Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Government Support Will Help Transform Poultry Industry, Ensure Food Security (The Department of Trade Industry and Competition)

The support that government provides to black-owned companies operating in the poultry industry will contribute significantly in transforming the industry and ensuring that there is food security in the country. However, it is imperative for government to realise that the sustainability of these businesses depends on black companies occupying the entire value chain of the industry. This is the view of the 37-year-old North West industrialist, Mr Ofentse Moloko.

Baramakama received support to the tune of R50 million from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and its development finance institution, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), as part of the Black Industrialists Programme. The programme is part of government’s efforts to accelerate the quantitative and qualitative increase and participation of Black Industrialists in the South African economy, selected industrial sectors and value chains.

“The government support needs to cut across the value chain if we want meaningful transformation of the industry, and if we want the Black Industrialists to play an important and discernible role in food security in the country. This includes feed production, hatcheries, abattoirs, chick rearing, processing, as well as market access. Although we regard ourselves as a success after obtaining the support, we are left at the mercy of our key competitors from whom we source feed and hens. That makes us vulnerable as the supply tabs can and are regularly switched on and off depending on how they want to control and benefit from the market conditions,” adds Moloko.

Moloko does not pin all his hopes on the Poultry Sector Master Plan, which was developed in close partnership between government and several stakeholders in the industry, including poultry producers, processors, exporters, importers and organised labour. One of the objectives of the plan is to increase the level of black participation and particularly ownership across the value chain and increase employment and worker share-ownership in the sector.

Moloko believes that most strategic decisions taken within the Poultry Master Plan depend much on the existing large players in the industry, who through their actions do not easily allow black players into the more profitable value chain channels. But he remains resolute and hopeful that with more black players in the value chain, the industry will not only transform, but allow healthy competition to the benefit of all participants.

Rising prices push consumers to the brink (New Era)

Comparative consumer prices for the festive season, December 2022, increased to 6.9% when matched to 4.5%, recorded in December 2021. This is an increase of 2.4 percentage points on the pocket, with the main contributors being transport and food and non-alcoholic beverages, which both recorded 2.2 percentage point increases. The monthly inflation rate increased by 0.3%, compared to 0.5% registered a month earlier.

These figures were released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) last week in the Namibia Consumer Price Index (NCPI) for December 2022. The highest changes in the annual inflation rate were mainly witnessed in the categories of transport (14.8%); food and non-alcoholic beverages (11.8%); hotels, cafes and restaurants (11.7%); furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (10.6%); recreation and culture (5.6%), and miscellaneous goods and services (4.5%).

The astronomical increase in prices for household oils and fats takes a toll on informal traders, especially those in the vetkoek business, who derive the majority from informal trading.

Mining sector employment grow by 96 per cent (Daily News)

EMPLOYMENT in the mining sector has grown by 96 per cent to over six million people, thanks to the changes in the 2017 Mining Law. The changes in the mining laws that included also the adoption of the Local Content regulations have made the local purchases reach 92 per cent. The Mining Commission Executive Secretary, Yahya Samamba said in Dodoma recently that the changes in the mining laws have contributed to the sector’s growth and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. “Before changes in the mining laws, most mining companies were employing many foreign nationals even in jobs that could be done by Tanzanians,” he said.

He added, the situation led the government to make changes in the mining laws to increase the participation of Tanzanians in the mining economy through employment, provision of services in the mines such as food and the distribution of mining equipment. He added that the changes also led to an increase in local purchases up to 92 per cent compared to less than 50 per cent before the changes in mining laws where most of the products were imported even though they were available in the country.

SMEs policy under review, Minister says (Daily News)

THE government is undertaking a review of policy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to cope with the existing investment environment in the country. The Deputy Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Mr Exaud Kigae said in a statement that they were in a dialogue to discuss how to continue improving investment relations between Tanzania and the United Kingdom (UK). The dialogue that was coordinated by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), also discussed the progress achieved by Tanzania in improving the business and investment environment, as well as identifying the challenging areas that require rapidity to ensure the country attracts more investors.

“In effort to create an enabling environment for investors, the ministry is reviewing various policies including SMEs policy, to ensure they correspond to existing investment needs,” Mr Kigae said. In the same line, the deputy minister also noted that the government will continue to set specific strategies for the execution of the reviewed policies. Tanzania SMEs Development Policy was developed in 2003, focusing on competitiveness, upgrading and partnership unit, business, investment and technology.

Private sector should gain in the next Budget (Monitor)

From Covid-19 to double digit inflation coupled with external factors such as Ebola and the geopolitical conflict in Eastern Europe (Russia-Ukraine war) which brought about imported inflation, subdued global growth, Uganda’s economy has been in turmoil. This three-some tragedy has led to slower economic growth and overall development in Uganda.

To avert slowdown in economic growth, the Finance Ministry says the overall objective of the FY 2023/24 Budget Strategy is to restore the economy back to the medium-term growth path of 6-7 percent per annum and improve the economy’s competitiveness. The Finance Ministry says in the Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year 2023/24 in the medium-term, increasing the wealth of households and eliminating poverty, particularly using the Parish Development Model and small and medium enterprises economic recovery programmes is key for socioeconomic transformation. In addition, diversifying the economy and Uganda’s exports are key to achieving the planned economic growth trajectory.

Nigeria leads Africa as the highest generator importer (Nairametrics)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said Nigeria is the highest premium motor spirit (PMS) and diesel generator importer in Africa. The agency disclosed this in a new report developed in partnership with the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and titled ’Renewable Energy Roadmap: Nigeria’.

The IRENA report also revealed that Nigeria’s on-grid generation is dominated by natural gas power stations at 86% and large hydropower plants at 14%. However, unavailability of gas, machine breakdowns, seasonal water shortages and limited grid capacity have severely limited the operational performance of these power plants, thus affecting the power supply.

As Nigeria struggles with power supply access, stakeholders in the sector insist that alongside other challenges, lack of financing is a major issue that needs to be tackled to power the country for the benefit of its over 200 million inhabitants.

According to IRENA, the low rate of power infrastructure and capacity in Nigeria, provides a context for a paradigm shift towards renewable energy. IRENA says that Nigeria has much to gain from pivoting towards domestic renewable energy sources in place of domestic fossil fuels.

Why China and Egypt Are Growing Closer (Foreign Policy)

As the Egyptian economy falters, Sisi is turning to the Chinese government for support.

Last month, Cairo agreed on a $3 billion bailout package with the International Monetary Fund. China stands to lose if Egypt’s economy were to collapse, given the level of trade between the two countries and because China is the heaviest user of the Suez Canal—a crucial link for shipping its goods to Europe.

Qin underscored Beijing’s commitment to help boost Egypt’s economy through the import of Egyptian products and the increase of Chinese tourists to Egypt, a major source of revenue for the country, which significantly struggled during the pandemic but has gradually recovered despite a drop in the number of Chinese travelers.

On Sunday, China’s new foreign minister, Qin Gang, ended his five-nation African tour in Egypt, where he held separate meetings with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. The visit came at a precarious moment for Egypt’s economy and currency, which the government has allowed to drop precipitously—17 percent since Jan. 1 and 50 percent in the last 10 months—in an apparent newfound embrace of a flexible exchange rate policy.

As the United States seeks to regain influence across Africa, China has been reaffirming its ties with the continent as well as looking outward toward the Middle East. “China appreciates Egypt’s decision to welcome Chinese tourists. We believe that in the near future, the number of Chinese tourists and flights to Egypt will return to or even surpass the pre-pandemic level,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters at a news briefing in Beijing on Monday.

Liberia: Govt Suspends Tariffs on Rice and Other Commodities (FrontPageAfrica)

President George Manneh Weah has issued two Executive Orders affecting critical national issues germane to the security and well-being of citizens. President on Friday, January 6, 2023, issued Executive Order #113 suspended the import tariff on rice, and Executive Order #114 established the West African Police Information System (WAPIS). Executive Order #113 is in consideration of the expiration of Executive Order #105 and the government’s commitment to ensuring that the prices of certain basic commodities on the market are affordable, and do not impose an unnecessary burden on the citizens.

“Now, therefore, the government of Liberia in its desire to continue bringing relief to the public, hereby issues this Executive Order #113, suspending import tariff on rice as classified under tariff Nos 1005.30,00 (in packing of more than 5kg or bulk); 1006.30.00 (in packing of at least 5kg); and 1006.40.00 (broken rice) under the Revenue Code of Liberia Act with immediate effect,” asserts the President.

According to President Weah, based on the findings of the assessment, the government has seen the need to curb “the continuous increase in the price of rice, to make it affordable to the public for purchase”.

AfCFTA: ‘Africa Must Dismantle Tariff Barriers Hindering Continental Trade’ (Leadership News)

To harness the potentials inherent in African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), African countries in West, Central Africa sub-region must fast-track the dismantling of various tariff and non-tariff barriers hindering intra-Africa trade.

Speaking at the ongoing the 9th United African Shippers’ Council (UASC), meeting holding in Lagos, tagged ‘African Continental Free Trade Agreement: A veritable platform for African Shippers to Mainstream into global trade’, the executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime, said African leaders must embrace tariff liberalisation for intra African trade to thrive.

According to him, trading within African countries is presently at a paltry 11 per cent while Africa’s trade to global trade is at ridiculous per cent. He, however, advised that re-orientation and re-organization of intra-Africa trade should start from West and Central Africa sub-region, saying should the region get it right, it will be easier for other sub-region in the African continent to trade among themselves.

“We need to create smooth integration of our transport infrastructures and trade policies as well as the required awareness among the economic operators in the sub-region. There is need to sensitise our various governments to fast track the dismantling of various tariff and non-tariff barriers that are hindering international trade. We should always look at the holistic impact which tariff liberalization would have on our economy rather than just considering the immediate shortfall.”

Implementing the AfCFTA Agreement will boost intra-African trade and industrialization (UNECA)

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should be expedited as the free trade zone will boost intra-African trade and accelerate industrialization, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Antonio Pedros, has urged. “While the AfCFTA’s promise is high, that promise can be realized only if the Agreement is implemented efficiently,” Mr. Pedro said, admitting that implementing the AfCFTA Agreement and supporting African economies, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), was no small task.

In remarks at the opening of the Regional consultation on LDC5 for LDCs in Africa and Haiti, Mr. Pedros said the Doha Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries was timely for Africa whose economies have been impacted by the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine war.

AfCFTA: FG Calls for Trade Liberalization, Inter-Regional Synergy to Reap Benefits (This Day)

Esther Oluku President Muhammadu Buhari, has called for trade liberalization and deepening in inter-regional synergy to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Speaking at the 9th edition of the African Shippers’ Day held in Lagos,  the president stated that as African trade moves to a single market window, nations who are party to the agreement must ensure better inter-regional synergy hence stemming the fallbacks in trade as was experience during the Covid19 pandemic.

Ruto, EAC ministers pledge to end trade barriers (The New Times)

Kenyan President William Ruto on Tuesday, January 17 issued a rallying call to regional leaders, citing that it will require joint forces to end the current trade and investment bottlenecks in the region. President Ruto was speaking to the East Africa Community (EAC) council of ministers, during a meeting he hosted in Nairobi, Kenya. “We have a common destiny as East Africa. We must, therefore, work together towards eliminating impediments to trade and investment within the region for the prosperity of the people,” President Ruto said in a tweet.

MPs reject sh1.4b budget for EAC affairs sensitization (New Vision)

Parliament’s budget Committee MPs have rejected a request of sh1.4b from the East African Community Affairs (EAC) Committee meant for sensitization and public awareness by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs in the 2023/2024 financial year. This was during a meeting in which the EAC Committee Chairperson, Noeline Kisembo presented the Budget Framework Paper for the Ministry of East African Community Affairs on Tuesday. January 2023.

She pointed out that the approved funds of sh 720 million are not sufficient enough, saying that one of the main problems facing the Ministry of East African Affairs is visibility.

The 45th Ordinary Session of the PRC begins (AU)

The 45th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) kicked off on 16 January 2023, in preparation for the 42nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) to be held from the 15-19 February 2023.

Addressing the ambassadors in his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat noted the resilience of the members of PRC and the Commission in the new working method imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic that is to work virtually.

The official opening ceremony of the 45th Ordinary Session of the PRC meeting, was attended by the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, the AU Commissioners, representatives from AU organs and AU officials.

Until 27th January, the ambassadors will consider different reports including: the activities of the PRC Sub-Committees, reports of the Specialized Technical Committees (STCs) held in the year 2022, the reports of the AU Commission, the Annual report on the implementation of activities on the roadmap of the AU theme of the year 2022 on nutrition, the evaluation report of the First-Ten Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP) of Agenda 2063 and the development of the Agenda’s Second-Ten Year Implementation Plan (STYIP), the report on the social and humanitarian situation (humanitarian situation and humanitarian agency), reports from other AU organs and the AU specialized agencies. The session will also consider the draft agenda and draft decisions of the 42nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council scheduled to take place from 15th to 16th February in Addis Ababa.

Green hydrogen an answer to Africa’s energy poverty (New Era)

Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo says Namibia is one of the front-runners in becoming a continental green hydrogen hub. In this respect, he has invited potential investors to seize the opportunity that intends to make Namibia self-sufficient in terms of energy generation to supply the remaining electricity to the rest of southern Africa.

Alweendo said when it comes to the African continent, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, the continent is associated with negative attributes – either underdevelopment or poverty.”This narrative completely ignores the strengths and resilience of the African people. The result of this misconception about us is that as a member of the global communities, our voice is not always heard; consequently, we have not been able to take our rightful place as a respected voice of the global community – a voice that deserves to be heard,” said Alweendo virtually during the Voice of Global South Summit.

Alweendo added: “We have found it unreasonable when some countries and global individuals try to dissuade Africa from leveraging some of its natural resources. They suggest and at times demand that we give up our fossil for energy resources. They press us to as soon as possible switch to clean renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar – and that it is for our good.”

Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism welcomes $10.15 million from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation to boost fertilizer supply to 850,000 African smallholder farmers (AfDB)

The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) has welcomed $10.15 million in new funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The financing will target projects in Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique, which will be receiving AFFM support for the first time.

NORAD’s contribution will enable the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism to provide credit guarantees for up to 36 months in Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique, with the expected leverage of at least ten times the credit guarantee amount, enabling access to at least 85,000 metrics tons of fertilizer for 850,000 smallholder farmers in the three countries.

The NORAD contribution will buttress the African Emergency Food Production Facility, the African Development Bank Group’s rapid response initiative for addressing Africa’s current food crisis, which has been exacerbated by climate change, conflicts, pests and disease.

Why used car exports to Africa are a development opportunity (WEF)

Used cars are often exported to lower income countries after 10-15 years in developed markets, meaning their emission levels tend to be higher. Air quality degradation is driven by old cars in Africa, home to 40% of global used vehicles, and 80% of these do not meet basic emissions standards. As we transition to electric vehicles, public-private collaboration is key to ensure this happens equitably in both the Global North and Global South.

As China Reopens, African Countries Gear Up for Business (VOA)

After three years of closed borders under its strict “zero-COVID” policy, China reopened its doors to allow international travelers in — and Chinese with cabin fever out — a move with economic implications around the world, including in Africa. On the continent, which counts China as its largest trade partner, African importers who sell cheap Chinese-made goods said they were itching to return to China to stock up while many African countries are also hoping to attract Chinese tourists.

While fears about the spread of COVID-19 caused some countries in Asia, Europe and North America to implement negative testing requirements for Chinese travelers, drawing the ire of Beijing, countries like Kenya and South Africa said they would not be implementing any travel restrictions for travelers from China.

“We are open to going there now and we are looking forward to do that to make sure that we get our businesses back on track,” Samuel Karanja, the CEO of the Importers and Small Traders Association of Kenya, told VOA, adding that the pandemic years have been a “roller coaster” for traders. “For the past three years, it has been a very difficult moment for those traders because they lost touch with their suppliers. Ideally, the traders could go to China, meet their suppliers or manufacturers, go with samples of the goods that they need to be produced for them, some of them could wait for even weeks to be able to see that the production is completed, and the goods are loaded in containers and they’re coming back to Kenya,” he said.

US Treasury Secretary Heads to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa (VOA)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is headed to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa this week to discuss trade expansion, investment and the U.S. commitment to African economies. This comes after a promise from President Joe Biden at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit last month that he and members of his Cabinet would visit Africa in 2023.

“I think this is the first in many steps to engage Africans on the continent,” said Cameron Hudson, a senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program. But he told VOA, “There’s an overall message [U.S. officials] are trying to send as well, which is Washington is present, and that message is not only for the Africans but for the Chinese, Russians competing with the U.S. in these markets.”

Senior U.S. Treasury officials maintain that the purpose of the trip is to exchange ideas with African government officials, private sector leaders, entrepreneurs and youth, and to deepen economic ties between the U.S. and Africa, charting new opportunities for trade and investment.

Tackling health poverty risks in Africa: 4 experts weigh in (WEF)

Africa’s push towards public health autonomy is gaining momentum. With the creation of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Medicines Agency and the proposed African Pandemic Preparedness and Response Authority, governments on the continent are coming together to reduce Africa’s dependency on other countries for its health security.

African nations import over 70% of their medicines, vaccines and other health products. But despite being a net importer of medical products, the continent has shown a level of success in managing disease outbreaks.

Looking ahead, African governments need to focus on strengthening their public health institutions to support rapid and effective responses to disease threats and outbreaks. There is scope for governments to leverage public/private partnerships to create robust health systems based on data-driven interventions.

WTO Director-General Says Future of Trade Is ‘Digital, Green and Inclusive’ (WEF)

A challenge for the 2023 trade outlook is not only slowing global growth but also the uncertainty surrounding those statistics. The war in Ukraine, concerns about COVID and fragile supply chains have caused many nations to rethink their approach to trade and question the future of globalization. The World Trade Organization and others have warned that deglobalization would negatively impact the world and especially emerging economies. The question for global leaders is how to create a new agenda for global growth.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the WTO, said: “We say the future of trade is services; it’s digital; it’s green. And it should be inclusive.” Many nations have seen a push to relocate manufacturing closer to consumers’ demand, after supply shocks associated with port blockages, the war in Ukraine and the pandemic. Moreover, concerns about national security have caused many nations to question their over-reliance on certain countries for critical goods and services, such as European dependence on Russian energy. Okonjo-Iweala said the future of trade must also prioritize inclusivity.

Industrial policy has become a major focus for many nations rethinking their approach to trade. “Five years ago, [industrial policy] was not a very sexy topic. Today it’s top of the agenda,” said Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium

Ensuring that sustainability remains at the top of the global trade agenda will require coordination with multilateral agencies. As many nations seek out bilateral trade agreements, there is a risk of global trade splintering into trading blocks. Promoting a trade agenda that is fair, inclusive and sustainable will require institutions such as the WTO to establish clear ground rules for all nations.

Trading-up: taking the high road out of trade doldrums (WEF)

As we enter 2023, with the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos taking place under the banner of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, the future of global trade and investment is murky. Geopolitical tensions and industrial policy have cast a long shadow on economic openness.

Teetering on the brink of a painful downturn, the global economy and broader society need evidence that we can work better together. The importance of trade and investment in delivering growth, development and sustainable outcomes must be re-established to avoid deglobalisation policies that will erode past gains.

The cracks in the trade system show even in the disconnect between data and narrative. Both global merchandise and services trade volumes are at record highs. Both exports and imports between the US and China, between the US and Europe and between China and Europe, are at their highest ever. But the rhetoric is of fracture and disengagement. And that narrative is clearly influencing investors, with investment flows continuing to trend down.

Globalisation shifting owing to supply chain disruptions, research finds (Engineering News)

New research has revealed the emergence of major shifts in globalisation, as companies rush to move manufacturing closer to home to protect against supply chain disruptions, while increasingly protectionist policies are breaking the world into trade blocs.

The latest ‘Trade in Transition’ study, commissioned by supply chain logistics provider DP World and led by Economist Impact, captured the perspectives of company leaders as they navigate the latest disruptions to global trade – from the conflict in Ukraine to inflation and extended Covid-19 lockdown policies in some markets. Its key finding is that 96% of companies have confirmed they are making changes to their supply chains owing to geopolitical events.

The fragmentation of the world into trade blocs was also cited by 10% of respondents as limiting the growth of international trade. Beyond the war in Ukraine, US-China tensions and cyber warfare are preventing the efficient functioning of economies worldwide. This is leading to increasingly protectionist policies globally, leading to further fragmentation of the global trade system.

The widespread and increasing adoption of technology is indicated to be another way to build resilience into the supply chain. Some 35% of respondents said they were currently implementing Internet of Things solutions to facilitate the tracking and monitoring of cargo, while another 32% of companies are adopting digital platforms to enable direct business with customers or suppliers.

The State of Climate Ambition: Snapshots for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) (ReliefWeb)

The State of Climate Ambition: Snapshots for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) provide analysis for these groups of Climate Promise-supported countries surrounding their NDC status and implementation readiness. The Snapshots build upon, and update information, from UNDP’s The State of Climate Ambition published in 2022. Each Snapshot explores NDC submission, ambition and quality status while assessing progress on key systems and architecture for NDC implementation. They also look at areas of past and future Climate Promise support and showcase champion countries.

Think-20 meet Bhopal declaration asks developed countries to fulfil SDG commitment seeks enhanced South-South cooperation (The Week)

Representatives of G20 countries pitched for South-South cooperation and asked the developed nations to fulfil their commitment towards funding SDG progress in the developing countries in the “Bhopal Declaration” on the last day of the “Think-20” event on Tuesday. The theme of the event was: “Global Governance with LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), Values and Wellbeing: Fostering Cooperation in Framework, Finance and Technology”.

“The world is passing through turbulent times of multiple crises- food, fuel and pandemics. Post-COVID recovery has become uncertain and prolonged, and progress in SDGs has reversed and slowed down drastically across many countries of the world,” the declaration issued at the end of the two-day event said.

The transformation of economic systems is required for achieving SDGs. Further, there are high linkages between such transformation and sustainable development, it said. The diversification of Global Value Chains (GVCs) is necessary but with special and differential treatment to developing countries exporting nations, it said. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in services, infrastructure sectors and logistics could facilitate the effective participation of countries in regional GVCs, as per the declaration.

Revised Industry Standards Reflected in 2023 Edition of IATA Manuals (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it has completed the annual revision of its air transport industry manuals for cargo, ground handling, and operations, thus incorporating the updates made to many of the underlying industry standards over the past year. These revisions reflect the sector’s commitment to further improving safety, introducing more sustainable operations, as well as enhancing the passenger experience and cargo handling.

“Aviation is a unique industry with its global footprint covering operations from mega-hubs, through regional airports to small and even remote airfields. Nevertheless, the same standards and procedures need to be applied across the globe, in order to maintain smooth operations and a high level of safety. The IATA manuals are the reference materials, accurately reflecting agreed global standards, which the industry abides by,” said Frederic Leger, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Commercial Products and Services.

Key stakeholders in the aviation value chain – such as airlines, airports, ground service providers, freight forwarders, shippers, and manufacturers – rely on the IATA standards to ensure robust and efficient operations. The IATA manuals are based on the recommendations devised by standard setting bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other industry working groups.

Economic slowdown may force workers into ‘lower quality’ jobs (UN News)

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), global employment is set to grow by just one per cent in 2023, which is less than half last year’s level. The number of people unemployed around the world is also expected to rise slightly, to 208 million. This corresponds to a global unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent – or 16 million people - according to ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook Trends report.

The UN report warns that today’s economic slowdown “means that many workers will have to accept lower quality jobs, often at very low pay, sometimes with insufficient hours”.

An equally worrying development is the probability that efforts will be dashed to help the world’s two billion informal workers join the formal employment sector, so that they can benefit from social protection and training opportunities. “While between 2004 and 2019 we observed decline in incidence of informality globally of five percentage points, it is very likely that this progress will be reversed in the coming years,” said Manuela Tomei, ILO’s Assistant Director-General for Governance, Rights and Dialogue.

New guide to help governments manage costly oil and gas closures (The Commonwealth)

The Commonwealth Secretariat has released a new practical guide to help governments manage costly oil and gas decommissioning activities, which are expected to surge as a result of the global energy transition.

Decommissioning is a complex and costly process at the end of the economic life of an individual oil and gas project. It involves the safe plugging and abandoning of oil wells, removal of structures and restoration of the surrounding areas.

For many oil-producing developing countries, the decommissioning process could cost billions of dollars, and if monies are not specifically set aside to pay for these activities, taxpayers may have to foot the bill. If poorly executed, decommissioning can also have disastrous consequences for the environment and communities. Furthermore, as the world transitions away from fossil fuels and the demand for oil and gas declines over the long-term, it becomes increasingly likely than many oil and gas assets could become uneconomic sooner than expected, resulting in “stranded assets”. Having robust systems in place to deal with decommissioning is therefore critical.

‘To Transform Food Systems, Give Small Farmers Irrigation, Fertilizers and Secure Market – At Lower Cost’ (WEF)

Developed countries should walk the talk on transforming food systems by helping smallholder farmers in developing countries with cheaper access to irrigation, fertilizers and markets, said Raj Kumar Singh, India’s Minister for New and Renewable Energy, in a session on “Interplay of Food, Energy and Water” at the 53rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

Calling for an international agreement whereby every country would become accountable for transforming its food system, Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, USA said it is imperative to put the farmer at the centre, and make sure the farmer makes good money while using fewer resources and producing fewer carbon emissions.

Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development of Norway, said it was absurd that “the very people who go hungry are food producers”, adding that “now, with increasing cost of inputs, it will get worse.”

Cyber resilience delivering through disruption (IMF)

Cyber incidents could come with great uncertainty and complexity. Perpetrators and their motivations are often obscure. Cyber operations could involve commercial, government, or military targets.  Recent incidents demonstrate the ability of computer hackers to cripple a country’s critical infrastructure. Electricity, water, telecommunications, and transportation are among these essential infrastructures—those that help a society and economy function. Third-party service providers that are part of the complex supply chains could also be disrupted.

The financial sector continues to be a target of choice for criminal gangs and other types of attackers. For the financial sector, critical infrastructure includes systems for clearing, settling, or recording payments, securities, derivatives, or other financial transactions. Given their systemic importance in most jurisdictions, their operations and cyber resilience are subject to a high degree of oversight to ensure their safety and efficiency. Preparedness is key across the different types of cyber-attacks—phishing, supply chain attacks, or ransomware, for example—that could unfold because of geopolitical conflicts.


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