tralac Daily News
Sugar cane growers call for sugar tax to be scrapped (Engineering News)
Industry association the South African Canegrowers has called on Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to scrap the Health Promotion Levy (HPL) – also called the sugar tax – to enable the Sugar Industry Value Chain Masterplan to succeed. In June 2021, a study commissioned by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) showed that, in the first year of its implementation, the sugar tax contributed to 16 621 jobs losses, a R653-million decline in investment into the economy, and a R1.19-billion decline in the sugar industry’s contribution to the South Africa’s gross domestic product. Cumulatively, the tax cost South Africa more than R2-billion, the association said on November 10.
Kenya charts new roadmap to tap blue economy resources (Business Daily)
Kenya has received a major boost in harnessing its blue economy resources after the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) committed itself to work with the government in the next three years to come with better ways to exploit the maritime sector. During that period, Kenya is expected to complete its blue economy strategy which will detail how the country will exploit its untapped marine resources both in the inland and offshore waters.
Sweden’s government is supporting IGAD with a funding of $5 million for three years to improve the governance of the blue economy in Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.
Aviation sector at 90pc of pre-Covid levels, says PS (Business Daily)
Kenya’s aviation market has picked up to 90 percent of pre-Covid levels as the sector records steady growth in air travel following the disruptive effects of Covid-19. Principal Secretary for Transport Joseph Njoroge said the sector is now recording an encouraging improvement in traffic. “In Kenya our domestic market is vibrant and we are at 90 percent compared to the levels in 2019. International traffic has also picked up to 71 percent,” said Mr Njoroge. The PS said the vaccination drive has enhanced the international traffic movements especially in Europe and Middle East
“Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the entire aviation sector including airlines, airports, regulatory and air navigation agencies, security agencies, commercial and retail operators and travelers,” said KAA managing director Alex Gitari. “Having witnessed signs of steady recovery in the industry, this event presents us with a platform to mobilise stakeholders from across our airports to continue with the seemingly tireless efforts in fighting the pandemic as we chart our way forward as an industry.”
PwC warns of confusion over KRA notice on new excise duty (Business Daily)
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) on Tuesday warned of possible confusion over the legal notice issued on November 2 by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioner-general Githii Mburu that seeks to adjust excise duty levied on various products. “This is likely to create confusion as the effective date could be subject to varying interpretation, which is bound to present compliance challenges to businesses and disputes with the tax authority,” PwC’s tax consultants said in a statement.
KRA pushes for increased legal trade between Ethiopia, Somalia (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya Revenue Authority plans to establish posts at Rhamu and Mandera on the Ethiopia and Somali borders respectively. It will also put up a trade facilitation centre at Suftu,(Kenya-Ethiopia) and construct two bridges to facilitate movement of goods and persons across the borders. The establishment of the One Stop Border Posts, supported by TradeMark East Africa, is expected not only to spur growth in import and export trade but also provide an opportunity for legitimate trade and revenue collection.
Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Lilian Nyawanda said KRA seeks to facilitate faster movement of goods and persons at the Kenya-Ethiopia border, and facilitate cross-border trade between Kenya and Somalia (upon opening of the borders).
Poor harvests of agricultural products have been blamed on companies that supply sub standard and fake pesticides to farmers thereby causing losses. As a result farmers have asked the government to guarantee the source of seedlings especially coffee that can guarantee high yield and productivity. Coffee is a cash cow that has helped us to educate our children, build comfortable houses and some of us have managed to buy cars using proceeds from coffee since. The farmers especially coffee farmers are asking for establishment of a minimum price for coffee which can be reached upon through farmers groups that not only mobilize and organize farmers but also help them to market and sell our coffee out of Uganda at a favorable price. This follows the launch of a farmers project titled; ‘‘Fair for All –aimed at Improving Coffee Value Chains’’.
Months of trade wars slash imports from Uganda 34pc (Business Daily)
The value of imports from Uganda dropped 34 percent in eight months to August as trade wars between the two countries took a toll on the flow of goods. Trade data from Central Bank indicates that the imports from Kenya’s landlocked neighbour dropped from a record high of Sh3.2 billion in February to Sh2.09 billion in the review period, hitting a seven- month low. The two countries have had trade disputes now running into the second year after Nairobi banned products like milk and poultry from Uganda.
In March, Kenya banned maize imports from Uganda owing to high levels of aflatoxin, which exceeded the required limit of 10 parts per billion. In September, Kenya cut sugar imports from Uganda by 79 percent on its scheduled sugar exports to the country, reigniting trade disputes between the two East African Community members.
Speaking at the launch of the Africa Due Diligence Platform – Mansa, Mr. Kalisa, EABC CEO said “in 2020, Tanzania exports to Africa stood at USD. 2.27 billion an 11.8% increase from USD. 2.03 billion in 2019.” He urged the EAC bloc to align trade policy, eliminate of NTBs, ease access to trade finance for SMEs, enhance productive capacity and factor market integration to tap into the AfCFTA market. He stated that timely information and trust between buyers & sellers is important in trading and lauded the Mansa Platform for providing Know Your Customer Information.
According to International Trade Centre, Burundi’s export of goods to Africa hit USD. 62.3 million in 2020, a 25% increase from 2019. The key exported products include coffee, tea, wheat, tobacco, beverages, iron bars and rods, glassware, furniture; beddin and Edible fruit and nuts. 38% of Burundi’s total exports to the globe were to Africa.
In 2020 good imports from Africa into Burundi reached USD.267 million composing of 29% of Burundi’s total imports from the world. Lime, cement, sugars, fertilizers, Cereal, plastics, paperboards, essential oils, cosmetics are among the top imported products from Africa.
The proposed re-introduction of excise duty collection on non-alcoholic drinks would see producers of the items lose up to N1.9 trillion in revenue sales between 2022 and 2025. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) revealed this yesterday at MMS Business Discourse themed: “X-raying the Proposed Excise Duty Regime for Carbonated Beverages in a Recovering Economy.” Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Fruit Juice Producers branch of MAN, Mr. Fred Chiazor said that the losses indicate a 39.5 per cent loss due to imposition of the new taxes with concomitant impact on jobs and supply chain businesses. The group called for a suspension of the fiscal policy, even as it noted that the proposed excise duty collection would shrink the sector’s contribution to the GDP, which is currently, represents 35 per cent of manufacturing.
Nigeria convenes business, security summit in Paris (The Sun Nigeria)
The Federal Government of Nigeria is organising a Nigeria International Partnership Forum (NIPF), a high-level event to accompany and strengthen Nigeria’s participation in the Paris Peace Forum, the Presidency has said. According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the one-day NIPF will bring together the Nigerian and French governments and private sectors in wide-ranging discussions focused on security, regional stability, trade and industrialisation.
“Additionally, it will spotlight Nigeria’s immense trade and investment opportunities, reset false and distorted narratives about Nigeria, and shed light on the efforts, initiatives and successes achieved in both the public and private sectors, as the country charts a trajectory of recovery from the COVID-19 induced global economic downturn.”
Revenue generation: Regulatory council faces govt challenge (New Telegraph)
Six years after resistance, criticism and litigation by port stakeholders, the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on Land and Marine Transport have compelled the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to generate at least N10 billion from the port into government’s coffer. Before now, there had been disagreement among Customs agents, freight forwarders and CRFFN over payment of Professional Operating Fee (OPS) in the port industry.
He added that freight forwarders had no interest in the POF collection at this time, adding that there were pending litigations against the CRFFN over POF. Prior to the latest development, ANLCA had complained that the fee would increase the cost of doing business and that the collection of the fee by the Council would amount to violation of an order of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, which had directed that status quo be maintained pending determination of a case instituted by the association.
Nigeria’s infrastructure gap (Daily Sun)
President Muhammadu Buhari recently disclosed that Nigeria needs $1.5 trillion over a 10-year period to bridge the nation’s infrastructure gap. President Buhari stated this at the high-level segment for Heads of States and Government at the recent 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. According to the President, Nigeria is ready for international investments in infrastructure development and has taken the expansion in infrastructure in critical sectors of the economy as one of the ways to support the administration’s promise to lift 100 Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
It is to address the infrastructure deficit that the G7 nations have made elaborate plans to mobilise funds for infrastructure investment in low-and middle-income countries.
Twenty-five years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Nigeria, Tuesday unveiled the Nigeria-Bulgaria Business Exchange Platform with a view to strengthening the bilateral cooperation and bridging the trade and investment gaps between the two countries. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Yanko Yordanov, yesterday, in Abuja, described the platform as, “something that has been the goal of our cooperation for so long .”He added, “This marks an excellent bilateral cooperation between the Giant of Africa and the Republic of Bulgaria.”
The Ghana Chamber of Shipping has urged the government to formulate policies and initiate shipping and maritime policies that will move Ghana forward. Mr Stanley Raja Korshie Ahorlu, an Executive Council Member of the Chamber, interacting with the media said there was the need for Ghana to have concrete policies that would put it in a better position to benefit more from the shipping and maritime sector. Mr Ahorlu added that Ghana’s shipping supply chain could offer the country a lot, therefore, reiterating that policy formulators must identify where the country could effectively derive from right from the warehousing of goods to the other segments of shipping.
Mauritius is a small island with a population of close to 1.3 million people. About two decades of liberalization reforms have transformed Mauritius into an almost duty-free economy. Its openness to trade has been one of the reasons behind its economic success, also supported by a long tradition of parliamentary democracy, good governance, and strong institutions. The country relies heavily on imports for its industrial inputs and for a large share of its food supplies, while maintaining the general openness of its services markets to foreign competition. Its trade in goods and services as a share of GDP declined from 105% in 2014 to 90% in 2019 and 76% in 2020. The fall in 2020 was mainly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the decline between 2014 and 2019 reflects, inter alia, the continuation of the downward trend in merchandise exports, a stagnation of services trade, while Mauritius was registering steady domestic growth.
Over the review period, the main drivers of growth were the services sector, particularly tourism, financial services, information and communications technology (ICT) services, and construction. The transformation of the Mauritian economy away from its main manufacturing industries, namely sugar and textiles and clothing, towards a service-oriented economy continued, particularly as an investment gateway to Africa. The reforms have resulted in further liberalization of its trade regime for goods with a generally low tariff protection and more policy emphasis on trade in services. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the tendency towards greater state involvement in the economy, mainly in industries considered critical to the national interest.
Joint Statement on the US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue (Ahram Online)
Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry led the U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue on November 8-9, 2021, in Washington, D.C. The two sides noted the coming centennial of U.S.-Egypt diplomatic relations in 2022 and reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Egypt strategic partnership and identified areas in which to deepen bilateral and regional cooperation, including economic and commercial affairs, education, cultural issues, consular affairs, human rights, justice and law enforcement, and defense and security.
The two delegations reaffirmed their shared commitment to broaden and deepen bilateral economic and commercial cooperation, and to cooperate closely on climate issues. They shared ideas on increasing investment in their respective economies, providing more opportunities for their people, and combating the climate crisis.
The new president of Cape Verde, Jose Maria Neves, pledged on Tuesday to strengthen the special ties and bilateral relations with the traditional friends and partners of Cape Verde. He made the promise in a speech at his inauguration ceremony, before 12 foreign delegations, five of which were headed by heads of state. Africa must be given priority as a continent to which Cape Verde belongs, he stressed in his speech. He called for speeding up the progress toward regional integration at the economic level, while defending the specificities and specific needs of Cape Verde.
According to him, a “very strong” neighborhood policy is necessary, given the regional community and the states that make it up. He also said he advocated “strong action” with Asian countries and the Persian Gulf countries.
IATF2021 Advisory Council holds 13th meeting virtually (Afreximbank)
The IATF2021 Advisory Council is closely following the preparations for the trade fair, which is opening its doors to the public on 15 November 2021 in Durban. During their 13th meeting held virtually on 3 November 2021, the members of the council once again went over the planning with a fine-tooth comb, ensuring that all the arrangements were in place for a smooth event.
The IATF2021 organisers and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government reported a very satisfactory state of preparations and general enthusiasm for the event. Nearly 8,000 delegates from 95 countries, including 52 African countries, are now registered to participate in IATF2021. The trade fair is also expecting more than 1,000 exhibitors and seeks to facilitate more than $40 billion in trade and investment deals.
AfCFTA Will Double Intra-Africa Trade Flows – Anatogu (Business Post Nigeria)
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will help to deepen economic integration in the continent, says the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters and Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Mr Francis Anatogu, as part of a continued effort to drive implementation. Mr Anatogu also said that AfCFTA’s goals will also improve and expand intra-Africa trade, enable rule-based engagement for facilitating dispute resolution and addressing injurious trade practices. He made this known on Monday at a leadership stakeholders’ consultation on the theme ‘Defining the Trade in Service Strategy for AfCFTA’. Mr Anatogu also stated that the pact would assist in the harmonisation of policies, regulations and standards, as well as lead to customs co-operation and mutual administrative assistance.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (ITFC-idb.org), signed a US$250 million facility to provide funds for the Bank to advance procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and drive a trade-based economic recovery. The ITFC facility will help advance Afreximbank’s COVID-19 response programme for countries in which both organisations operate, securing vital goods for the health of local populations and enabling a swifter return to economic activity. The facility will also enhance the Bank’s capacity to provide trade finance resources at a time of critical need for the continent’s export development and industrialization.
Ports: build them – the business case is clear, says Arise P&L (African Business)
Ports have dominated infrastructure discussions in the last two years, with increased congestion and bottlenecks as a result of Covid-19 holding back global economic recovery. Global ports are vital to trade – serving as gateways for 80% of trade merchandise by volume and 70% by value – and a key component of economic growth and economic diversification. The situation in Africa is no different. Congestion and lack of infrastructure have inevitably led to delays, directly increasing costs and reducing competitivity. This past decade has seen massive investments in African ports. From Dakar to Djibouti and Durban to Tangier, the African coast has seen the emergence of modern port infrastructure to serve the needs of a continent experiencing rapid growth.
As Africa’s economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic, how are ports keeping up? Not quickly enough – according to The Star’s (Kenyan Newspaper) report “Africa’s Ports: Rapid Transformation”. The report points to the fact that the existing infrastructure at many ports is insufficient for current demand. At the same time, port congestion is a critical challenge for ports across the continent.
Port congestion causes millions in losses, compounding the challenges of economic recovery in Africa. Even so, the outlook for the continent’s economy looks positive, thanks to the momentum generated by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – a free trade area that commenced trade on January 1, 2021. World Bank’s Africa’s Pulse forecasts that the sub-Saharan Africa economy will grow by 3.4% in 2021. The report cites appropriate pandemic control, a growing digital economy, and a faster-than-expected recovery in commodity prices as factors helping the region’s economic recovery. It also notes the crucial role of free trade over the next 12 months, with African economies expected to rapidly integrate into regional and global industrial and value chains.
Within the AfCFTA context, how can ports keep up with demands, particularly in terms of customs and efficiency? The answer is digital technology.
To Integrate Its Economy, Africa Must Improve Connectivity (World Politics Review)
Africa’s leaders and policymakers have long identified connectivity, tourism and, more broadly, mobility – human, capital and otherwise – as key to the continent’s economic structural transformation. For example, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, through seven key aspirations, has identified several programs and initiatives promoting connectivity and mobility as central to accelerating shared growth and development in Africa, as well as to forging a common identity. Among its flagship projects intended to realize this ambition, the bloc has identified the need for an integrated high-speed train network connecting the continent’s capitals and commercial centers; a continent-wide free trade area, known today as the African Continental Free Trade Area; the removal of restrictions on Africans’ ability to travel, work and live within their own continent, including with the creation of a continent-wide passport; a single African air transport market; and the establishment of a pan-African forum for financial institutions.
EAC leaders set to approve Congo’s admission to bloc (The New Times)
There are high chances that the leaders of the East African Community (EAC) will approve the application by DR Congo to join the regional bloc during the Heads of State Summit scheduled to convene before this year ends, sources have told The New Times. According to the sources, Kinshasa presented a strong case for admission into the bloc.
On Tuesday, November 9, Nshuti told The New Times that regional ministers in Charge of EAC Affairs are set to meet from November 26 to 27 in preparation for the Summit and that “Council will confirm the date after agreeing on substantive issues to be presented to Heads of State.” Asked specifically about DR Congo’s admission chances, he said: “As regards the entry of DR Congo, I am almost sure it [Summit] will approve admission.”
The 4th meeting of the joint management committee of the customs union has begun today, a three (3) day meeting in the city of Accra, Ghana. The meeting will review all the technical issues in eight (8) Supplementary acts and regulations of the Customs texts, make amendments and validate these cats with recommendations, which will be presented to the ministers on Friday, 12th November, 2021 for further review and approval and onward presentation to the Council on Ministers for their adoption and implementation in member states.
Commissioner for Customs, Trade and Free Movement, Mr. Konzi Tei, noted that despite the despite the pandemic, which is currently raging the world and disrupting the economic and social order, the turn out for the meeting was very impressive, showing that the pandemic has not weaken our determination and our resolve to work diligently for the economic integration of the community.
COMESA Council of Ministers Meet (COMESA)
The COMESA Council of Ministers Meeting conducted their 42nd meeting today, to take stock of the status of implementation of regional integration programmes in the last one year. Attended by Ministers responsible for trade, commerce, industry and foreign affairs, the meeting received reports of the sectoral meetings that have been held to date.
The Vice President of Zambia, Hon. Mrs. Mutale Nalumango commended COMESA for embracing information and communication technologies in the implementation of the various trade facilitation programmes. These include automating customs clearance procedures, the online non-tariff barriers reporting and monitoring system as well as the electronic Certificate of Origin prototype. The prototype is ready for piloting and it is expected enhance cross-border trade and investments. “Digital trade is now shaping the global economies. It is important that we remain relevant in the global market by embracing the new ways of integration with others…especially in the COVID-19 era and post COVID,” she added.
Addressing the Ministers, Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said a study undertaken by the Secretariat using 2019 trade statistics, shows a huge export trade potential of US$ 101.1 billion. “We need to promote sourcing of available products from within our region to promote regional trade and development,” she said.
Africa: Post-Covid, pharma industries look to provide medicines locally (The Africa Report)
A new determination to provide medicines locally – supported by government, local business and health activists – is providing the “pharma” industry with a multi-billion dollar investment opportunity. Targeting a billion-plus consumer market, international pharmaceutical companies and local ‘pharmapreneuers’ are in a race to boost Africa’s healthcare manufacturing and wrestle the market from Asian drug companies which sell mainly cheap generic drugs on the continent.
The continent’s pharma market is projected to grow at a rate of 5.9% between 2018 and 2022 to reach a total of over $25bn. That’s not pocket change for investors who are keen to cash in on the demand by building the continent’s local capacity to manufacture drugs.
Globally, the ideal of a bioeconomy is being embraced as a sustainable model that brings together all commercial activity surrounding the use of renewable biological resources – such as crops, forests, animals and micro-organisms (like bacteria), agricultural waste and residual materials – to solve challenges related to food, health, biodiversity and environmental protection, energy and industrial processes. “Africa, with its rich biological diversity, and a relatively large proportion of arable land, is well positioned to tap into these opportunities, and build a competitive, sustainable bioeconomy,” said Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General. “Indeed, the model could enable the continent to innovate around its primary production especially in agriculture, the backbone of most economies in the region, and also in sectors like aquaculture, forestry, health and industry.”
The 2nd Eastern Africa Bioeconomy Conference is to be held on 10th and 11th November, 2021.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today inaugurated the National Validation Workshop on the Baseline Assessment Report of the Contribution of Blue Economy to the Sustainable Economic Development of Kenya.
The workshop will capture contributions from the different sectors of Blue Economy for the national economic development of Kenya. The report will be updated through extensive group discussions and thorough review of the document. The updated baseline report will be available soon and will serve as an input to develop the National Blue Economy Strategy for Kenya.
The green hydrogen market presents a huge opportunity for Africa to position itself as a global competitor in future green energy markets, Minerals Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has told the Africa Energy Week.
South Africa welcomed the commitments made recently to invest in renewable energy, he said in reference to last month’s announcement of 25 preferred bidders selected in the fifth round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. “This adds impetus to our commitment to a just energy transition and meeting the challenges of climate change,” he said.
As Africa sought to transition to a net-zero future, the continent should look into the role of mineral resources such as the platinum group metals, rare earths, and many others that abound in African countries, Mantashe added.
Opportune moment for West Africa to rise in textile value chain (Fibre2Fashion)
West Africa, one of the fastest growing regions in Africa, comprises 17 countries. It is one of the largest cotton producing regions in the world with Benin, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso respectively being the sixth-, seventh, and eighth-largest cotton growing countries. However, only two per cent of cotton grown here is locally turned into textiles, and the remaining is sent to other countries, with over 90 per cent making it to Asian countries for further processing. Thus, the West African cotton-rich countries end up importing textiles at a value that is estimated to be over three times the value they get by exporting their cotton.
EAC to develop integrated urbanisation, population growth plan (The Star, Kenya)
Plans are underway to establish an East African regional spatial plan to address population growth, urbanisation and economic growth. Planners from EAC member states are meeting in Malindi to deliberate on planning for the next decade to address urbanisation and increased population. Top on the agenda is a spatial framework for the EAC, which will guide and integrate how the regional economies will grow spatially. The five-day convention has brought together planners, policymakers and counties to develop a 10-year strategy to address population growth and urbanisation challenges.
“Labour, being a factor of production, means we cannot manage all the three other resources capital, machinery, without manpower,” he said. He said Kenya’s growth rate is 2.3 per cent as of last year, while Tanzania is at 2.9 per cent and Uganda at is 3.3 per cent, adding that at least 83 million people come to the three countries each year.
COP 26 updates
COP 26: Contentious issues of finance, carbon markets pushed to week 2 (Down to Earth Magazine)
CoP26 President Alok Sharma reported progress made during week one in Glasgow in an informal stocktaking plenary November 8 The President of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Alok Sharma, presented a report on the work done over the past week.
Discussions were reported to be positive on a technical level on enhanced transparency framework, but some issues are still pending. On common timeframes, the SBI Chair reported that conclusions of the draft decision with nine options have been forwarded and needed to be consolidated during week two.
South Africa – together with the broader Southern African region and the rest of the African continent – are bearing the brunt of climate change. The evidence is undeniable and mounting, with multiple recent global and local reports painting a bleak picture of the future.
A new report that BCG collaborated on with the National Business Initiative (NBI) and Business Unity South Africa (Busa) found that South Africa is one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, facing the risks of rising temperatures and increased aridity and rainfall variability that will have significant and devasting consequences on biodiversity, local livelihoods, regional food security and people’s overall health and wellbeing if no proper risk identification and adaptation is implemented at both a country and regional level. These emerging consequences of climate change come with a high price tag – costing African economies between 3% and 5% of their gross domestic product on average, according to President Cyril Rampahosa in his opening statement at the recent meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Governments on Climate Change (CAHOSCC).
It is clear that the situation is serious – but there is a silver lining. Our report with the NBI and Busa found that South Africa understands the need to build resilience to the impacts of climate change by developing robust adaptation and mitigation plans for the country to move from a fossil fuel-based energy system to a net-zero emission economy by 2050 in a just and inclusive way.
Africa, India call for $1.3 tn per year in climate finance from rich nations (The Indian Express)
While developed countries have failed to put together even the $100 billion per year in climate financing as promised, African nations and some other developing countries, including India, have put a figure on the enhanced flow of finance that the developed world must deliver in the coming years – at least $1.3 trillion per year from 2030. A group of 24 nations that call themselves Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs), as well as countries from Africa, on Monday evening put forward this demand in a proposal for enhanced finance flows that they are pushing for inclusion in the final decisions that will be agreed at the climate conference in Glasgow. In their proposal, these countries have said that developed countries, which are obligated to provide financial resources to the developing world to help in dealing with climate change, must be asked to “mobilise jointly at least $1.3 trillion per year by 2030”.
Poor nations ‘squeezed’ as debt rises and climate cash falls short (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
The costs for vulnerable countries to adapt to global warming are up to 10 times higher than available funding, the United Nations said on Thursday, warning rising indebtedness is putting them under more strain in dealing with surging climate threats. Developing nations alone will need up to $500 billion by 2050 for adaptation, which includes things like building flood defences, planting urban trees and introducing drought-resilient crops, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a report. But just a fraction of the money needed is on the table, with the gap widening and the rising cost of servicing debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing countries from spending on crucial measures to adapt to global warming, the report said.
The World Needs to Quit Oil and Gas. Africa Has an Idea: Rich Countries First (The New York Times)
As negotiators at the Glasgow climate talks try to agree on greenhouse gas cuts, African leaders say poorer countries can’t be expected to remake their systems as quickly as wealthy ones. A swift transition is crucial in the global fight against climate change. But not only would that be particularly costly in poorer nations, many African countries have an abundance of natural gas or other fossil fuels, and they argue forcefully that the rest of the world doesn’t have a right to tell them not to use it.
Proven crude oil reserves on the African continent total more than one hundred billion barrels spanning eleven countries, with Libya and Nigeria among the 10 biggest producers globally. The region is rich in gas, too: Combined, Nigeria, Algeria and Mozambique hold about 6 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves.
As world leaders meet at COP26 in Glasgow, some African leaders and activists are, for the first time, vocally opposing a speedier pivot to renewables for their countries. Instead, they are pressing for a slower transition, one that would embrace a continued reliance on fossil fuels – particularly natural gas, which burns more cleanly than coal or oil, but which still pumps planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Business ready to do its part for climate goals (The Japan Times)
Rising temperatures and harsh weather patterns – once risks that were on the horizon – have arrived. The devastation to our environment should come as no surprise. In the last three decades, global greenhouse gas emissions have shot up by more than 60%. Temperatures are now 1.2 C above pre-industrial levels – uncomfortably close to the 1.5 C limit needed to preserve our environment.
These are dark developments. But fortunately, there is hope. We live in an era of immense innovation, with breakthrough technologies reshaping our economies and societies. If we steer this innovation together, we can stave off the worst environmental outcomes.
ICC has today called on governments to “get smart” in how they use carbon pricing instruments to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy at the lowest possible economic cost. At an informal dialogue with finance ministers at COP26, the global business organization published the findings of an extensive survey of companies’ experience operating under the 60 different carbon pricing regimes in force today throughout the world. The results point to widespread concern amongst business about the growing fragmentation of systems used to price greenhouse gas emissions – emphasising that greater international harmonisation of policy approaches will be essential to mobilize the private investment needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Carbon emissions of richest 1% set to be 30 times the 1.5°C limit in 2030 (Oxfam International)
The carbon footprints of the richest 1 percent of people on Earth is set to be 30 times greater than the level compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement in 2030, according to new research out today. It comes as delegates grapple with how to keep this goal alive at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow. In 2015, governments agreed to the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but current pledges to reduce emissions fall far short of what is needed. To stay within this guardrail, every person on Earth would need to emit an average of just 2.3 tons of CO2 per year by 2030 ―this is roughly half the average footprint of every person on Earth today. Today’s study, commissioned by Oxfam based on research carried out by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), estimates how governments’ pledges will affect the carbon footprints of richer and poorer people around the world. It treats the global population and income groups as if they were a single country.
Twelve of the world’s biggest global agricultural trading and processing companies have issued a joint statement committing to a sectoral roadmap by COP27 for enhanced supply chain action consistent with a 1.5°C pathway. The statement, announced at the World Leaders’ Summit on Forests and Land Use at COP26, signals a commitment to take urgent collective action to include other key stakeholders in their supply chains. The goal is to identify solutions at scale to further progress on eliminating commodity-driven deforestation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
In the margins of the twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) released a statement from OACPS Leaders on Climate Action for COP26 on 1 November 2021, in Glasgow. Noting the stark findings of the recent IPCC AR6 Climate Change 2021 Report, the Statement stresses that COP26 needs to deliver increased ambition and action if the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to well below 2 and preferably to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, is to be achieved. Encouraging other countries to join them in promoting ambitious climate action, the Leaders Statement calls for COP26 to send a strong political signal and commitment to deliver a number of key priorities.
Each year, the UN publishes the ‘Greening the Blue’ report, which provides data on the organization’s environmental footprint and efforts to reduce it, as per the Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations System 2020-2030 (Phase I).
Greening the Blue 2021 shows how COVID-19 changed how UN entities work and engage with one another, personnel, member countries, partners, and other organizations. Much of the UN system’s work moved online and the use of digital technologies became paramount to the continued delivery of the UN’s mandate. This shift had several positive environmental impacts. For instance, at some UN entities, online events support increased 100 per cent during 2020. Online events have the potential to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of major international meetings and can be more inclusive than physical events.
Zim begins climate change mitigation efforts (The Herald)
Zimbabwe is now moving into the phase of implementing its nationally determined contributions (NDC) to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases and so mitigate climate change, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said on Monday. Minister Ndlovu said Zimbabwe submitted its low emissions development strategy and the revised nationally determined contribution to UNFCCC last month. Zimbabwe’s revised contributions present a conditional 40 percent economy-wide per capita emissions reduction target by 2030. “This revised NDC target represents a 7 percent upward revision from the first generation NDC and includes an adaptation component to address the high vulnerability of the country to climate change,” he said.
Mexico provided an update on the development of the platform, outlining several new elements, such as user guides for MSMEs and policy makers, which will be available when the platform is launched at MC12. The Working Group intends to present the platform to WTO members during the Ministerial Conference and to the business community on 2 December on the margins of the Business Forum.
The group also intends to announce the winners of the “Digital Champions for Small Business” initiative at a virtual side event during MC12. This initiative, launched by the Working Group in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Trade Centre, is aimed at helping small businesses go digital and increase their participation in international trade.
SMEs turn to influencers to push products (The Standard)
For businesses, competing to catch the eye of consumers is a marathon whose ending is not supposed to come. The end of one long race is the beginning of another, especially as the tastes and preferences of customers keep changing. The race is even tougher for new businesses, caught in the daunting task of navigating through the noise in order to catch the attention of consumers from the hands of larger corporates. While such businesses may not have the financial muscle to compete with the big brother who has the advantage of experience as well, using influencers has been fronted as the alternative to reaching the consumer. Through these individuals – some commanding legions on social media with a wavelike ripple effect on consumer behaviour – a new business or an old business with a new product can find breakthrough.
WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva to plan pandemic remedies (The Financial Express)
Trade ministers in Geneva later this month will prepare a work plan on pandemic remedies like enhanced preparedness, response, and resilience to help members of the World Trade Organisations (WTO) out of the crisis by making necessary supplies available. The work plan will address issues related to crisis response, preparedness and resilience, and focus on topics discussed in the ministerial declaration, officials said in Dhaka. Issues like trade facilitation, export restrictions, regulatory coherence, transparency and monitoring, and scaling-up of production and distribution of essential goods and services will be included in the work plan.
An effective capacity building initiative run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) continues to strengthen developing countries’ ability to fight tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, with operations running in 47 countries and more than USD 850 million generated in new tax revenues since July 2020. Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) provides practical, hands-on assistance to developing countries in order to build capacity in the areas of international tax audit, criminal tax investigations and effective use of automatically exchanged information. Today, more than 100 experts have been deployed to work directly with tax administrations having requested assistance on real life cases covering international taxation matters. Six years on, TIWB assistance has helped collect USD 1.4 billion additional tax revenue for developing countries, and USD 3.9 billion in tax assessed, through June 2021, according to its latest Annual Report.
The heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization held on 9 November the 2nd High-Level Consultations with the CEOs of leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies.
During the consultations, the heads of the four organizations and the CEOs also examined how best to tackle trade-related bottlenecks; how to improve the donation process; what additional steps are needed to reach the vaccination target of 40% of people in all countries by the end of the year; and how to improve transparency and data sharing with the IMF-WHO Vaccine Supply Forecast Dashboard and the Multilateral Leaders Task Force, requiring close collaboration between manufacturers, governments and COVAX on enhanced visibility of delivery schedules, especially for donated doses.
The outlook for 2022 was also discussed, focusing on diversification of manufacturing across regions, as well as strengthening collaboration to achieve the global target of vaccinating 70% of the populations of all countries by the middle of the year.
Privacy-focused startups see boon in big tech’s troubles (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
The leaks and controversies plaguing tech giants are driving users towards privacy-focused startups that are bidding to shake up the online market with a little help from regulators, company executives and digital rights experts say.
“Tech companies are making our job easier,” said Andy Yen, chief executive of Proton, a Swiss-based company that calls itself the world’s largest secure email provider, using end-to-end encryption and sophisticated security features. “This pursuit of higher and higher profits at the expense of users is driving people to seek alternative products and services with values that are more aligned with their own,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital finance platforms as the primary tool for executing transactions. As such, ensuring all consumers and small businesses have access to vital technology has become ever more important. A new white paper published by the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Responsive Financial Systems shows three ways that we can harness innovation and shape public policy to enable financial inclusion. Financial technologies present new ways for banks and start-ups to deliver a greater variety of services that are tailored to their customers’ needs. Whilst we have seen examples of dramatic advances in financial inclusion in some markets, it is uneven and there is plenty to learn across the globe.
Global change and an increasingly interconnecting society are inducing unprecedented hazards likely to prove disastrous for many of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Food systems are at the heart of this challenge and must become more resilient to ensure access to food while also providing livelihoods for a large share of the world’s poorest households. A resilient food system must be financially equitable (economic resilience), supportive of the entire community (social resilience) and it must minimize harmful impacts on the natural environment (ecological resilience). The United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 designated resilience as one of its five Action Tracks. While reviewing this subject for the Summit, one central theme emerged – the importance of diversification.
It is no longer necessary to state the importance of emerging countries for Africa. Using the most recent data about the African continent, the 2011 edition of the African Economic Outlook shows how in the space of a decade these countries went from marginal associates to Africa’s top trading partners. According to the website, at the start of the millennium these new partners weren’t members of the Western donors club, also known as the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Development Center.
Africa’s top trading partners are China, India, Brazil, South Korea and Turkey, not only in terms of bilateral trade volume, but also because of the diversity of countries and sectors these emerging countries work with. Which trading partners are most efficient in helping African countries reach their development goals?