tralac Daily News
More than 80 South African companies, supported by government, will have an opportunity to showcase their products and services at the Intra African Trade Fair 2021 (IATF2021) that will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal from 15-21 November 2021. The Intra-African Trade Fair is a trade show that provides a platform for linking international buyer, sellers and investors as well as allowing for participants and visitors to profile and share market information and investment opportunities in support of intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent.
“The trade fair will offer us an opportunity to profile and market proudly South African goods and services, build lasting networks and establish collaborations that will increase South Africa’s goods and services exports into the continent and position South Africa as the partner of choice. It will further highlight the best of South African local manufacturing capability in the agriculture and agro-processing; automotive; construction and infrastructure development; consumer goods; energy and power; engineering; footwear; leather and textiles; heavy Industries and light manufacturing; health care and pharmaceuticals; Information and Communication Technology and Innovation; logistics; and mining sectors,” says Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina.
Zimbabwe’s High-Risk Cross-Border Trade (Inter Press Service)
COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions meant that many informal sector traders lost their jobs. Not eligible for compensation, some have turned to sex work.
Thirty-six-year-old Thandiwe Mtshali* watched helplessly as her informal cross-border trading (ICBT) enterprise came to a grinding halt when the Zimbabwean authorities closed the border with South Africa as part of global efforts to stem the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. “That was last year, and I had no idea what to do next,” Mtshali told IPS. Before the lockdown, she made up to four trips each month to Musina and Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa to buy goods ranging from clothes to electrical appliances for resale in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city. And by her account, the money was good.
After months of being idle in Bulawayo, a colleague tipped her about what appeared to be an easy route out of her money troubles: truckers had not been banned from transporting goods between South Africa and Zimbabwe. As truckers got stuck at the Beitbridge border post for weeks waiting to get their consignments processed by port authorities, it presented a new venture for informal cross-border traders such as Mtshali: sex work.
The Kenyan shilling continued weakening on Monday against major currencies, hitting its lowest point this year yesterday in the latest nightmare for the economy. Official data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that the local currency exchanged at a mean of Sh110.16 for each US dollar, in what promises to make imports more expensive in coming days. Kenya is a net importer and a depreciation of the shilling has a net effect of increasing the prices of goods, including electricity and fuel.
Apart from imports costs shooting up, a weaker shilling has a direct impact on Kenya’s foreign-denominated loans given that the country pays a huge chunk of its loans in dollars.
Kenya bans avocado exports on immature crop harvests (Business Daily)
The horticulture regulator has banned exports of Kenya’s popular avocado varieties to curb harvesting of immature crop. Head of Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito says the ban on Fuerte and Hass varieties will be effected on November 15 with exceptions given to exporters who have the Jumbo type and those having off-season crop.
Mr Tito said exporters with the Jumbo variety, who are still allowed to ship out, will only do it by air and not sea with the size expected to be at least 184 grammes for a single fruit.
The review on when the ban will be lifted will be conducted on January 15 next year to ascertain the status of the crop. The move by the regulator is aimed at curbing harvesting of immature crop following rampant cases of traders picking young crops previously to capitalise on high prices of the commodity at the international market.
Kenyan banks are seeking a pie of the continental market by riding on the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA), sector lobby group has said. There is an already ongoing expansion of Kenyan financial institutions into the East African region and linkages with leading financial institutions in the South, West and Northern Africa. According to the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), Kenyan lenders are ready to finance trade activities as the continental trade deal takes shape, as more countries continue to ratify and adopt it.
Tanzania unleashes maritime potential (The Citizen)
Navigation towards exploiting Tanzania’s advantage as the most strategic gateway to eastern and central Africa has been slow. It has been sailing through surely and steadily, though, as a panamax vessel sails towards the entrance of the Dar es Salaam port in a warm evening. The decades-long cries of concerns and calls of “something should be done” made many blind to the progress being made to realize Tanzania’s potential as a maritime country. A number of plans and strategies that were initiated, as stipulated in various government documents, and various projects are taking shape and eventually unfolding to position the country as the main gateway in the region. Tanzania wants its ports to handle 84 million tonnes of freight per annum by 2026, according to its 2015-2021 five year plan. This is an ambitious goal with the current implementation of the projects. There would be no wind strong enough to prevent the country from reaching there.
In setting such ambitious goals the government is acutely conscious of Tanzania’s strategic geographic location. “Having direct access to the Indian Ocean with a long coastline (about 1,424km) and located at the centre of the east coast of the African continent, Tanzania has the potential to become the least-cost trade and logistics facilitation hub of the Great Lakes Region as it links up with global markets,” reads part of the 2015-2021 Five-Year Plan.
Making Tanzania aviation competitive (The Citizen)
Tanzania’s aviation sector can’t find its wings even as the truth is once it takes off only the sky will be the limit. Tanzania’s aviation sector has been tied to the same challenges since the collapse of the East African Community in 1977.Up till then the sector was under the auspices of the EAC, starting with the East African Common Services organization and then the East African Directorate of Civil Aviation. The three countries--Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda--also formed and jointly ran the East African Airways. The directorate had an oversight role on civil aviation technical activities and air transport economic issues including market access matters, provision of air navigation services. The only responsibilities left to individual states were aerodromes management and maintenance work. But the area control centre for air navigation services and air traffic control for aerodrome control was in Nairobi. The collapse of the EAC damaged Tanzania’s aviation sector. The government had to start from zero in everything except the airports and aerodromes. To get the feel of this one has to understand that Tanzania had to depend on the Nairobi area control centre until 1998 when the government established its own in Dar es Salaam. The problems that still bedevil the sector now include inadequate investment in hard and soft infrastructure, shortage of skilled labour, inefficient regulation as well as unfavourable and rigid policy. Operators are also concerned with multiple, exorbitant fees and charges that make operational costs extremely high.
On Thursday in London, the UK and Zambia signed a new landmark partnership to drive sustainable economic growth and build on the momentum created by the historic COP26 climate summit. The Compact was signed in London by the UK Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford and Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stanley K Kakubo. The Compact sets targets for delivering billions of pounds of new investment, doubling trade volumes between the two countries, and channelling over £100m of new financial resources to small and medium sized enterprises. It will strengthen coordination between the entire UK business community and the Zambian Government, as well as opening up financing opportunities for Zambian businesses. It provides the framework for collaboration with UK institutions that are researching and innovating in renewable energy, urban planning, trade connectivity and more.
RwandAir boss makes case for single African aviation market (The New Times)
The Chief Executive of the national carrier RwandAir, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, has emphasised the need for a single unified air transport market in Africa, saying it will need more commitment from governments across the continent. Makolo made the call in an interview with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), earlier this week, when questioned on what it will take for aviation to recover in Africa. She said that there has to be more support for aviation from governments. But this doesn’t necessarily mean financial support. “Now, more than ever we need a single African aviation market,” she highlighted, “We have talked about it endlessly but the time for talking is over and we must get on with the implementation.”
Nigeria becomes 11th country in Africa to join WLP (Engineering News)
Nigeria has joined the World Logistics Passport (WLP) as its newest hub, with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) as the coordinating partner. With access to the WLP network, Nigerian traders should have the opportunity to enhance the connectivity and efficiency of their cargo operations. This, in turn, will open up trade routes, allowing for faster, cheaper access to new markets, particularly in Asia, Latin America and across Africa. Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. In 2019, product exports totalled $63.8-billion, with trade accounting for 25% of gross domestic product. The WLP is a global, private sector-led initiative aimed at smoothing the flow of global trade and unlocking market access through the creation of new trade routes. Traders and freight forwarders are said to receive increased benefits the more they trade through WLP hubs.
Egypt raises Suez Canal transit tolls (The East African)
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority said Thursday it will hike transit tolls on the key waterway by six percent, after netting record revenues last tax year even amid the coronavirus pandemic. The new fees will come into place from February 2022, but tourist vessels and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers will be exempted, Suez Canal Authority chief Osama Rabie said in a statement .In July, authorities said the canal had netted record revenues of $5.4 billion in the previous tax year, despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on world trade, plus a six-day blockage by a giant cargo ship. Straddling the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal accounts for roughly 10 percent of global maritime trade, and is a source of much-needed foreign currency for Egypt.
The African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat is admonishing African countries to focus on the production of consumer goods to discourage the importation of goods into the continent. According to the Chief Technical Advisor of the Secretariat, Prudence Sebahizi, trade deficit can be resolved when African countries add value to their exported resources. Speaking at the ABSA-UPSA Law School Quarterly Banking Roundtable discussion, he opined that African countries should have a robust economic structure that will facilitate trade finance. “Most African countries are exporting unprocessed products, but import finished product which means they get less in what they are exporting in return. The solution is for us to add value to what we are producing,” he said. Commenting on intra-trading among African countries, he said it’s presently very low, adding there is the need for countries within the sub-region to trade among each other to address the issue confronting exchange rate fluctautions.
“The level of intra African trade is very low which is less than 20%. This means we import more than 80% of what we consume. By doing so, we are losing twice as a continent, Thus the value of our currencies is deprecaiting because of the many imports we’re doing”, he added.
Group calls for AfCFTA forum on railway (The Guardian, Nigeria)
A rail advocacy group, African Railway Roundtable, has called on the African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) to urgently convey an AfCFTA Railway Forum. Director of the group, Olawale Rasheed, said that the forum was imperative to address the problem of connectivity, adding that the ease of movement of goods and services is at the heart of common economic union and prosperity envisaged under AfCFTA. Media Officer, Dele Abdulahi, said it is curious that several discussions on AfCFTA excluded the significance of railway as a critical success factor, in continental coordination and interoperability. Here, it is not just about technical uniformity and alignment but also the standardisation of economic and operational rules and templates among member states.
Spotlight on Infrastructure Development in Africa at Expo 2020 (African Union)
A two-day high-level conference that was aimed at showcasing and mobilising support for strategic continental infrastructure and energy projects in Africa was held at Expo 2020, in Dubai, on 31st October and 1st November 2021, convened by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD).
The conference on Infrastructure Development in Africa at Expo 2020 featured high-level personalities and thought leaders from the continent, articulating the African vision for transformational infrastructure, while engaging stakeholders on the effective delivery of infrastructure and energy in Africa. “We believe that Africa’s better days lie ahead of us. Appropriate infrastructure is a prerequisite for implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). However, the lack of well-prepared and bankable infrastructure projects has been a major constraint. This is why we are working with AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB and other partners in the NEPAD Project Preparation Facility, encouraging strategic partnerships with the private sector,” Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, the AU Higher Representative on Infrastructure Development in Africa stated, during the opening session of the event.
Real gross domestic product growth in North Africa was largely negative in 2020, at -1.1% with a -5.1 percentage point drop over 2019, the African Development Bank’s 2021 edition of the North Africa Economic Outlook reports. Released on November 3, the report finds that in 2020, North African economies experienced three shocks: the Covid-19 pandemic, a collapse in oil prices and a steep drop in tourism. Growth was also cut short due, in part, to sharp contractions in the region’s main trading partners. This output loss was found to be less severe than projected on account of prompt interventions by governments to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
The report notes that the Covid-19 pandemic has markedly reduced North African countries’ resilience. The crisis has also significantly eroded fiscal space. Amid prospects for a protracted recovery in key sources of income for the region – oil and tourism – oil exporters faced a double impact brought about by lockdowns and severe oil market fluctuations. This was particularly the case for Libya.
Africa imported over $12 billion ICT services in 2018 - NEPC (Nairametrics)
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has highlighted trade in services as one of the major opportunities for export that can be exploited by Nigerian producers, as Africa imports over $12 billion worth of ICT services. The NEPC disclosed this in its “Opportunities in the Export Market” report published recently. The Council also highlighted the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as a beneficiary of the services trade with opportunities for borderless trade through e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile commerce).
“Exports in services is a $4.7 trillion a year market, accounting for 19% of the world’s global export market,” the report said. The report added that Africa imported over $12 billion worth of ICT services in 2018. “This is a huge opportunity for Nigeria under the AFCTA as 97 million new digital jobs will be created globally by 2025 of which 80% will be outsourced,” the report stated.
Africa loses N8.8tr yearly to 94% importation of pharmaceutical, medicinal needs (The Guardian, Nigeria)
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), yesterday, said Africa loses at least $16 billion (N8.8 trillion) yearly to 94 per cent importation of its pharmaceutical and medicinal needs. They also called for stronger legislation and empowerment to sanitise the drug distribution system in Nigeria. Former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the 94th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the PSN in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, tagged Garden City 2021, Odein Ajumogobia, tied the figure to a recent United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimate. He said: “This is a terrible indictment and highlights the need for research and policies that will promote increased growth, equitable distribution and retention, especially in the underserved North East and North West states.” The theme for the PSN conference is “COVID-19 Lessons: Broadening & Strengthening The Nigerian Pharmaceutical/Health Sector.”
The summit, which will be attended by various heads of African states and government, is set to be held on 23 November in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Egypt attaches great importance to assuming the presidency of the COMESA [for the first time since 2001], Madbouly said. COMESA was founded in December 1994 – to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) that had existed since 1981 – as an organisation of free independent sovereign states, which have agreed to cooperate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people. COMESA forms a major marketplace for both internal and external trading with 21 member states that have a total population of over 583 million, a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $805 billion, and a global export/import trade in goods worth a total of $324 billion.
Maputo Corridor offers importers new prospects (CAJ News Africa)
DP World Maputo, the supply chain logistics company, has opened new trade opportunities for South African commodity importers. It has developed and implemented a new and unique supply chain solution that provides importers of fertiliser, and other similar commodities, an effective and reliable option using the Maputo Corridor. The Maputo Corridor is a major trade corridor which connects the Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa with Maputo in Mozambique. Together with the Maputo Intermodal Container Depot (MICD), DP World Maputo has implemented a solution where transit import containers are unloaded at DP World Maputo’s container terminal, the cargo de-stuffed and cross docked into waiting tipper trucks at MICD.
The ECOWAS Commission organized the Sixth (6th) Regional Meeting on the ECOWAS Schedule of Commitments on Trade in Services in order to consider the ECOWAS Offer in the five (5) priority Services sectors under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Trade in Services. In a speech read on behalf of Mr. Tèi KONZI, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs & Free Movement, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade welcomed the Experts to the meeting. He highlighted the support provided by the ECOWAS Commission to its Member States to ensure their Schedules of Commitments on Trade in Services were in line with the negotiations modalities, as well as consolidating individual offers into an ECOWAS Schedule of Commitments.
In the past few years, there has been a rush to regulate the internet in Southern Africa, more so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020. Since then, a number of countries in the region, starting with South Africa, enacted regulations that criminalise the publication of falsehoods, a move that was replicated in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, among others. In addition, a meeting of SADC heads of government in Maputo, in August 2020, also made a resolution to take “pre-emptive measures against external interference, the impact of fake news and abuse of social media particularly in electoral processes”.
Africa courts EU for unused World Bank, IMF reserves (The East African)
African countries are courting European Union members to reallocate their unused reserves at the World Bank and the IMF towards supporting cash-strapped economies that are weighed down by debt and reeling from the effects of the pandemic. They say the reallocation, together with trade deals and an end to inequity — such as global vaccine distribution and certification — are critical to future relationships with Europe. “Financing of our economic recovery partly through the historic decision on the Special Drawing Rights would cement efforts to engage productively on the economic level,” said Monique Nsanzabaganwa, deputy chair of the African Union Commission, while presenting African governments’ sentiments to the AU-EU ministerial meeting in Kigali on October 26.
Commemoration of the “12th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security” (ADFNS) was marked by a virtual colloquium from 28 to 29 October under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC). This year’s celebration was under the theme “Rediscovering Our Local African Diets for Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition”. It was organised by the African Union Commission’s Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (DARBE), in conjunction with the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) and other stakeholders. Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the AUDA- NEPAD bemoaned the ceding of food production in the continent to foreign companies, even though Africa has the potential and capacity to take that lead, and called for a renewed concerted effort in the continent to help address the situation;
On 1 November 2021, the Republic of Uganda became the twenty sixth (26th) African Union (AU) member state to sign the Treaty for the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Mme. Cisse, Mariama Mohamed expressed her appreciation to the Republic of Uganda for the leadership in signing the Treaty for the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA). “The Commission continues to count on the Republic of Uganda’s leadership in accelerating the ratification of the AMA Treaty and calls on your leadership to mobilize other member states in your region to sign and ratify the Treaty,” she added.
The African Development Bank, the African Union Commission (AUC), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Thursday pledged to work more closely with governments to beef up land governance systems. In a joint declaration at the end of the 2021 Conference on Land Policy in Africa, the organizations pledged financial and technical assistance “to ensure that land governance and land policy processes in Africa are transparent, lucid and accessible and that state and indigenous systems are easily integrated.” The partners also pledged to work with practitioners in arts, cultutre and heritage to increase awareness and appreciation of land issues on the continent. The theme of the conference was “Land governance for safeguarding art, culture and heritage towards the Africa We Want.” The Rwanda government hosted this year’s event in a hybrid format, with participants gathered physically in Kigali and online.
Endless business opportunities for Bangladesh in Africa (Dhaka Tribune)
‘After Asia, African countries will be enjoying tremendous growth during this century’ As the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed economic growth in the European Union and North America, many suggest Bangladesh should be exploring the continent of Africa as the next export market. Abul Hossain, honorary consul of Uganda in Bangladesh and vice-president of Consular Corps in Bangladesh, expressed this view while talking to Dhaka Tribune in the capital recently. “After Asia, African countries will be enjoying tremendous growth during this century. Bangladeshi businessmen should tap the growing African markets that have a population of 100 crore,” said Hossain.
The Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum (Egypt State Information Service)
Under the patronage of the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADIA) and the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program (AATB) organized the Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo, from 3rd to 4th November 2021. At the outset, the Prime Minister delivered a welcoming speech to Dr. Fahd Al-Dosari, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and many economic and financial figures from the African and Arab regions, ambassadors, and representatives of Arab, regional and international funding bodies and organizations, participating in the forum, in which he expressed his happiness to attend this important forum, which seeks to strengthen the frameworks of Arab-African trade, and give a strong impetus to economic relations, thus contributing to the consolidation of relations between peoples.
COP 26 updates
Climate change is powering ever more extreme weather events and disrupting precipitation across the continent. People and economies will increasingly feel the impacts of climate change through water – as it floods homes and businesses, disrupts supply chains, reduces agricultural yields, and as communities are deprived of clean water. While negotiators at COP26 in Glasgow are focused on how to slash emissions rapidly enough to rein in climate change, the destructive impacts of a warmer world are here to stay. The recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report made it clear that these impacts will only get worse as dry areas become even drier and wet areas wetter. African countries are already struggling to cope with today’s increasingly uncertain climate. They are not prepared for a future of greater climate extremes.
What we need is rapid and massive investment in initiatives that build resilience and strengthen climate adaptation across the continent. At least 50% of global climate financing should be directed towards adaptation, mirroring what the African Development Bank Group has already done. A much greater share should be invested in the health of Africa’s freshwater ecosystems.
Funding Africa’s $2.8tr net-zero transition by 2050 a ‘pressing issue’ (Engineering News)
Funding Africa’s transition to net zero by 2050 is one of the most pressing issues that Africa and the world must address, PwC states in a new report that estimates the cost of such a transition to be about $2.8-trillion. The ’Africa Energy Review 2021’ calculates that $33-billion would be required yearly between 2020 and 2030 to place Africa on a path to a net-zero energy mix by 2050. Yearly costs would then rise substantially to $111-billion between 2030 and 2040 and to $142-billion between 2040 and 2050. Africa emitted only 1.62-million kilotons of carbon dioxide in 2020 against a global estimate of around 33-million kilotons and the continent accounts for only 3% of cumulative global emissions and less than 5% of the world’s yearly emissions. “Such investment levels are increasingly unaffordable for many African economies and increased reliance on international finance will be needed if progress is to be made towards sustainable access to affordable energy for all Africans,” PwC energy strategy and infrastructure head James Mackay said during a virtual release of the report’s findings.
In a bid to tackle the impact of extreme weather and climate change, the United Kingdom (UK) government has announced a £143.5million funding to support Nigeria and other African governments to roll-out critical adaptation projects. In a statement, the UK said the £143.5 million programmes to support African countries in adaption to the impact of extreme weather and changing climate include, “£20 million to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP); £42 million of adaptation allocations under the new Africa Regional Climate and Nature Programme (ARCAN); at least £22 million of premium financing support to help African countries pay for drought insurance; £19.5 million for the Shock Response Programme in the Sahel, including support to the World Bank to strengthen government social protection systems and its committed of about £40 million to the Climate Adaptation and Resilience research programme (CLARE) to support action-focused research to inform development in a changing climate in Africa.” Aside the above, the UK government said it has a new ‘Room to Run’ guarantee to the African Development Bank (AfDB) that is expected to unlock up to £1.45billion ($2billion) worth of new financing for projects across the continent, “half of which will help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change; doubled its international climate finance to £11.6 billion over five years – with a balance between adaptation and mitigation.”
The climate commitments of banks in Africa are clearly evolving. Al-Hamndou Dorsouma, Managing Director and Director of the Climate Change and Green Growth Department at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said in a statement released on June 30th, 2021, that the AfDB’s contribution to climate change-related investments quadrupled between 2016 and 2019 and are expected to reach 40% of the bank’s total investment by the end of 2021. “We are on track to mobilize the projected $25 billion between 2020 and 2025 to support investments to address climate change and foster green growth,” he continued. More broadly, the Joint Report on Climate Change Financing, released on June 30, 2021, outlines the contours. Investments by major multilateral development banks (MDBs) last year reached $66 billion, up from $61.6 billion in 2019. The report indicates that 58% of this amount ($38 billion) was spent in low- and middle-income economies, particularly in Africa. While in November 2020, Climate Funds reported that international finance mobilization to developing countries reached nearly $80 billion in 2018, with 25% of funds allocated to Africa.
Accelerating Africa’s green economy transition (Brookings)
The COP26 negotiations over policies to combat the global problem of climate change have highlighted the great need for global cooperation toward a green transition. Indeed, the recently released Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivers its starkest warning yet about climate change. The overarching takeaway from the climate accounting exercise is that limiting human-induced global warming requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions to at least net zero by 2050. The Paris Agreement of 2015, with an ambitious target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, has a conservative budget of 500 billion more metric tons of CO2 to be emitted to achieve the target. However, at the current rates of industrial emissions, it would take about 15 years to exhaust this budget. World leaders, including those from Africa, have a pressing task in reaching that goal. The burning question they face is: What is Africa’s role and what are the policy priorities for accelerating Africa’s green growth transition?
Uhuru warns on security toll from climate change (Business Daily)
Kenya will seek to amplify the impact of climate change on security during its tenure on the United Nations Security Council, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday in his address to world leaders at the climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. World leaders are meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to plan how to implement bold measures to avert catastrophic effects.
“We need to urgently implement bold mitigation and adaptation measures to avert the looming crisis, it is the least that we can do to bequeath a peaceful and sustainable planet to future generations,” the President told the summit attended by world heads of state and government, COP26 president Alok Sharma, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the host UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Kenya has developed a climate change action plan to scale up efforts to maintain low carbon emissions.
Sonam P Wangdi, chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, has expressed cautious optimism on the progress of negotiations following the World Leaders Summit, which took place during the first three days of the UN climate talks in Glasgow. However, he stated that overall progress to combat climate change has been “disappointing, and in a way also frightening. This is the 26th COP, emissions are still increasing, a commitment for US$100 billion per year was made more than a decade ago and it has not been delivered.”
Countries defined by the UN as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) make up this group, which is now being chaired by Bhutan. Speaking at a press conference on 3 November, Wangdi, who is also secretary of Bhutan’s National Environment Commission, called for the biggest emitters to “stop skirting responsibility” and for ambitions to be ramped up in order to halve global emissions by 2030. In response to the announcement of new net-zero targets, most notably by India, Wangdi said: “The pledges are one thing. We would like to see the evidence, which comes in the form of new updated NDCs… Until we have those it will be very difficult to verify or authenticate [the ambition of the announcements].”
The production, distribution and consumption of food uses about a third of the world’s energy and is responsible for about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, making its decoupling from fossil fuels a priority in the fight against climate change. A new report launched today on the side lines of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow explores the relationship between the world’s agri-food systems and renewable energy and argues that solutions are within our grasp.
The report, Renewable energy for agri-food systems – Towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement – shows that there are many opportunities to implement renewable energy solutions across agri-food systems,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said in a video message to participants in which he also stressed the importance of making innovative technologies accessible to small farmers. QU was joined for the launch by Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.
As governments face the challenge of delivering on their net-zero by 2050 commitments, a new OECD report says they must focus in parallel on reducing and managing the inevitable risk of further losses and damages from climate change. The Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages report says the risks of further impacts on economies, ecosystems, businesses and people are unavoidable and will increase with the extent of warming. These risks are unevenly distributed across countries and people, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable, which is a compelling reason to act now.
Countries should resist raising government support for fossil fuels in response to the global surge in energy prices and the economic impacts of the pandemic, according to the OECD and IEA. Instead, given the existential threat of climate change and the need for a green recovery, they should accelerate investment in sustainable energy infrastructure and the creation of green jobs, as well as meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 7, to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Despite a 2009 pledge by G20 countries to gradually phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, major economies still support the production and consumption of coal, oil and natural gas with hundreds of billions of US dollars each year, money that would be better spent developing low-carbon alternatives and improving energy efficiency. As well as encouraging fossil fuel consumption, fossil fuel subsidies are an ineffective way to support low-income households compared to targeted benefits and tend to favour wealthier households that use more fuel and energy. In addition, fiscal burdens of subsidies reduce the room for adequate policy actions.
The 2021 edition of the ‘Global Risk Report’ by the World Economic Forum highlighted environmental risks such as extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, the loss of biodiversity and failure to respond to climate change as some of the top risks facing the world in the years ahead. Another recent report on global climate change and global warning, this time released by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), meanwhile, highlighted that in spite of the urgency of climate change, its challenges and the state of current commitments from countries around the world, “it is not enough to prevent rising temperatures”. Referencing both of these reports, South African mobile operator Vodacom Group property and facilities managing executive Shobana Singh lamented the worsening situation, which, according to previous forecasts, will see an estimated temperature increase of 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels.
Coal fueled the industrial revolution but filled the skies with smog. Today, coal continues to be the world’s most dominant source of energy and a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet. If not phased out before 2040, coal will push the world closer to climate change catastrophe, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has warned. For these and other reasons, countries from Indonesia to Ukraine are moving away from coal. But in 2021, coal use is rebounding strongly from a decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many developing countries are facing severe energy shortages that jeopardize their economic recovery and disproportionately impact the poor. These factors and the challenges associated with closing coal assets and reviving coal-dependent communities continue to slow the transition to clean energy.
“Transitioning away from coal in the electricity sector is the single most important step to limiting global warming,” said Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships, at a recent discussion at the World Bank’s Annual Meetings.
Trade Update: Time to shorten the supply chain (Logistics Management)
Because international trade has become less “globalized” compared to a few years ago, logistics managers must devote more scrutiny to regulatory compliance and unexpected penalties. This is the conclusion drawn from speaking with a number of industry analysts who note that global trade has tripled in the 21st century, from $7 trillion to $21 trillion—along with the complexity of logistical international networks. “Many industries have become capacity-constrained,” says Kamala Raman, vice president and analyst with the Gartner supply chain practice. “Some of this is driven by availability of material, some is driven by labor shortages in both manufacturing and transportation, and some of it is driven by changing quarantine conditions around the globe as well as the general inability of countries around the world to operate at a pre-pandemic normal.”
On 4 November 2021, the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, spoke at a Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) themed “Towards sustainable, resilient COVID-19 recovery: Bridging the LLDCs’ trade gap”. The Ministerial Meeting discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LLDCs and the examples of best practice for promoting international trade, trade facilitation and connectivity, as well as the path towards a resilient COVID-19 recovery.
Secretary General Mikuriya highlighted the WCO’s contribution to the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs and the support provided to LLDCs in a number of areas, such as setting standards for transit and other modern border procedures, deployment of technology as well as human resource development. Dr. Mikuriya noted the steady increase in LLDCs’ accessions to the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention with 70% of LLDCs now being Contracting Parties to this important international convention. He provided information on LLDCs’ best practices in transit and trade facilitation and elaborated on the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the importance of automation of Customs processes towards a truly paperless Customs environment and contactless clearance and the need to facilitate and secure e-commerce.
Brave New World: Tracking Trade from Space (IMF Blog)
When the onset of the pandemic drastically changed economic conditions across the globe, policymakers with access to real-time economic data were much better placed to make quick, informed policy decisions. A new world of big data is now unfolding, where satellites orbiting in space are helping to inform economic decisions—both for industry and policymakers. New IMF staff research shows that some of the large data gaps routinely faced by small fragile states could be filled using satellite data. Specifically, trade volumes can be measured and tracked in real time, which is a critical input for policy decisions.
The world food price barometer surged to a new peak reaching its highest level since July 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported today. The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 133.2 points in October, up 3 percent from September, rising for a third consecutive month.
The FAO Cereal Price Index in October increased by 3.2 percent from the previous month, with world wheat prices rising by 5 percent amid tightening global availabilities due to reduced harvests in major exporters, including Canada, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. International prices of all other major cereals also increased month-on-month.
In September the World Bank announced it was “discontinuing” its “Doing Business” report, which ranks countries on the ease of opening and operating a company. It cited the outcome of an investigation that found the World Bank had changed the rankings under pressure of funding. This wasn’t the first time the rankings had come in for criticism. A 2008 internal evaluation report highlighted their lack of transparency, while in 2018 the Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, resigned decrying data manipulation. In truth, the rankings had for some time faced a credibility issue. My colleagues and I saw this first hand. And there were a number of reasons for it.