Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

COP27 and related news

COP27: Al-Sisi urges developed countries to commit to their financial pledges to developing nations (Daily News Egypt)

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that Sharm El-Sheikh is the first Egyptian city to know its way towards a green transformation. He added during the presidential session within the activities of the COP27 on Monday, that the world’s eyes and minds are directed to Sharm El-Sheikh to follow up on the conference and its results.

He pointed out that the fate of millions of people hangs on the conference, stressing the importance of creating a clean and sustainable environment and a climate more responsive to people’s requirements, and highlighted the need to provide favourable conditions for work and growth without harming the world’s resources, which must be developed, invested and made more sustainable.

“These questions must be answered before they are directed to us. Are we today closer to achieving our goals than a year ago? Have we been able during the past year to assume its responsibility in dealing with the most dangerous and impactful issues of the century?” he said. “The most important question is whether the goals we aspire to achieve fall within the scope of the possible, undoubtedly, it is not impossible, but if there is a real will and a sincere intention to promote joint climate action”.

DG Okonjo-Iweala: Trade is critical in global response to climate change (WTO)

In her opening remarks, Mia Amor Mottley said: “If this COP is to be about action, then we need to be able to understand what restrains and constrains us from being able to achieve progress.” Prime Minister Mottley stressed the need to reform international financial institutions so that they can do more for countries in the global South in their response to climate change.

DG Okonjo-Iweala warned that countries should learn from experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, where some trade policies such as export restrictions and prohibitions prevented vaccines and other inputs from reaching countries that needed them the most.

She stressed that in the climate change context, trade policies can help unblock the technology or goods and services that will help countries adapt after an event or mitigate before an event. The Director-General noted that national action plans often do not incorporate trade policy and trade. “This is the missing element,” she stressed.

DG Okonjo-Iweala noted that global supply chains for products necessary to help countries adapt to climate change and to transition to a low-carbon economy are very concentrated. She highlighted that work can be done to help countries, particularly in the South, diversify their economies, moving the manufacturing of these products into those countries and bringing them into global value chains. She added: “We kill two birds with one stone. We build resilience for the world, but at the same time we include those who have been left out.”

DG Okonjo-Iweala: World “cannot afford to leave trade and WTO behind” in climate actions (WTO)

DG Okonjo-Iweala: Trade is essential part of climate action efforts to achieve food security (WTO)

Global food demand continues to grow, with the world’s population expected to reach 9.6 billion people by 2050 while 820 million people were suffering from hunger as of 2021 according to UN estimates. At the same time, climate change is having a dramatic impact on agricultural land and livestock productivity.

DG Okonjo-Iweala said trade is often taken for granted and viewed as part of the problem but it should be seen as part of the solution to climate change and food security. She noted trade provides food for one in every six people around the world and therefore has an important role in ensuring that food and other essential goods, such as fertilizer and climate adaptation goods, and services get to where they are needed.

The DG highlighted the WTO’s “threefold responsibility to keep markets open, transparent and equitable”. She also drew attention to the food security package adopted by the WTO at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June, where members vowed to limit as much as possible restrictions or prohibitions on food and committed not to impose export prohibitions or restrictions on the humanitarian food purchases by the World Food Programme.

DG joins world leaders in call to mobilize USD 12.5 billion for climate action in Africa (WTO)

UK Steps up climate adaptation finance support for Africa (AfDB)

The United Kingdom has announced a significant increase in its financial support to the poorest African countries that bear the brunt of climate change. Speaking alongside African leaders at COP27 in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed the UK will provide £200 million to the African Development Bank Group’s Climate Action Window, a new mechanism set up to channel climate finance to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Climate change is having a devastating impact on some of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa but historically they have received a tiny proportion of climate finance,” said Cleverly adding, “This new mechanism from the African Development Bank will see vital funds delivered to those most affected by the impacts of climate change, much more quickly.”

The UK Foreign Secretary noted, “Access to climate finance for emerging economies was a central focus at COP26 in Glasgow and I’m pleased to see tangible progress being made, supported today by £200 million of UK funding.”

Climate change has a disproportionate impact on the 37 poorest and least creditworthy countries in Africa. Nine out of ten most vulnerable countries to climate change are in Africa. The Glasgow Climate Pact included a commitment from donors to double adaptation finance between 2019 and 2025.

Funding hurdles expose countries’ reliance on climate-sensitive sectors (The East African)

East Africa faces a daunting task in mobilising resources to deal with climate change-related shocks including erratic weather — prolonged drought that fuels food insecurity and flooding leading to loss of life and internal displacement. Recent estimates by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) show the region needs at least $4.02 billion to implement climate change resilience and mitigation programmes.

The immediate challenge facing countries now is how to raise the billions required to implement the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are at the heart of the Paris Agreement. NDCs contain efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Financing options are limited for regional governments which are already choking on debt with the average debt to GDP ratio across the region rising sharply to over 50 percent over the last three years.

In Africa, Rwanda is set to become the first country to access concessional funding from the IMF under its Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF) to finance its climate action projects needs $11 billion by 2030, of which $6.9 billion is conditional on new financing. It amounts to spending 8.8 per cent of the country’s GDP each year through 2030.

“Rwanda’s strong policy track record and its well-advanced climate strategy provide a sound basis for an impactful reform agenda. The new Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI), combined with RSF financing, will support the authorities’ efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability, advance structural reforms, including climate adaptation and mitigation, and insure against downside risks…,” said Haimanot Teferra, the deputy division chief for Rwanda, Africa Department on October 7 in Kigali during a press briefing.

Beyond $8.5bn: Rich countries commit more money for SA’s energy transition (Engineering News)

South Africa’s R1.5-trillion just energy transition investment plan has been endorsed by the International Partners Group, which includes UK, US, Germany, France and the EU. The countries which initially pledged $8.5-billion to aid South Africa’s shift from coal, also plan to make available an additional R10-billion, according to a joint statement. The investment plan - R1.5-trillion over five years - was formally handed over by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the IPG at COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on Monday. It builds on the $8.5-billion pledge by the IPG at COP26 last year, to assist South Africa’s efforts to decarbonise the economy in order to meet its climate commitments. “I congratulate President Ramaphosa for the great progress that has been made on the South Africa Just Energy Transition Partnership. In one year since COP, South Africa, along with the UK and our friends in the International Partners Group, have shown how serious we are about making the changes we need to halt climate change,” said new UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, who is also chair of the IPG.

Ramaphosa stresses need for ‘significant’ additional climate funding for Africa (Engineering News)

Owing to South Africa’s investment plan requiring much more money to be properly and fully implemented, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday called for reforms of multilateral development banks, international financing institutions and the mobilisation of commercial banks to meet the needs of developing economies for sustainable development and climate resilience. Ramaphosa was delivering a National Statement, at COP27, held in Egypt. He highlighted that African countries were losing between 3% and 5% of their gross domestic product owing to the effects of climate change. South Africa’s transition plan includes a portfolio of investments across the electricity sector, green hydrogen sector and new energy vehicle sector. Ramaphosa said financing mechanisms from public finance institutions and commercial institutions needed to provide good concessional loans and further stressed that more grants or non-debt instruments needed to be considered.

Skills gap in renewable energy presents challenges, opportunities (Engineering News)

There is a definite skills gap in the country’s renewable energy and associated industries, as South Africa looks to meet ambitious 2030 greenhouse-gas emission reduction and renewable energy targets, and the country must prioritise identifying what is lacking across the entire value chain and use certain mechanism to ensure that this gap is bridged. This was the key message from speakers in CTU Training Solutions’ webinar, held in collaboration with the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) and the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) on November 8.

New Report Warns World of Huge Untapped Renewable Energy Potential (IRENA)

Renewables are the backbone of the energy transition and a viable climate solution. Yet out of the 183 parties to the Paris Agreement with renewable energy components in their Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs), only 143 have quantified targets with the vast majority focusing on the power sector. Only 12 countries had committed to a percentage of renewables in their overall energy mixes. Renewable Energy Targets in 2022: A guide to design, released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27, assesses the level of renewable energy ambition in national climate pledges and benchmarks targets against the global climate goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C. It clearly shows the collective level of energy transition ambition to date is not enough despite the Glasgow Climate Pact to upgrade 2030 targets in national pledges.

IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook sees half of the energy consumed in 2050 coming from electricity. 90 per cent of all decarbonisation will involve renewable energy through direct supply of low-cost power, efficiency, electrification, sustainable bioenergy and green hydrogen. However, achieving the 2050 climate target will depend on sufficient action by 2030.

Global leaders urged to scale up action on the Great Blue Wall Initiative (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) today kickstarted its COP 27 activities with a gathering of global leaders who expressed enthusiasm and pledged commitment to accelerating action on the Great Blue Wall Initiative (GBW).

The “Great Blue Wall” (GBW) initiative is a critical Africa-led effort toward a nature-positive world that enhances the planet’s and societies’ resilience to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. It aims to create interconnected, protected, and conserved marine areas to counteract the effects of climate change and global warming in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. At the same time, unlocking the blue economy’s potential to become a driver of nature conservation and sustainable development outcomes.

In her opening remarks, IUCN President, Razan al Mubarak, said the Great Blue Wall initiative has “garnered support from both inside and outside of Africa, raised the profile of the plight of our oceans and returned energy and faith in international collaboration and cooperation.”

African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment, Josefa Sacko, underscored the importance of collaboration and African-led solutions to African problems: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together – we have to work hand-in-hand. The Great Blue Wall is an African-led initiative which speaks to the African Union ethos of African solutions to African problems.”

COP27: ‘Zero tolerance for greenwashing’, Guterres says as new report cracks down on empty net-zero pledges (UN News)

The report slams greenwashing – misleading the public to believe that a company or entity is doing more to protect the environment than it is – and weak net-zero pledges and provides a roadmap to bring integrity to net-zero commitments by industry, financial institutions, cities and regions and to support a global, equitable transition to a sustainable future. According to the experts, actors cannot claim to be ‘net zero’ while continuing to build or invest in new fossil fuel supply or any kind of environmentally destructive activities. They can’t also participate or have their partners participate in lobbying activities against climate change or just report on one part of their business’s assets while hiding the rest.

“We must have zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing. Today’s Expert Group report is a how-to guide to ensure credible, accountable net-zero pledges,” António Guterres said at the launch at the report at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

COP27: $3.1 billion plan to achieve early warning systems for all by 2027 (UN News)

The Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative, calls for initial new targeted investments of $ 3.1 billion between 2023 and 2027, equivalent to a cost of just 50 cents per person per year. Mr. Guterres announced the plan at the COP27 climate change conference, underway in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, during a meeting of government and UN leaders, financing agencies, ‘Big Tech’ companies and the private sector.

He told them that people who have barely even contributed to the climate crisis are the most at risk and the least protected.   “Vulnerable communities in climate hotspots are being blindsided by cascading climate disasters without any means of prior alert,” he said. “People in Africa, South Asia, South and Central America, and the inhabitants of small island states are 15 times more likely to die from climate disasters. These disasters displace three times more people than war. And the situation is getting worse.”

Local news

Kenya, UK agree deal for Sh425 billion mega dam (Business Daily)

A new multipurpose dam to be built in Kitui and Tharaka Nithi counties will cost Sh425 billion following a deal by President William Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday. The building of the dam, which will be Kenya’s second expensive infrastructure project after the standard gauge railway, is part of six projects worth Sh500 billion to be fast-tracked under a new UK pact signed on the sidelines of the climate conference COP27 underway in Egypt. Initially, the dam was estimated to cost about Sh220 billion ($2 billion).

The green investment programmes — in energy, agriculture and transport — will become flagship projects of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership, which is an ambitious five-year deal signed to unlock mutual benefits between the two countries.

Nigeria’s Int’l trade surplus hits N3.2trn – FG (Daily Sun)

The Federal Government has disclosed that Nigeria’s international trade is currently doing in excess of N3.2 trillion between January and June. The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who made the remark at the ongoing Lagos International Trade fair, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) was hopeful that with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the country will do better if its public and private sectors work together.

He noted that the private sector could help boost the demand for Nigerian products by aggressively pursuing value addition and increasing the quality of exported goods originating from the country.

African countries desire Nigeria to be dumping ground for their goods - Perm. Sec (National Accord)

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Evelyn Ngige, has stated that all African countries who are signatories to the Continent’s Free Trade Area Agreement desire that Nigeria becomes a dumping ground for their goods. She stated this in her opening remarks at a five-day Technical Session of the 14th Meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, which began on Monday, with the theme: “Strengthening Industry, Trade and Investment Sector in Promoting Development in the Country”.

She said that the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment is the highest Policy Advisory Body in the sector, under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment adding that the main purpose of the Council meeting is to brainstorm, strategize, deliberate and recommend policies and programmes aimed at addressing challenges facing the sector.

“Everybody is looking at Nigeria, all African countries who are signatories to this (African Continental Free Trade Area) Agreement, are expecting that we should rest on our oars so that Nigeria becomes a dumping ground for their goods. “But I believe that with this sector sitting up to this challenge, we will overcome and reverse that aspiration of theirs towards Nigeria becoming a net exporter of goods and services and, of course, that will help us generate foreign exchange and improve our economy,” she said.

The Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline, a vector of prosperity for 440 million Africans (BusinessGhana)

In a speech on the 6th November, 2022, to the Nation on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI highlighted the importance of the Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline project which will bring peace, energy security and economic development to 15 African countries. In this sense, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project launched in 2016 by King Mohammed VI and the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Bouhari, is definitely in line with this orientation which will develop the common interests of several West African countries.

For the Kingdom, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline represents “more than a bilateral project between two brotherly countries”, underlined the Sovereign, expressing the wish that it be a strategic project beneficial to the entire African region. west, more than 440 million inhabitants.

With a budget of more than 77 billion dirhams, this integrated development program is designed to initiate real economic and social dynamics in the region. Its vocation is to stimulate, in these territories, the creation of jobs, to ensure a climate conducive to investment, to provide them with the infrastructure and equipment they need, indicated the Moroccan sovereign.

Escaping Poverty in Malawi Requires Improved Agricultural Productivity, Climate Resilience, and Structural Transformation (World Bank)

The new World Bank Poverty Assessment Report finds that just over half the Malawian population (50.7%) are poor, almost no different from a decade ago. High population growth, low levels of average per capita GDP growth (1.5%) and reliance on low-productivity, rain-fed small-holder agriculture are the core drivers of stagnant poverty levels.

Nevertheless, poverty levels have decreased significantly in rural areas in the northern and southern regions of the country. People who escaped poverty included those who moved from agriculture into ganyu (short term labor), household businesses, and salaried employment, and those that improved their levels of education. At the same time, agriculture declined as the main source of household income from 70 percent to below 50 percent, while ganyu increased from 18 percent to 37 percent.

Climate shocks drove many people into poverty. For every three Malawians that moved out of poverty be­tween 2010 and 2019, four fell back in due to the impact of weather shocks. In addition, women face disproportionate constraints in accessing in­puts and resources. Women’s agricultural productivity is lower than men’s, mainly due to differences in access to inputs, land, and finance.

In order to overcome these challenges, the report recommends a stronger focus on enhancing agricultural productivity and improving non-farm employment options. The latter requires redoubling efforts to support private sector-led investment and job creation, including in growing urban areas. The report also stresses the importance of improving school completion rates, particularly for girls, and redirecting existing social programs to target households that are exposed to climate shocks.

African trade and integration

Leading thinkers affirm Africa’s enormous potential and proven paths to prosperity (BusinessGhana)

These opening remarks were delivered during the recent Africa Accelerating 2022 conference, which welcomed messages from heads of state and government on the African continent and in Canada - kicking off three days of deliberations on how best to accelerate trade and investment between Canada and African markets. For McMahon and numerous speakers drawn from the private and public sectors - as well as civil society - the message was clear: African countries can succeed, with Canada as a trusted partner in trade and investment, including in the creation of an enabling environment for economic development, through collaboration with some of its leading researchers.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) served as a central point for deliberations over 3-days in Johannesburg, with hundreds of in-person delegates joined interactively by delegates at a satellite venue in Toronto and thousands of online registrants.

East Africa’s Economy to Grow by 4 Percent in 2022 (East African Business Week)

A report by the Africa Development Bank (ADB) now says East African economies are expected to grow by four percent in this year. The African Development Bank forecasts the region’s GDP at four per cent this year, before recovering to 4.7 per cent in 2023, helped by the reopening of the economies after the Covid-19 containment measures. In the ADB East Africa Regional Economic Outlook 2022, the region recorded a robust economic recovery in 2021, but most members are yet to achieve their pre-COVID-19 growth levels.

The report also points out several policy interventions needed to boost East Africa’s post-COVID-19 recovery and build resilience against emerging vulnerabilities as well as the short, medium, and long-term policy options for supporting climate resilience.

According to the IMF review of fuel taxes remains an option for countries seeking to deal with the high fuel prices and surging inflation in the region but this will depend on the countries’ internal revenue and expenditure policies. “These impacts are becoming dynamic and are compounded by other shocks including commodity prices, health, and insecurity which calls for enhanced contextual risk and vulnerability assessments to inform clear adaptation and mitigation measures,” the report stated.

EAC MPs tell off EU counterparts, back oil pipeline project (The East African)

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have told off their European Union counterparts and urged Uganda to implement East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP).The project, to be undertaken by French oil major Total Energies, has been criticised by the European Union parliament over alleged violation of environmental and human rights principles, forcing the involved firms to publicly defend it.

The European Union passed a resolution calling for the EU and the international community to exert maximum pressure on Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities, as well as the project promoters and stakeholders, to protect the environment and put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems, including the shores of Lake Albert. But this week, EALA legislators said the project must go on, being a project of two sovereign states.

“We need to have a stronger say, maybe continentally, to work in co-ordination. When you talk about European parliament, it is as if we owe our lives to them. I don’t think we do,” said Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of East African Community Affairs Manasseh Nshuti during an EALA sitting in Kigali this week.

Can extractive sector drive the equality agenda? (NewsDay)

WIDENING inequalities between countries and within countries in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region have historical manifestations, but have become more pronounced in key economic and social upheavals, global economic crises, instabilities and pandemics. The triple challenges of COVID-19, climate change and conflict currently bedevilling the world continue to amplify rather than conceal regional and national inequalities. The ongoing Ukraine crisis and its attendant effect on food and energy price volatility increase social vulnerabilities.

The 2020 Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) report produced by Oxfam, Norwegian Church Aid and Development Finance International revealed that the Sadc region hosts the world’s three most unequal countries, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia, and that all Sadc member States, except Tanzania and Mauritius, are in the top 50 most unequal countries.

Inequality in the Sadc region is a key driver of conflict, exacerbates the vagaries of climate change, global pandemics and undermines inclusive development outcomes. Inequality is tilting Sadc’s development process to an extent that high levels of inequality make poverty less responsive to economic growth because the proceeds of economic growth in most Sadc economies are afflicted by inequality. It is because of inequality that economic gains in Sadc are usually accessed and taken over by income groups at the top, leaving the bottom groups to scramble for leftovers.

The inequality crisis in Africa is existing side by side with the aspirational Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 10 meant to reduce inequality within and among countries.

The extractive industry has the capacity to spur the much-needed sustainable development in the Sadc region. Nevertheless, poor governance continues to diminish the prospects of the sector to contribute towards poverty alleviation and reducing the ever-widening inequality gap within nations.

There is an urgent need for Sadc countries to rethink the current governance model of the extractive sector towards a more inclusive and participatory one.

Gavi sets course to support sustainable vaccine manufacturing in Africa with new action plan in support of the African Union’s 2040 vision (Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance)

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance today published a 10-point plan outlining key priorities to achieve the African Union (AU) vision of sustainably expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity across Africa by 2040. The plan is a response to the AU call to action for Gavi and other stakeholders to concretely support supply security on the continent.

Despite high regional demand for vaccines valued at over US$ 1 billion annually, Africa’s vaccine industry provides only 0.1% of global supply. Vaccine inequity and hoarding at the start of the pandemic, which resulted in delays in obtaining COVID-19 doses, stimulated new resolve to address future supply security. In 2021, the AU set a target to produce and supply more than 60% of the vaccine doses on the continent by 2040.

In the last 18 months alone, more than 30 new African manufacturing projects have been announced and estimates indicate that the African vaccine market across all existing and projected novel products could range between US$ 2.8 billion and US$ 5.6 billion by 2040*, demonstrating the potential for a thriving regional industry to emerge.

African countries are highly empowered to realize the AU’s vision. As the largest purchaser of vaccines in the world, Gavi’s procurements are shaped by country request. Therefore, ensuring robust demand as well as supply for African-manufactured vaccines will be critical in creating a sustainable market.

Hunger for FDI relegates labour rights, conservation to back seat (The East African)

The growing appetite for investors is pushing countries in the East Africa region to turn a blind eye to labour rights laws and conservation obligations in order to attract multinationals. And experts warn the long-term danger is that of a region that will have rogue players dominating the corporate scene, trampling on basic rights of the communities.

The revelations emerged even as the world enters the second decade into voluntary UN-endorsed soft power instruments referred to as the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights. They are meant to ensure that states are aware of their duty to protect human rights and prevail upon companies domiciled within their territory to do so.

The UNGPs, which are voluntary, also emphasise corporate responsibility to human rights at all times, especially in conflict-affected areas, and access to remedy for victims of rights abuses.

For Africa the UNGPs, they have largely remained on paper, with only two countries. Only Kenya and Uganda have pioneered a National Action Plan (NAP) to domesticate and enforce the principles.

Collective commitment and dedication towards access to energy and water will improve the quality of life of SADC citizens (SADC)

Ministers Responsible for Energy and Water from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have expressed collective commitment and dedication to improve the quality of life of the SADC citizens through equitable access to energy and water resources, in line with the aspirations espoused in SADC’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and Vision 2050.

The Joint Meeting of Committee of SADC Ministers Responsible for Energy and Water, met on 4th November 2022 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and considered progress in the implementation of the Energy and Water programmes and projects which seek to find sustainable solutions to ensuring security of Energy and Water supply.

Ministers called for the establishment and operationalisation of the Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF) which aims to provide a long-term solution to energy financing challenges within the region to be supported by Southern African Power Pool, International Cooperating Partners, Private Sector and other interested investors;

In terms of policies and governance of the regional energy sector, Ministers urged Minister States that have not signed the Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on Energy to do so for the Protocol to enter into force and further appealed to Member States that have not yet acceded to such Protocol to do so.

Southern African Customs Union emerges as key trade partner for India Report (The Week)

A Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and the Southern African Customs Union countries will enhance future partnerships as the region has emerged as an important partner for India, both as an export destination and an import source, according to a report from the India Exim Bank.

India has been trading with SADC for many decades and its trade deficit with SADC recorded USD 5.4 billion in 2021, the report said. But this could change significantly if the India-SACU PTA was concluded, it added. “The ongoing talks for Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and the SACU countries have set the stage for enhancing future partnership between India and SACU. The PTA is aimed at cementing and expanding the burgeoning trade relations between India and the SACU member countries,” the report said. The first round of talks for the lndia-SACU PTA took place in Pretoria in 2007, followed by four further rounds in Namibia, New Delhi and Pretoria again until 2010.

At the last round, SACU presented a revised text of the PTA as a working document. But discussions were then stalled for the next decade before they were revived in 2020, only to be halted again by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report said that aligning India’s exports with SACU would be critical to the success of any PTA.

“India is an important trading partner for SACU, accounting for 8.9 per cent of total exports of SACU and supplying 5.9 per cent of total imports of SACU in 2021,” the report said. “India’s exports to SACU increased from USD 5.1 billion in 2012 to USD 6.4 billion in 2021. Similarly, India’s imports from SAC

Prospects of harnessing Indian experience in the digital revolution to support Africa’s development (Observer Research Foundation)

A fashionable trend in the last decade has been a surge in digital innovations and mobile phone ownership across developing nations, particularly in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries and India. Increasingly, countries are looking towards digital solutions and innovations to spur productivity and drive development. But, as a continent, Africa is yet to reach the same levels of digital maturity of other regions of the world in terms of digital penetration, usage, and capabilities. Africa still remains far behind much of the world in terms of its digital infrastructure. However, it is useful to acknowledge that despite being bound by geographical divisions, digital and emerging technologies can play a critical role in unifying the continent.

Today, the African continent represents a fertile territory to drive innovation that seeks to tackle some of the continent’s pressing needs and develop some commercially viable opportunities.

Both India and African countries have faced similar challenges to digital transformation i.e., low internet connectivity, the digital divide, and a skills mismatch. However, the continent’s digital empowerment and economic prosperity stands to benefit from India’s rapidly developing digital economy. There is enormous potential for Africa to learn from India’s digital revolution under the framework of South-South Cooperation.

India in Africa: The Changing Face of South-South Cooperation (African Arguments)

Global economy

DDG Zhang underscores importance of implementing MC12 outcomes, other trade agreements (WTO)

“Trade agreements strengthen the diplomatic and economic ties between countries by ensuring that all parties benefit from the new deals. At the 12th Ministerial Conference in June, WTO members delivered a historical package of new outcomes. The implementation of these decisions is also now a priority to ensure that the benefits of these negotiations are experienced on the ground by all,” DDG Zhang said.

At the end of the event, Dr. Pham Thu Huong, Vice President of the FTU, said: “International commitments bring undeniable benefits as well as diverse and far-reaching challenges, especially in the context of Viet Nam’s deep economic integration. Strategic cooperation that helps each entity involved utilise its strengths and overcome its limitations ensures that the benefits derived from joining international treaties on trade and investment will be reinforced and made inclusive and widespread.”

China is ready to work with all countries to practice true multilateralism, build more consensus for openness (People’s Daily)

On the evening of November 4, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai via video link and delivered a speech.

He said China will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities in its vast market, from its institutional opening-up and from deepened international cooperation. China is willing to work with all countries for a bright future of openness and prosperity.

The world today is confronted with accelerated changes unseen in a century as well as a sluggish economic recovery. At the critical moment, the international community should see the underlining trend to create opportunities in opening up and tackle difficult problems through cooperation. Openness is a key driving force behind the progress of human civilizations and an intrinsic path toward global prosperity and development, Xi said, expounding on the significance of opening up for human progress.

He called on all countries to commit themselves to openness to meet development challenges, foster synergy for cooperation, build the momentum of innovation, and deliver benefits to all. He also called on all countries to steadily advance economic globalization, enhance every country’s dynamism of growth, and provide all nations with greater and fairer access to the fruits of development.

Services trade push critical to high-level opening-up (China Daily)

According to the report delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at the 20th CPC National Congress, the country will promote high-standard opening-up, steadily expand institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards, and accelerate its transformation into a trader of quality.

The highlights in the report not only demonstrate China’s unswerving determination to expand high-level opening-up, pointing out the direction and clarifying the path for the development of China’s foreign trade in the next five years or even longer, but also reveal that under the current international background of unilateralism and anti-globalization sentiments, China will continue to deeply integrate into the world economy through its own opening-up policy and promote an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced, win-win and beneficial to all.

In October 2021, the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for the Development of Trade in Services issued by 24 government departments pointed out that one main goal is to further improve the institutional environment. Laws, regulations, policy systems, promotion mechanisms and regulatory models for trade in services have been improved, the marketization of trade in services, the rule of law and the international business environment have been optimized, the level of liberalization and facilitation has been further increased, and institutional opening-up has taken important steps. In order to achieve the services trade development goals listed in the five-year plan and accelerate the country’s transformation into a trader of quality, it is necessary to continue to deepen the reform of the services sector in the following aspects.

Remarks by the IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the Opening Ceremony of the 5th China International Import Expo (IMF)


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