tralac Daily News
Cargo thieves are going after hair extensions and wigs, as SA’s imports soar (Business Insider South Africa)
Wigs and hair extensions imports are increasingly becoming prone to cargo theft and hijackings once they reach South Africa, with these items becoming one of the most insured goods likely to be stolen. The South African illicit trade market is primarily to blame for the increasing theft of wigs and hair extensions, Marika van Rhyn, Hollard Marine’s senior business development manager, said. Globally, the hair extension market is valued at around R41 billion and is expected to grow to R59 billion in 2028, at a rate of 5.3%, market research house Fortune Business Insights states. It said a growing fashion sense and aspiration for luxury by South African consumers, and others in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are mainly fuelling the hair extension markets of the Middle East and some African regions.
Over the past four years, South Africa’s imports for hair extensions jumped 64%, with the country’s annual imports for hair products in general reaching around R1.1 billion, Van Rhyn said.
The thefts commonly occur at the ports, when the goods get offloaded after arrival, or in transit to their final destinations in hijacking incidents.
The South African government is quietly setting up a new state-owned company that will focus on gas lines between South Africa and Mozambique, a new report by amaBhungane reveals. Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has been pushing for gas to be used to plug South Africa’s widening energy gap – this despite a global effort to move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy programmes. According to amaBhungane, the Central Energy Fund (CEF) is now in the process of establishing a new state-owned gas trading entity that will primarily source gas from Mozambique.
Car tax changes proposed for South Africa (BusinessTech)
The opposition Democratic Alliance has called for the fast-tracking of proposals in the government’s automotive green paper, which it says will help with the adoption of electric vehicles in South Africa. The DA has also called for the scrapping of all import duties on electric vehicles (EVs) to the country, which will allow motorists to purchase reasonably-priced electric vehicles in the face of growing petrol prices, it said. Electric vehicles currently face import tariffs of 25% compared to the 18% paid on traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. “It makes no sense whatsoever that import duty exists on electric vehicles, except to protect big manufacturers in South Africa who refuse to transition to EVs and hybrids, and keep South Africans on petrol and diesel to keep raking in fuel taxes,” said the DA’s Dean Macpherson. “While many countries offer cash incentives against the purchase of EVs, the least we could do in South Africa is reduce the cost of EVs to consumers by a massive 25%. This would be a non-cash incentive which would be manageable by government.”
Kenya: Govt launches procedures to secure borders (Capital News)
The government has launched the the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for points of entry and exit which are geared towards protecting the country’s borders and promoting legitimate trade. State Department of Interior and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said that this is a momentous step for Kenya – one that is going to have a big impact on how one travels, invest in security measures and conducts business with neighbours and other countries globally. Kibicho said that these up-to-date, policy-backed, innovative and technology-centered standard operating procedures will guide in the coordination of operations and information and resource-sharing among border agencies.
In a speech read on his behalf by Nairobi Regional Commissioner Kang’ethe Thuku at a Nairobi hotel on Tuesday during the launch, Kibicho said that since the inception of coordinated border management, border officials have been conducting joint operations without a comprehensive guiding tool and to remedy this situation, a guide with modern and innovative means of border management had to be developed.
How Kenya polls could slow cargo, trade flows (Business Daily)
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent geographical lockdowns significantly slowed logistics activities. Investments in international trade dropped substantially. Barely two years later, Kenya’s logistics industry is again on the brink of negative fallout from the upcoming General Election. Time has, on more than one occasion, proven that the heat from political campaigns affects the flow of goods. The worry amongst the business community stems from the negative impact Kenya’s 2007/2008 post-election violence had on the economy.
Currently, the Port of Mombasa is experiencing a slowdown in transit volumes ahead of the August 9 elections. It has also been noted that there is an increase in shipments destined for the Great Lakes region that would usually go through Mombasa Port, being diverted to the Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania.
Many industries take a cautious stand on operations as they wait for “things to play out” before making serious investments. On the other hand, investors hold on to their cash before making a serious commitment, and neighbouring countries redirect their cargo to other ports for fear of cargo delays or disruptions. Slow economic activity and election campaign activities also lead to a reduction in lending activity by banks. Since they are usually the hardest hit in terms of risk, lending institutions limit the amount of credit they give to investors and companies such as cargo traders, affecting the operational efficiency of many depending on such sources for capital flow.
Kenya tracks Nigeria dirty cash, seizes Sh15 billion (Business Daily)
When Nigerian Mauzu Bala landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in December 2020 carrying a bag full of undeclared money, the man who claimed to be an agent for a Dubai jeweller did not anticipate a long court fight. Mr Mauzu landed carrying $880,000 (Sh100 million), 60,000 Euros (Sh7.74 million) and 63,000 Naira (Sh17,010) in his handbag. The Nigerian had jetted into the country on a Kenya Airways flight from Lagos and was waiting for a connecting flight to Dubai. The funds were swiftly confiscated after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) suspected them to be part of a money laundering scheme on its radar. Since then, State agencies have shone more spotlight on Nigeria, seizing about Sh15 billion from individuals and companies from the West African nation.
The bulk of the money is suspected to be from card fraud or remittance done by payment service providers at a time Kenyan authorities are cranking up the fight against money launderers who have turned Nairobi into their playground.
A report by the Sentry titled Kenya Illicit Finance Risks and Assessment has listed domestic corruption, terrorist financing, environmental crimes, illegal trafficking, tax evasion, and the misuse of digital finance such as mobile banking and cryptocurrency as some of the risks the country faces.
Exporters urged to exploit benefits of Walvis Bay (The Herald)
LOCAL exporters should utilise the Walvis Bay Dry Port in Namibia to enjoy economies of scale presented by that route as trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) grows, an official said yesterday. The AfCFTA, to which Zimbabwe is signatory was operationalised on January 1, 2021, making historic strides towards continental economic integration. Zimbabwe has deposited its instrument of ratification expected to pave the way for the country’s full participation in the estimated US$3,4 trillion trading bloc and continent wide market of about 1,3 billion people. In an interview, Shipping and Freight Forwarders Association of Zimbabwe (SFFAZ) chief executive officer Joseph Musariri said in light of the AfCFTA, Zimbabwean exporters need to tap into the opportunities being presented by the Walvis Bay Dry Port, which the Government has established.
Nigeria’s real-time and digital payments revolution is driving economic growth and financial inclusion at unprecedented levels for the largest African economy, according to the 3rd edition of Prime Time for Real-Time, published by ACI Worldwide, in partnership with GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).
The report – tracking real-time payments volumes and growth across 53 countries – includes an economic impact study for the first time, providing a comprehensive view of the economic benefits of real-time payments for consumers, businesses, and the broader economy across 30 countries.
The report reveals Nigeria as Africa’s undisputed real-time and digital payments leader. The country recorded 3.7 billion real-time transactions 2021 – ranking 6th in the league table of the world’s most developed real-time payments markets – behind India, China, Thailand, Brazil, and South Korea.
In 2026 real-time transactions are forecast to rise 8.8 billion in 2026, a 5-year CAGR of 18.6%. This will help unlock $US 6 billion of additional GDP in 2026, representing 1.01% of the country’s GDP.
“Nigeria is fast becoming a posterchild across Africa for the successful digital transformation of the country’s economy,” Santhosh Rao, Head of Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, ACI Worldwide. “Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigerians increasingly expect higher speeds, greater simplicity, and modern thinking from financial service providers. While cash is still being used widely, the shift towards greater adoption of digital and real-time payments services is testament to the success of government regulators in fostering rapid growth in digital openness, particularly payments.”
The director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday urged Nigeria to step up efforts to leverage on the new WTO Agreements on Fisheries Subsidies and IP waiver on local vaccine production. Okonjo-Iweala said the revised agreement for new global rules is now tailored to curb harmful fishing subsidies and curtail post-harvest losses and a country like Nigeria and other African countries will greatly benefit from it.
WTO members had successfully concluded the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva on 17 June, securing multilaterally negotiated outcomes on a series of key trade initiatives.
The WTO DG, who was received by the minister of state for industry, trade and investment, Amb Maryam Katagum, at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, said she was cautiously optimistic that agreements on issues such as a limited IP waiver for COVID vaccines as well as a decision to curb harmful fisheries subsidies that allow big industrial rigs to plunder the oceans – depleting global fish stocks and harming food security for billions of people, would be fully implemented by member states including Nigeria.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala also canvassed support from local manufacturers to guard against imports of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products. She encouraged the country to strengthen trade ties with other African neighbours with a focus on fisheries subsidies and local vaccine production and maximizing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). On her part, Amb Maryam Katagum, said the Agreement holds great benefit for Nigeria as it will enhance food security and increase source of livelihood particularly, for lower income families in rural and coastal areas, more so, as it protects global fish stocks in a manner that also recognises the needs of fishers in developing and least-developed countries (LDCs).
Ghana, Burkina Faso to promote trade and commerce (News Ghana)
Ghana and Burkina Faso, through their respective Chambers of Commerce and Industry, seek to promote trade and commerce through exhibition of products in Accra. The five-day event, scheduled for September 27 to October 2, 2022, will focus on creating a platform and opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Small and Medium Industries (SMIs) of both countries. The event would not only showcase Burkinabe products but bring together government officials, investors, private sector players to create conditions for a harmonious integration of Burkina Faso economy and vice versa with special attention on tourism and culture, commerce, and economic sectors.
This was said during the launch of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) and Burkina Faso Trade Fair on the theme: “Strengthening economic and trade partnership between Burkina Faso and Ghana: which synergies of actions in the current context of the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).”
Government is focusing on promoting exportation and more of import substitution in order to support and spur growth in the Manufacturing sector. According to the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, David Bahati, government is encouraging import substitution and increase of exports. He said the manufacturing sector is key to the development of Uganda’s economy. Bahati revealed that the industrialisation sector contributes 27.4% of the GDP, and manufacturing alone contributes 16.4%.
Tunisia’s food trade deficit doubled to 1.559 billion dinars ($496.99 million) due to the higher cost of imports of cereals and sugar in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, the state Agricultural Observatory said on Tuesday. The food trade deficit was 806 million dinars in the first half last year. Tunisia’s total trade deficit widened by 56 % to $3.66 billion in the first half of 2022 , the state Institute of Statistics said this month.
Morocco calls for leveraging more private funds in African infrastructure (The North Africa Post)
Morocco reiterated its call for the setting up of a new African investment model that leverages capital from private and institutional investors to make up for a drop in public investments on the back of the successive crises. Speaking at an event by Africa50, an infrastructure investment platform operating under the umbrella of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Morocco’s finance minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui said private funds are needed to finance African infrastructure projects more than ever, especially in the current context where fiscal responses have been undermined by the response to Covid and inflationary pressures.
The Moroccan minister called for more intra-African solidarity and recalled Morocco’s investment effort in Africa in the sectors of banks, insurance, telecoms, construction, energy and agriculture. “This cooperation is set to be strengthened with the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” she said. Echoing her, AfDB President and head of Africa50 Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina said Africa needs private funds to meet infrastructure investments financing needs estimated at between 68 billion and 108 billion dollars.
The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union, H.E. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, opened the Boma of Africa event on 8th July 2022 to crown the activities marking this year’s Africa Integration Day. The theme of the Boma this year was, aptly, “Taking Stock of the African Century”, reflecting increasing interest in the belief that Africa’s rise in the 21st century as envisaged under Agenda 2063 will be globally definitive. The 2022 Boma was convened jointly by the African Union and AfroChampions.
Reflecting the balance between deliberation and action, the Boma was segmented into three parts. Two parts focused on the launch of major practical initiatives driving integration on the continent: a Common Vaccine Passport (www.africacdc.org/trusted-vaccines) embedded in continental eHealth Backbone (www.panabios.org) and a platform for the AfCFTA Digital Trading Corridor (www.afcfta.app).
The results of a consultative process ahead of the launch of the AfCFTA Hub digital trading ecosystem platform by the AfCFTA Secretariat were presented in the forms of video showing strong support from major logistics companies such as RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Asky. Continental retail and distribution companies like MaxMart, Melcom, Walmart Africa and Naivas were also successfully engaged. On the digital, financial services, and fintech fronts, companies that participated in the launch of the AfCFTA Hub included M-Pesa, PAPSS, Vodacom, Orange, WebbFontaine, Scanning Systems, and Standard Bank. Input into the development finance prospects came from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to uplift e-commerce and digital payments in Africa. However, its success will largely hinge on governments stepping up their policies and frameworks to build a safe and frictionless digital trading ecosystem. After six years of planning, strategy and coordination, the AfCFTA became effective on 1 January 2021. Now just 18 months since its inception, payments ecosystem players believe creating a conducive regulatory environment is the next critical hurdle – and probably the most difficult part of its implementation.
Emmanuel Khisa, project manager of Smart Africa, tells ITWeb that while the organisation recognises that online selling would be a driving force of the AfCFTA, it also acknowledges the myriad of challenges faced by e-commerce and cross-border payments players on the continent.
“Cross-border payments and the volatility of national currencies is one of the main challenges. E-merchants also face antiquated customs procedures, with long delays at borders; bad transport infrastructure for deliveries, which excludes most rural areas; national non-tariff barriers that discriminate against foreign firms (like tax regulations which distinguish between local firms and importers); the ‘digital divide’ which prevents many citizens from accessing the internet,” explains Khisa.
According to Khisa, new laws and policies introduced by governments should seek to bring together the national central banks, and envision the collaboration of private banks and switching systems, as well as e-commerce initiatives.
Do central bank digital currencies have a future in Africa? (African Business)
Countries across Africa are looking to use central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to overcome infrastructural problems affecting the banking sector. And far from being motivated by a desire to take advantage of cryptocurrencies as a ‘hyper-capitalistic technology’ in the manner of millions of enthusiasts at the start of the decade, their object is to promote financial inclusion. By using the technology behind cryptocurrencies they aim to boost bring financial services to the hundreds of millions of Africans without bank accounts, facilitate domestic and cross-border payments and increase trade.
The CBDC model will be very advantageous for Africa because it allows anybody to trade, it doesn’t need an internet connection, financial policies can be implemented much quicker, taxation and accountancy are simplified and, most importantly, in CBDCs there are no fees of transfer,” says Richard Dennis, CEO of TemTum Group, a blockchain provider, whose company advises central banks in Africa on how to implement the CBDC model.
African countries need to leverage more private funds to meet infrastructure financing needs estimated at between $68 billion and $108 billion annually, the chief executive of Africa50, an infrastructure investment offshoot of the African Development Bank, said on Tuesday in Marrakech. Leveraging more private capital to finance infrastructure projects, as part of public-private partnerships, would help free public funds to projects shunned by the private sector, CEO Alain Ebobissé said on the eve of the launch of a U.S- Africa business summit. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) had planned $26 million last year to fund feasibility studies of African investment projects with a potential to generate $17 billion in financing, the agency’s director, Enoh Ebong, told Reuters.
The 14th edition of the US-Africa Business Summit kicks off on Tuesday in Marrakech, at the initiative of the “Corporate Council on Africa” (CCA), under the theme “building the future together”.
In an extensive interview with the Moroccan News Agency (MAP) in Washington, she talked about the main topics and objectives of the summit, its significant after two years of the pandemic and in a context of increased geopolitical tension and risks of economic fragmentation with important impact on Africa, and the role of private sector and the need of more robust public-private partnership to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. Ms. Liser is the first woman to lead the Council since its founding in 1993. She brings to her role a strong track record of working with the private sector to translate policy into action. Before her current role, she was the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa since 2003.
Collaboration between governments and the private sector is critical to Africa and the U.S. building forward together around strategic sectors and effectively addressing a range of global challenges. For example, the U.S. government and private sector worked collaboratively with African nations and private sector partners to meet the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring more equitable vaccine access has been a key first step that has offered businesses in sectors ranging from health to ICT a unique opportunity to work together to meet Africa’s public health needs.
Cargo charters: Is the future promising for Africa? (Logistics Update Africa)
Africa’s air cargo market, like those in other geographies, has spent the last few years navigating through extreme turbulence caused by Covid-19, with limited and fluctuating capacity affecting the efficient movement of cargo to, from, and within the region and posing unique challenges for certain key trade lanes, commodity verticals, and market stakeholders.
As the cargo chartering industry is recovering from the pandemic, the air cargo business is expected to grow and demand to climb. The cargo chartering sector aims at expanding its footprint by growing its cargo team in African countries with new offices and cargo charter brokers.
African airlines stare at $4b loss over costly fuel (The East African)
African airlines are expected to record $4.1 billion loss this year on the back of expensive fuel that is eroding the gains made by a recovering business. Africa Airlines Association (AFRAA) says expensive jet fuel and other expenses involved in running the airlines will weigh down on the profits.
“Full-year revenue loss for African airlines for 2022 is estimated at $4.1bn, equivalent to 23.4 percent of the 2019 revenues,” said AFRAA. International Air Transport Association (IATA) had earlier warned that rising jet fuel prices were likely to cause airfares to increase this year, as airlines grapple with higher operating costs. “We have had to adjust our fares because of expensive fuel that has increased our operation cost,” said Jambojet chief executive officer Ndegwa Karanja.
Food security dominated the agenda at the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Zambia’s capital Lusaka. The summit’s theme of ”Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent” highlighted the ongoing food challenges that have gripped Africa. A combination of several factors, including a three-year drought in the Horn of Africa, the 2020 locust swarms, Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict, the economic effects of the COVID pandemic, and the war in Ukraine, are all piling on pressure on Africa’s food systems. According to the UN, 278 million people in Africa lacked access to adequate food in 2021 — before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Ambassador Josefa Sacko, AU commissioner for agriculture reminded delegates of the impacts of Russia’s war in Ukraine, involving two of the biggest global producers of staple cereals, oil, and fertilizer. “We know that our continent is really dependant on imports, which we, as the African Union, if this is the agenda we want, we have all the advantage to produce, ourselves and we should stop all this importing [of] food from outside.”
The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors has approved 24, fast-track programs to help Africa mitigate rising food prices and inflation caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. The first round of approvals is part of the Bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, established in May to boost food security, nutrition, and resilience across the continent. The facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers. It will also support governance and policy reform, which is expected to encourage greater investment in Africa’s agricultural sector. The African Emergency Food Production Facility will enable African farmers to produce 38 million additional tons of food over the next two years. This is food worth an estimated $12 billion.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed European Union (EU) Council President, Charles Michel’s pledge that commits the European Union to supporting Africa’s efforts to achieving food security. The pledge will also help to decrease the continent’s dependence on agricultural inputs that are exported from elsewhere in the world. “In this regard a joint project plan was agreed to assist Africa in developing its own fertiliser production capacity. The commitment follows positive reception to President Ramaphosa’s proposal to the G7 countries at the recent G7 summit hosted in Germany, that Africa be enabled to invest in developing its fertiliser to deal with food insecurity,” the Presidency said in a statement.
The South Africa-European Union (EU) Strategic Partnership functions within the framework of the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which was ratified in 2004. The Presidency said that the EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner as a bloc. “Since the adoption of the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA), total trade increased from R150 billion in 2000 to R843 billion in 2021. Exports to the EU increased steadily over the years, growing from R64 billion back in 2000 to R482 billion in 2021. “During the same period, imports from the EU also increased from R86 billion in 2000 to R361 billion in 2021,” the Presidency said.
The COMESA Regional Resilience Implementation Plan and Resource Mobilization Strategy is nearing completion following final review by experts in climate change, resilience, disaster risk reduction and management, drawn from 14 Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Union Commission. At the same time, country focal points for the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from these Member States and organizations met and shared best practices in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and the pledges their countries made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The financing for NDC implementation, opportunities and challenges in scaling up was one of the main subjects in focus. This meeting was part of ongoing COMESA support to the Member States to implement their NDC commitments and contribute to the attainment of the Paris Agreement goals.
Zambia’s Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Mr Ephraim Shitima, who addressed the meeting urged the member States to review the implementation status of NDCs and recommend policies to improve it. “The opportunities for NDC implementation outweigh the challenges, therefore we need to utilize all the available opportunities on finance, technology transfer, capacity building and to achieve the setout targets,” he said.
Africa needs to promote its ‘blue economy’ (China Daily)
In Africa, the “blue economy”-the sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources to improve livelihoods and employment－is one of the most untapped sources for fueling economic growth and development. Yet 64 percent of the continent is covered by freshwater bodies and ocean ecosystems, and 38 out of the 55 African Union member states are coastal or island states, according to the AU Commission. On the other hand, some of these African countries with access to freshwater bodies such as rivers and lakes are on the verge of experiencing humanitarian catastrophe emanating from climate change-related issues such as famine.
Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change (African Development Bank Group, COP 25, December 2019) despite having relatively low contributions to global emissions. It faces huge collateral damage posing substantial risks to its economies, food systems, and livelihoods. Important challenges that African countries face from climate change include: the impact on food security and livelihoods from reduced agricultural production and productivity the limited access to capital, technology and skills for economic adaptation and transition limited governance and institutional capacity to deal with conflict over scarce resources and displacements arising from extreme climate events While these challenges are severe, African countries have an opportunity to be an important part of the solution to the climate change challenge and contribute towards global Net Zero. This can be through unlocking the potential of renewable energy, climate smart agriculture and smart manufacturing, for instance. The UK, as a leading provider of green products and services, is in a strong position to help Africa seize the opportunity to build sustainable, green, inclusive and resilient businesses to drive the transition, which has become increasingly important in the context of climate change.
Billions of people face the greatest cost-of-living crisis in a generation due to rising food and energy prices amid tighter financial conditions. Vulnerable consumers are in a dire situation. UNCTAD’s analysis shows that a 10% increase in food prices will trigger a 5% decrease in the incomes of the poorest families, equivalent to their health expenditure. As consumers try to reduce their spending, they will pay a high price if they buy unsafe products. The United States reports 43,000 deaths and 40 million injuries per year associated with consumer products, with yearly costs of over $3,000 per capita. “Governments must strive to continue and succeed in their long-term mission of protecting their consumers, a mission of renewed relevance today,” said UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan at the organization’s intergovernmental meeting on consumer protection held on 18 and 19 July.
Keeping consumers safe is a top priority for governments around the world. UNCTAD research shows that general safety requirements and liability regimes embedded in laws, along with standards, are the cornerstones of consumer product safety frameworks around the world.
It’s time for public-private partnerships to drive digital trade in the most vulnerable nations (Trade for Development News)
COVID-19 accelerated digitization, digital entrepreneurship, and businesses’ adoption of digital technologies even in poor developing nations. This digitization in LDCs happened in parallel with global technology companies displaying interest to go beyond larger emerging markets and promote digital trade and foreign direct investments (FDI) in the poorest nations.
Public and private sectors bring together complementary assets and capabilities to promote digital trade: development agencies have relationships with governments and experience in and resources for addressing the proverbial last mile (such as with underserved segments and rural areas), while the private sector has technologies, capabilities, and first-hand expertise on business models that accelerate development impacts.
How to then optimize and focalize PPPs to serve the needs of LDCs? Here are seven ideas.
Presentations highlighted concrete trade measures taken in the context of the pandemic in order to ease the importation and supply of certain medical and hygiene goods central to the COVID-19 response, such as suspension of domestic duties, tariff concessions, simplification of customs procedures at ports and airports, and relaxation of import regulations and standards. Members explained the choices underpinning these measures as well as their duration and impact. They agreed on the importance of adopting a flexible and non-prescriptive approach to the definition of goods that could have an impact on COVID-19 recovery.
“We have advanced the substantive programme of the [Economic and Social] Council (ECOSOC) and initiated concrete foundational action to implement the decisions of the General Assembly” in resolutions on strengthening the HLPF and ECOSOC, said the body’s president, Collen Kelapile.
Although the COVID pandemic continues, “we are moving on in the road to recovery and…looking far ahead, beyond today’s daunting challenges and crises,” he said. Reversing the pandemic’s negative impacts on the likelihood of reaching the ambitious SDGs; transforming socio-economic and financial systems; addressing the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine on food security and energy supply; and halting climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, are “a calling we must work much harder to achieve,” the ECOSOC president added.
The ECOSOC President spoke about the need to bridge the financing gap by reforming international debt and taxation architecture.
Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, has appealed to nations to urgently adhere to the agreed international commitments to guarantee food security and limit global warming to 1.5°C as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly Hall during the commemorations of International Nelson Mandela Day, he noted that the number of people going hungry is on the rise, a situation exacerbated by skyrocketing food prices, even for the most basic of goods such as sugar, vegetable oils, dairy products, wheat, and cereals.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with India’s State Government of Telangana, announced Data in Climate Resilient Agriculture (DiCRA) as the latest addition to the Digital Public Goods Registry. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, the platform is geared towards strengthening food systems and food security. The impact of climate change on agriculture is multifold, affecting crop yield, nutritional quality and livestock productivity. Using remote sensing and pattern detection algorithms, DiCRA is able to identify farms that are resilient to climate change and those that are highly vulnerable. In particular, it harnesses open-source technologies to facilitate analysis and insights sharing on climate resilience, based on empirical inputs crowdsourced from hundreds of data scientists and citizen scientists on best performing farms.
As co-host of the Digital Public Good Alliance, UNDP is accelerating efforts to surface new technological frameworks required to drive climate adaptation and mitigation to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement on climate change. DiCRA now joins more than 100 digital solutions that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices to help attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).