tralac Daily News
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today releases trade statistics for June 2022 recording a preliminary trade balance surplus of R24.23 billion. These statistics include trade data with Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia (BELN). The year-to-date (01 January to 30 June 2022) preliminary trade balance surplus of R133.52 billion is a deterioration from the R249.86 billion trade balance surplus for the comparable period in 2021. Exports increased by 16.7% year-on-year whilst imports increased by 47.6% over the same period.
A look at the mega projects planned for South Africa (BuinessTech)
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Transnet says it has a strategy to become a world-class port operator, and will focus on the hub port in Durban. Earlier this week, Transnet reported a slight increase in revenue for the year ended March 2022, to R68.5 billion, while EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) improved by 20.5% to R23.4 billion. Profit for the year is R5 billion from a loss of R8.7 billion in the prior year. The significant increase in profits is mainly attributable to the improvement in the EBITDA, a decrease in asset impairments and an increase in fair value adjustments related mainly to investment property (IP), it said.
“Part of Transnet’s hub port strategy includes further development of the Ngqura port into an efficient, trans-shipment-focused container terminal. The port has modern infrastructure and equipment, and is capable of handling large container vessels,” Silinga said. Due to operational challenges and lack of competition, Silinga said the Ngqura container terminal is currently not making effective use of its capacity.
The SA Reserve Bank warns that climate change has emerged as a key threat to economic and financial stability in the country, following the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). “The economic research department is assessing the implications of climate related shocks for monetary policy execution and implementation,” he said. “Climate change and the transition to a greener economy have the potential to generate larger, longer and often more frequent economic and financial shocks, with disruptive effects for economic activity and high inflation.” Climate change is already manifesting rapidly in the form of droughts, fires, floods, resource scarcity and species loss, among other impacts.
South Africa turns to renewables, gas and batteries to end power cuts (Climate Change News)
South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to end the country’s frequent electricity black-outs by mobilising investment in renewables, gas and batteries. In a prime-time address to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa said: “After more than a decade without reliable electricity supply, South Africans are justifiably frustrated and angry. They are fed up.” Ramaphosa blamed the power cuts on the country’s old and unreliable coal power plants, on the “design flaws” in two new coal power plants and on “extensive theft, fraud and sabotage” and “years of state capture and mismanagement” under his predecessor Jacob Zuma. After talking to trade unions, business, experts and opposition parties, Ramaphosa said he planned to fix the black-outs by improving the existing power plants, encouraging investment in renewables, flexible gas generators and battery storage and enabling businesses and households to sell rooftop solar to the grid.
The World Customs Organization (WCO) conducted an Integrity Diagnostic mission in Mbabane, Eswatini, from 18th to 22nd July 2022 to support the implementation of a robust anti-corruption and integrity development by the Eswatini Revenue Service (ERS). The mission was a follow-up to the recommendations of a scoping mission conducted by the Sida-WCO Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization (Sida-WCO TFCM) Programme in June 2021, on the priority areas for implementing an effective integrity development program in ERS.
As part of the mission objectives, the WCO team, comprising member Experts from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), performed an organizational assessment of the ERS anti-corruption and integrity development initiatives using a comprehensive and detailed methodology in accordance with the WCO Revised Integrity Development Guide (RIDG) to assist ERS staff to assess their compliance with the requirements of the Revised Arusha Declaration on Integrity in Customs.
As part of their assessment of the integrity issue in their environment, the experts met with the Anti-Corruption Commission and private sector stakeholders. In order to examine the customs procedures, the WCO experts also visited the Ngweya Border Post between South Africa and Eswatini.
A new report for the first time reveals that Lesotho’s capital city Maseru, which accounts for only 17 per cent of the country’s population, generates about half of the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) – a vital economic well-being indicator. The report, developed by the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), was validated by Lesotho’s national and local government officials, data specialists, national account experts, development experts and urbanisation practitioners at a workshop in Maseru on 25 July 2022.
Zimbabwe infrastructure upgrades to boost revenue performance (Bulawayo24 News)
GOVERNMENT expects the on-going infrastructural development projects, particularly the upgrading of major highways, to impact positively on revenue performance through improved transport and logistics movement, which enhances trade facilitation between Zimbabwe and regional markets.
The highway project, which closely connects to the US$300 Beitbridge Border Post modernisation, is critical given its significance as a major link for Zimbabwe to the North-South Corridor, which is a strategic trade route for the entire southern region and the Comesa bloc. When complete, the highway is expected to have eight toll plazas and result in increased and more efficient movement of cargo and passenger travel for the benefit of Zimbabwe and the entire region. Projected to cost US$650 million, the project is key towards attainment of Vision 2030, which seeks to transform the country into an upper middle-income economy and also feeds into the Africa Agenda 2063 developmental ideals.
“Infrastructure developments, particularly the completion of part of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway that links Zimbabwe to the North-South Corridor is expected to enhance revenue performance,” said Zimra Acting Commissioner General, Ms Regina Chinamasa, in a latest revenue
Milk exporters and private sector players have expressed concern, noting the speed with which government is conducting negotiations for markets reopening is extremely slow and frustrating. About three months ago, Uganda and Kenya completed talks in which it was agreed that Kenya would verify and clear exportation of milk into the country following months of bickering between the two countries. The ban is yet to be lifted with producers expressing frustration, amid falling returns and a narrowing market.
Speaking in an interview, Mr Simon Kaheru, Uganda’s delegate to the East Africa Business Council, told Daily Monitor that milk exporters, some of whom had gone as far as Zambia, have been frustrated, noting that government should find a quick way of resolving the impasse. ”One of our members had even gone as far as exporting milk to Zambia but has been frustrated by the standoff. As East Africans, we need to acknowledge and address the slow speed of resolution of these issues, because they hold back regional development,” he said.
In April a trade delegation from Kenya arrived in Uganda to iron out trade rifts between the two East African member states. At the end of the meeting, a number of resolutions were made but milk, which had been one of the subjects of the discussions, remains unresolved. Kenya has for about two years now maintained a ban on Ugandan milk from entering its territory.
“I am very pleased to welcome the statement issued on July 30 by the Official Creditor Committee for Zambia. The support from the Official Creditor Committee for Zambia’s envisaged IMF-supported program, together with its commitment to negotiate debt restructuring terms, accordingly, provides the IMF with official financing assurances. I strongly endorse the call by the Official Creditor Committee for private creditors and other official bilateral creditors to commit to comparable debt treatments.
“The delivery of these financing assurances will enable the IMF Executive Board to consider approval of a Fund-supported program for Zambia and unlock much needed financing from Zambia’s development partners.
Zimbabwean companies are set to increase exports to Zambia following increased engagements with buyers in the country, during the ongoing Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show. National trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade, has facilitated 30 companies that are exhibiting at Zambia’s largest trade exhibition event, among them seven youth-owned enterprises.
ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer, Allan Majuru, said the comments received by participating companies from potential buyers shows a positive outlook for Zimbabwean products in Zambia. “There is potential for diversified products in the Zambian market riding on the existing positive reputation of Zimbabwe’s quality products. “Already most buyers in the market are familiar with the high quality of products from Zimbabwe and have indicated that they prefer our products compared to competition,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played an important role in accelerating digital connectivity, DG Okonjo-Iweala stressed, citing two reports launched on Day 1 of the Global Review. “The pandemic also underscored shortcomings,” she noted, “such as underdeveloped physical and regulatory infrastructure, unaffordable connections, and limited information and communications technology skills, especially among MSMEs”. With a population of over 1.3 million – representing one-sixth of the world’s population – Africa accounts for only 3 per cent of global trade. The Growth Platform was created in 2016 in Nigeria - Africa’s most populated nation - to help marginalized groups tap into the benefits that digital trade brings to economic growth and the achievement of development objectives.
As records show that the Nigeria Customs Service has so far collected over N180 billion from the 35 per cent import levy on fully built cars, investors in the Nigerian automotive manufacturing sector, whom the levy was put in place by the Federal Government to assist, are gasping for breath. According to reports, not less than 20 of the 26 companies that commenced assembling of different brands of vehicles in the country at the inception of the auto policy have closed shop due to the current economic crunch and the unfavourable operating environment in Nigeria.
Deputy Managing Director of CFAO Motors, Kunle Jaiyesimi, who disclosed this at the weekend in Lagos, stated that Nigeria’s automotive industry was in a precarious situation and needed urgent intervention or the country would in no distant time become market for Ghana and other more serious African countries as the African Continental Free Trade Area (Af- CFTA) goes into operation.
Jaiyesimi made disclosures while making a presentation at the 7th edition of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association ( NAJA) training/ capacity building workshop held on Friday in Lagos with the theme: “Accelerating Automobile Industry Recovery Strategy In Post-COVID-19 Era.”
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has suggested that his country, Africa’s largest natural gas exporter, could join the BRICS economic group that includes Russia and China. Tebboune’s comment comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin -- whose country is hit with Western sanctions over its Ukraine invasion -- in June called on BRICS leaders to move towards “formation of a truly multipolar system of inter-government relations”. The BRICS group also includes the major emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Africa. “The BRICS interest us” as an alternative to traditional power centres, Tebboune said in a televised interview late Sunday. “They constitute an economic and political force.”
The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors has approved Egypt’s Country Strategy Paper for the 2022-2026 period. Under the new strategy, the Bank will be guided by the priorities of the country’s National Development Plan— also known as Egypt’s Vision 2030— and its Government Action Program 2023-2027. The goal is to support the country’s efforts to build a competitive and resilient economy. The new strategy builds on results and lessons from the preceding 2015-2021 strategy paper, which helped develop the country’s infrastructure and improve the business environment, fostering sustainable and inclusive growth.
Equatorial Guinea’s oil-dependent economy is slowly emerging from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and Bata explosions, but substantial challenges remain. The relaxation of pandemic containment measures and higher international oil prices are helping boost economic activity, government revenues, and export earnings. However, surging food prices and banking sector vulnerabilities cloud the short term, while real GDP and living standards are expected to decline over the medium term.
Following a contraction of 3.2 percent in 2021, real GDP is projected to grow by 5.8 percent in 2022 supported by hydrocarbon production and Bata reconstruction. Starting in 2023, the economy is projected to contract through the medium term, reflecting a reduction in hydrocarbon output together with a stalled structural reform agenda.
African trade and integration news
At the invitation of the H.E Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), spoke at the opening session of the 9th AfCFTA Council of Ministers meeting, which took place on 25 and 26 July 2022 in Accra, Ghana. During the meeting, the AfCFTA Secretariat reported major strides towards achieving the African common market: 54 signatories of the agreement, 43 states had ratified the agreement, and 46 schedules deposited.
In his opening speech, Secretary General Mikuriya emphasized Customs’ importance in implementing trade agreements, basing their operations on international standards developed by the WCO, including the Revised Kyoto Convention and the SAFE Framework of Standards, that would ensure connectivity at borders. He mentioned the HS and Rules of Origin and how the WCO had been able to support the AfCFTA, leading to the launch of the E-Tariff Book and the Rule of Origin Manual as concrete examples of cooperation. He informed ministers of the recent WCO Council sessions’ focus on data strategy, green Customs, and fragile borders. In conclusion, he stated that there remained much room to enhance collaboration between Customs and trade ministries to achieve the common goal of a prosperous and integrated Africa and asked for political support of trade ministers present in this respect.
African Development Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts have stressed the urgency of mobilizing climate financing for Africa during a panel discussion on the African Development Bank’s 2022 African Economic Outlook hosted by the IMF in Washington, DC on Monday.
Participants at the meeting heard that African countries need to mobilize $1.6 trillion between 2022 and 2030 to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions to fight climate change, So far, they have only received $18.3 billion annually, leaving a financing gap of $108 billion annually. With current trends, Africa’s NDCs will not be achieved. Africa has huge comparative advantages to lead the world in this new green transition, but it lacks the capital to do so, African Development Bank’s Acting Chief Economist and Vice President Kevin Urama said in his presentation.
Urama emphasized that the findings of the 2022 African Economic Outlook, show that the structure of climate finance is very complicated and creates a misallocation of resources. As a result, the main objective of climate finance - to support climate-vulnerable countries - is not being achieved. “One fundamental, existential issue for Africa is climate change. The countries that are receiving climate financing are the less vulnerable ones,” Urama noted.
The all-important fourth edition of the Africa Climate Talks (ACTs!), takes place in Maputo, Mozambique this week under the theme “Ensuring a just and equitable transition and human security in Africa: building resilience.”
ACTs! 2022 ACTS comes against the backdrop of more frequent and severe weather events, including unprecedented droughts, cyclones and tropical storms in East and Southern Africa. The West Indian Ocean region in particular has suffered considerable damage and losses from weather and climate related events.
The deliberations of the Maputo meeting will cover disaster preparedness, early warning systems, and insights of the sixth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), just transition, resilience building and the global stock take on adaptation. The all-inclusive forum will also benefit from engagement with the different policy and practical responses to climate impacts, and seek to contribute to the realization of the aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by identifying pathways to climate resilient development.
The issue of regional cooperation, continental synergies and global solidarity, aided by a strong multilateral framework in line with the aspiration of the Paris Agreement framework will also feature in the intensive ACTs! deliberations.
EABC optimistic business in EAC to rise by 11% in 2022/23 (East African Business Council)
Business Captains in the region are optimistic that business in the East African Community bloc is set to increase by 11% in 2022/23, this was revealed by the EABC Barometer on Business & Investment in the EAC & Outlook 2022/2023. The EABC Barometer was commissioned by EABC with support from GIZ and was officially launched during the Webinar on Facilitation of Cross Border Investments organized jointly by East African Community and AFRICA Reform for Investment and Sustainable Economies Project supported by the European Union.
Businesses in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda reported reduced cost of doing business while those in South Sudan and Tanzania felt that the costs increased during the pandemic and recovery relative to a year before the pandemic.
On Business outlook during 2022 into 2023, most businesses in Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania are optimistic about the following dimensions: Improvements in the business climate, Businesses performance, Governments will put in place interventions for business recovery, Recovery from the losses suffered during the pandemic and Expansion the businesses to other markets within the EAC post the pandemic. It is notable that businesses in Tanzania stood out with an optimistic view of the outlook across all dimensions.
Maize grain remained the most traded commodity in the region in the first quarter of 2022 (January to March). Wheat and maize flour surpassed dry beans as the second and third most traded commodities in the region while, rice, sugar, and sorghum remained significantly traded.
Regional trade in maize, sorghum, rice, and dry beans was above average driven by above-average prices in deficit countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea, and Djibouti. This attracted supply from the main surplus countries of Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia.
The prices of staple food commodities followed seasonal patterns but were elevated given below-average harvests, high inflation as a result of COVID-related pent-up demand driving up prices, as well as high oil, wheat, and flour prices due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) convened a meeting of its Tariff Committee to review progress in the implementation of the seventh edition of the Harmonized System (HS) by member countries and examine other issues in relation to tariff work in the Community. The meeting was held on 25 and 26 July 2022 in Douala, Cameroun. It was attended by delegations of Cameroun, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo and Gabon, as well as the CEMAC Commission and the WCO. The meeting was co-organized and jointly financed by the CEMAC and the WCO, within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for HS in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union.
In their opening remarks, Mr. Michel Niama, Commissioner in charge of the Common Market at the CEMAC, Mr. Samuel Désiré Kwedi, Director of International Co-operation and Tax Bases at the Cameroon Customs, and Mr. Gilles Montagnat-Rentier, Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund reiterated the importance of timely and coordinated implementation of HS amendments by all Community members. They emphasized the pivotal role of the HS and tariffs in ensuring correct and efficient administration of various policy measures, which was particularly relevant in the current context of unstable and disrupted supply chains. They welcomed the opportunity to discuss the implementation of the HS 2022 offered by the Tariff Committee meeting.
Delegates took note of the fact that the CEMAC, under the work plan and with the support of the EU-WCO HS-Africa Programme, had completed the work on the preparation of the 2022 version of the Common External Tariff (CET) well in advance of the implementation date, creating a good basis for member countries to migrate to the new version of the CET in a timely manner. The Committee expressed its appreciation to the CEMAC Commission and Cameroun for the technical preparatory work that they had carried out in that area for the benefit of the Community. Cameroun delegation delivered a presentation with detailed analysis of the process whereby the 2022 CET had been developed and the work model used in Cameroun to implement HS amendments at the national level.
African Union Member States Ministers of Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning, and Integration concluded their deliberations focused on “Improving Africa’s access to Capital: Debt Management and the Rising Influence of Credit Rating Agencies”. The meeting convened under the 5th Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee made far-reaching recommendations on assessments by Member States, on the state of debt crisis in their respective countries as way of promoting transparency and accountability, which in turn facilitates debt restructuring and reduces vulnerabilities. The Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors further recommended for the establishment of a regulatory institution in Africa in order to strengthen mechanisms on tax transparency, effective and prudential fiscal management, and combating illicit financial flows.
The Ministers reiterated the need to establish an African Credit Rating Agency on the basis of self-sustainability, political and financial autonomy, and adopted the Tax Strategy and the Strategy on curbing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
The STC requested African Union Member states to ensure a significant proportion of their annual budgets are committed to the financing of industrialisation projects, supported by prudential taxation policies and practices to enhance domestic resource mobilization, to minimise rigidities in credit creation.
IFC provided record financing in Africa in fiscal year 2022 helping to develop regional pharmaceutical manufacturing, increase intra-Africa trade, expand access to climate financing, and strengthen food security among many other pressing development needs.
IFC made $9.4 billion in investments between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 across 36 countries, the largest ever annual commitment for the continent. The investments include $3 billion in trade financing that is unlocking intra-Africa trade for thousands of small businesses, $2.1 billion that is supporting the continent’s green transition, from increasing access to climate finance to funding renewable energy projects, and $672 million that is supporting increased digital connectivity. IFC also provided $603 million in agriculture financing, helping to strengthen food security during a turbulent global economic period.
Some additional 2 million people will benefit from a second phase of the West Africa regional Food Systems Resilience Program (FSRP-2) approved today for a total amount of $315 million in International Development Association (IDA*) financing. FSRP-2 will support Chad, Ghana and Sierra Leone to increase their preparedness against food insecurity and to improve the resilience of their food systems. This comes at a moment where it is projected that approximately 38.3 million people in West Africa are projected to be in food security crisis.
“Multiple shocks, driven by climate change and environmental degradation, weaknesses of the food markets, conflicts and insecurity, Covid-19 implications, and the war in Ukraine have further deteriorated food insecurity and inflation across West Africa”, declares Ms. Massandjé Toure-Litse, the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “FSRP-2 further expands cooperation across the ECOWAS region to ensure food security, now and into the future.”
More specifically, the new financing will help to (i) increase the effectiveness of agriculture and food crises prevention and management and strengthen the capacities to adapt to climate variability and change, (ii) strengthen the adaptive capacity of the food system’s productive base and make it sustainable, and (iii) support the regional food market’s integration by linking the beneficiary countries, consolidating their food reserve systems, and strengthening the development of strategic regional value chains”.
Youth delegates attending the 2nd High Level Ministerial Conference on youth, peace and security have presented a six-point shared vision for their agenda to Ministers in charge of youth affairs in the southern African region. The six points focus on strengthening the continental, regional and national frameworks for youth inclusion in decision-making relating to peace and security.
In their outcome statement the youth called for strengthening of the following: the implementation of AU continental framework on youth peace and security; engagement with decision-makers; National Youth Councils and youth organizations, research and development; technological advancement and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda monitoring and evaluation. “We call for urgent action by governments to address the challenges through the establishment and strengthening early warning and response systems at national, regional, and continental levels,” said the youth in the statement presented by the Chairperson of the COMESA Youth Advisory Panel, Ms. Angel Mbuthia.
Building on a robust participatory process initiated in 2018, the Ocean Decade Africa Roadmap provides a coordinated framework for ocean science planning and uptake, and a foundation to monitor the achievement of Decade priorities and outcomes in the region. The Ocean Decade Africa Roadmap, launched on the occasion of the African Conference on Priority Setting and Partnership Development for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (May 2022), provides both an aspirational vision and a solid plan for diverse stakeholders to convene around a common set of priorities for the implementation of the Decade at the African continental level and in adjacent island states.
Summary tables at the start of the publication provide cross-country comparisons of the average “bound” or maximum tariff each economy may apply to imports from other WTO members and the average tariffs it applies in practice. Data is provided for the category of “all products” as well as for agricultural and non-agricultural products. Import and export profiles provide cross-country comparisons on the value of imports, export diversification, and relevant tariff data.
This edition also includes two special topics. The first analyzes the preferential rules of origin in international trade. The second special topic looks at the use of NTMs on “green” and “brown” energy products.
At a plenary session on the second day of the Aid for Trade event, speakers focused on how this initiative can help develop critical trade infrastructure while supporting resilient, climate friendly and inclusive trade outcomes. The session benefited from the expertise and practical insights of experts and financing partners engaged in green transition activities.
“Adapting to climate change by reducing climate-related risks and vulnerability is a key economic strategy. International trade can contribute to climate change adaptation efforts by enhancing economic resilience to extreme weather events through diversified supply chains, timely provision of essential goods and services, improved food security, and greater access to climate-related adaptation technologies,” WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang said.
6 things to know about Aid for Trade (Trade for Development News)
This year’s WTO Aid for Trade Global Review takes place against the backdrop of many simultaneous crises affecting the multilateral trading system. It is against this background that WTO will launch the results of the 2022 joint OECD-WTO monitoring and evaluation exercise.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the global economy. Rising public debt levels, inflationary pressures, notably in food and energy markets mean the outlook to developing countries, and especially least-developed countries is at best uncertain. Notwithstanding these immediate difficulties, developing and least-developed countries continue to face a range of supply-side and trade-related infrastructure obstacles which constrain their ability to participate in international trade.
Trade continues to play an important driving force not just of economic growth, but also poverty alleviation. Recognizing the role that trade can play in development, the WTO Aid-for-Trade Initiative seeks to mobilize resources to address trade-related constraints identified by developing and least-developed countries. But against the backdrop of multiple crises affecting the world economy, this task is challenging.
Under the theme “Empowering Connected, Sustainable Trade”, the publication analyses the changes in Aid for Trade priorities in developing and least-developed countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; how environmentally sustainable growth is being pursued in national and regional development strategies; digital connectivity and e-commerce growth priorities; and how Aid for Trade is empowering women towards sustainable development objectives.
The first grain ship left Ukraine’s port of Odesa on Monday morning, under a United Nations facilitated deal that will provide it safe passage through the Black Sea. This was the first vessel to have left a Ukraine port since the Russian invasion began on 24 February, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted Monday. “It’s important for us to be one of the guarantors of food security,” the minister said, thanking the United Nations, and other partner countries.
Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal in Istanbul last month, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, to open grain and fertilizer exports that have been blocked by the war. This is expected to ease the global food crisis, analysts said.
The Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Implications for Food Security in the Commonwealth (Commonwealth iLibrary)
Food security is essential for economic well-being and maintaining social and political order. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated production and supply chain disruptions, along with the effects of climate change, have triggered an increase in food prices globally. Recently, the Russia–Ukraine conflict and the disruption of supplies from the Black Sea region have increased turbulence in the global grain and edible oils markets, accentuating inflationary pressures on food prices. Besides higher prices for staple foods, sunflower oil exports from Russia and Ukraine have dried up, sending buyers scrambling for alternative sources and driving up prices.
“At our 12th Ministerial Conference, WTO members adopted a new Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. The Agreement is the first broadly-focused, binding multilateral agreement on ocean sustainability. It also is the first WTO agreement with environmental sustainability at its core,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said at the event, where she also took the opportunity to urge members to formally accept the Agreement so that it can enter into force.
“The WTO’s new report, ‘Implementing the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies: Challenges and opportunities for developing and least-developed country members,’ helps set the context for this important conversation,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said, underlining that 65% of USD 5 billion in assistance earmarked for fisheries and the ocean economy between 2010 and 2020 targeted sustainable fisheries according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) presented in the report.
DG Okonjo-Iweala noted that cotton is a vital crop in over 30 African countries, generating some USD 1.5 billion in export earnings but that the sector had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Policymakers should aim to boost productivity sustainably, strengthen competitiveness and add value to cotton goods” in order to strengthen resilience to future shocks, the Director-General said.
Climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for climate action in developing countries reached USD 83.3 billion in 2020, according to new OECD analysis. This is a further 4% increase from 2019 and followed a 1% increase from 2018 to 2019. However, it still falls short of the goal for developed countries to provide and mobilise USD 100 billion a year for developing countries by 2020. The increase in 2020 climate finance was primarily driven by a rise in public flows.
Aggregate Trends of Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by Developed Countries in 2013-2020 is the OECD’s fifth annual assessment of progress towards the UNFCCC goal.
The World Economic Forum released today the first edition of a report on the state of the net-zero transition in key industrial sectors, the Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2022. The report highlights the need to fully understand the scope and scale of the challenge for these sectors and identifies a significant gap versus the pace of decarbonization necessary to achieve net-zero goals to limit global warming to 1.5C by 2050. The urgency for industrial decarbonization is reinforced by high energy prices and energy supply chain disruptions.
“While there are efforts under way and climate commitments being made, we currently lack a robust and comprehensive mechanism to understand the pace and direction of the progress of transformation of heavy industries, which account for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Roberto Bocca, head of Energy, Materials and Infrastructure, World Economic Forum. “Several industrial sectors and individual companies have set up targets with the aim of reaching net zero emissions. We believe that bringing transparency to closing net-zero gaps and reporting on this progress is critical to achieve these ambitious goals.”
Commonwealth supports new oil and gas producers to cut emissions (The Commonwealth)
Developing countries who are emerging oil and gas producers face complex challenges as the world moves away from fossil fuels to fight the climate crisis. To help them navigate this new reality, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Chatham House and the Natural Resource Governance Institute delivered an interactive virtual training programme titled ‘Minimising Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from the Petroleum Sector’ from 27 June to 7 July. This was part of a larger discussion series organised by the New Producers Group (NPG) – a joint initiative established by these three partners that brings together a network of over 30 new oil and gas producing countries for peer-to-peer exchanges. The series, called ‘Forging a New Path’, is designed to support the effective management of petroleum resources, including the integration of climate resilient strategies.