Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

EU, Namibia engage in an in-depth discussion on a several topics of shared and common interest (Namibia Economist)

The 2022 Session of the EU-Namibia Political Dialogue took place in Windhoek on Wednesday, 28 September. The agenda allowed the two parties to engage in an in-depth discussion on several topics of shared and common interest, ranging from Namibia-EU relations, peace and security, climate change; trade, and economic cooperation, among others. A special focus was given to Namibia’s industrialisation aspirations in order to enhance economic growth and development, while addressing socio-economic challenges, such as youth unemployment, and social inequalities. The parties discussed the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement, as well as support for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Deliberations also focused on a planned Partnership on Sustainable Critical Raw Materials Value Chains and Renewable Hydrogen. Upon conclusion, the Partnership will give rise to a new chapter of economic cooperation between Namibia and the EU, including the private sector, promoting industrialization, the beneficiation of critical raw materials which are strategic for energy transition, and the development of a green hydrogen economy in Namibia.

Manufacturers’ costs dilemma (Business Daily)

Manufacturers are facing a hard choice over whether to pass on to consumers higher production costs brought about by electricity and fuel price increases, at a time when high inflation is already eroding demand for their goods.

Three weeks ago, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) raised power costs by 15.7 percent, reversing the January cuts by the former President Uhuru Kenyatta administration. Fuel, forex and inflation adjustments were also increased, leaving industrial users facing hefty jumps in their power bills this month. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has however said that its members are making an effort not to pass through all these costs to consumers, alive to the fact that when prices increase, demand inevitably decreases.

Earlier, some of the manufacturers in the fast-moving consumer goods segment had told the Business Daily that they were only able to pass on about 60 percent of their additional costs to consumers, partly out of concerns over loss of market share.

Dar, Mombasa in race to attract more cargo business (The East African)

Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, the largest ports in East Africa, are in a race to attract more sea bound cargo and imports into the region. While Dar projects to handle 30 million tonnes by 2030, its competitor, Mombasa, is undergoing expansion to increase its capacity to 47 million tonnes.

These emerged during a visit by the board members of the East African Business Council (EABC) to Tanzania’s largest port, which last year handled 17.03 million tonnes. “We envision to boost capacity to 30 million tonnes by 2030,” said the director general of Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) Plasduce Mbossa during the Friday visit.

TPA has set up a One Stop Centre at the Dar port housing import and export agencies to boost capacity. The logistics centre will improve the Dar es Salaam port performance, he said during a briefing to board members led by chairperson Angela Ngalula.

Tanzania, UAE sign trade deal to remove double taxation (The East African)

Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed an agreement to remove double taxation hurdles in trade between the two countries. The Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion on Income Taxes was signed in Dubai by Finance ministers Mwigulu Nchemba of Tanzania and Mohamed Bin Hadi Al Hussain of the UAE on Wednesday. It touches on areas including taxation of income from individual and institutional business activities, air and sea transportation operations, immovable properties, interest rates, dividends, natural resource use, workforce salaries, research payments, pension and social security payments, students’ bursaries and sports matters.

Mr Nchemba acknowledged that double taxation had long been a “point of frustration” for investors and other traders from both UAE and Tanzania, resulting in a lot of lost business opportunities for both countries that can now be better tapped.

Nigeria’s intra-African trade shrinks further despite AfCFTA (Businessday)

Nigeria’s trade with other African countries amounted to N1.305 trillion out of the N25.84 trillion worth of foreign trade recorded from January to June 2022, data from the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) have revealed. In the comparable period of 2021, the country’s intra-African trade was worth N1.47 trillion out of the total foreign trade of N21.79 trillion in that period. Also, trade with other African countries in the first six months of 2020 amounted to N1.67 trillion out of N14.55 trillion total foreign trade Nigeria recorded.

Further analysis of Nigeria’s external trade data with the rest of Africa, in comparison to the nation’s total foreign trade in the first half of the year from 2020 to 2022, showed a decreasing trend from 11.5 percent in H1 2020 to 6.7 percent in H1 2021 and 5.1 percent in H1 2022, implying a slow start to the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“We are not making much progress with AfCFTA. It is because some countries have ratified the agreement but are yet to domesticate it. Some countries are accusing others of holding the lever at the AfCFTA Secretariat. There are problems with origins and destinations. For now, it is all talk but no actions,” Ade Adefeko, vice president, Olam Nigeria, said.

Infrastructure Devt Needs $3trn In 30 Years – Minister (Leadership)

The minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has said that the nation’s infrastructure development requires $3 trillion in 30 years to sustain a robust economic growth.

Sambo who stated this last week in a paper titled, “Financing Nigeria’s Transport Infrastructure,” at the Nigerian Economic Partnership Forum, in New York, United States of America, said that Nigeria’s core infrastructure stock was estimated at 20 to 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), which makes it necessary for private sector participation.

Speaking on the huge financing demands for such capital-intensive infrastructure development as it is with the sector, the minister said the option would be to turn to models that give opportunities for workable partnerships. His words: “Infrastructure is vital for the long-term growth and competitiveness of countries worldwide. It is however capital intensive as various national governments are facing constraints in developing and funding infrastructure projects. “Likewise, the Nigerian government is increasingly exploring alternative sources of finance for infrastructure development. There are two broad sources of infrastructure financing; government funding, private sector financing.”

Maritime grossly under-explored in Nigeria, stakeholders lament (The Guardian Nigeria)

Stakeholders have described the country’s maritime sector as an overlooked goldmine with its enormous potential to drive economic growth under-explored. According to them, the sector is capable of becoming a key engine of economic development in line with the diversification agenda of the Federal Government, in the face of current global economic uncertainty. They gave the submission at a Port Users’ Conference organised by Maritime Anti-corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) in Lagos, with the theme: “Retooling the Maritime Sector for Stronger Economic Growth.”

The stakeholders said, as an import-dependent nation, it is critical for the government to support and pay more attention to maritime issues and needs to allow it to realise its full potential and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

While delivering his speech titled, “Setting the Tone: The Place of the Maritime Industry in Nigeria’s Economy,” the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, said the country’s ports are currently classified among the worst ports in the world due to challenges such as; delay in import/export processes, traffic congestion, poor access roads, safety and security concerns, infrastructure deficits and logistics shortcomings.

Trade Ministry reiterates commitment to promoting intra-Africa trade (Myjoyonline)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has reiterated its commitment to ensuring the promotion of intra-Africa trade on the continent. The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), and the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce & Industry have launched the ‘Economic and Trade Promotion Days’. The objective of the event is to promote the economic, trade and cultural sectors of Burkina Faso through exhibitions of Burkinabe products; conferences and business meetings in Ghana and vice versa.

Deputy Trade Minister, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamiah-Adjei stated: “We believe that for businesses to thrive in Ghana, our regulations do play a role in how far our business thrive”.

Egypt’s Trade Ministry seeks to improve services provided to industrial community (Daily News Egypt)

Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir stated that the ministry is seeking to improve the services it provides to the industrial community in terms of issuing licenses and allocating land, in addition to its developmental role in establishing industrial complexes, which number up to 17 complexes in 15 governorates.

Samir also informed the new leadership of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) while on his visit to its headquarters on Monday of the need to foster more communication with various business organisations to develop common visions that achieve the government’s strategy to bring about targeted industrial development in its true sense.

Cameroon joins Africa Finance Corporation in push toward manufacturing economy (Premium Times)

Cameroon is partnering with the Africa Finance Corporation to create an infrastructure that will help transform the economy into a manufacturing hub from mostly raw mineral exports now, driving job creation, skills transfer and higher export revenue.

Joining as AFC’s 36th member state, Cameroon will be working with the Corporation on key infrastructure to deepen integration, enable import substitution, and develop manufacturing and industrial capacity to account for 40 per cent of GDP, as part of the government’s Vision 2035 programme.

FC, Africa’s leading infrastructure solutions provider, has to date allocated over $300 million to Cameroon to capture value from the nation’s natural resources, which include maize, cassava, cotton, cocoa, oil and gas, as well as energy transition metals such as cobalt and nickel.

Gas, Mauritania’s opportunity to boost economic growth (Atalayar)

Mauritania’s natural gas reserves are attracting the interest of international energy markets. The country recently announced a gas field capable of producing up to 10 million tonnes per year. In total, Mauritania has gas reserves of 100 trillion cubic feet, more than other African countries such as Libya and Egypt.

However, despite its gas wealth, Mauritania does not have sufficient funds to invest in the necessary infrastructure for gas extraction and the construction of liquefaction and storage plants. For this reason, the African nation relies on investments from foreign companies to boost its gas industry. Among the companies operating in the country are US-based Kosmos Energy, France’s TotalEnergies and Britain’s BP and Shell.

Mauritania is trying to attract foreign investors to exploit the country’s great gas potential. Specifically, the government is seeking to develop gas pipelines and port infrastructure to enable the export of liquefied natural gas, which will begin to be produced in 2023.

Liberia Economic Update: Prospects for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth (World Bank)

The World Bank today launched the third edition of the annual Liberia Economic Update with the theme: “Investing in Human Capital for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth”. The Liberian economy experienced strong growth in 2021. After contracting by 3.0 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, growth recovered to 5.0 percent in 2021.

The rebound was driven by improved external demand, higher prices for Liberia’s main exports, and the resumption of normal domestic activity. Meanwhile, growth slowed in the first half of 2022, even when mining and construction continued to perform well. In agriculture, rubber and cocoa production dropped by 13.5 percent and 27 percent, respectively. In the industrial sector, iron ore, gold, and cement production all increased, reflecting firmer international prices and an uptick in construction activity. However, services growth fell, as reflected in the decline in beverages and electricity production.

African trade and integration 

Guinea-Bissau: Country is 44th member of African Continental Free Trade Area (Macau Business)

Guinea-Bissau has ratified the agreement to join the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Guinea-Bissau foreign affairs ministry announced on Wednesday in a message posted on the social network Facebook.

According to the Guinea-Bissau foreign affairs ministry, the “deposit of the legal instrument of ratification” of the agreement took place on 31 August and was attended by the Guinea-Bissau ambassador to the African Union, “thus complying with one of the objectives of the agreement which is to bring all 55 states of the African Union within the Free Trade Area, with a view to providing significant economic and social benefits to the region, increasing income and reducing poverty.

Kenya’s exports first goods under the AfCFTA (The East African)

Kenya exported its first goods under the African the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to Ghana on Friday. Kenyan-made Exide batteries landed in the Port of Tema on September 23 in a historic ceremony that marks Nairobi’s formal start of preferential trading under the AfCFTA agreement. A statement from Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development said the products were to be received by Kenya’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Amb Eliphas Barine.

“Kenya is among six countries selected to participate in the pilot phase of the AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade, formulated on realisation that no trading was taking place one-and-a-half years after the launch of AfCFTA preferential trading on 1st January, 2021,” reads a statement from Kenya’s Trade ministry. The other five countries are Cameron, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania. “The Initiative is a programme to kick-start trade between and among State Parties that have signalled their readiness to commence commercially meaningful relations through the utilisation of AfCFTA Preferences,” the ministry added. The six pilot countries are required to identify products that can access the markets among the pilot countries.

Kenya exports batteries to Ghana in first AfCFTA trading deal (The Exchange)

Experts Deliberate on Greening MSMEs to Harness AfCFTA Benefits (UNECA)

At a session organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) as part of the 2022 World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum, experts urged the private sector to seize opportunities brought about by the green transition in Africa. The panel discussion entitled “MSMEs: The Key to Realising Sustainable Gains Under the AfCFTA”, moderated by Mr. Melaku Desta, Coordinator of ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), explored sustainable initiatives to integrate green solutions in Africa’s small businesses.

Panelists also underscored the sustainable gains to be harnessed from green trade alongside the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and called on Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to anticipate challenges as businesses seek to integrate green solutions.

Of late, the sustainability and resilience of value chains has assumed greater importance due to the disruptions induced by Covid19 and demand for more sustainable production and trade increased. This was pointed out by Mr. Robert Hamwey, Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “I urge the AfCFTA to coordinate Africa and strengthen its capacity to produce its own solar and wind energy to cater to its own needs,” Mr. Hamwey opined.

On the issue of strengthening MSMEs capacities’ to improve their competitiveness in domestic, regional and global markets, Ms. Annalisa Primi, Head of Economic Transformation and Development at the OECD Development Centre, underlined the need to reform the policies that divide the informal and formal sectors, so as to enable the poor to participate in markets and to engage in higher value added business activities.

Move Africa’s industrialization goals and trade competitiveness with network planning and implementation at a regional cross border level now – Transnet-AfDB Conference (AfDB)

Joint network lifetime planning and implementation of regional borderless crossings are key tools for the scaling up of integrated regional freight transport and logistics systems in Africa, participants at a conference to highlight the financing gap for African infrastructure heard.

The focus of the one-day conference, organized by the African Development Bank and Transnet on 23 September 2022, was building integrated regional freight systems to boost intra-African trade and Africa’s global trading position. The conference also highlighted the benefits of the African Continental Free trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) to this end.

African Development Bank vice president for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Solomon Quaynor, setting the context for the discussions, emphasized the importance of rail infrastructure to the region’s growth.

“It is absolutely essential that we do not create the largest single free trade area of consumption, but rather one of industrialization where we add value to our natural resources,” he said. The checklist of essentials to ensure growth includes economic corridors, fully established cross-border railways and ports, integrated with industrialization spaces, “more value addition, not just commodity based,” Quaynor said.

“We need to explore various financing models, and we need to think of this differently. For example, we need to finance corridors and not just national railways networks. We need to think PPP to leverage limited public capital, but we have to be aware of the risks that private sector will not bear,” he said.

ECOWAS builds the capacity of negotiators from the State Parties of the African Continental Free Trade Area on competition policy (ECOWAS)

The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) and the ECOWAS Commission’s Directorate of Trade organised from 20 to 23 September 2022 in Accra, Ghana, training on competition policy for stakeholders from Member States with the technical and financial support of Expertise France.

The opening ceremony of the training featured three speeches. In his speech, Dr Simeon Koffi, Executive Director of the ERCA, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, acknowledged the presence of all the expected national stakeholders and their commitment to the ongoing negotiations at the continental level. He further noted the positive dynamics of developing a competitive framework at national, regional and continental levels, with the harmonisation and adoption of rules in line with the best international standards, a development that the capacity building of stakeholders would consolidate.

Member States of the Economic Community of West African States: eTrade Readiness Assessment (ECOWAS)

The report of the regional assessment on eTrade readiness of Member States of ECOWAS highlights the prerequisites for the growth and development of e-commerce within and between member states. The Regional E-commerce Strategy Development Project was launched in October 2021, by the ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) with funding from the government of the Netherlands.

The ECOWAS eTrade Ready followed UNCTADs eTrade Ready methodology which is designed to identify e-commerce development challenges in developing countries, especially least developing countries. It assesses the state of e-commerce preparedness in countries or regions based on seven (7) policy areas namely: i) e-commerce readiness and strategy formulation ii) ICT infrastructure and services iii) trade facilitation and logistics iv) legal and regulatory framework v) payment solutions vi) skills development and vii) access to finance.

The ECOWAS eTrade ready report notes that most Member States have placed digitalization at the centre of their efforts towards economic growth, and for this, have adopted and are implementing strategies and policies to convert this ambition into results. Unfortunately, there remains a need for deliberate action to extend this digitalization effort and channel it into trade-driving activities that are supportive of e-commerce. The report highlights the need to: Strengthen Trade ministries in ECOWAS Member States on e-commerce development, Enhance trust within the e-commerce ecosystem within and between Member states, Improve monitoring of the e-commerce market, and Foster inclusion.

SADC explores sustainable solutions to challenges of financing projects for energy transmission infrastructure (SADC)

Senior Officials responsible for Treasury and Energy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held a regional workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 19th September 2022 to deliberate on the proposal to develop a Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF) which is aimed at providing a long-term solution to energy financing challenges within the Region.

Most of the mainland SADC Member States are experiencing insufficient supply of electricity due to frequent breakdown of aging power generation plants; inadequate power generation capacity to meet growing demand; inadequate transmission interconnectors to fully facilitate energy trading between SADC Member States and congested power lines along the main power transfer corridors.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Elsie Salima from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Malawi, reiterated that RTIFF was expected to facilitate the implementation of regional transmission projects and corridors, and therefore the outcome of the consultative engagement including financial modelling and priority projects that will support the RTIFF concept would be presented to the SADC Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment for consideration.

The importance of enhancing interconnection and power trade to increase the reliability of supply and connect three outstanding Member States, namely Angola, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania, onto the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has been acknowledged by SADC.

Africa Food Prices Are Soaring Amid High Import Reliance (IMF Blog)

Staple food prices in sub-Saharan Africa surged by an average 23.9 percent in 2020-22—the most since the 2008 global financial crisis. This is commensurate to an 8.5 percent rise in the cost of a typical food consumption basket (beyond generalized price increases).

Global factors are partly to blame. Because the region imports most of its top staple foods—wheat, palm oil, and rice—the pass-through from global to local food prices is significant, nearly one-to-one in some countries. Prices of locally sourced staples have also spiked in some countries on the back of domestic supply disruptions, local currency depreciations, and higher fertilizer and input costs.

SADC Food and Nutrition Security Committee seeks to improve food security and nutrition in the Region (SADC)

The Food and Nutrition Security Committee in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has agreed on common areas of concern that need regional coordination and focus in order to improve food security and nutrition in the Region. The Committee noted that SADC Member States needed to consider transformative food systems to enhance availability and access to diversified foods such as maximising the value chain for fisheries and aquaculture, and there is a need for all Member States to adopt a comprehensive food balance sheet that generates production information on diverse commodities.

The 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8): Sharing JICA’s efforts in Africa, a continent facing complex crises (JICA)

The 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) was held in the Tunisian capital of Tunis, on August 27 and 28. Prime Minister Kishida, in his opening speech, emphasized the importance of “investment in people,” with “Japan as a partner growing together with Africa,” and expressed his commitment to “invest a sum of US$ 30 billion in public and private financial contributions over the next three years” and to “cultivate 300,000 professionals.”

Based on the results of the two-day discussions, the meeting adopted the Tunis Declaration, which consists of three pillars: 1) Economy: Realizing a structural transformation for sustainable economic growth and social development; 2) Society: Realizing a resilient and sustainable society; and 3) Peace and stability: Realizing sustainable peace and stability. The Declaration confirms the importance of “investment in people,” as well as the importance of multilateralism, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the pursuit of peaceful resolution of disputes.

Global economy

Public Forum explores role of trade in accelerating transition to a green economy (WTO)

Leading representatives from international organisations, the private sector and academia discussed on 29 September how trade rules can be strengthened to address the environmental challenges the world is facing. At the high-level session on “Delivering a Trade Agenda for a Sustainable Future”, panellists shared their views about possible ways to reinforce partnerships between the various stakeholders involved in ensuring the transition towards a green economy and the role the WTO should play.

Put landmark Fisheries Subsidies Agreement into motion, governments urged at Public Forum (WTO)

“The essential step now is to have the Agreement enter into force, so we need two-thirds of members to deposit their instruments of acceptance. Our Director-General has set the goal of less than a year from the conclusion of the Agreement so that we can begin to experience the positive effects of the Agreement,” Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard, who served as moderator, said at the event titled “The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies: What Happened at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) and What Comes Next?” The event featured high-level representatives from developed and developing countries, civil society and the WTO Secretariat.

Chair urges members to find common ground on development negotiations after MC12 impetus (WTO)

In the MC12 Outcome Document adopted by ministers at MC12, WTO members reaffirmed the provisions of special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing and least developed country (LDC) members as an integral part of the WTO and its agreements.

WTO members instructed their officials to continue to work on improving the application of S&DT in the special sessions of the Committee on Trade and Development and other relevant venues and report on progress to the General Council before the WTO’s next Ministerial Conference.

The WTO’s agreements contain over 150 provisions for developing countries and LDCs. They include access to technical assistance activities and longer transition periods to implement agreements and decisions.

E-commerce reshaping logistics industry, facilities (Engineering News)

The factors contributing to growth in logistics facilities are primarily centred around ecommerce, as smaller companies continue adopting ecommerce and delivery in addition to larger companies and, with demand from smaller companies expected to continue, this will continue to drive growth into the foreseeable future, said logistics parks property company Inospace founder and CEO Rael Levitt. South Africa is in the early stages of adoption and will see further growth as online retail grows, as companies adopt new technologies and as the country’s delivery economy grows, he said during a talk hosted by JSE-listed real estate investment trust Fortress REIT on September 28.

“The global growth of ecommerce, as well as the supply-chain disruptions worldwide, are contributing factors to the growth in demand for logistics and facilities, and significant demand from smaller and medium-sized companies will continue to drive growth in the sector,” he noted.

High-level panel explores the need to leverage technology to promote inclusive growth (WTO)

Gayle Smith, Chief Executive Officer of ONE Campaign, said digitalization could be a key driver of economic growth provided action is taken to level the playing field and support those who are denied digital access. Currently, 40% of the world’s people do not have access to the internet, and many of them do not even have access to electricity, she said.

There is a massive potential for African businesses to seize digital opportunities, Florizelle Liser, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Council on Africa said, flagging that “Africa has only 2.5% of global trade” and 60% of the African population is under 30. She highlighted the important role of trade rules, pointing to the ongoing e-commerce negotiations at the WTO. If rule makers can put in place the right rules for e-commerce, she said, not just developed countries but developing countries will benefit as well. She also highlighted the importance of harnessing the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which will help remove trade barriers.

DDG Paugam: “Clear that sustainability is at the heart of trading models of the future” (WTO)

Meanwhile, many new dimensions of trade have been happening in the real-world economy and world trade which are not fully grasped: climate change is already massively impacting trade patterns and value chains, most multinationals and governments are developing and implementing net-zero strategies, in particular through decarbonisation of value chains and traceability of their inputs. For the first time in the history of the WTO, the software of a multilateral agreement has completely shifted from trade to sustainability.

Closing investment gap in global goals key to building better future (UNCTAD)

Amid cascading crises, more investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is needed to get the world back on track towards a better future, UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan told a meeting of G20 trade and finance ministers on 22 September. “Investment in the SDGs is a huge opportunity to make things right,” Ms. Grynspan said.

While 2021 saw strong 70% growth in global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, the recovery has been brittle. “Investor uncertainty following the war in Ukraine and interrelated crises have put a stop to global FDI growth,” Ms. Grynspan said. “UNCTAD now expects global FDI flows to follow a downward trajectory this year.”

Closing the gap requires tackling the principal constraints to investment in the SDGs, especially in developing countries. A paper prepared by UNCTAD and Indonesia for the first G20 Trade, Investment and Industry Working Group classified these constraints in five broad categories: Systemic international constrains. These include the decline of multilateral development finance as a percentage of GDP in the Global South, the lack of a structured multilateral mechanism for debt issues in developing countries and the lack of private environmental, social and governance funds directed towards emerging markets. Political and institutional barriers, such as the absence of clear government policies, or the lack of coordination between the various stakeholders at the national and international levels. Regulatory barriers, including those related to market structures, the efficiency of licensing and permitting procedures, access to land issues or the rule of law. Economic and financial barriers, such as those linked to high initial capital costs and high-risk perception in several SDG sectors, inefficient use of incentives and limited markets in developing countries. Technical barriers, such as those related to low infrastructure investment in the energy sector, distribution and storage issues for renewables, and the quality of operational data and reliability of technical information.

How to make markets work for sustainable development (UNCTAD)

Markets are failing to ensure sustainable economic and social outcomes, slowing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, experts said at UNCTAD’s ad hoc expert meeting on competition, consumer protection and sustainability on 28 September. To turn the tide of businesses maximizing profits to the detriment of the planet, countries should address market failures through public policies, including those on competition and consumer protection. “Markets can only work for more sustainable development if appropriate competition and consumer policies are in place and enforced,” said Teresa Moreira, head of competition and consumer policies at UNCTAD. “We must provide clear guidance to businesses and information to consumers on governments’ strategic priorities.”

Join forces to prevent ‘food availability crisis’ urges FAO chief (UN News)

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu told a meeting of agriculture ministers from the G20 industrialized nations in Bali, that with access to Ukrainian grain, cooking oils and other vital foodstuffs for the most vulnerable countries restricted by seven months of conflict, “we must must increase the resilience of global agrifood systems.”

He lauded the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative as “an important step forward”, and it has now freed-up more than five million metric tonnes of food, with well over a quarter of shipments going directly to lower income countries. “But still it needs to be complemented to improve the food access of most vulnerable countries”, he said.


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