Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

COP27 and related news

African perspectives on climate change research (Nature.com)

The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) is being held in November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Having a climate summit hosted in an African country makes it timely to highlight climate change research from the continent. We asked a selection of researchers to share their thoughts on current research questions and how they affect African responses to climate change.

The countries of Africa have contributed comparatively little to anthropogenic emissions, yet the continent feels the impacts of global warming in many different ways, with changes in hydroclimate, biodiversity and wildfire dynamics already visible today. These changes happen simultaneously with considerable societal and economic transformations in many countries. Thus, it is no wonder that much exciting research is conducted on the continent, much of which is important far beyond the respective regions. In this Viewpoint, nine researchers from seven different countries introduce what they see as the most pressing research in their field and region, discuss open questions and propose ways forward to translate this research into climate action.

Afreximbank President calls for innovation to capture climate adaptation finance in Africa (Afreximbank)

Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, on November 8th 2022, joined a Roundtable on ‘Innovative Finance for Climate and Development” at the COP27 World Leaders’ Summit. In his remarks, Prof. Oramah stressed the urgent need for adequate funding in order to properly address climate issues in Africa, noting the large gap between actual needs and available funding. “The Centre for Global Development suggests that the required financing could be in excess of 1 trillion US dollars annually. Nonetheless, the continent receives less than 28 billion US dollars of the required funds for climate adaptation and mitigation investments,” he pointed out.

Urging Africa to develop instruments and programmes that can facilitate resource mobilisation for climate change adaptation, Prof. Oramah highlighted the Liquidity and Sustainable Facility (LSF), developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in partnership with Afreximbank, as one such innovative instrument that can facilitate access by African economies to the global debt capital markets at reduced cost while incentivising the issuance of sustainable and green bonds.

Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at the COP27 High Level Event - Powering the Southern African Power Pool with Renewables: An Investment Case (World Bank)

AAAP Chapter in the State and Trends Report (AfDB)

The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) is Africa’s response to the impacts of the climate crisis. This flagship program for Africa has been endorsed at the largest-ever gathering of the African Heads of State and Government focused on adaptation, and welcomed by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon for actualizing the vision of the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI). The AAAP delivers on the ground to support African countries for a faster, stronger post-COVID-19 economic recovery based on climateresilient development pathways.

African G20 seat to help push rich nations on climate pledges (Engineering News)

The African Union (AU) expects to officially join the Group of 20 (G20) nations this month, providing the continent with another seat at the table with some of the world’s biggest polluters as it confronts the fallout from global warming. The continental group aims to use the opportunity to call on rich nations to honor their promises to tackle climate change, including providing developing countries with $100-billion in financing each year, said Macky Sall, the President of Senegal who holds the AU’s rotating chairmanship. G20 nations are responsible for 80% of global emissions, while Africa accounts for less than 4%.

Climate Change and Development: Expert Views on Achieving a Just Trans (IFC)

Dirk Forrister, President and CEO, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) “I represent a large segment of the business community that’s committed to using carbon markets for scaling up action. Everybody needs help getting where they need to go, nobody can get there alone. You’ve got to have partners, whether it’s technology partners, natural climate removal partners, cross border part

Finance for climate action: scaling up investment for climate and development (UNECA)

This paper follows from the logic of delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Pact. The paper is intended to provide a framework for finance for climate action covering the overall needs for the comprehensive approach embodied in the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC. All the elements are necessary and urgent; it is a complementary and mutually supportive package. Most of the actions must start now; it is the science and the world’s perilous condition that set the urgency and timing. The paper also looks ahead to the coming decade and beyond. We do not attempt to provide great detail on every element of the package, but we are clear that there is a practical way forward on each.

COP27: Climate-resilient transport systems are critical for long-term development (UNECA)

Acting Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Antonio Pedro, highlights how important investing in long-term climate resilient infrastructure is for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), particularly transport systems, during a COP27 side event on Promoting Resilience and Sustainability of Transport Systems in Landlocked Developing Countries.

Statement on the just energy transition from Antonio Pedro, Executive Secretary a.i. of the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Global leaders urged to scale up support for the Great Blue Wall initiative (Africa Renewal)

The event, which focused on the nexus of climate change, nature conservation, and the blue economy, showcased the first-of-its-kind impact-driven regional initiative - the GBW - to scale up and accelerate ocean-climate action in Africa. It also showed how critical international events can be steppingstones towards achieving the GBW objectives; and called on parties and partners for support and partnership. 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.

Global Investment Trends Monitor, No. 43 (UNCTAD)

DG Okonjo-Iweala: Make trade and investment a key part of delivering on climate action (WTO)

“We need to build a coherent framework of trade and investment policies supported by roadmaps that can accelerate the energy transition and boost re-investments,” the Director-General said. “Climate change adaptation requires significant infrastructure investment to increase resilience and reduce vulnerabilities, and the transition to a low-carbon global economy will generate enormous investment, employment, and growth opportunities.”

Aid for trade should be a catalyst for climate finance (Trade for Development News)

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) emit the lowest level of greenhouse gases but are disproportionately affected by their effects. When it comes to addressing climate-induced vulnerabilities, finance is a major obstacle. In Africa, which houses 33 of the 46 LDCs, the UN estimates that about USD 2.4 trillion is needed to pay for measures to address climate-induced challenges. The Asia-Pacific region needs about USD 3.2 trillion. There are at least three mechanisms from which LDCs can access funding: the Green Climate Fund, the LDC Fund, and the Adaptation Fund. But LDCs have struggled to access these resource due to complexity, uncertainty and fragmentation, as shown by an analysis. A commitment by developed countries to raise USD 100 billion of public and private climate finance to LDCs has fallen short. Private climate finance to LDCs, though rising in recent years, still accounts for only 7% of all climate finance mobilized.

Other funding mechanisms must, therefore, be explored to fill the gap, for which Aid for Trade (AFT) could be a catalytic contributor. Launched in 2006, the Aid for Trade (AFT) Initiative has so far helped channel US$ 556 billion between 2006 and 2020 in official development assistance resources (ODA) resources for trade capacity building. Of this US$ 152 billion, accounting for 27.34% of the total disbursement, went to LDCs.

However, AFT is a limited source of financing for LDCs and could remain so due to shifting donor priorities, including due to Covid-19, climate change, and geopolitical tensions. Therefore, AFT should ideally be used as a catalytic instrument to mobilize other means of financing, including climate finance.

COP27: New industry framework to measure sustainability of trade transactions (ICC)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has published a pilot version of the first-ever industry framework to assess the sustainability performance of trade transactions. The “Wave 1” framework is the product of a year-long consultation with banks, corporates and technology providers — in partnership with Boston Consulting Group — based on the roadmap announced by ICC at the Glasgow climate summit. The new ICC framework sets out an agreed industry definition of sustainable trade – taking into account both environmental and socio-economic factors. It also embeds an approach that covers the entire lifecycle of an international trade transaction across five different dimensions – from the buyer and supplier to the nature and purpose of the goods or services sold.

Raelene Martin, ICC Head of Sustainability, said: “We have been careful to ensure that this initial framework is immediately implementable – making use of recognized standards, data and technology that are readily available to banks and corporates. This will allow us to test the framework in a real-world setting and build a more comprehensive view on the sustainability of global the value chain over time.”

Report: The collective energy transition ambition to date is not enough (ESI Africa)

A recently released report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) clearly shows that the collective level of energy transition ambition to date is not enough, despite the Glasgow Climate Pact to upgrade 2030 targets in national pledges. 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 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.

“There is a need for real urgency. Despite some progress, the energy transition is far from being on track,” IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera added. “Any near-term shortfall in action will further reduce the chance of keeping 1.5°C within reach. Under the COP27 slogan ‘together for implementation,’ we must move from promises to concrete solutions to benefit people and communities on the ground.”

COP27: Morocco & European partners agree on sustainable electricity trade roadmap (The North Africa Post)

Morocco and its European partners (France, Germany, Portugal and Spain) have sealed the “Sustainable Electricity Trade Roadmap” on the sidelines of the COP27 climate change summit taking place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The five countries recognize the benefits of regional electricity market integration. This ambitious plan had been disclosed during COP22 held in Marrakesh in 2016. The initiative aims to facilitate the ‘mutually beneficial’ exchanges of renewable electricity between Morocco and the four EU countries through the gradual integration of their electricity markets.

The goal is to facilitate cross-border trade from producers of renewable electricity to corporate consumers of that electricity, under power purchase agreements (PPA) within the SET countries.

After setting out a clear pathway for electricity exchanges and identifying investments, processes and procedures for sustainable electricity trade, the five partner countries expect strong interest from companies which consume large amounts of electricity and from renewable energy companies.

Local news

SA clearing economic growth impediments, says Godongwana (SAnews)

Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana, has called on businesses leaders in Southern Africa and Europe to strengthen investment, and support industrialisation and the development of sustainable and resilient value and supply chains in the two regions. The Minister made the remarks while opening the 9th Southern Africa/Europe CEO Dialogue in Johannesburg on Thursday. For its part, Godongwana said the South African government is implementing a series of interventions aimed at untangling several challenges stifling the country’s economic growth prospects.

In response to present day challenges, Godongwana said government’s focus has been on the implementation of structural reforms to improve competitiveness, industrial policy to boost manufacturing and measures to strengthen the capacity of the State.

“On structural reforms, we are creating a competitive energy market, dealing with inefficiencies in our ports and rail network, addressing our visa regime to attract skills and investments and are reforming our water and telecommunications sectors. Work continues to build a capable and developmental State, which is a necessary precondition for inclusive growth,” he said.

Manufacturing production up 2.9% y/y in Sept (Engineering News)

Manufacturing production increased by 2.9% year-on-year in September, with the largest positive contributions made by the motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment (43.2% and contributing 3.7 percentage points); and food and beverage (8.1% and contributing 1.9 percentage points) sectors, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reports. The largest negative contribution was made by the petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products division (-9.8% and contributing -2.1 percentage points).

South Africa’s transmission infrastructure must urgently be strengthened, extended (Engineering News)

It is vital that South Africa’s transmission infrastructure be strengthened and bolstered, as the country pursues new renewable energy technologies and these are added into the mix, and as State-owned utility Eskom undertakes its unbundling. The was a key message from a panel discussion during industry organisation the South African National Energy Association’s (SANEA’s) 2022 conference.

Itac stresses provisional nature of newly imposed duties on imported french fries (Engineering News)

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) has responded to trade consultant XA Global Trade Advisors’ call on government to conduct an urgent review of the impact of import duties on the increasing cost of food and to remove newly imposed duties on imported french fries, as reported earlier this month by Engineering News. As noted in the November 2 article, XA said its call on government came on the back of the recent imposition of provisional duties on frozen fries imported or originating from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. According to XA, this imposition was self-initiated by Itac, rather than being requested by industry.

“Anti-dumping action is a critical instrument to protect jobs and industries against unfair competition from abroad. Dumping occurs in a situation where companies export their goods to foreign markets at prices (export price) lower than what they charge for the same product in their home market (normal value). “Thus, if the export price is lower than the normal value, dumping has occurred. When dumping causes material injury, countries are entitled to act in terms of the WTO rules. The idea is to level the playing field between domestic producers and foreign competition,” Itac explains.

Zimbabwe Scales Up Industrial Growth, Economic Drive (263.chat)

Zimbabwe is scaling up its domestic value chain development drive as a key to robust economic transformation and trade, Industry and Commerce Permanent Secretary, Mavis Sibanda has said. In a speech read on her behalf by Denford Nhema, a senior director in the ministry of industry and commerce, during a recent value chain review workshop in Bulawayo, Sibanda said government was prioritising investments in value addition and production of sophisticated manufactured products, taking advantage of the country’s endowments and innovations from universities. “The National Development Strategy (NDS1) prioritises value chain development where 10 priority value chains have been identified for industrial growth and structural transformation,” she said.

Kenya defers $699m loan repayments as debt pressure high (The East African)

Kenya failed to meet KSh84.6 billion ($695.4 million) debt repayment obligations in the year to June due to a cash crunch and instead carried over the payments to the current fiscal year. The public debt rose to KSh8.6 trillion ($70.7 billion) adding more burden on service costs, with more than KSh945 billion ($7.8 billion) used to pay domestic and external lenders in the 2021/22 financial year. In its latest review of the progress on implementing projects under its 38-month credit scheme, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Kenya failed to pay 0.7 per cent of the country’s GDP to external creditors.

The IMF said while Kenya grew its tax revenue and cut budget deficits, the country’s debt pressures remained high. The lender added that a mix of factors, including huge amounts spent on subsidising fuel, high inflation and disruptions in global supply chains drained Kenya’s efforts on growing revenue and cutting the budget deficit. “Significant unbudgeted spending in the early months of this fiscal year, much of it for fuel subsidies, posed an additional challenge. There has been progress on fiscal adjustment needed to address debt vulnerabilities though pressure remains elevated,” the lender said.

IMF Staff Completes 2022 Article IV Mission to Morocco (IMF)

“The Moroccan economy has experienced a confluence of negative shocks in 2022 that have halted the rapid rebound after the pandemic. The drought impacted agricultural production, while the terms-of-trade shocks from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fueled inflation and reduced purchasing power. The recovery of tourism, strong remittances, and resilient exports have partially offset these shocks. GDP growth is projected at around 1¼ percent in 2022 and the current account deficit is expected to widen to around 4¼ percent of GDP. Assuming a gradual improvement of external conditions and an average agricultural season, growth should accelerate to around 3 percent next year and the external deficit should narrow to around 3½ percent of GDP, but exceptional uncertainty clouds the outlook.

New Report by the World Bank Identifies Key Challenges and Opportunities for Tunisia’s Development (World Bank)

The World Bank has released its second Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) report for Tunisia, titled Rebuilding Trust and Meeting Aspirations for a More Prosperous and Inclusive Tunisia, following the first edition produced in 2015.These reports are produced for partner countries every five years, thus allowing the identification of key challenges and opportunities to accelerate progress in rebuilding trust, meeting aspirations, and ultimately contributing to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending absolute poverty and sustainably boosting shared prosperity.

The SCD takes an overview of developments in Tunisia over the past ten years, including international benchmarks and medium-term forward-looking analyses. The CSP therefore does not focus extensively on recent events, but rather seeks to place them in the context of underlying trends in equitable growth, poverty reduction, and state capacity. The report discusses the context and record of the past decade before turning to the identification of four prospective pathways for Tunisia in terms of restoring confidence, responding to citizens’ aspirations, and possible responses to the key challenges facing Tunisia.

Strategically located Congo has raw materials required to become leading fertiliser hub (Engineering News)

Strategically located Republic of Congo, which is endowed with the key required raw materials, is poised to be a world leader in fertiliser production. This is the view of Stéphane Rigny, the executive chairperson of Kanga Potash, which has received its licence to mine and produce potash in the country located on the west coast of Central Africa, to the west of the mighty Congo river.

“The Republic of Congo will become a world leader in the production of fertilisers,” is Rigny’s forecast. “We have discovered the thickest carnallite seams ever drilled anywhere in the world. The seams of recoverable carnallite are in the order of 210 m thick,” added Rigny.

Algeria willing to explore opportunities in Ghana – Ambassador (Business Ghana)

Algeria has said that it is willing to explore all opportunities to give its relations with Ghana, a substantial economic content, especially in terms of trade and investment. It said it was hopeful that such a relation would help to address the major challenges of food security, energy transition, and climate change and adaptation.

The Algerian Ambassador to Ghana, Ali Redjel, who addressed the 68th National Day of Algeria in Accra last Friday, said with its enormous economic potentials and wide-ranging development plans, Ghana was poised to become a hub on the road to African economic integration.

He said for its part, Algeria — driven by the objectives of the African agenda 2063 — had resolutely committed itself to key projects with African countries in the fields of energy, transport, telecommunication and the diversification of trade, with the ultimate goal of making the integration of Africa effective.

African trade and integration

African integration integral for the continent – President Ramaphosa (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the time has come for the African continent to integrate and work more closely together. The President was speaking at the Kenya-South Africa Business Forum held on Wednesday evening in the East African country where he is on an official state visit. “For us to surge forward, to address the issue of integration, it is about time that indeed Africa is more integrated. When we look at other continents, especially Europe, their inter trade is up to 70% and ours is a paltry less than 20%.

“Right at the outset of the pandemic…we developed an African strategy of how to address and to approach COVID-19. No other continent that I know of…was able to develop as good a strategy as we did and that spoke to our integration.

“When you go into the markets that we have…I often begin looking where these goods are made. And I get appalled when I realise that goods which we could have made ourselves on the continent are imported from other environments in the world,” he said. The President cited the COVID-19 pandemic and how the African continent worked together as an example of how integration can be achieved.

AfCFTA: OTUWA, ITUC-Africa gear to protect workers’, trade unions’ rights (Tribune Online)

Organisation of Trade Union of West Africa (OTUWA) and ITUC-Africa have raised alarm on the possibility of the liberalisation of Africa trade laws through African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to lead to retrenchment and a situation where foreign investors will under any guise or agreement hamper the existence of trade unionism, collective bargaining or create conditions that may warrant workers being paid less salaries

“It is important that we do not allow a situation where efforts to liberalise our trade laws lead to retrenchment and situations where companies that are coming in to do investment in each of our 55 countries hide under the flexibility that may be created by the agreement to allow trade unions to exist in their companies, refuse to allow collective bargaining and create conditions where workers are paid less salaries than they receive currently,” said OTUWA General Secretary, Comrade John Oda.

AfCFTA will forge collaborations among e-commerce firms, accelerate Africa’s growth – Alerzo CEO (The Guardian Nigeria)

At the just concluded Africa Fintech Summit held in Cape Town, South Africa, Adewale Opaleye, the founder and group chief executive officer of Alerzo posited that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will forge collaborations among e-commerce platforms on the continent and accelerate the continent’s economic growth. He made the disclosure during a panel discussion titled “Fintech’s Role in eCommerce, Trade, & Commodities under AfCFTA.” Opaleye argued that for AfCFTA to work, certain structural trade barriers must be reviewed.

“The trade pact is indeed good for Nigeria’s economy and that of Africa. For it to work, certain structural trade barriers must be reviewed. We have to review the cross border tariffs so that exportation of commodities from one African country to another becomes seamless and more attractive. The right trade agreements and right tariffs – both cross border tariffs and taxational cross borders – will effortlessly forge collaborations among e-commerce players in Africa,” he added.

Building Economic Resilience through Sustainable Investments (This Day)

To fast track economic development and prosperity of Africa, economists and public policy experts are calling for increased sustainable investment. The advice formed the crux of the discourse at the Africa Investment Forum, in Abidjan recently.

The future of the African economy is one that would be driven by huge investments, not aid from the West. The era of aid from the West is fast becoming a mirage. Therefore African governments should increasingly canvass for investments across all sectors of the economy rather than going cap in hand to the West to beg for aid.

On a positive note, statistics show that Africa has shown resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign direct investments in Africa declined from $47 billion in 2019 to $40 billion in 2020 because of COVID-19. The continent recovered in 2021, as Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) rose to $83 billion, doubling the flows in 2020. By 2050, Africa will account for over one quarter of the world’s population. The continent has the largest sources of renewable energy in the world. She has 65 percent of the uncultivated arable land left to feed the world. The future of electric cars in the world depends on Africa because it has the largest sources of cobalt in the world, with massive sources of lithium in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the 2022 African Investment Forum, in Abidjan, Cote D’ Ivorie, the need for African governments to drive more investments into their economy and tap opportunities into new opportunities was highlighted. This time, member countries were urged to seek new opportunities for investments in Africa, to prospect, to identify, and to invest in bankable projects.

President of the African Development Bank Group, (AfDB) Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, had said at a virtual Africa Investment Forum held in March this year that the bank secured $15.6 billion in investment interest for the construction of the Lagos-Abidjan Highway. He also stated that the highway, which carries 75 per cent of trade in the West Africa region, would help unleash greater growth, trade, and investment across the region.

EAC to enhance Information and Communication Technologies in the Region (RegionWeek)

The 9th East African Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF) 2022 kicked off today Thursday 10th November, 2022 at East African Community Headquarters Arusha, Tanzania under the theme “A resilient internet for a shared common knowledge in East Africa”. At the two-day Forum, Eng .Steven Mlote Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) said that the EAC has to set a target penetration of internet in the region. “The EAC Vision 2050 has set a target to attain 95% penetration of Internet and mobile networks in the region, and 67% of individuals in East Africa using the Internet by the year 2050,” said Eng .Steven Mlote stated DSG of EAC.

According to Arusha Regional Commissioner, John Mongella calls for the availability of ICT content, applications, and services in local languages if ICT is to be relevant and useful to the communities and groups targeted by ICT projects or policies.

Develop locally relevant content and software, ICT experts in East African urged (EAC)

New bank notes for Central Africa region to be launched (The East African)

The Bank of Central African States (BEAC), the common bank for the six-member Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) will release new banknotes mid-December. The decision to circulate the new range of banknotes of FCFA 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 was reached during an extraordinary session of the Ministerial Committee of the Central African Monetary Union (UMAC) held on November 7, the body said in a release on Tuesday.

Africa Automotive Show at IATF 2023 a boost to regional integration as countries prepare to trade under AfCFTA (ZAWYA)

The Africa Automotive Show will take place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire as part of the 3rd Intra African Trade Fair (IATF2023) from November 21-27, 2023, the organisers have announced. As the vision for automotive industrialisation and growth of Africa materialises, the Africa Automotive Show is the ideal platform for all role-players in the automotive value chain to connect from across the continent and globally.

“The aim is for the Africa Automotive Show to be the single most important trade and business development gathering for all automotive role-players, from raw material suppliers, vehicle and component manufacturers, dealers, importers, aftermarket parts manufacturers and suppliers as well as those from the financial and allied industries – from all parts of the continent,’’ says Africa Automotive Show Director Andrew Binning.

“As the event is focussed on trade and partnerships promoting the development of regional automotive value-chains, participants representing all aspects of the automotive value-chain will be attending the week-long event in Cote d’Ivoire next year. “ Binning said.

According to the release signed by the president of committee Herve Ndoba, UMAC, which oversees the functions of bank whose headquarters are Yaounde, Cameroon, had approved the specimens of the 2020 generation of banknotes that will go into circulation from December 15. It had earlier approved the production of the banknotes in 2019.

Global economy

New Research: Economic Viability of Electric Vehicles is Strong and Improving in Many Developing Countries (World Bank)

New research from the World Bank finds feasible entry points to an electric mobility transition in developing countries. Electric buses, which cover long mileage and high occupancy, and electric two- and three-wheeled vehicles, which provide last-mile connectivity, are emerging as cost-effective starting points that also bring development benefits. Electrification of transport is one of the most talked about instruments to set the world on a net-zero carbon trajectory. For the low-emitting developing countries, transitioning from conventional vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) brings additional benefits: improved local air quality, last-mile connectivity in remote places, and reduced dependency on imported fuel. Despite these advantages, they remain a relative rarity in developing countries, and most of the world’s 6.6 million EV sales in 2021 were concentrated in major global markets such as China, Europe and the United States. Electric vehicles come at a cost premium, sometimes more than 70% compared to conventional vehicles, creating a financial hurdle for many consumers in developing countries.

But the World Bank’s new report, The Economics of E-Mobility for Passenger Transportation, found that in many markets, the savings in fuel and maintenance costs accrued over the life of an EV more than offsets the relatively high purchase price. Further, when health and environmental benefits were factored in and monetized, the economic case for e-mobility was already strong in about half the countries studied. The viability of electric vehicles is expected to further improve between now and 2030 as prices may continue to drop and charging infrastructure may become more ubiquitous.

WHO, WIPO, WTO to hold technical symposium on response, preparedness to future pandemics (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold on 16 December a joint technical symposium on “COVID-19 Pandemic: Response, Preparedness, Resilience”. The event will take place in hybrid form at WIPO headquarters.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an extraordinary global public health crisis affecting people and populations around the globe and involving a broad range of policy areas. Large-scale efforts since early 2020 to develop effective treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines resulted in the approval of the first vaccines in late 2020. These efforts highlighted the urgent need for a response along the entire value chain of COVID-19 related health technologies, ranging from research and development of those technologies to their medical regulation, procurement, distribution and responsible use.

The objective of the Symposium is to examine key challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced within the frameworks of health, trade and intellectual property (IP) and discuss the way forward to build resilience to be better prepared for future pandemics.


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