Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

Lack of finance, security still plaguing South Africa’s transport industry – panel (Engineering News)

Considering recent developments – such as the Covid-19 pandemic and an economy trying to recover – professional body Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport South Africa president Elvin Harris says a functioning transport and logistics system is critical to support the recovery of the economy and its future growth. However, this has proven difficult, as the transport and logistics sector has been facing increasing challenges in relation to maintenance, reliability, efficiency, lack of policy, electricity supply and an increase in organised crime in recent decades.

South Africa must accelerate to NEV manufacturing to ensure it can sustain industry (Engineering News)

There is still a lack of clarity about South Africa’s investment drive to transform the automotive industry to make new energy vehicles (NEVs) and to prevent the industry from losing 80% of its vehicle and component manufacturing capacity to changing mobility technologies, Naamsa | the Automotive Business Council president and Ford Motor Company Africa president Neale Hill told delegates attending the South African Automotive Week on October 26. The local automotive industry has requested an early review before the Automotive Master Plan’s 2026 date, as the initial objectives are no longer realistic, such as the aim to increase vehicle production by 250% to 1.4-million units a year by 2035 from current levels.

Inaugural South Africa Auto Week highlights sector’s significance on continent (Engineering News)

South Africa sees climate pact spurring billions in new funding (Engineering News)

South Africa expects an $8.5-billion climate-finance package that it’s negotiating with some of the world’s richest nations to attract significant additional funds to help it transition away from using coal to generate electricity. The government is discussing a wide-ranging energy transition plan for the next five years with the UK, US, Germany, France and the European Union as a step toward securing the funds, which will pay for part of the needed investment laid out in the proposal, according to Daniel Mminele, a former central banker appointed to lead the talks for South Africa.

Namibian exports to EU up (New Era)

Ambassador of the European Union (EU) delegation to Namibia Sinikka Antila, yesterday said Namibia’s exports to the EU market has grown by 50%, and at one point reached €36 billion (about N$650 billion) while imports only grew by 8.9%.”You sell more to the EU than what you buy from the EU which for your economy is so good. We are a key partner for trade with items such as frozen fish, unrefined copper, diamonds, uranium, cobalt and zinc, fresh grapes and charcoal among others,” Antila stated.

She was speaking yesterday during an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade forum press briefing. The one-day forum is scheduled to take place on Monday, 31 October 2022, where local businesses will showcase their potential products. Under the EPA, Namibia continues to benefit from duty free and quota free trade. The ambassador noted the EU hopes that through this partnership more diversified items will be on the menu.

The value of exports from Namibia to the EU was about US$1 billion (N$18 billion) in 2021, compared to imports from the EU into Namibia standing at US$600 million (about N$10.8 billion).

The EPA implementation programme is part of the EU, Southern African Development Community (SADC) cooperation signed in 2016. Antila noted the programme was delayed but is now picking up as the EU allocated €6 million (N$108 million) for trade with Namibia. “The EU is supporting Namibia to reform its business and investment environment and to reap the benefits of this SADC EPA agreement aims to directly enhance Namibia’s capacity for access to export markets and to attract investment with the EU,” she explained.

Better days as partners commit to improve worker welfare in textile industry (KBC)

Workers in the textile and apparel industry in Kenya have received renewed hope after leaders in the industry in Kenya gathered to stimulate procedures to improve workers welfare in the sector. The two-days gathering that took place in Mombasa was convened by IDH and brought together participants from 20 organisations in the sector ranging from manufacturers, domestic and export promoters, designers, institutions of higher training, employer partners, representatives of foreign buyers, employee representatives and the national and county governments to propose and implement ways of promoting better jobs and better income with gender mainstreaming taking centre stage in the discourse that forms part of IDH’s mandate in Kenya.

The textile and apparel sector in Kenya is largely controlled by global brands that are increasingly enshrining sustainability at the core of their businesses. This includes stringent social standards targeting workers. The sector in Kenya has continued to grow and absorb more employees in the last few years.

The growth in the sector has been triggered by the American Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as other internal factors and a shift in supply patterns from Asia driving global brands to increase sourcing from Africa.

Adopt new grading system to increase earnings from our tea (The Standard)

The unique characteristics of Kenyan tea remain generally unmatched in many territories; rich in flavour, amber brown, an infusion that gels with milk and high in antioxidants. Tea remains one of the important cash crops that earn Kenya Sh131 billion in exports yearly. Tea is grown in 19 counties in the country. According to a report by the Tea Board of Kenya, tea production stood at 538 million kilogrammes in 2021, out of which 285 million kilogrammes came from smallholder farmers and the balance of 253 million kilogrammes from tea plantations.

On October 5, 2022, while flagging off the first consignment of Kenyan tea destined for Accra Ghana under the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) trade initiative, President William Ruto directed the Ministry of Trade to work with stakeholders to develop a Kenyan tea brand in a bid to guarantee farmers of good returns.

Currently, only five per cent of exported Kenyan tea is value-added, which the president directed must grow to a minimum of 50 per cent in the next five years. Two years ago, during the push for reforms in the tea sector, some alliances in the sector went to court to challenge the clause in the Tea Act 2020 requiring that all producers must progressively add value to their tea products to at least 40 per cent in a span of five years from coming into operation of the Act.

For Kenya to increase income in agricultural products like tea, value addition during processing is a must. Producers will then be able to compete with the best products in other parts of the world. There is also need to improve the value gained in production and supply chain by branding Kenyan farm products.

Owing to an imbalanced value chain, other players become beneficiaries of the farmer’s hard work. It is for this reason that the government must adopt a different approach that will ensure tea business satisfies the small-scale farmer and producers and at the same time players in the marketing chain.

President Muhammadu Buhari Seeks Expanded Trade Relations Beyond Gas Exports (Leadership News)

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Seoul, expressed Nigeria’s desire to widen the scope of trade relations with the Republic of Korea beyond gas exports.

Speaking during a bilateral meeting with his Korean counterpart, Mr. Yoon Suk-Yeol at the Presidential Palace on the sidelines of the First World Bio Summit, the President called for expansion from the long-term gas contract to other areas.

President Suk-Yeol described Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy and cultural powerhouse that produces huge number of films, expressing confidence that Nigeria’s economic and cultural capabilities will contribute significantly to exchanges and cooperation between both countries.

Climate-Informed Economic Development Key to Malawi’s Future Growth and Resilience (World Bank)

Climate change will make it harder for Malawi to achieve its ambitious development goals— unless it accelerates policies and programs, as intended in its national Vision 2063, and supplements this effort with additional investment in adaptation, says the new World Bank Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for Malawi. Most immediately, Malawi can take steps to jumpstart investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and halt land degradation and forest loss to improve agriculture productivity and carbon capture. Prioritizing these actions, combined with expanded safety nets and economic diversification, could reduce the number of vulnerable households that would otherwise fall into poverty by as much as three-quarters.

“Malawi’s pathway to economic growth is persistently halted by climate shocks, leaving many millions trapped in poverty for many decades,” says Hugh Riddell, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi. “Vision 2063 for Malawi provides a clear pathway to build a resilient economy. The World Bank is providing climate financing to support that vision and help the government reduce the impacts of climate change under fiscal constraints.”

Kenya Prepares Its MSMEs To Harness Opportunities Under AfCFTA (News Ghana)

The East African nation of Kenya is one of African countries making history to export under the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) which was launched on the 7th of October, 2022 by exporting Kenyan made batteries and Kenyan produced tea to Ghana in West Africa. The AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative, a process where the AfCFTA Secretariat in collaboration with the National AfCFTA Offices guide selected businesses with specific limited products to trade from one party state to another, preferably across different regional economic blocs in Africa. So far eight African countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and now Tunisia have started trading under the AfCFTA with the guidance of the AfCFTA Secretariat and its National Offices.

Speaking at the 2022 Alumni Conference of the Trade Law Center (tralac), a tralac alumni and Senior Assistant Director of Corporate Communications in one of Kenya’s Trade Organizations, Elizabeth Mulae said Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises are the economic backbone of Kenya, comprising 98% which form greater majority of all business entities in Kenya. “MSMEs account for a larger share of private sector enterprises across various sectors of the economy with 14.1% rate of employment accounting for 93% total labour force in the Kenyan economy. MSMEs in Kenya also account for 24% of Kenyans GDP, with the Micro enterprise alone representing 12% whiles small enterprises represent 11% of the GDP”.

like most MSMEs in other parts of Africa, Kenyan MSMEs are confronted with the challenges of market access, infrastructure, intellectual property rights, lack of conducive legal and regulatory environment, lack of capacity building, low level of e-commerce and technology adoption, financial constraints and above all lack of knowledge on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Kenyan government is also undertaking intensive formalization of MSMEs through its office of the registrar of MSMEs. Other most important interventions coming from the government of Kenya is the provision of grants or Business Development Supports (BDS) for MSMEs in Kenya. “Currently, grants worth approximately Kshs 2.7 billion has been disbursed to MSMEs. Some 69, 069 young people have received grants while 7,362 people have received Business Development Support”. Worksites, affordable credit facilities through MSMEs fund and capacity building programmes like Training and coaching of MSMEs among many other interventions are also being provided by government.

“The MSMEs are also being guided through emerging global business trends for their adaptation especially in the areas of e-commerce, mobile financial transactions, risk management and insurance against risk, digital transformation and a special focus on health, particularly online health care.

African trade and integration

NGO Forum: Risks and opportunities for climate change, food security in Africa in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ISHR)

In a panel moderated by Maria Andrea Echazu Aguero of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), speakers analysed how the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) should move forward to avoid jeopardising the rights of Africans, worsening climate change or exacerbating gender inequalities in the continent.

Speaking on behalf of FAO, Ebrima Dem described free trade as a human right, but one that can only be achieved when freedom of movement already exists – something he said only exists ‘on paper’ in many areas of the continent. For Dem, ensuring people have the right to move freely is not only of benefit to trade, it is also a way to tackle food insecurities and of strengthening livelihoods by opening avenues for commerce.

However, he acknowledged that barriers to trade and how the latter is impacted by climate change both affect women more harshly, calling on States to ensure that women and women’s concerns are heard and represented across when States seek to implement policies that find themselves at the nexus for trade, climate change mitigation, and food security.

For Meskerem Geset Techane, trade can be an opportunity to address gender imbalances, though there is also evidence that trade policies can worsen these and other inequalities. Policymakers, she stressed, often overlook women’s contributions and the specific gender challenges that they face in trade and trade processes. She pointed to the limited efforts on the part of State institutions to meaningfully engage with women and women’s groups in the context of trade negotiations.

Meskerem Geset Techane then urged States to explicitly recognise the specific role women hold in trade processes and the impact that deals like the ACFTA can have on them and their places in their respective societies. She called on governments to include a gender lens and to ensure the participation of women and other marginalised groups at all stages of trade policy, from the design stage to the negotiations ahead of implementation of major trade deals.

Intellectual Property management will decide the future of companies looking into African trade (EURACTIV)

With market opportunities opening up globally, many EU businesses are willing to venture into untapped markets. However, investments require protection, including for intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, or geographical indications. After all, today as much as 82% of all EU exports is generated by sectors which depend on intellectual property.

The African Continental Free Trade Area that came into being in 2021 created a single market for goods and services in Africa, translates for many European businesses into new opportunities, as well as new investments.

The EU already constitutes the most important trading partner for Africa: EU exports increased in 2021 to EUR 288 billion from a low value of EUR 225 billion in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, 68 % of goods exported from the EU to Africa were manufactured goods. France (€ 24 billion), Germany (€ 23 billion), Spain and Italy (both € 18 billion), the Netherlands (€ 17 billion) and Belgium (€ 16 billion) were the largest exporters of goods to Africa in 2021.

The protection of intellectual property rights is of definite importance for those EU businesses wishing to operate in Africa. It provides exclusive rights to manage and market an invention, preventing imitators from benefiting from it and helps avoiding accidental infringements of someone else’s intellectual property rights. As one of the main ways for companies and inventors to generate returns on their investments in creativity, intellectual property is a key driver for innovation and economic growth.

We are ready to join the Community, Somalia President says (EAC)

The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud urged the East African Community to fast-track his country’s admission into the Community. The president said Somalia joining the Community has been a delayed dream for the people and the Government of Somalia and urged the Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, to expedite the process of admission so that his country can be the 8th member of the EAC.

“Somalia belongs to the East African Community. There is no country among the EAC Partners States that is not linked by business with Somalia and existing historical linkages include language and culture,” said President Mohamud. President Mohamud told the Secretary General that his country was working tirelessly to remove all the security challenges with the support of some of the EAC member states.

East Africa to fast-track harmonization of food standards to boost intra-regional trade (CGTN)

East African Community (EAC) member states are keen to fast-track harmonization of food standards in order to boost intra-regional trade, officials said Wednesday. Mary Mwale, head of food security at Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, said in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that the region has agreed to strengthen cooperation and take a joint approach in mutual recognition of safety standards at the border points. “Different sanitary and phytosanitary measures for animal and plant health are hindering the free movement of agricultural products within the trading bloc,” Mwale said during a regional public-private sector consultative forum on EAC safety standards.

Frank Mmbando, assistant director at Tanzania’s Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade, said similar food and feed safety measures in the EAC will enhance the competitiveness of agricultural commodities traded within and beyond the region, denoting that harmonization will also help curb transboundary animal diseases, as well as address the problem of weak identification and traceability of animals that impact cross-border livestock trade flows.

Africa’s exploration spend is stagnating despite it being ‘rich in minerals’ (Mining Weekly)

Tullow Oil and The Metals Company nonexecutive director Sheila Khama, during her keynote address at the 2022 Council for Geoscience Summit on Wednesday, commented on her unease with the phrase ‘Africa is very rich in minerals’. She described it as a “dangerous statement” that perpetuated the idea that Africa did not have to compete with the rest of the world for mineral exploration investment.

“While Africa is rich in certain minerals, Africa is not rich in all minerals.” Moreover, other countries on other continents also have these minerals and have fewer drawbacks, in terms of political stability, legislative certainty and ease of doing business. However, she stressed that the more people repeated the phrase, “the more we give the sense that the investors coming onto our shores need us more than we need them.”

And yet, over the last 20 years, the African share of exploration expenditure has declined significantly from what it was. “If you look at the perception of Africa’s mineral endowment, and the level of the exploration budgets, African countries underperform, not relative to other countries, but to its potential.”

Africa Looks Inward to Stem Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs): The Global North Should Play its Part (EIN News)

As we look forward to President Biden hosting the second US-Africa Leaders Summit on December 13-15, which will build on President Obama’s 2014 Summit, top on the agenda must be substantial initiatives regarding illicit financial flows from Africa, particularly proceeds of corruption, and the US position as a destination for political elites to store illicit cash.

The August 2022 US Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa talks of collaboration with African governments, civil society, and the public to strengthen openness and accountability, mainly through investigative journalism, countering digital authoritarianism and enshrining laws, reforms, and practices that promote shared democratic principles – but falls short of a road map to promote fiscal transparency, expose corruption, and support reforms in collaboration with African partners. Tax evasion represents a significant portion of illicit financial flows out of Africa.

“There is a misperception quite often when we talk about tax havens and financial secrecy that these are located in exotic, Caribbean locations; [in fact, they are hiding in plain sight in] the Global North,” said Ovonji-Odida, who serves on the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda, speaking at the September 28-29 10th Pan African Conference on Illicit Finance and Taxation – organized by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), Africa Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), and Centre for Trade Policy Development (CTPD).

It is without a doubt that mobilizing domestic resources requires changing the global tax architecture to ensure that everyone, including multinational corporations, is paying what they owe while also improving, where possible, and creating, where necessary, the systems needed to curb international trade abuses, which account for the largest part of illicit flows from Africa.

The rise of Africa’s digital economy report launched at DIT event (African Business)

The Africa Mobile & Digital Economy Leaders Dinner was organised by the Department for International Trade and African Business magazine. In the “The rise of Africa’s digital economy – tackling the ‘usage gap’ to create a thriving market for mobile services” report, which was launched at MWC Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, the UK’s Department for International Trade highlights the opportunities that exist if businesses and government’s work collaboratively to improve access and usage to mobile channels.

Economic growth can be secured by increasing access digital-first services of all types, including health, education and even entertainment content. According to a report from Juniper Research, e-commerce transactions hit USD 4.9 trillion in 2021. This was boosted in part by the COVID-19 pandemic which forced people to stay home and brought a renewed focus on digital interactions. That number is expected to rise to USD 7.5 trillion by 2026. In Africa, a Google and IFC report estimates that internet businesses could add an extra USD 180 billion to the continent’s GDP by 2025.

African Development Bank publishes new report linking security, investment and development (AfDB)

The African Development Bank Group has published a new report examining the relationship between security, investment and development. The report, ‘The Security, Investment, and Development Nexus: A Diagnostic Assessment,’ was announced on Tuesday 25 October, at the African Union Policy Conference on Peace, Security and Development, currently underway in Morocco. The African Development Bank undertook the report to provide “quantifiable evidence on the linkages between the three areas and to lay the foundation for further dialogue on financing peace and security in Africa.” The report emphasizes the need to scale-up and coordinate peace-positive investments on the continent, to free-up public and private investment into social and productive sectors, and underlines the need for both security and development as cornerstones of progress for the continent.

Making opening remarks on behalf of the African Development Bank Group head Akinwumi Adesina, Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer, stated: “The economic and security shocks experienced by Africa over the last few years have been devastating, both in their reach and their repercussions. If there was ever a time to reaffirm the relevance and critical role of security and its interrelation with development, that time is now.”

Africa emerging as major apparel supplier; exports cross $2 bn in Q1 (Fibre2Fashion)

Africa is emerging as a major apparel producing and supplying hub in the world. Textile manufacturing is now shifting from Asia to Africa due to cost saturation in the former continent, said experts at the Asian Sustainable Textile Summit last month. Apparel exports from Africa crossed $2 billion for the first time in the first quarter (Q1) of this year. The shipment reached $2.083 billion in the period and slipped slightly to $1.953 billion in the second quarter of 2022. The exports had fallen to $0.764 billion in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic. The continent exported apparel worth $1.380 billion in Q1 2021, according to Fibre2Fashion’s market insight tool TexPro.

Apparel exports quickly recovered from the disruption in Q2 2020 and reached $1.667 billion in the third quarter and $1.597 billion in the fourth quarter of the same year. In 2021, Africa’s exports stood at $1.674 billion in Q1, $1.703 billion in Q2, $1.923 billion in Q3 and $1.989 billion in Q4. The figures suggest that the exports from Africa are increasing gradually. The annual exports also show gradual growth as the continent exported apparel worth $7.291 billion in 2021, $5.409 billion in 2020, $6.561 billion in 2019 and $6.442 billion in 2018, as per TexPro.

“Safely open Africa’s Borders,” ECA Panel at AU Policy Conference (UNECA)

Regional integration and trade experts convened by ECA at the ongoing AU Tangier Policy Conference have concluded that trade, industrialization and infrastructure are critical to peace and security in Africa and that the freedom of movement of people within Africa will cement AfCFTA and deepen regional integration, peace and security of the continent. That was the overarching message of the panel discussion organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on the second day of the ongoing AU Policy Conference themed “Promoting the Peace, Security, and Development Nexus: The Promise of Regional Integration”, which is being held from 25 to 27 October, in Tangier, Morocco.

“While the AfCFTA promises broader and deeper economic and regional integration,” Karingi noted “however, the benefits can only be achieved if we open our borders. Maroc Telecom should easily be able to open shop in Nairobi just as a Kenyan enterprise can do same in Gaborone. When we move across borders, understanding is promoted, peace is enhanced and trade increase.”

The 7th Pan African Forum on Migration ministerial Communique (AU)

Africa Investment Forum: closing the technology gap promises significant gains for Africa’s creative industries (AfDB)

Africa’s creative industries have grown rapidly in recent years, as its music, films and fashion increasingly attract a global audience.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development defines creative industries as comprising a wide range of areas: arts and crafts; audiovisual media (film and TV); design (architecture and fashion); new media (video games); performing arts (musical instruments); publishing (books, newspapers); and visual arts (photography sculpture).

Data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) indicates that the global market for creatives is booming. Between 2010 and 2020, global exports of creative goods rose from $419 billion to $524 billion. Creative services—advertising, market research, engineering, design and other creative services—rose even more sharply, from $487 million to $1.1 billion during the same period.

UNCTAD posits that technological advances linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution can drive the sector’s growth still higher. These innovations include 3-D, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and the internet of things.

African countries and businesses are not yet taking full advantage of these technologies, partly because of a weak regulatory environment and low levels of investment in digital infrastructure. The African Development Bank projects that annual expenditures of $9 billion will be needed through 2030 to close the infrastructure gap.

Priority areas for investment include cloud and data center and broadband infrastructure; digital services, including agritech and health-tech; training and human capital in the form of entrepreneurship and startups; and strengthening the regulatory environment.

This is where the Africa Investment Forum comes in. An initiative of the African Development Bank and seven partners, the Forum crowds in private sector financing for transformative projects with developmental impact across Africa. The Africa Investment Forum prioritizes sectors that can help African economies fend off the triple challenges associated with lingering Covid-19 impacts, Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has spurred spikes in food and fuel prices, and climate change.

China’s Investments In Rwanda, Africa Spur Socio-Economic Development (KT Press)

One of the key pillars of China-Africa Cooperation is investment, where China continues to invest strategically in areas that spur socio-economic development. The past decade has seen impressive growth of trade and investment abroad by China, including with Rwanda which has benefited from China-funded and -built infrastructure and projects which have contributed greatly to national development. Since Rwanda and China established bilateral relations on Nov 12, 1971, the two countries have strengthened cooperation in various fields, particularly in the area of investment where China is one of Rwanda’s largest contributors of foreign direct investment.

Among other areas, Chinese investments are more visible in infrastructure, trade, manufacturing, textiles, hospitality industry and real estate.

Gov’t pledges support for India-Africa Trade Council (Graphic Online)

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, and the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, have pledged the support of government and the Ga Traditional Council for the India Africa Trade Council (IATC). They expressed their profound gratitude to the IATC for selecting Ghana as its headquarters for the West and Central Africa regions. Speaking at the maiden IATC Trade summit held in Accra on October 18, 2022, the Ga Mantse said he was excited about Ghana hosting the West and Central Africa headquarters of the Council.

Global economy

WTO Geneva Package: A Breakthrough For Africa? (Mondaq)

In Geneva, on June 17, ministers, and delegates at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) reached an agreement on a series of key trade initiatives. The deal represents a breakthrough for the Organisation which has created one agreement between all 164 members in its 27-year existence to date. This long-anticipated achieved consensus took place after MC12 had been postponed for two years due to COVID-19 and deepened with the Russia and Ukraine conflict. It was heard in the voice of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Trade Organisation’s Director-General, “You stepped up and delivered in every area we have been working on,” which celebrated a striking moment of real multilateral success with the organisation’s members. After these words, a series of unprecedented decisions and agreements now known as the Geneva Package was listed after the members “can come together, across geopolitical fault lines, to address problems of the global commons, and to reinforce and reinvigorate this institution.”

A package on WTO response to provide concrete trade-related responses to important challenges facing the world today, comprising: the WTO’s response to the pandemic, including intellectual property rights response Fisheries subsidies Food insecurity e-commerce work programme and moratorium WTO reform

How developing countries can seize ‘green windows of opportunity’ with innovative technologies (UNCTAD)

Sustainable and frontier technologies can enable the developing world to fast-track greener and inclusive development, but international collaboration is required to realize this prospect. That was the main message from the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) at a meeting it held on 25 and 26 October. “There is a critical role for international cooperation to provide technical and financial support to developing countries, so that they can benefit from these green windows of opportunities,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of technology and logistics while opening the meeting.

Technological innovations can bolster developing countries’ role in greening global value chains as well as diversifying and moving towards more sustainable economic sectors – provided enabling policies and collaborations are in place.

For developing countries to unlock opportunities from STI, the meeting renewed calls to bridge the divide in digital capacity – largely driven by uneven investment in research and development between wealthier and poorer economies. Meanwhile, international cooperation on innovation will require more equitable partnerships, going beyond traditional donor-recipient relationships.

Members review safeguard actions on 19 products at committee meeting (WTO)

Notifications of various safeguard (SG) actions received since the committee’s April 2022 meeting covering 19 products were reviewed and a number of general issues were raised at the 24 October meeting, which was chaired by Ms Maryam A. Aldoseri (Bahrain). China, Japan and Australia reiterated their general concern regarding the way this instrument was used, including concerns on the timeliness of notifications, the effect of existing safeguard measures on trade, and the numerous extensions of measures.

Under WTO rules, a member may apply measures to imports of a product temporarily (take “safeguard” actions) through higher tariffs or other measures if it determines through an investigation that increased imports of a product are causing or threatening to cause serious injury to its domestic industry. Unlike anti-dumping duties, safeguard measures cover imports from all sources, although imports from developing country members with a small share of imports are exempted through special and differential treatment provisions.

World Energy Outlook 2022 shows the global energy crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure future (IEA)

The global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing profound and long-lasting changes that have the potential to hasten the transition to a more sustainable and secure energy system, according to the latest edition of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook.

Today’s energy crisis is delivering a shock of unprecedented breadth and complexity. The biggest tremors have been felt in the markets for natural gas, coal and electricity – with significant turmoil in oil markets as well, necessitating two oil stock releases of unparalleled scale by IEA member countries to avoid even more severe disruptions. With unrelenting geopolitical and economic concerns, energy markets remain extremely vulnerable, and the crisis is a reminder of the fragility and unsustainability of the current global energy system, the World Energy Outlook 2022 (WEO) warns.

India, G20 Countries Need To Take Stronger Steps To Fulfil 2030 Climate Promises: UNEP (IndiaSpend)

Climate pledges leave the world on track for a temperature rise of 2.4-2.6°C by the end of this century, according to the Emissions Gap Report, 2022 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), released on October 27.

The emissions gap report--which marks the run-up to the 27th Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) starting on November 6, 2022 in Egypt--provides the latest assessment of scientific studies on current and estimated future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also compares these with the levels permissible for the world to progress on the least-cost pathway to achieve the 1.5 - 2 degree celsius that 193 parties committed in 2015 under the Paris agreement. Going beyond the 1.5-2 degree celsius threshold will expose millions of people to climate-related risks, such as heat waves and floods.

The report states that urgent transformation in the electricity supply, industry, transport and buildings sectors, and food and financial systems would help put the world on a path to success.

“The ambition gap persists and is unsurprising, but the report also points to an implementation gap. Countries have not put in place policies to reach even the limited targets they have promised. Global climate debates should focus more on the here and now than future speculative targets,” Navroz Dubash, professor at the Centre for Policy Research and one of the reviewers of the Emission Gap report, told IndiaSpend.

G20 still paying billions in fossil fuel subsidies (China Dialogue)

Bridging the SDGs Financing Gap in Least Developed Countries: A Roadmap for the G20 (Observer Research Foundation)

AGRA, Grow Asia enter collaboration agreement to drive South-South cooperation between Africa, Asia (Eco-Business)

AGRA and Grow Asia have signed a collaboration agreement to accelerate food system transformation in Africa and Asia. Grounded in the spirit of South-South Cooperation between the leading agri-food platforms in Africa and Asia respectfully, the agreement will pave the way for the co-development of knowledge exchange and training programs, joint case studies, and research, and, where appropriate, the pooling and sharing of tools and resources.

South-South cooperation is characterised by technical collaboration by developing countries in the Global South. It is a tool most typically deployed by international organisations, civil society, and the private sector to share knowledge and skills in specific areas such as agricultural development and climate change mitigation.


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