tralac Daily News
Imports and exports feel effects of global disruption (Business Day)
Supply chain disruptions are having an impact globally with bottlenecks affecting manufacturing production and slowing down the pace of recovery in economies around the world. We also consider the frustrations encountered by both importers and exporters at our notoriously congested SA ports due to ageing infrastructure and equipment, staffing shortages and frequent weather disruptions.
Despite this, a commodity price boom has seen SA recording a trade surplus for more than a year, and the export sector is seen as a potential catalyst for a local economic recovery.
South Africa: Transitioning from Coal Reliance to Gas Power Generation (Energy Capital & Power)
With Africa’s energy transition comprising an overarching discussion point at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 in Cape Town, the platform session on transitioning from coal reliance to gas power generation in South Africa provided African stakeholders with the opportunity to establish their own strategies to drive the transition.
“Gas should play quite a significant role in a just energy transition in South Africa,” stated Akash Latchman, Senior Vice President for Gas Sourcing and Operations for Sasol, adding that, “To unleash the potential of gas is critical in alleviating energy poverty in South Africa.”
Africa is faced with a two-pronged challenge, the first of which is the continent’s significant energy crisis – in which over 600 million people currently lack access to electricity and over 900 million lack access to clean cooking – and the second, the global climate crisis. While western nations are opting for the immediate end to fossil fuel utilisation, oil and gas is critical for Africa if the continent is to address energy poverty. At the South African panel discussion, participants emphasised how natural gas has emerged as the ideal solution to both of these challenges. Representing the ideal transitionary resource, as well as a readily available resource, gas may be the solution the country, and continent, needs to accelerate its energy transition and meet domestic demand.
Namibia’s interest payments on debt as a percentage of revenue increased from 11.9% to 13.2% in the 2020/21 financial year. The current level of interest payments exceeded the statutory benchmark of 3.9% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 10% of the revenue set out in the Debt Management Strategy 2018-2025.
“The increase in interest payments is due to significant increase in borrowing to fund the budget deficit, resulting from the outbreak of Covid-19,” stated Shiimi.
“The decrease in revenue was recorded in the main tax categories of income tax on individuals that decreased by 2.7%, value added tax (VAT) fell by 24.9%, other taxes on income and profits shrank by 23.2%, withholding tax on interest decreases by 18.1%, while other taxes income category fell by 10.6%. The only income category which showed strong growth was the taxes on international trade and transactions (SACU),” indicated Shiimi.
KAM, Posta partner to tap intra-regional trade under AfCFTA (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has partnered with the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) to tap into e-commerce business and intra-regional trade for its members.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement, Phyllis Wakiaga, the CEO of KAM said Posta’s network of more than 600 branches countrywide, and linkages with other postal organisations in the region would come in handy, at a time when Africa is implementing the Africa free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The partnership will see Posta offer same-day and overnight courier services, rider dedicated services, clearing and forwarding services to the association and its members.
Ministry seeks duty waiver for animal feeds yellow maize (Business Daily)
The Ministry of Agriculture has recommended a waiver of duty on yellow maize to allow the importation by processors as an intervention to lower the cost of feeds as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.Waiver of duty on yellow maize is one of the three measures that the ministry has forwarded to the National Treasury in line with the order from President Uhuru Kenyatta.The measures also include removal of import duty on other raw materials like sunflower and cotton seed cakes and leasing of government land for local production of the two products.
NBK, logistics firm DP World in deal to link SMEs to global market (Business Daily)
National Bank of Kenya (NBK) on Wednesday signed a partnership with Dubai-based logistics firm DP World to link local traders to the global market but mainly UAE and Asia.In the agreement, NBK will offer financial solutions to buyers and sellers from Kenya while providing an avenue for them to interact and network with other traders.Kenyan businesses will be able to reach other traders from across the globe through DP World’s DUBUY.COM, an E-commerce platform focusing on business-to-business import and export.”The partnership is designed to offer the best value to our MSME customers and allow them to effectively engage in commercial trading links with international markets and especially the UAE,” NBK Managing Director Paul Russo said.
Kenya’s horticulture earnings fall Sh12bn (Business Daily)
Horticulture earnings dropped by Sh12 billion in 10 months to October, attributed to lower quality produce that attracted reduced prices at the global market amid competition from Latin countries.The Directorate of Horticulture says Kenya earned Sh116.8 billion between January and October, down from Sh128.8 billion last year.The growth in volumes, which was 16 percent higher in the review period was not enough to offset the decline in value as Kenya’s produce was low priced when compared to those from Mexico and Peru.,The drop marks the steepest decline in earnings for the horticulture industry in the last couple of years, raising concerns over quality standards, especially in the avocado sector where some farmers have been harvesting immature fruit. “The decline can be attributed to quality and high competition from Mexico and Peru,” said the directorate.
Economy rebounds 10.1pc in quarter two (Business Daily)
Kenya’s economy expanded 10.1 percent in the second quarter of the year on the back of a rebound in economic activity compared with a similar period last year when tough Covid-19 containment measures led to a 4.7 percent contraction.Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed the growth in the April-June period was faster that first quarter when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) slowed to 0.7 percent compared with 4.4 percent in corresponding period in 2020.”The growth recorded was mainly as a result of easing Covid-19 containment measures that facilitated gradual resumption of economic activities,” said Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani.
Tanzania, Egypt trade volume reaches 87.3bn/- (Dailynews)
The trade volume between Tanzania and Egypt has increased from 8.4bn/- in 2018 to 87.3bn/- in 2020 as the two sides determine to reduce existing trade imbalances among themselves. Speaking at a joint held in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday, President Samia said that the two countries have a good record of cooperation in various areas including investments adding that apart from the trade, Tanzania has also registered 26 projects from Egypt investors worth USD 1.3bn, which have created 2,206 jobs to locals. “It is unfortunate that the balance of trade is in favour of Egypt but we Tanzania promise to put more efforts so that we can produce more and use the opportunity of trading between our two countries,” President Samia, who is in Cairo for a three-day official visit, told her counterpart President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
While opening the first session of the 13th National Assembly on September 10, 2021, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a united and prosperous Zambia, to “further enhance the provision of social protection to the poor and vulnerable in our society” and to “enhance the provision of equitable access to economic opportunities to our citizens, especially our youth.”This commitment reinforces Zambia’s ambitious Vision 2030 goals, aimed at transforming the country into a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030.
Zambia’s Public Expenditure Review (PER) recommends building a robust SPJ sector using a four-pronged SIMPLE strategy. This includes short-term actions of sustainable financing, medium-term actions of enhancing efficiency and impact and improving coherence, and long-term actions of larger coverage and plugging coverage gaps. Priority setting will be critical to define a basic minimum set of policy reforms and programmatic operational improvements that the government can act on in the immediate term.
AfDB officials seek increased investment in cassava in Nigeria (Premium Times)
The Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Martin Fregene, has said increasing investment in cassava production in Nigeria will reduce the annual food importation bill of African countries estimated at about $35 billion.
The summit themed: ‘Catalyzing and Scaling Private Sector-Led Cassava Seed Development,’ was organized by the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) in partnership with Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II) and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). It is aimed at bolstering private sector-led investment in the cassava seed sector, as well as identifying and engaging stakeholders on the policy reforms required to galvanize the cassava seed sector in order to raise productivity and drive industrial growth projections.
2022 Budget to focus on jobs, skills training – Finance Minister (BusinessGhana)
The 2022 budget statement and economic policy expected to be presented to parliament next week Monday will focus on jobs and skills training for the youth to address the growing unemployment in the country, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said. “Clearly, the 2022 budget and economic policy will be intervening on access to jobs and skills set, making it possible and providing the enablers to free people into enterprise,” he said during the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Ghana and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Development Fund (ADF) for 2022 annual meetings.
WTO: Minister Ganoo outlines progress made by Mauritius at the fifth Trade Policy Review (Government of Mauritius)
The fifth Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Mauritius is being held at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva from the 09 to 11 November, where the country’s trade policies and practices will be examined. The Mauritian delegation is led by the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo.
In his opening address this afternoon, Mr Ganoo highlighted that as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) open to the world economy, Mauritius has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if the lockdowns imposed in 2020 and 2021 have effectively prevented the spread of the virus in the local community, it has nonetheless severely affected our economic activities, he added.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) warned that without help, widespread and unabated food insecurity could worsen in the coming months. Some 27 million people, one-quarter of the country’s population, face crisis or emergency acute food insecurity conditions, fuelled by poor harvests, violence-driven displacement, disease and collapsing infrastructure, according to a newly published Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis for the central African nation. “The food situation for many people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains desperate, with so many different obstacles – insecurity, disease, devastation and lack of infrastructure, low access to quality inputs and finance to name but a few – ganging up against their chances of being able to properly feed themselves and their families”, said Aristide Ongone, FAO’s DRC Representative.
Côte d’Ivoire: Unlocking The Potential Within (Forbes Africa)
The government’s National Development Plan 2021-2025 is intent in maintaining a stable socio-political environment while mobilising its domestic resources following the ramifications of the pandemic. It targets the private-sector investment and construction needed to spur productivity, advance diversification and inclusive growth while boosting job creation, in particular regarding the nation’s youth. With solid relations with international institutions and bilateral partners, Côte d’Ivoire is committed to making its business environment ever more attractive and its economy more competitive by relaxing economic policies in a bid to attract foreign companies and promote business creation, especially in the digital, information and technology sector. Paul-Harry Aithnard, CEO of Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire says, “The private sector is a driving force because all ideas not only come from the state but also come from the private sector. At Ecobank, we believe that digitisation and the digital economy make it possible to have an inclusive economy and that with technology we are capable of anything today. Technology allows for a true inclusive economy and true inclusive development.”
Without Nigeria, AfCFTA implementation is incomplete, says Secretariat (The Guardian Nigeria)
Acknowledging Nigeria’s market size despite continued drag in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, the AfCFTA secretariat has stated that achieving the trade objectives is incomplete without Nigeria implementing the protocols. Almost one year after the implementation of the AfCFTA commenced, Nigeria is yet to unveil guidelines and implementation strategy for the trade deal, raising concerns for the organised private sector. The Secretary General, AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, while speaking at the Africa Day of the Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) themed, ‘Boosting intra-African trade’, noted that without Nigeria, the implementation of the AfCFTA would be incomplete. Though he lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, he said the potential of the AfCFTA market expansion is supported by market capacity to boost trade volumes and increase GDP growth per capita, while maintaining that market liberalisation will encourage SMEs to contribute to global supply chains.
World Bank projects African economy to go up a full percentage point in 2021 (The Africa Report)
Global financial institutions are revising upwards their outlook on Africa’s economic growth, signalling that the continent is recovering from the impact of Covid-19 and becoming more resilient, despite slower vaccine rollout. The IMF and World Bank’s latest economic outlook shows Africa is set to emerge from the 2020 recession sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Bank, in its latest edition of ‘Africa’s Pulse’, projects the economy will expand by 3.3% in 2021 – a full percentage point rise compared to its April forecast.
“This rebound is currently fueled by elevated commodity prices, a relaxation of stringent pandemic measures, and recovery in global trade,” said the World Bank. “The recovery is supported by favourable external conditions on trade and commodity prices. It has also benefited from improved harvests and increased agricultural production in a number of countries,” says Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director, African Department, IMF.
Africa records highest growth in September cargo volumes (The East African)
Africa witnessed the highest growth in international freight cargo volumes in September compared to any other region in the world as the airlines continue recovery from the impact of Covid-19.Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicates that Africa recorded a 34.6 percent growth in the review period to mark a ninth consecutive increase on month to month.The volumes, according to IATA, are 20 percent above the pre-crisis 2019 levels but have been trending sideways for the past six months.”African airlines saw international cargo volumes increase by 34.6 percent in September, the largest increase of all regions for the ninth consecutive month,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Experts from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa and the government of Malawi held a two-day workshop to conceive an action plan towards alignment of Malawi’s national and regional industrialization frameworks such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A summary report presented at the workshop indicated that although Malawi has developed industrialization policy frameworks and implementation plans, these frameworks are not fully aligned to the regional frameworks and are neither harmonized amongst themselves nor in synergy. The report advised that for the success of the regional approach to industrialization through the pursuit of regional value chains, linkages and beneficiation as envisaged in the COMESA and SADC frameworks and the Tripartite, a harmonized industrial policy environment to underpin the regional industrial base, promote, leverage and exploit the benefits envisaged under both the Tripartite and AfCFTA, is imperative.
Monetizing Natural Gas in Africa (Africanews)
Africa’s natural gas resources have the potential to accelerate socio-economic growth and eradicate energy poverty. Accordingly, many nations are seeking enhanced investment in order to maximize and monetize resources. As the continent’s premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, aims to build on this momentum, promoting innovative strategies to monetization, addressing challenges hindering development, and chartering a way forward for the African gas sector.
Speaking at an investor forum under the theme ‘Monetizing Natural Gas: Current Opportunities and Challenges,’ panel participants investigated Africa’s natural gas landscape.
“The limitation that we as African countries have from a research and development point of view. There are two constraints for us to develop: financing and technology. We have to find ways of financing our own development. You need to find better ways of opening up the space. If we depend more on FDI, we rely on Ministers in Europe,” stated Dr Mokoka.
MFS Africa raises $100m for Africa expansion (Engineering News)
Digital payment firm MSA Africa has raised $100-million through an equity and debt financing round, which marks another milestone in the company’s expansion, following a series of acquisitions and investments in other African financial technology (fintech) companies, including the recently announced acquisition of Baxi, in Nigeria. MFS Africa’s vision is to make borders matter less, which it enables through interoperability across payments schemes, borders and currencies. Over the past year, MFS Africa has accelerated its expansion efforts across Africa, the company says.
Towards gender and renewable energy innovations (Southern African news Features | sardc.net)
The nexus between energy and gender is critical in advancing the uptake of renewable energy in Africa and the rest of the global community. In this regard, it is important for policymakers and energy experts to mainstream gender in all renewable energy initiatives, as well as share experiences. This is in light of the fact that most renewable energy initiatives tend to overlook gender issues and assume that all energy challenges and solutions impact men and women in a similar way.
Botswana has become the 10th African country this year to receive training in the Integrated Planning and Reporting Toolkit (IPRT) developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), after a four-day virtual course. The dashboard – which combines the goals and indicators of both the UN and the African Union (AU) – supports countries in structuring national development plans aligned with the targets of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the AU’s Agenda 2063. The toolkit helps to assess progress on SDGs, including the eradication of poverty and hunger, gender equality, and access to sustainable energy, alongside AU targets, from developing high standards of living to applying modern agricultural practices for increased productivity. Alignment between the objectives of governments and intergovernmental organisations is aimed at flushing out inconsistencies in reporting and goal setting, and promoting efficient planning and administration, especially where there is overlap between goals.
The African Development Bank Group and the Agence Française de Développement on Wednesday signed a co-financing and partnership agreement to strengthen their relationship and leverage additional resources for impactful projects in Africa.
The agreement, which runs for five years, from 2021 to 2026, targets an indicative amount (€2 billion) in co-financing over its first three years. It will complement the current partnership between both institutions through mutual understanding, by facilitating staff exchanges, sharing knowledge, and jointly organizing events. The existing partnership already covers such key sectors as infrastructure, water and sanitation, agriculture, and the private sector. The new agreement supersedes an earlier framework agreement signed in November 2015.
Africa at risk as rich nations hoard doses, eye vaccine diplomacy (The East African)
About 42 African countries are set to miss the World Health Organisation’s mid-2022 target of inoculating at least 70 percent of their population against Covid-19 as rich nations continue to hoard the vaccines, a WHO official has said.This, WHO says, has led to slow delivery of vaccines and vaccination across the continent.While addressing a geopolitics conference in Kampala on Wednesday, the WHO immunisation and vaccination specialist in Uganda, Dr Andrew Bakainanga said wealthy nations are holding vaccine stocks three times their population due to uncertainties of the pandemic in the near future. This is as poor African countries are struggling to get the jabs.
The East African Community has convened a two-day workshop with the objective of validating a draft study report on investment incentives for antibiotic production in the region. AC Director of Productive Sectors, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana said that the region aspired to develop the pharmaceutical industry as part of the region’s social and political integration agenda. “As a region we recognize the strategic importance of developing local production of pharmaceutical products in promoting access to affordable, high quality, essential medicines; an aspiration we pursue through the implementation of the EAC Regional Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action,” he added. The Director observed that there was still a high dependency on imported pharmaceutical products across the region, while local firms lack capacity to manufacture advance formulation.
The new research, released at the AOAC’s International Sub-Saharan Africa Section’s annual meeting this week, highlighted a ‘continuing lack’ of ISO certified food safety testing laboratories, with only 63% of African labs certified to ISO 17025: 2017 compared to 100% in Europe. The membership survey also highlighted gaps in training programmes, with 40% of respondent reporting that their establishment had no active training. More than one-fifth of labs, it transpired, report that they do not use official analytical methods.
“These results would be troubling enough from both a public health and a trade enablement viewpoint at the best of times,” AOAC International Sub-Saharan Africa President Dr Owen Fraser said. “But this comes just a few months after Africa has launched its Continental Free Trade Area, with the ambition to increase intra continental exports by over 80% by 2035.”
Cyber crime experts gather in Accra (Graphic Online)
Security professionals, lawyers and cyber crime investigators in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have gathered in Accra for a four-day training aimed at enhancing investigations and prosecution of e-crimes in the region. The training, which is benefiting judges and forensic experts, is also to ensure a safer and more secure cyberspace. It is being organised by the Centre for Strategic and Defence Studies (CSDS), Africa, in collaboration with INTERPOL, the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) Secretariat of the Ministry of National Security, the Association of Private Investigators, Ghana and Lex Mundus and Cencla, an international law firm. Dubbed: “Cyberx Africa 2021”, the training will focus on issues on cyber law, incidence response, mobile and digital forensic investigations and international co-operation for the effective investigation and prosecution of cyber and terrestrial crimes in ECOWAS countries.
Asia-Africa trade: How Ghana can take advantage of it (Myjoyonline)
Asia’s trade with Africa is growing at a faster rate than other blocks, despite Africa having strong ties with its colonial masters, Europe.Africa’s most important suppliers of manufactured goods are Europe (35%) and (30%) Asia. Currently trade with Asia is gradually matching that of Europe.
In Asia, trade is mainly dominated by India and China. China’s Ministry of Commerce indicates that trade between China and Africa increased by 40.5% year-on-year in the first seven months of 2021, and was valued at a record high of $139.1 billion.Trade between China and Africa also almost doubled between 2020 and 2021, and over the last 20 years, trade between China and the region has increased twenty-fold However, Chinese investments on the continent has remained small over the years, estimated at only $3.1 billion in 2017 – just 2.5% of China’s overall Foreign Direct Investments. Only about 10,000 Chinese companies as of 2008 operate in Africa.Singapore, one of the richest Asian countries in the world known for excellence in port activities also does not have a strong footprints in Africa. So far, 60 Singapore businesses have been identified on the continent.
Africa, Europe’s heavy hitters to meet (BusinessGhana)
Some of Africa and Europe’s biggest blue chip business leaders will convene in Johannesburg this month to unlock economic opportunities in high-growth sectors at the 8th edition of the high-powered “Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue”.
he Head of African Affairs at The European House - Ambrosetti, Pietro Mininni, says Africa offers unique opportunities due to the recent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the largest free trade area in the world, connecting almost 1.3 billion people across 54 countries with a combined GDP of roughly 3.4 trillion US dollars. “At The European House - Ambrosetti we are strongly convinced that Africa occupies a particularly significant and important position on the regional and international stage. Many unfairly believe that Africa will be the continent of future economic opportunities; instead we are convinced that it is the place to be today, the continent of present opportunities,” says Mininni. The Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue has as its express goal promoting strong and stable dialogue and supporting the long-term growth of strategic trade and economic relations between Europe and Southern Africa.
Will France Derail West Africa’s Common Currency? by Simplice A. Asongu (Project Syndicate)
An unprecedented Africa-France summit took place at the beginning of October in Montpellier, France. For the first time since these summits began in 1973, no African heads of state were invited. Instead, French President Emmanuel Macron held discussions with students, entrepreneurs, artists, and athletes. The purpose of the gathering was to find ways to “rebuild” the relationship between France and Africa, especially in light of growing anti-French sentiment in many Francophone countries across the continent. But there are reasons to question the sincerity of France’s initiative to reset relations with its former African colonies, particularly given Macron’s intervention in the creation of a new shared currency for West Africa.
Pak-Africa Trade Development expo heads to Lagos (P.M. News)
The second Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference and Single Country Exhibition will take place next month in Lagos. The event will see a range of leading exporters from Pakistan coming to showcase their products while looking for business partnerships with Nigerian companies. Industry sectors that will be represented at the event include pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, automotive parts, agricultural machinery, chemicals and paints, food and beverages, textiles, services, kitchenware, electronics and much more.
COP 26 highlights
A draft document of the agreement that countries, including India, are negotiating in Glasgow, Scotland underlines that the promised climate finance by the developed countries is “insufficient to respond to the worsening climate change impacts in developing countries” and urges the developed countries to “urgently scale up.”The provision of finance for mitigation and adaptation of the impact of global warming is one of the key sticking points. The United States, Canada, several countries of the European Union and the United Kingdom, among others, have dragged their feet on a commitment to provide $100 billion annually by 2020. India, along with several other developing countries, has for years pointed out that not providing this money implies that the developed countries’ demand to coerce major developing countries into a net-zero commitment by mid-century is unjustified. It also violates the core principle of equity and climate justice, they aver.
This is according to a Ministerial Joint Statement from the Ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China representing the BASIC Group at the at the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom. “Brazil also announced new climate goals: (i) 50% of emissions reductions by 2030; (ii) zero illegal deforestation by 2028; (iii) restore and reforest 18 million hectares of forests by 2030; and (iv) achieve, in 2030, the participation of 45% to 50% of renewable energies in the composition of the energy matrix,” the statement said.
Africa’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions historically has been negligible, and currently comprises less than 2 percent of the world’s total. At the same time, African countries collectively are expected to commit to reduce the continent’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by 2030, through a strategy to be presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change before COP26 in November 2021.3 Unlike its contribution to emissions, the impacts of climate change on Africa have been disproportionately severe, and it is feared that the continent will carry a large share of the burden of climate change—especially if the world fails to limit further increases in average temperatures. This article explores the current outlook for investments in renewable energy projects across Africa.
While developed nations announce at the COP26 climate summit pledge after pledge to reduce emissions, the concerns of the less developed countries are not being heard during the closed-door talks, a delegate from Ghana said, as quoted by Upstream. “The stated commitments by the G20 and developed nations are very different from what’s happening in the negotiating room,” the representative of the Ghanaian ministerial delegation said at an Adaptation panel at the summit.
Developing nations need much more than the current one-fifth of global funding on fighting climate change, delegates at the summit were told. “African countries continue to contribute little to global emissions, so deep is the continent’s energy poverty. Yet Africa is on the front lines of dramatic climate impacts, from floods to cyclones and drought that can wipe out decades of development gains overnight,” Guterres’ said.
The African Development Bank has welcomed $136 million in additional donor commitments for the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). The announcements were made on Monday, during an event at the COP26 conference featuring government ministers and a panel of leaders in renewable energy. The event was an occasion for SEFA donors to reaffirm their support for the Fund’s institutional priorities. SEFA is a multi-donor trust fund managed by the African Development Bank.
United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, said: ‘‘Too many people living across Africa still do not have access to electricity. This means children can’t do their homework, businesses can’t operate, and economies can’t grow. Which is why it is essential we support African countries in a just and inclusive energy transition, so everyone can access affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.” She said additional UK and global support to the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa will help make this a reality, providing more affordable electricity to households, communities and businesses across the continent. “Working together to support African countries to lower dirty emissions and grow job-creating economies is good for Africa, good for the UK and good for the planet,” she added. The UK announced during Energy Day at COP26 an additional 4 million pounds contribution to SEFA.
The United States and the African Union Commission are launching a new partnership to reach Paris agreement goals in reducing carbon emissions and building long-term adaptation plans in Africa, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Samantha Power announced on Monday. Speaking at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Scotland, Power announced the launch of the Comprehensive Africa Climate Change Initiative (CACCI) alongside Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, and other African Union Member States representatives. As many African countries disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, Power asserted that adapting and strengthening resilience to climate change is critical.
A new US$143 million investment programme will ensure millions of the most at-risk rural people living in the Sahel region of West Africa can adapt to climate change, with a wide-reaching plan to restore degraded land and provide climate information systems and agricultural insurance. The announcement was made today at the UN climate change conference (COP26) during a signing ceremony of the grant agreement between the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme will operate in seven countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. This is part of the African-led Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative which aims to restore degraded landscapes in the Sahel, one of the world’s poorest regions.
Twelve donor governments pledged $413 million in climate financing for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) at Cop26 on Tuesday.
“Adaptation and building resilient societies are needed much more today than ever before,” said Yeshey Penjor, minister of agriculture and forests for Bhutan. “As we continue to address our climate adaptation challenges in LDCs, we are facing a massive resource gap.” Bhutan chairs the LDCF, a climate resilience fund set up in 2001, managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and which exclusively targets the 46 countries identified by the UN as having the biggest development needs.
Since its inception 20 years ago, the LDCF has provided $1.7 billion in grants for over 350 projects tailored to the climate adaptation priorities of LDCs, and estimates suggest that more than 50 million people now benefit from the Fund’s work.
The United Kingdom has announced a £500 million fund to support the implementation of the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) roadmap to protect forests while also promoting development and trade in Nigeria and 27 other countries across the globe. The announcement was made during the world leaders summit even as an additional £65 million has been committed to support a ‘Just rural transition’ to help developing countries shift policies and practices to more sustainable agriculture and food production. At the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, commitments made by countries are expected to help implement the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use which is now endorsed by 134 countries, including Nigeria, covering 91 per cent of the world’s forests.
Production Gap Report 2021 (UNEP)
The Production Gap Report — first launched in 2019 — tracks the discrepancy between governments’ planned fossil fuel production and global production levels consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C. The report represents a collaboration of several researchers and academic institutions, including input from more than 40 experts. UNEP staff provided guidance and insights from their experience leading other gap reports. This year’s report presents the first comprehensive update of the production gap analysis since our 2019 assessment. The report also tracks how governments worldwide are supporting fossil fuel production through their policies, investments, and other measures, as well as how some are beginning to discuss and enact policies towards a managed and equitable transition away from fossil fuel production. This year’s report features individual country profiles for 15 major fossil fuel-producing countries and a special chapter on the role of transparency in helping to address the production gap.
India and South Africa have made a joint submission at the WTO seeking inclusive development of global e-commerce and measures, including technology transfer, to bridge the digital divide between the rich and poor that has “worsened’’ in the times of Covid-19. The joint paper also highlighted the need for developing countries to enact laws on data sovereignty and preserve their policy and fiscal space to revive trade competitiveness.The timing of the paper is important as it comes just weeks before the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) where a group of countries, including Australia, Japan, Singapore and the US, are trying to push plurilateral negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce that doesn’t have the support of many developing country members including India.Citing an UNCTAD 2019 report, the two countries said in the paper submitted to the WTO Committee on Trade and Development on Thursday, “Three developed countries (US, Japan and Germany) together account for 45 per cent of global e-commerce sales...and a handful of digital platforms have captured the cross-border e-commerce markets. Covid-19 has further increased the market dominance of digital platforms and big-tech firms.”
The World Trade Promotion Organizations Conference (WTPO) will be jointly hosted by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. A meeting with ITC Executive Director, Madam Pamela Coke-Hamilton and GEPA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Afua Asabea Asare in Accra on 26 October 2021, confirmed the participation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the conference. A statement issued in Accra by the organisers said participants would also explore new opportunities arising from digitalization and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Report: Debt Transparency in Developing Economies (World Bank)
Global debt surveillance today depends on a patchwork of databases with different standards and definitions, resulting in large gaps in debt information for many low-income developing countries, a new World Bank Group analysis found.Debt Transparency in Developing Countries provides a detailed look at debt reporting in low-income developing countries (LIDCs)—many of which are facing record-high debt levels exacerbated by COVID-19—to inform stakeholders in sound and transparent debt management.
When debt data is available, the report notes that it tends to be limited to central government loans and securities, excluding other public sector components and debt instruments. For some LIDCs, debt data disclosed across various sources show variations equivalent to as much as 30 percent of a country’s gross domestic product—often because of differing definitions and standards and recording errors. These challenges leave LIDCs open to the dangers of inadequate debt transparency—such as the risk of debt distress and delayed debt restructurings—and threatens the ability of countries to overcome the pandemic and generate a green, resilient and inclusive recovery. Additionally, without clarity of the extent of their indebtedness, governments would be unable to make sound decisions about borrowing.
Singles’ Day, also known as “Double 11”, marked on 11 November, is a Chinese unofficial holiday that is the highest spending e-commerce day in the world. This celebration was started by e-commerce giant Alibaba in China in 2009, offering significant discounts to consumers. Since then, it has spread to other e-commerce platforms such as JD.com and Pinduoduo Inc. and become a multibillion-dollar annual shopping day in a little more than a decade. Last year, around 800 million consumers participated in the day, while Alibaba and JD.com recorded around $115 billion in sales, setting new records for both companies.
Business-to-consumer disputes are also on the rise, testing consumer confidence in the digital economy. Before the 2020 e-commerce boom, a 2017 global UNCTAD survey already revealed that 49% of internet users identified lack of trust as the main reason for not shopping online. This trend was confirmed in 2019. A new UNCTAD research paper entitled “Consumer trust in the digital economy: The case for online dispute resolution” shows that despite the continual growth of e-commerce, consumer trust in it is not necessarily growing. Consumer dissatisfaction across different sectors and industries has been identified as a key challenge for government officials.
Technological change has long been a driver of human progress. And the financial sector has been no exception. From the development of double-entry book-keeping, to the introduction of ATMs and modern payment systems—each wave of innovation has left its mark.
These trends are intertwined technologically, but we are only beginning to understand many of the challenges. From the perspective of financial regulators, the key question is how to reap the benefits of technology in terms of financial inclusion, efficiency, risk management, and oversight, while simultaneously managing the financial stability and integrity risks.
In three separate and recent papers, IMF staff have found strong complementarities across these issues. They point to the need for adapting policy approaches and regulation to these new challenges, and to the need for enhanced cross-border cooperation to address risks that do not have national boundaries.