustainable plastic waste management systems. This is accomplished by leveraging new plastic waste management technologies; thereby, protecting the environment.
The African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, Raila Odinga is calling on African Nations to invest in infrastructure as a lifeblood of economic recovery post Covid-19. The ODM leader also underscored the need for African nations to safeguard democracy as a way of creating stability and predictability on the continent.
“With regard to infrastructure, Africa must see this as its Roosevelt Moment; the moment for the continent to invest in opening the arteries of transportation, of movement of goods and people; the moment to invest in infrastructure as a lifeblood of economic recovery,” Mr Odinga said.
He noted that the recovery programme must build strongly on the African Continental Free Trade Area. The dream of enabling free movement of goods, he noted, will not be fully realised unless it is accompanied by freer, easier and cheaper movement of people as well. “That calls for faster ratification of the AU’s Continental Free Movement Protocol by all, and, more importantly, for investment in infrastructure,” said the former Prime Minister. He pointed out that it was time to complete the bridges and highways to connect African countries and tap into its markets.
China commits to support EAC integration (The Star)
China has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the East African Community (EAC) achieve regional integration by promoting its development projects. The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania and EAC, Chen Mingjian, made the commitment while presenting her letter of credence to the EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. Mathuki lauded China for her immense support to the region, particularly through infrastructure development projects geared at enhancing intra-EAC trade.
US President Joe Biden said Tuesday he was revoking key trade preferences for Ethiopia, ramping up pressure on its historic ally over rights concerns in its military campaign in restive Tigray. In a notice to Congress, Biden said he was also terminating coup-hit Guinea and Mali from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), the landmark 2000 pact that removed US duties on most exports from sub-Saharan Africa if they adhere to good governance and rights standards. Ethiopia’s eligibility will end as of January 1 due to “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,” Biden said.
Ethiopian officials in recent weeks have led a pressure campaign against removal from Agoa, warning of the consequences, especially over the country’s manufacturing sector.
A Message to the Congress on the Termination of the Designation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ethiopia), the Republic of Guinea (Guinea), and the Republic of Mali (Mali) as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) | The White House
COP 26 special
The State of the Climate in Africa Report 2020, which is the second in a series covering Africa, was released last week. The new report indicates that Africa will continue to face the challenges of increased droughts, intense and stronger heat waves, storms, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, floods, cyclones and wildfires. “By 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million extremely poor people will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat in Africa, if adequate response measures are not put in place.” Josefa Sacko, the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture says in the report’s forward.
“The WMO has decided to be publishing regional climate reports. This is the second time that we have published the report for Africa. For us Africa is a special case. It is the most vulnerable when it comes to climate variation and climate change given that agriculture is an important part of African economies in terms of employment and even survival.” Tallas says. “We have special focus for Africa when it comes to development activities as we have been discussing means to enhance the observational capacities and services skills of African meteorological services.”
The COP26 Africa Needs (Project Syndicate)
Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the unequal nature of the global response to the crisis is glaringly obvious. Whereas very few African countries have managed to spend the equivalent of even 1% of their GDP to combat this virtually unprecedented health emergency, Western economies have mustered over $10 trillion, or 30% of their combined GDP, to tackle it. Europe and the United States have fully vaccinated, respectively, 75% and 70% of their adult populations against COVID-19, but fewer than 6% of Africans have been vaccinated. And while some Western countries are already administering booster shots, Africa cannot get initial doses.
As world leaders head to Glasgow for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Africa needs decisive collective action rather than more encouraging words. We therefore propose a strategic financial and trade package that can transform climate inequality into inclusiveness by ensuring a transformative shift of resources from historic greenhouse-gas (GHG) emitters to Africa.
Our plan rests on four pillars. First, developed economies must keep the promise they made in the 2015 Paris climate agreement to deliver $100 billion per year to help cover developing countries’ adaptation and transition costs. After all, the commitments that developing countries made in Paris were conditional on this pledge. Failure to fulfill this overdue commitment now, with half of the $100 billion earmarked for adaptation costs, will undermine the very principle of multilateral action. It is a provision in an international agreement, and it must be honored.
The Director-General highlighted trade and the WTO’s role in a wide breadth of approaches to climate action in her panels and bilateral meetings, covering carbon emission reductions, the conservation of forests as critical carbon sinks, climate adaptation, and finance.
On carbon reduction and pricing, she championed a coordinated approach at the high-level event organized by Canada and the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, saying: “Let’s move towards a global carbon price. We have a great deal of fragmentation and we are hearing increasingly from businesses that they are finding regulations difficult to navigate and sometimes it results in higher prices for consumers and others. We also have members who are afraid this measure is somehow disguised protectionism which will prevent them from selling products abroad. Their issues need to be respected as we develop these systems.”
At the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Summit, moreover, the Director-General said: “Adaptation for Africa must be a priority for the international community. This region contributes the least to emissions but suffers the most. Climate finance for Africa to meet adaptation costs must be ramped up.” “We also need to put in place trade policies to cushion against and adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. Trade is part of the solution,” she said, noting the need for trade to ensure food security in the face of climate threats, provide access to adaptation technologies, and create synergies in Aid for Trade and climate finance. The Director-General will also underline the importance of support for developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) at the 3 November event organized by the United Kingdom on mobilizing climate finance.
With the official opening of the two-week conference coming hours after preliminary climate talks among world leaders at the G20 summit in Rome saw meager forward movement, and the release of a key report from the UN weather agency, WMO, warning that the past seven years are set to be the hottest on record, and our planet is heading into “uncharted territory”, the stakes for COP26 couldn’t be higher.
Upon his departure from Rome, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a tweet that while he welcomed the G20’s recommitment to global solutions, he was leaving the summit with his hopes unfulfilled.
Mr. Guterres is addressing the COP26 World Leader’s Summit, which brings together Heads of State and Government, civil society and business leaders, who have been invited to set out the ambitious actions they are taking to reduce emissions, scale-up adaptation and mobilize finance, and to signal their commitment to ensuring that COP26 keeps 1.5°C in reach.
“I compare this meagre sum with the trillions being spent on COVID-19 recovery by developed countries”, he said. António Guterres was speaking at the High Level Climate Vulnerable Countries Leaders’ Dialogue, Tuesday, during the UN’s COP26 climate conference.
Speaking to journalists, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that “further action from countries around the world” was needed to make that happen; John Kerry, US President Joe Biden’s special envoy on climate change, confirmed this intention. “I urge the developed world to accelerate delivery on the $100 billion dollars to rebuild trust”, Mr. Guterres said.
The Secretary-General stressed the importance of these investments saying that adaptation works, early warning systems spare lives, and climate-smart agriculture and infrastructure save jobs.
Currently, just a quarter of these funds go towards adaptation, around $20.1 billion. It is estimated that the adaptation costs to developing countries could rise to as much as $300 billion dollars a year by 2030. Mr. Guterres argued that vulnerable countries must have faster and easier access to finance. He believes that could be achieved by reducing red tape, increasing eligibility thresholds and offering debt relief.
Policy makers must find a way to “feed the world and save the planet at the same time,” QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said at the G20 Leaders Summit in Rome on Sunday. “Climate change will compromise our ability to produce sufficient amounts of nutritious foods and increase poverty and deepen inequalities,” Qu warned, on the eve of COP climate conference in Glasgow.
Agri-food systems around the world are being threatened by a hosts of factors ranging from civil conflicts to biodiversity loss, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse, pushing more than 800 million people into chronic hunger, while another 3 billion cannot afford healthy diets, the Director-General said. We are not on track to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, he said.
With just nine agricultural seasons until the 2030 target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, “the urgency for climate action is stronger than ever,” the Director-General told the G20 leaders. ”Politicians need to take stronger leadership, People need to take the ownership and all society must work in coherent partnership based on science and innovation.”
A new report from the IFC-facilitated Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN) highlights the efforts of forty-three emerging economies to accelerate national sustainable finance policies and prepare the financial sector to address climate change. Collective action between regulators and industry associations across the financial sector has emerged as an essential strategy to harmonize good practice expectations, disclosure requirements, and definitions of sustainability-focused activities that help address environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities in all financial sector activities.
The report recommends that countries fast-track the development of climate risk guidance and tools to enable regulators, industry associations, and financial institutions to assess, monitor, and report on climate risk and financial impacts in line with international practice.
A new report, Increasing Climate Ambition: Analysis of an International Carbon Price Floor, found that global carbon pricing could pay for itself while cutting emissions. Written by the World Economic Forum and PwC, the report models the impact of an ICPF as proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If all regions and sectors participate, an International Carbon Price Floor (ICPF) for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions could reduce global carbon emissions by up to 12.3% by 2030. Although carbon pricing might at first reduce global GDP (by less than 1%), any such costs would be offset by avoided losses in GDP due to global warming. This is compared to the world economy shrinking by 18% and global temperatures rising by over 3°C if actions are not taken now.
On the eve of this weekend’s leaders’ summit in Rome, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “It’s vital G20 leaders wake up to the fact that no country is immune to the economic risks posed by the continued spread of Covid-19 in the developing world. Vaccine inequality is, ultimately, the root cause of the supply chain disruptions that are already placing a major drag on global growth.
“The economic logic for coordinated G20 action to get 70 percent of the world’s adult population vaccinated by early next year isn’t just theoretical – the effects of vaccine inequality are being felt by businesses, workers and families in the real economy every day. Allowing the virus to remain unchecked across much of the globe will only lead to more production shortfalls, logistical logjams and yet higher prices at the till. The time for the G20 to act decisively is now.”
Mr Denton also urged G20 leaders to commit to urgent action to address the debt burden faced by many developing nations: “It’s deeply worrying that the debt service suspension agreed by the G20 early last year will expire in just two months – right as many emerging economies are showing increased signs of debt distress. It’s high time for G20 leaders to acknowledge that their “common framework” to allow countries in need to restructure their debts isn’t working.
The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization met to discuss strategies to accelerate the supply and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, especially in low- and lower middle-income countries. The Multilateral Leaders Task Force (MLT) issued the following Joint Statement: The global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is severely off track, resulting in a sharp divergence between rich and poor countries. Of the 7 billion vaccine doses administered globally, only 35 million doses, or 0.5%, have been administered in low-income countries. In advanced economies, over 60% of the population is fully vaccinated, with some now receiving booster shots, while less than 2% of the population in low-income countries is fully vaccinated.
The pandemic remains the biggest risk to economic health, and its impact is made worse by unequal access to vaccines, tests, treatments, and PPE.
Trade has an essential role in ensuring the scale up of vaccine production and access to critical health related goods and inputs. We continue to work with countries to address finance, trade, and regulatory barriers that pose constraints to the supply and equitable delivery of vaccines. With the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference approaching at the end of November, we strongly urge its members to ensure that the multilateral trading system fully supports efforts to address current and future pandemics.
Urgent action, especially by the G20, is needed now. A failure to act could mean COVID-19 will have a prolonged impact into the medium-term, which could reduce global GDP by a cumulative $5.3 trillion over the next five years and lead to five million additional lives lost.
The parties to the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Viet Nam said their agreement, which was concluded on 30 March 2020 and entered into force on 1 August 2020, is a new-generation, high-standard and ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) with a wide range of coverage and advanced level of commitment, from traditional trade issues to modern ones. Viet Nam said that since the Agreement entered into force, it has been making efforts to promote institutional reform and transparency and build an open and favourable trade investment environment for businesses from both sides.
The Committee reviewed new notifications of legislation submitted by Colombia, India and the United Kingdom. It continued its review of the legislative notifications of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Peru, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Questions were raised by several delegations regarding actions contained in the semi-annual reports submitted by Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, the European Union, India, the Republic of Korea, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition to the semi-annual reports, the WTO’s Anti-Dumping Agreement requires members to submit without delay — on an ad hoc basis — notifications of all preliminary and final anti-dumping actions taken. Ad hoc notifications reviewed during the meeting were received from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Chinese Taipei, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.