tralac Daily News
“South Africa is a leader in eco-friendly tourism” (African Business)
Tourism has suffered a number of setbacks in the previous couple of years, with the impact of Covid and the near collapse of the national flag carrier. But do you sense there is some light at the end of the tunnel? We are seeing more signs of recovery and confidence in our markets as some key source markets are opening up to South Africa, with airline partners once again resuming routes to South Africa. Key source markets for South Africa, such as the rest of the African continent with USA, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UAE, having already lifted their restrictions. We therefore expect international travel to pick up soon. We recently welcomed the announcement by the British government that South Africa has been removed from their red list.
RSA citrus exports to EU under threat (Fruitnet)
South African and European Union representatives are in intense discussions to alleviate the impact of a steep rise in reported Citrus Black Spot (CBS) and False Codling Moth (FCM) interceptions on citrus shipped to the EU. The South African industry is extremely concerned about the fallout from these interceptions, which comes at the end of a very difficult shipping season. The campaign was marked by delays because of the riots in some South African regions in July, inefficiencies in ports and the systems of the Transnet organisation being hacked with valuable information lost.
eon Joubert, Special CGA envoy, market access and EU matters, said it was clear that South Africa would find it hard to control those unprecedented challenges with its existing extensive CBS and FCM mitigation programme, which has cost growers billions of rand since it was introduced to comply with EU requirements. “We need to safeguard our exports to the EU,” he said. “It is clearly time for cool heads on both sides of the ocean. “Our growers will have to revisit their compliance programme and submit new proposals to the EU on how to deal with this kind of situation,” Jounert continued. “At the same the EU and its members have to understand that we have a proud record of responsible actions and that we have faced a really unusual year.
South African High Commissioner to Pakistan M Madikiza Monday called upon the businesspeople to exploit full potential of bilateral trade between South Africa and Pakistan. Addressing a function at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here, he said “our struggle to enhance business-to-business relations was stalled with the outbreak of Covid-19, but now efforts were under way to resume full-fledged business activities between the two countries. He appreciated the Look Africa policy of Pakistan and said that in this connection, joint commission was playing a pivotal role. He suggested short- and long-term strategies to bring the youth of both countries closer to each other. “It will further enhance our bilateral trade on a sustained basis,” he added.
Kenya, DRC launch trade mission to boost bilateral trade (Kenya News Agency)
Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in partnership with Equity Group have come together to organise and facilitate a 15-day Trade Mission to DRC from November 29 to December 13 as part of sustained efforts to promote regional trade and spur business growth. The Trade Mission, which expects to attract over 200 investors and business participants from Kenya, and a similar number from DRC as well as the public, will include trade exhibitions, business forums, and site visits in four of DRC’s largest cities – Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma, and Mbuji Mayi.
KenGen’s plan to advance renewable energy in Kenya (ESI-Africa)
Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is accelerating the deployment of renewable energy in Kenya to combat the adverse effects of climate change.
Speaking during the Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment panel discussion at the COP26 World Leaders Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Managing Director and CEO of KenGen, Rebecca Miano said the company is committed to the fight against climate change and is supporting the Government of Kenya’s ambition to achieve 100% utilisation of renewable energy by 2030.
“Our future project pipeline, which is mostly green, includes geothermal, wind, solar and some hydro. The projects will be implemented in phases with the first expected to be commissioned by end of this year,” said Miano.
Zambia’s revenue agency on Monday said it has started implementing a new mechanism aimed at refunding firms Value Added Tax (VAT) in a more accountable, transparent, and predictable way. Topsy Sikalinda, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Corporate Communications Manager said the new mechanism was aimed at stimulating the growth of the business sector especially the small and medium scale enterprises following complaints of the slow refund process in the past.
Mr. Ali Amour, Chairman, Zanzibar National Chambers of Commerce (ZNCC), Mrs. Maureen Mba, Head Mansa Business, Afreximbank joined by Mr. Hamad Hamad, Executive Director of ZNCC, Ms. Farida Mukasa Kasujja, Manager Client Relations East Africa Afreximbank and Mr. Adrian Njau, EABC Trade & Policy Advisor officially launched the African Due Diligence Platform in Zanzibar. The Chief Guest, Mr. Ali Amour, Chairman, Zanzibar National Chambers of Commerce (ZNCC) said “the AfCFTA is landmark Agreement by Africa, for Africa and Africans”
He emphasized the beginning point of trading is establishing trust between buyers and sellers, financiers and borrowers, the public and private sectors.
He stated that the EAC bloc should boost the industrial productive capacity and urged for more industrial parks to be established in Zanzibar to boost exports to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This report presents the Bank Group’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Tanzania 2021-2025 based on the aid effectiveness principles of ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results and mutual accountability. The CSP is aligned with the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 (TDV-2025) as well as with the strategic priorities set out in the respective Five-Year Development Plans (FYDPs) for Tanzania mainland and for the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar.
The push to rejuvenate the manufacturing sector and leverage it to force Nigeria’s industrialisation and global competitiveness is gathering momentum. And on the driver’s seat of the galvanised effort to reset the sector and, ultimately, make it the economy’s mainstay is the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). At the behest of MAN, a three-day event organised in Abuja as part of activities to mark its 50th anniversary brought together experts and technocrats from diverse sectors to examine issues holding the sector down and articulate policy suggestions to change the sector’s narrative.
Nigeria Records $10.1bn Investment Announcement (Economic Confidential)
The Federal Government at the weekend said the economy recorded $10.1billiom investment announcement in the first half of this year. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who spoke at Lagos International Trade Fair, held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the $10.1billion announcement was a-100 per cent increase over that of last year. He said: “The year 2020 was challenging for all economies but Nigeria is coming back strong. In the first half of this year, investment announcement was $10.1 billion. And increase of 100 per cent of the year 2020. Investors from Europe, China, Morocco and the United Kingdom are making strong commitments and this administration is working tirelessly to ensure these commitments turn into projects that positively affect our nation.
To push our trade activities and prospects, we must support locally manufactured goods. He said trade plays a significant role in the economic growth of a nation intent on building wealth and improving its foreign reserves position. “Trade is central to ending poverty, raising peoples’ standards of living, accelerating economic growth and improving productivity. It is a key driver of GDP growth, and, of course, employment creation,” Adebayo said.
Malawi’s economy has been severely affected by the pandemic and debt burden. While the daily COVID-19 positive cases remain relatively low, recovery is gradual. Real GDP growth is projected to pick up to 2.2 percent in 2021 from 0.9 percent in 2020, helped by a good harvest.
Substantial development and social spending needs, a high debt burden from the past, and limited budget support financing are continuing to contribute to sustained fiscal and current account deficits.
Urgent needs are to address the humanitarian situation, strengthen public sector governance, restore debt sustainability, and rebuild fiscal and external buffers. Support from development partners will be critical.
Leveraging Private Sector Engagement for the Africa we Want (African Union)
To set Africa firmly on the path towards economic and social transformation, private sector engagement is crucial. The African Union, has throughout the years worked closely with the private sector to define the great contribution and significant role the private sector plays in driving the economic development Agenda of the continent. The private sector in Africa accounts for over 80 per cent of total production, two thirds of total investment, and three fourths of lending within the economy. The sector also provides jobs for about 90 per cent of the employed working-age population. Further, Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) are the backbone of the African private sector accounting for over 90% of businesses in Africa and translating to 63% of employment in low-income countries while contributing to over 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
Although trends in intra-African trade point toward progress, trade within Africa remains very low in proportion to total global trade, highlighting the need for enhanced intra-African trade. The tides however look promising with the launch of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). The AFCFTA is expected to increase intra-African Trade by over 50 per cent, and will boost the continent’s GDP by more than $40 billion, and its exports by more than $55 billion. To promote private sector engagement, the African Union has implemented programmes that seek to form strategic partnerships with the private sector through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) engagements, including developing strategic partnerships with African Philanthropists to support the implementation of key development initiatives at a regional and continental levels. Within the various pathways of the PPP, the AU seeks a more efficient and coherent engagement in driving the implementation of Africa’s development framework, Agenda 2063. In so doing, the AU is not only acknowledging the vital role the sector plays as a key driver of sustainable and inclusive economic growth, but also as efforts to create an enabling and conducive environment for the private sector players to set up thriving businesses in the continent. The success of the private sector landscape positively feeds into its role as a catalyst for the continent’s industrial development and broader transformation.
AfCFTA: Bridging fault lines in African transport policy (New Telegraph)
ACFTA and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) still have a long way to go for effective implementation as the AU needs some institutional reforms to ensure that this plausible paper initiative becomes a reality.
The African Union is gradually making great strides towards achieving and making sense of the wisdom behind this famous adage in its efforts to liberate Africa from colonial demarcations. Apart from the physical barriers put in place by Africa’s colonisers, there are other intangible barriers, which have been existing and still continue to be great hindrance to Africa’s emergence if not brought down. The African Union’s recent actions of putting in place an African Continental Free Trade Area – AfCFTA and the Single African Air Transport Market – SAATM are giant steps towards recognising the over 1.3 billion inhabitants in the continent as one people, one market, one geographical space and one nation, provided Africans see and reason in this together.
Address barriers to unlock AfCFTA benefits for SMEs (The Citizen)
Members of the business community yesterday warned that the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will not materialise unless some pending trade barriers were addressed. The impediments to trade include lack of harmonisation of standards, failure to sign the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the export of raw commodities. The list also includes visa and work permit requirements, multiple testing agencies, unnecessary roadblocks and random checks along transport corridors/roads and high cost of cross-border trade that may represent barriers to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The East African Business Council (EABC) trade and policy advisor, Mr Adrian Njau, said for AfCFTA to be successful, countries must address more non-tariff barriers and build regional value chains.
Adesina, Okonjo-Iweala, lament Africa’s handicap in crisis response (BusinessAMLive)
Africa’s global citizens: Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB); Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of World Trade Organisation (WTO), and Vera Songwe, UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA); and Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, chief executive officer of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), have raised a joint lamentation for the continent with respect to its response capacity to the climate change vagaries and Covid-19 health emergency.
The African global citizens saw disparity evident in efforts for Africa to address the climate crisis as well as the unequal nature of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Africa is sorely treated with apparent scant by the Global North.
Whereas Western economies have mustered over $10 trillion, or 30 percent of their combined GDP to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, African countries have managed to spend the equivalent of one percent of their GDP to tackle the ravaging virus.
The 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.
The second pillar is to align financial markets with the Paris agreement’s goals; insisting that “mainstreaming the impact of climate change in investment decisions is critical, and judicious deployment of private capital in green sectors will transform African countries and developing economies in general”.
The third proposed pillar by the threesome, is to provide the significant resources Africa needs to enable its economies to adapt to global warming. Climate change is costing the continent $7 billion – $15 billion annually and threatens both food security and the use of hydropower. But sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for less than 4 percent of global GHG emissions, receives just 5 percent of total climate finance outside the OECD.
They have called on the newly formed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to provide an impetus for hardwiring commitment to low-carbon development. We must recognize Africa’s specific needs, acknowledge the continent’s vulnerability to climate change, and identify the regions and communities where its consequences have caused the most harm.
From 25 to 29 October 2021, the East African Community (EAC) convened a meeting of its Sectoral Committee on Customs to discuss a wide range of issues related to Customs and trade policies. The meeting was held at the EAC Secretariat Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, and was attended by all the six EAC Partner States. In the framework of the ongoing cooperation between the EAC and the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), the EAC invited representatives of the Programme to join the meeting.
During the first three days of the meeting, senior officials from the EAC Customs administrations gathered to examine technical aspects of the issues included in the agenda. Of particular importance were discussions related to the preparation of the new version of the Common External Tariff (CET), digitalization projects such as an electronic tariff platform and a duty remission scheme management system, as well as implementation of advance ruling programmes, capacity building activities and other modernization initiatives. Outcomes of the meeting were subsequently presented to Commissioners General of Customs who convened during the last two days to examine and approve the report by the senior officials.
There is a need for a strong and mutually beneficial cooperation with partners that share the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) vision of a prosperous, peaceful and stable Region, envisioned in the SADC Vision 2050 and implemented through the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030), the SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr Elias Magosi, has underscored.
In his discussion with the Egypt Ambassador, H.E. Magosi underscored the need to accelerate Africa’s economic integration to facilitate movement of people, goods and services through the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enhance economic integration and increase intra-African trade. The Ambassador expressed interest in exploring the opportunity of strengthening cooperation with the SADC Region, among others, through the expected Cape to Cairo Road or Pan-African Highway project which is expected to achieve land connectivity and increase trade exchange with African countries.
COMESA Competition Commission Unveils Draft Guidelines (Business Post Nigeria)
The COMESA Competition Commission published draft guidelines to the COMESA Competition Regulations, 2004 (Regulations) for public comment on October 19, 2021. The guidelines aim to provide clarity on the commission’s policies and procedures and to foster transparency and certainty in the administration and enforcement of the Regulations. These draft guidelines are based on international best practices and policy approaches of key regulators, including the European Commission. They address three fundamental areas of regulatory enforcement – the determination of fines and administrative penalties, settlement procedures and hearing procedures.
ECOWAS Ministers of Finance are expected to converge in the city of Accra- Ghana Friday, 12th November, 2021 to examine and approve the various Supplementary Act and the Regulations as recommended by the experts and Directors General of Customs for submission to the Council of Ministers in December 2021. This acts are meant to enhance the fluidity of intra-community trade and strengthen the Customs union across the region.
With the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) on 1st January 2015 in member states following the Declaration of the Authority of Heads of State and Government at its 46th Ordinary Session held in Abuja on 15th of December, 2014, this marked an important milestone in the establishment of a Customs union in the ECOWAS region. This is in consonance with the provisions of Article 3 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty on the establishment of a common market in the Community. With the implementation of the CET in 14 ECOWAS member states and Mauritania and the advent of the African continental Free Trade agreement (AfCFTA) the need to reform other equally important trade facilitation and Customs instruments to make the ECOWAS region a strong and economically competitive community has become imperative. These trade and customs instruments relate to the regulation and automation of transit procedure in member states and the reforms and management of intra-community trade in “made-in-ECOWAS” goods among others.
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is delighted to welcome the Republic of Niger as its 33rd member state, which takes our membership of African countries up to 60%.
“It is my pleasure to welcome the Republic of Niger as a member of AFC”, said Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC. “The membership of Niger is a significant milestone as it completes the membership of all countries in West Africa. This will be an important contributor to integrating AFC’s activities in the region and making headway in the intra-Africa trade and logistics system. AFC will continue to bring its wealth of experience and technical expertise to deliver critical infrastructure required to support the development and industrialization of the country especially in these challenging times”.
DP World Launches E-Commerce Platform DUBUY.com in Kenya (Government of Dubai)
Trade enabler, DP World, today announces the launch of its global wholesale e-commerce platform DUBUY.com in Kenya. This latest expansion of DUBUY.com follows its successful launch in Rwanda earlier this year, where the platform has become a major gateway for trade in the East Africa region. DUBUY.com is an innovative online marketplace that will help unlock access to global markets for Kenyan businesses, with fulfilment through DP World’s worldwide ports and logistics network. With eight existing terminals on the African continent and three more in development, DP World is creating a strategic trading gateway into East Africa.
Whether looking to trade internationally, regionally or within the domestic market, the combination of DUBUY.com’s advanced technology and DP World’s physical infrastructure offers a secure and reliable way for organisations in Kenya to develop, expand and crucially, improve supply chain connectivity and resilience as the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also solve some of the key challenges facing the growth of e-commerce in Africa, including reliable fulfilment, secure financial transactions and the movement of goods.
To support universal and affordable broadband access in Africa, IFC has partnered with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand data center capacity and the rollout of fiber-optic cable on the continent. The partnership with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Africa’s leading independent fiber and digital services provider, aims to increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and to support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.
“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming how people, businesses, and governments communicate, transact, and access information and services. By working with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we can help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy, creating new opportunities for growth and jobs. This is an essential element for Africa’s economic transformation and building back better,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.
West Africa: Mango interceptions reduced by 57% at EU borders (FreshPlaza.com)
The project to support the regional plan to manage and control fruit flies in West Africa (PLMF) has helped reduce by 57% the interceptions of mangos at the European borders, according to Salifou Ousseini, executive director of the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Food and Agriculture (ARAA). The PLMF also contributed to increasing by more than 40% the mango exports from the ECOWAS region, as indicated by Salifou Ousseini during an annual regional workshop to assess and program the project “Innovative Regional Fruit Fly Management System in West Africa” (SyRIMAO). “After four years of effective implementation between 2015 and 2019, this project has achieved very significant results, especially with the reduction by 57% of mango interceptions at the EU borders and the increase of more than 40% of mango exports from the ECOWAS region.”
The Treaty for the Establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) entered into force as of 5th November 2021, thirty (30) days after the deposit of the 15th instrument of ratification, on the 5th of October 2021, by the Republic of Cameroon at the African Union Commission (Article 38, AMA Treaty). “The African Union Commission celebrates and welcomes this great milestone that opens a new chapter for harmonization and regulation of the African pharmaceutical landscape, across the continent and the efforts to improve weak regulatory systems,” said H.E. Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, who has been leading advocacy efforts towards the establishment of AMA.
To date, seventeen (17) member states of the African Union (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Zimbabwe) have ratified the Treaty for the Establishment of the African Medicines Agency and deposited the legal instrument of ratification to the Commission.
COP 26 updates
CoP26: Contradictions dominate first Glasgow draft, fossil fuel cut not considered (Down to Earth Magazine)
Draft identifies global Net Zero as one of the possible elements for inclusion under Glasgow outcome; experts call it a bogus claim The presidency of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has identified global Net Zero as one of the “possible elements” for inclusion under Glasgow outcome, likely called Glasgow breakthroughs.
“The draft includes agendas raised by different parties, but it will be difficult to minimise the contradictions that are already there. It mentions the urgency to keep global temperature rise within 1.5°C, as well the goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050. We need to see which part of the wish list becomes operative in final agreed draft, if there is one, and which part remains in the body of the statement,” said a negotiation expert.
Negotiations over the rules governing international emissions trading remained in deadlock Nov. 8 as the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow entered its second and final week.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is one of the unresolved elements of the “rulebook” which will set out the terms of how governments can trade emissions reductions to help meet climate targets. “The Article 6 negotiations under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) came to an end on Saturday with Parties still divided on numerous issues,” the International Emissions Trading Association said in a note to members Nov. 7. The UK COP26 Presidency has asked SBSTA delegates to complete their work in time for cleaner versions of the draft text to be passed up to ministers on Nov. 8 when the Parties to the Paris Agreement reconvene, according to IETA. However, even a fresh version of the negotiating texts on the morning of Nov. 6 could not unlock entrenched positions, the group said.
South Africa will not be signing the pledge to move away from coal that was established on the sidelines of the COP26 climate crisis negotiations under way in Glasgow, Scotland, the Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy said.
The minister told Daily Maverick in Glasgow that the country had not taken part in the pledge signed by 40 nations and institutions to end coal financing by the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for poorer nations. “South Africa has not signed the move away from coal pledge. Our position in negotiations is that any decisions need to be made in the process of formal negotiations through the convention. “And I think that we would be worried about situations where there’s an increase in tendency to set up platforms and pledges that are outside of the negotiation process. We think that it disadvantages developing countries,” Creecy said.
The African Union Commission (AUC) through the African Energy Commission (AFREC) hosted a high-level online side event at the COP26, held under the theme: “Opportunities and Challenges for African Energy Transition: What will it take for Africa to reach net-zero emissions’’? The meeting called for bold measures related to opportunities and challenges facing Africa, to accelerate actions towards the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In her keynote address, H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission underscored that it is in the best interest of Africa to join global efforts, to transition towards Net-Zero emissions, in order to mitigate future impacts of climate change on the continent and also reduce the costs of adaptation. ‘‘The availability of abundant renewable energy resources on the continent such as hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal and bio-energy can transform Africa’s energy sector to modern and sustainable energy through both grid and off-grid systems. These resources offer opportunities to accelerate clean energy access on the continent through energy transition and especially factoring natural gas as an energy transition fuel for power and clean cooking’’, She stressed.
African countries will rely heavily on fossils fuels like natural gas in the energy transition amid fears that security of energy supply may be threatened amid lackluster financing and pressure from developing countries to fast-track their transformation, energy ministers said at a conference in Dubai on Nov. 8.
“When we say energy transition it does not exactly apply to Africa,” Amani Abou-Zeid, commissioner for infrastructure and energy of the African Union Commission, told the Africa Oil Week conference. “Our agenda is access to reliable and affordable energy.”
African countries want the global community and investors in particular to exploit their growing gas resources to be used as a transition fuel, ministers told Africa Oil Week. “In addition to working to reduce emissions, we need support of investors because we need to exploit gas and we need more financing for that,” Senegal’s Minister of Petroleum and Energies Aissatou Sophie Gladima said.
How to make global trade green without hurting developing nations (Business Standard)
Steel, cement and fertilisers are all major exports of developing countries, and their production is highly polluting. Should rich countries impose a carbon border tax to penalise emissions by these industries in developing countries, hopefully encouraging them to adopt greener technologies? Or will it merely
UN Unveils New Finance Mechanism to Boost Climate Action (Alliance for Hydromet Development)
On Finance Day at COP26, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the creation of the Systematic Observations Finance Facility (SOFF). This new finance mechanism will set the foundation to boost climate action globally and will contribute to achieving one of the main goals of COP26 – to urgently scale-up climate finance to support developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts. The SOFF was created to address the long-standing problem of missing weather and climate observations from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. It will strengthen the international response to climate change by filling the data gaps that limit our understanding of the climate. These gaps affect our capacity to predict and adapt to extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves.
Financing a global climate plan (UNCTAD)
The jury is still out on whether world leaders are ready to turn words into actions at COP26. At stake is life as we’ve known it for millennia. The recent IPCC report is unequivocal. Many of the climatic changes we are seeing around us are irreversible. We can still avert the worst-case scenarios with ambitious and dedicated decarbonization measures, but more extreme weather events and persistent environmental stress are now inevitable. The bad news is that no country is really prepared. The pandemic could have been met with a coordinated global response, to preserve lives and livelihoods, but instead revealed the frailty of global governance. As a consequence, health systems are again under stress in several countries and economic recovery is pushing parts of the world further behind, threatening to preserve and intensify the deep divisions in our world and undermining resilience to future shocks. Far from building back better, this type of response ushers in a new normal of recuring and reinforcing health, environmental and economic crises.
The good news is that we still have time to change. The pandemic has been a brutal learning experience, but we can use it to build a different future. In the Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2021, UNCTAD calls for more effort on climate adaptation and a transformative approach based on scaling up public investment to adapt to existing and future threats and to leverage private investment towards sustainable development, green industrial policies to diversify economies and create good jobs, and a new vision of multilateral cooperation to empower that approach.
Counting carbon in the food export business (Trade for Development News)
Climate change is influencing the way consumers demand food. “Food miles” was an early expression of consumer power with farmers and campaigners in Europe and the US in the 2000s, promoting the idea that the distance a product travels from farm to the consumer contributes significantly to the overall carbon footprint of a food product. The concept caused alarm for exporters in developing countries who are situated great distances from their export markets. In 2007, Soil Association, a leading UK organic certifier, announced that it was considering banning the certification of organic products that were airfreighted into the UK. Research carried out at the time showed that several thousands of African families were at risk of losing income if obstacles were placed to these premium price markets. After a consultation, the certifier decided against the idea, recognizing the benefits of trade for small-scale farmers in developing countries.
Agricultural expansion drives almost 90 percent of global deforestation – an impact much greater than previously thought, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said when releasing the first findings of its new Global Remote Sensing Survey today. Deforestation is the conversion of forest to other land uses, such as agriculture and infrastructure. Worldwide, more than half of forest loss is due to conversion of forest into cropland, whereas livestock grazing is responsible for almost 40 percent of forest loss, according to the new study. The new data also confirms an overall slowdown in global deforestation while warning that tropical rainforests, in particular, are under high pressure from agricultural expansion.
Targeted action in agriculture could have a massive impact on climate change, according to a joint brief by the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) presented at the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow. The mitigation potential of crop and livestock activities, including soil carbon sequestration and better land management, is estimated at 3 to 7 percent of total anthropogenic emissions by 2030. The potential economic value of mitigating these emissions could amount to US$ 60 billion to US$ 360 billion, the two institutions say.
“Agriculture must become the focus of a global coalition for carbon neutrality and we need to support both mitigation and adaptation. We must enable smallholder farmers to adapt and to benefit economically through the provision of environmental services,” said Mohamed Manssouri, Director of FAO’s Investment Centre. “Now is the time to grasp this vital opportunity to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration, while restoring biodiversity, supporting health and nutrition and generating new business opportunities through food and land-use systems.”
The food supply chain is on course to overtake farming and land use as the largest contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the agri-food system in many countries, due to rapid growth driven by food processing, packaging, transport, retail, household consumption, waste disposal and the manufacturing of fertilizers, according to a new study led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Factors unrelated to on-farm activities and land-use changes already account for more than half of the carbon dioxide emissions from agri-food systems in advanced regions and their share has more than doubled over the past three decades in developing countries.
Strengthening government efficiency, empowering households and businesses, and reducing future risks by improving spatial planning and natural coastal protection are some of the key recommendations to boost the Caribbean’s ability to bounce back from shocks according to a new World Bank flagship report. The report, 360° Resilience: A Guide to Prepare the Caribbean for a New Generation of Shocks, also concluded that the genuine progress of one of the world’s most natural hazard-prone regions in improving its resilience has so far often failed to produce inclusive economic growth.
India, S Africa ask EU to break deadlock on Covid drugs, vax (Times of India)
After weeks of impasse, India and South Africa have asked the European Union to come up with a solution to break the deadlock on a TRIPS waiver for Covid drugs and vaccines, instead of merely blocking the proposal, aimed at ensuring people in the poor and developing countries are adequately protected from the pandemic.
Indian officials told TOI that EU has come to the negotiating table in recent weeks to engage on a possible way out with sources in Geneva indicating that the trading bloc may come around to agreeing to limiting the flexibility to patent waiver only for vaccines.
The India-South Africa proposal, which has now been backed by over 100 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), seeks to provide patent, copyright and other IPR waivers for medical devices, therapeutics as well as vaccines.
In line with a 2012 Decision on notification procedures for quantitative restrictions, members inform the WTO of their trade prohibitions and restrictions on a biennial basis. Although QRs are generally prohibited under GATT Article XI:1, they may be allowed as exceptions in a limited number of circumstances. These include measures which are necessary to protect human, plant and animal health or to protect public morals, and measures relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources.
The improved database makes it easier for the user to access information contained in the QR notifications and also gives the possibility of generating charts directly through the platform.
“The revisions I am putting forward are based on all our latest collective work, with all proposals, textual suggestions and discussions informing my thinking” the chair said. “The members’ call for me to produce this kind of a revision was to put us in as good a position as possible for the clause-by-clause discussion, such that we can have a very focused discussion during the short time left before MC12.”
Held as scheduled for four consecutive years, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) has become a window for observing the trend of China’s opening up. It fully embodies China’s consistent attitude of supporting the multilateral trading system and globalization, and vividly sends a positive signal to oppose protectionism and to maintain an open world economy. With the coronavirus continuing to spread, the world economic recovery has a bumpy road ahead. Restrictive measures and border closures triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a catastrophic impact on global trade. In particular, many developing countries are facing more severe challenges than the developed due to their fragile economic structure, deep dependence on the export of primary products, and lack of resilience and vitality for economic recovery. In this context, the ongoing 4th CIIE not only demonstrates China’s determination to continue to open its market to the rest of the world, but also shows China’s goodwill gesture to share its achievements and provide equal opportunities for exhibitors from other developing countries to compete on the same stage with those from the developed world.
US finally reopening borders after 20 months (Eyewitness News)
The ban, imposed by former President Donald Trump in early 2020 and upheld by his successor Joe Biden, has been widely criticized and become emblematic of the upheavals caused by the pandemic.