tralac Daily News
The framework we are signing today enhances our cooperation and commitment of the United Nations in continuing to support South Africa’s developmental agenda. It is also a way to show the realisation of the call made by member States after adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, that the United Nations (UN) Development System needs to reform in order to achieve the sustainable development agenda. The call was to reposition the UN with a stronger focus on a better-defined collective identity as a trusted, reliable, cohesive, accountable and effective partner to countries in delivering the 2030 Agenda.
The United Nations Strategic Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for 2020-2025 is a vital instrument to drive the principles of the UN reform at a national level. It is also a partnership and accountability framework not just with government but with the broader society.
There are four broad pillars and strategic-level priority areas of cooperation for the SA-UN partnership. These are as follows: a) Inclusive, just and sustainable economic growth. b) Human capital and social transformation. c) Effective, efficient and transformative governance. d) Climate resilience and sustainably managed natural resources. These strategic priority areas are interlinked, reflecting the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda, with progress under each strategic priority area requiring and contributing to the progress of the other priority areas.
Oil marketers seek payments for fuel trucking from port (Business Daily)
Oil marketers are demanding compensation for trucking fuel from Mombasa following supply hitches at the pipeline after decommissioning a 40-year-old line, in what will see them raid the fuel subsidy fund afresh. Correspondence seen by the Business Daily shows that officials of the firms have put the demands on the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) after sourcing diesel and petrol from Mombasa for months, claiming that this has increased their costs. Their demands, if met, will expose the fund to new pressure at a time when the exchequer is struggling to keep the scheme afloat.
The supply hitches have been partly attributed to the decommissioning of the 40-year-old pipeline commonly known as Line 1 two years ago, which reduced the pumping of fuel from 1,500 cubic metres to 950 cubic meters per hour.
KPC takes over facility in Mombasa to store fuel (The East African)
Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has taken over the defunct state-owned Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd (KPRL), which it will use to store imported fuel. This is the second time the facility is changing hands after Shell and the British Petroleum Company (BP) sold it to Indian investor Essar Energy Overseas Ltd in 2016.
Kenya’s Energy Permanent Secretary Andrew Kamau said the takeover coincides with the launch of the New Kipevu Oil Terminal, which started a dry run this past week at Mombasa port. Officials say that the acquisition of the refinery by KPC will significantly cut on perennial inefficiencies that have characterised the petroleum products’ supply, which often translates into high prices at the pump, amid shortages. According to the Energy and Petroleum ministry, the refinery’s storage tanks for fuel and liquefied petroleum gas will help reduce a backlog at the terminal.
Ghana’s economy grew at the fastest rate in two years in 2021, beating forecasts by the government and the International Monetary Fund after a better-than-expected fourth quarter. Gross domestic product grew 5.4% last year after expanding a revised 0.5% in 2020, government statistician Samuel Kobina Annim told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Accra. That compares with a Finance Ministry estimate of 4.4%, the presidency’s 5.3% and an IMF projection for 4.2% growth.
The Ministry of finance planning and economic development has revealed that the economy by 5.2% in the month of March. This is according to the quarterly data released by UBOS in the month ending March 2022 in the second quarter of FY2021/22, compared to a decline of 0.4% in quarter 2 of the previous financial year. This was mainly driven by a pick-up in economic activity following the gradual easing of pandemic-related restrictions. Stronger performances were recorded in industry and services sectors, particularly construction activities, mining and quarrying, and hotel and accommodation services.
Uganda’s trade deficit narrowed to USD 247.66 million in February 2022 compared to USD 274.28 million registered the month before. This was on account of higher exports receipts during the month. Export receipts in February 2022 increased by 13.6% to USD 337.27 million from USD296.82 million in January 2022, driven by coffee, sugar, cocoa beans, and tea. Uganda’s import bill increased by 3% to USD584.94 million in February 2022 compared to the month before, following increased import volumes and higher prices for private sector imports such as chemical & related products, machinery, and vehicles among others. The countries also traded at a deficit with all regions save for the rest of Africa and the EAC. The highest trade deficit was registered in Asia followed by the Middle East.
President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass has called on the Government of Ghana to implement stringent policies aimed at attracting private investment from citizens and foreigners. This approach, according to the Bretton Woods institution is rather key for countries such as Ghana in order to pave way for sustained economic growth from the fallout of the pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“Countries should put in place policies that are strong that attract local and foreign investment. It’s very important for such policies to be growth policies. There’s been a tendency to have too much emphasis on government led investment which doesn’t add to the competitiveness and productivity that is needed,” the World Bank president said.
The Ghana Revenue Authority has introduced an electronic invoicing platform for businesses to reduce processing costs including printing, postage, and archiving cost savings. The introduction of the e-invoicing platform will transform how businesses operate in Ghana by reducing costs and cutting down processing times. The GRA is embarking on a massive digitization drive as part of the Transformation Agenda to make the Authority a world-class revenue administration.
Women farmers in Cote d’Ivoire will more easily find markets for their crops, thanks to a digital platform recently launched by UN Women. Blaatto, part of the UN agency’s Buy From Women initiative, is targeting women smallholder farmers and members of women-led agricultural cooperatives in the country’s central region where access to markets is relatively poor
Buy From Women is an open-source, cloud-based enterprise and e-commerce platform that can be customized to specific market products. It also offers women information and finance.
Mrs. Antonia Ngabala Sodonon, UN Women’s country representative for Cote d’Ivoire said, “The Buy From Women platform will connect women producers to all categories of buyers of agricultural products: wholesalers, retailers and consumers across Cote d’Ivoire. It is an opportunity for women farmers to sell their products to a large market of buyers.”
Women under the banner, of the Federation of Liberian Women Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) at a one-day dialogue held at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, highlighted the challenges they faced in doing business both in and out of the country. From the business registration, to the acquiring of loans, including cross border trade, the women say they found so much difficulties in being an entrepreneur in Liberia. For most women, the issue of registration is a problem for them. According to them; the business registry process takes almost a year. Some of the women disclosed that they were in a bailing process but later lost a contract after failing to present valid business registration. They blamed poor reception, extra cost, and bribing as issues that are hindering their efforts of doing business in Liberia.
54% of women-led businesses unaware of AfCFTA – Survey (Myjoyonilne)
A new report by Finance and Management Company, AYA Institute, has identified that majority of women traders and women-led businesses are unaware of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – a year after its commencement. AfCFTA The report, titled, “Assessing The Potential of Women-led MSMEs in Ghana to Take Advantage of AfCFTA,” also pointed out that traders and women-led firms complained of not having sufficient time to prepare for the start of the AfCFTA. It also showed that about 72% of traders and 54% of companies are unaware of the AfCFTA. According to the report, even though majority of firms agree that the AfCFTA is a good initiative, they observed that accessing its benefits is a major challenge.
The global economy has plummeted since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2020. While African countries focus on their post-COVID-19 recovery and economic reconstruction, the global tax rules will have implications on Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) as they refer to profit allocation, tax incentive policy design, and combatting Illicit Financial Flows. The African Union Commission, through its department of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals (ETIM) organized the first meeting of the Sub-Committee on Tax and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Financial, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration from 6 to 8 April 2022 in a Hybrid format in Harare, Zimbabwe. The meeting was held under the theme: Tax Incentives – Implication of the Global Tax Reforms for Africa.
In his opening remarks, H.E Amb. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner, Economic, Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, recognized the Republic of Zimbabwe for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to all delegations since their arrival to the beautiful city of Harare. He stressed that IFFs have become a major concern because of their scale and the negative impact they pose toon Africa’s development and governance agenda. He said that IFFs are damaging African economies and impact overall capital outflows and ultimately increasing corruption, undermining governance, shrinking tax revenues and expediting global organized crime.
African countries have committed to raise their ambitions and accelerate their actions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular ending poverty and hunger, at the conclusion of the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa. Sixty-two Ministers from 54 African countries participated in the conference – country representation was one of the largest ever thanks to the hybrid mode, with more than half the ministers attending in person in Malabo, and the remainder joining online.
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu urged countries to adopt enabling policies, innovation and science, and proper investment for agrifood systems transformation in Africa. “We have a lot more work to do, and we must continue to work together, efficiently, effectively and coherently,” he said.
In the ministerial declaration shared today, ministers welcomed the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 which shapes the organization’s work towards achieving the SDGs under the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind. ”We call on our partners to support our efforts through enhancing investments as we step up our efforts towards the transformation of agrifood systems through the implementation of the Four Betters,” Deputy Minister for Agriculture of Tanzania, Anthony Peter Mavunde said, reading the declaration on behalf of the Ministers. The Ministers also affirmed the centrality of women and young people in Africa’s transformation of agrifood systems, and called on FAO to accelerate concrete actions to tackle the impacts of the climate crisis – calling it a “major threat to the African region.”
Agriculture suffers low budget allocation in EAC (The East African)
Even as hunger, famine, and inflation ravage the East African region, the bloc is still hesitant to fund agriculture and has allocated the sector less than 0.01 percent of its budget. In the draft budget for financial year 2022/2023, East African Community partner states allocated agriculture a paltry $6,750 (0.01 percent) out of total contributions of $59.3 million. A ministerial session of the 15th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) held on March 25 in Dar es Salaam, blamed this partly on reliance on donor funding. Over the past five years, development partners have funded more than 90 percent of the sector’s budget.
“Although the agricultural sector provides many employment opportunities, the region exports between 400,000 and 700,000 jobs every year and continues to import agricultural commodities and products such as rice and wheat which can be produced within the region,” he said.
The East African Business Council (EABC), an apex body of the private sector associations, on Tuesday voiced its concern about skyrocketing air transport costs in the East African Community (EAC) region. The business body called for a thorough review of aviation taxes, levies and charges so as to make them affordable to air transport users.
High air transport cost in the EAC is blamed for frustrating aviation-dependent sectors such as tourism and export of fresh produce. The air transport market in the EAC was also still under what is described as “tight regulation and control” of the governments, said the statement.
East Africa to benefit from $8b investment plan (The East African)
East African states will jointly benefit from at least $8.77 billion worth of investments in transport, healthcare, energy, and agriculture among other sectors, from deals made at the 2021 African Investment Forum concluded on Thursday. The three-day event was organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with other finance organisations including Africa Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank and African Finance Corporation, and it yielded at least of $36.2 billion from 43 investment deals for the entire continent. For East Africa, one of the largest deals inked during the forum is the $3.3 billion railway corridor that will connect the railway network in Tanzania from Isaka to Dar es Salaam via Dodoma, and then from Tanzania to Kigali in Rwanda, which will be done as a public-private partnership project.
A meeting bringing together Heads of States from the East African Community (EAC) is expected to take place in Nairobi, Kenya this Thursday, to discuss peace and security in the region. President Tshisekedi arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday evening for the summit which opens today while Burundi’s Ntare Rushatsi House, the President’s Official account, confirmed that President Ndayishimiye departed for Nairobi. Dubbed the Quintipartite Mini-Summit, the meeting will dwell on the peace and security situation in the region, key among other issues, the situation in Eastern DRC, the latest entrants of the regional bloc.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC) have launched new guidelines for scaling up investments for and with youth in agrifood systems in Africa, during the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa (ARC32). The Investment Guidelines for Youth in Agrifood Systems in Africa provides practical “how to” steps to develop youth-focused and youth-sensitive investment programmes that see youth as partners in rural development, throughout all phases of the investment programme cycle. The guidelines are for those involved in designing and implementing agrifood investment programmes: governments, financial and technical partners, the private sector, civil society, and young women and men themselves.
Africa as a region has the highest percentage of youth in the world, estimated at 420 million people between the ages of 15 and 35. This is an enormous resource for future prosperity, but the challenges these young people face are many.
Agrifood systems are under pressure from the effects of the climate crisis, chronic and emerging conflicts and the impacts of COVID-19, undermining their ability to provide healthy and affordable food for all. But youth are resilient and innovative. It is crucial to invest differently and engage them as central players driving the transformation of agrifood systems. This includes through expanding automation, digital technologies and the green economy. Young people bring in new ideas, solutions, products and services, new models of entrepreneurship, partnerships and networks. Failing to invest in youth could lead to economic and social costs and threaten agrifood systems’ sustainability.
EU trade relations with Southern Neighbourhood (European Commission)
The long-term objective of the trade partnership between the EU and its Southern Neighbourhood is to promote economic integration in the Euro-Mediterranean area, removing barriers to trade and investment between both the EU and the Southern Neighbourhood countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria, Tunisia), and between the Southern Neighbourhood countries themselves.
In 2021, under the new EU Trade Policy Review, the EU has announced a new sustainable investment initiative for interested partners in the Southern Neighbourhood and Africa.
Southern Neighbourhood: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*, Syria, Tunisia
In 2020, the region represented 4.6% of total EU external trade. Total trade in goods between the EU and the Southern Neighbourhood countries amounted to €149.4 billion. The EU’s imports were worth €58.0 billion, whereas its exports totalled €91.4 billion.
EU trade relations with Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) (European Commission)
Eastern and Southern African countries: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe Six ESA countries – Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe – concluded an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU at the end of 2007.
Global economy news
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday pressed for international policy coordination and proactive collective efforts to protect economies amid geopolitical events dampening growth and recovery prospects. Speaking at the G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors meeting in Washington D.C., Sitharaman flagged economic challenges arising from prolonged inflation, supply chain disruption, volatility in energy markets, and investor uncertainty for all countries.
The IMFC recalls that on March 2, the United Nations General Assembly by a majority of 141 countries adopted the resolution ES-11/1 “Aggression against Ukraine” that “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine in violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter” and “demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine”. Thirty-five countries abstained from the vote; five countries voted against the resolution; some countries expressed no position.
The IMFC recognizes that Russia’s war against Ukraine has massive humanitarian consequences and detrimental repercussions for the global economy through direct and indirect channels. The IMFC calls for a speedy resolution through diplomatic channels, including “political dialogue, negotiations, mediation and other peaceful means”, and for greater international cooperation and strengthened multilateralism to prevent fragmentation and safeguard global economic integration.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is calling for a global Food Import Financing Facility (FIFF) to help poorer countries deal with surging prices as a result of the war in Ukraine. The FIFF, which is also aimed at increasing global agricultural production and productivity in a sustainable way, is one of six policy proposals put together by FAO in response to the crisis. Russia and Ukraine are important players in the global food market, with almost 50 countries dependant on them for at least 30 percent of their wheat import needs. Russia is also a key exporter of fertilizers. In 2020, it ranked as the top exporter of nitrogen fertilizers, the second leading supplier of potassium, and the third largest exporter of phosphorous fertilizer. Energy prices have also been rising, mostly due to market conditions. With the COVID-19 pandemic already squeezing budgets, the conflict in eastern Europe has pushed FAO’s Food Price Index to an all-time high, hitting the vulnerable the most. Higher fertilizer prices, meanwhile, are putting future harvests at risk globally.
According to FAO simulations, the conflict could result in as many as 13.1 million more people going hungry between 2022 and 2026, compared to the baseline.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has thrust food security to the top of the global agenda. Now, the world’s leading climate scientists have piled on a stark warning: Unless we act fast, climate change all but ensures that food crises will become the norm and not the exception. The combination of acute shocks to global food systems and a warming climate make for a terrifying and explosive combination. We are seeing the consequences play out right now, as the war in Ukraine will almost certainly trigger a global food crisis with catastrophic consequences for the most vulnerable.
Then there’s climate change. One of the most alarming findings in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent series of reports is that the climate crisis will increasingly undermine food security and nutrition around the world. The IPCC’s report on climate impacts confirmed that extreme climate events like floods, droughts, and storms have already exposed millions to acute food insecurity and malnutrition.
This is our new reality: A gradually worsening situation for food and nutrition as temperatures relentlessly rise. It’s the frightening backdrop for the world’s geopolitical and economic developments – any crisis in a critical food-producing area could spell disaster on a global scale.
Just as increasing vaccinations offered hope, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted the global economic recovery. One of the most visible global effects has been the acceleration of energy and food prices, triggering concerns about episodes of food shortages and increasing the risks of malnutrition and social unrest. World food prices surged by 33.6 percent in March from a year earlier, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Our latest Fiscal Monitor discusses how governments, faced with record debt and rising borrowing costs, can best respond to the urgent needs. It stresses the call for greater global cooperation.
21 April marks World Creativity and Innovation Day, a day to increase awareness about the role of creativity and innovation in problem-solving and sustainable development. This year, UNCTAD celebrates this day with the launch of a new report, “Creative Industry 4.0: Towards A New Globalized Creative Economy”, which focuses on the intersection of industry 4.0 and the creative economy. It’s timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization in every aspect of life. The report highlights how industry 4.0 technologies transform creative industries and provide policy options for developing countries to harness these new technological trends for their creative economy. Creative Industry 4.0 is expected to benefit from the opportunities brought by new technologies. On the design and production side, these are: enhanced efficiency, unrestricted creativity, greater interactivity and flexibility that facilitates cost-effective customization. “The potential of knowledge-based creative products is not limited to the digital creative industry. It’s also relevant for the most traditional, cultural or heritage-dependent creative activities,” said Miho Shirotori, head of trading systems, services and the creative economy at UNCTAD.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing growth of geopolitical risks and challenges in the world, we are increasingly aware that the old architecture of the world order is gradually disappearing, and a new configuration of international relations and regional blocs is coming to replace it. The countries of the “Global South” create their own international institutions, regional integration associations, financial settlement systems, and implement their own regional infrastructure projects so that they are not completely dependent on the international financial institutions of the West. Among the leading countries participating in the processes of transformation of the world economy are the largest emerging markets, primarily the BRICS countries.
Over the past decade, the BRICS association has taken a prominent place in international relations, as it allows the most dynamic economies of the world to consider a much wider range of issues than, for example, in the United Nations Security Council, and find answers to many economic and environmental challenges.
Experts from the BRICS member countries see in cooperation the association of prerequisites for the formation of a financial alternative to the hegemony of the dollar in the world economic system and space for investment diversification, as well as an opportunity to create new models of interaction, and transform the mechanisms of the global political architecture.
Another important achievement of the BRICS member countries was the fact that a new tool, initiated by China in 2017 during the Xiamen summit, appeared in the work of the association — the BRICS+ format, which involves the cooperation of the five with other partners.
In the current geopolitical conditions, it seems extremely important to advance work toward the integration of other countries into the BRICS+ format. Given the fact that the BRICS+ format is already working successfully, BRICS has the prerequisites to become the basis for a new world order.
To do this, first of all, BRICS countries should form a new world economic architecture, consisting of such directions as the reboot of globalization based on a new platform of countries and regions; creation of a monetary and financial system; formation of new regional blocs and platforms for their coordination and development; creation of a new format for the development of the world economy, etc.