Cashing in on commodities: South Africa posts record trade surplus in June (Daily Maverick)
South Africa’s trade surplus widened to another record of R57.7bn in June, data from the South African Revenue Service showed. This is primarily a reflection of surging prices for the metals and minerals that South Africa pulls out of the ground and exports.
“Exports for the year-to-date (1 January to 30 June 2021) increased by 51.0% to R895.7-billion from R593.29-billion over the same period during 2020. Imports for the year-to-date of R640.16-billion were 19.3% more than the R536.58-billion recorded during the same period in 2020. The preliminary cumulative trade balance surplus for 2021 is R255.56-billion,” the SA Revenue Service said. That is almost five times the cumulative trade surplus of R56.71-billion for the first six months of last year. Exports in June amounted to R166-billion, almost 44% more than the R116-billion recorded in June of last year.
This is driven primarily by the commodities cycle. Exports of precious metals and stones rose 7% in June compared with May, to almost R51-billion. Base metals exports rose 9% to almost R14-billion. Overall exports only increased 2% between May and June.
Foreign investment into South Africa tanked in 2020 after Ramaphosa’s New Deal falters (Daily Maverick)
Foreign direct investment in South Africa fell by 39% to $3.1-billion in 2020, according to the latest data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – a situation unlikely to improve this year following the damage done by the recent social unrest, revealing another crack in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s grand plan to resuscitate the ailing the economy. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is sought after by emerging, middle-income economies like South Africa as it often results in longer-lasting growth and employment, with money channelled into building factories and infrastructure such as roads and railways.
Coal-Reliant South Africa Invests in Gas Power to Go Greener (Bloomberg)
Power failures have become routine in South Africa. At the same time, the country wants to wean itself off the coal that generates more than 80% of its electricity and makes it the world’s 12th‑biggest source of greenhouse gases. The government aims to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050. Its energy blueprint envisions the construction of scores of solar- and wind-powered plants. But there are widespread doubts that those projects can happen fast enough, or be reliable enough, to replace coal.
Take advantage of trade agreements – Minister Shava (Chronicle)
Zimbabwean companies have been urged to take advantage of regional and continental trade agreements to market their products and pursue investment opportunities. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Frederick Shava said this after Friday’s meeting of the Sadc Committee of Ministers of Trade and the Ministerial Taskforce on Regional and Economic Integration held virtually. Zimbabwe has ratified the Common Market for East and Southern Africa-East African Community and Sadc Tripartite Agreement (TFTA). The country has also signed and ratified the agreement establishing the Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Sh1.4bn Zimbabwean sugar to be destroyed in Mombasa (Nation)
Kenyan authorities are set to destroy 20,000 tonnes of condemned Zimbabwean brown sugar that has been lying at the Kilindini customs warehouse in Mombasa for three years. According to the Gazette notice of July 2, which the port operations chief manager, Mr Abdi Malik Hussein issued, the sugar worth over Sh1.4 billion will be crushed tomorrow. The sugar packed in 40 containers of 500 metric tonnes each, arrived at the Port of Mombasa on July 15, 2018, aboard MSC Nicole. It was imported by Nairobi-based company, Sirocco Investments (K) Ltd.
Cautious optimism meets Kenya’s bid for continental financial hub (The East African)
After eight years of preparation, Kenya says it is ready to become an African financial hub, leveraging the Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC), which this week received the support of London, the world’s leading financial centre. To position itself as a business and financial hub in East and Central Africa, Nairobi is seeking to attract global firms to set up their African headquarters. Nairobi is hoping to model itself as a financial port of call in Africa, modelled against London, Dubai and Hong Kong. Efforts to establish the centre have met several hurdles over the years, delaying its launch, which is now planned for later this year. Speaking in London, President Kenyatta said the NIFC will make it easier and more attractive to invest in Kenya.
US firms suspend investment plans in Kenya (The East African)
US firms have frozen investment plans in Kenya due to uncertainty about a new free trade deal between the two countries. Many American firms had already begun investing in Kenya, spurred by the prospects of a fresh bilateral trade and investment pact between Washington and Nairobi. Talks on the free trade deal were, however, jolted by the exit of President Donald Trump’s administration late last year. Scott Eisner, president of the US-Africa Business Center at the US Chamber of Commerce, confirmed the setback for American firms, even as President Joe Biden’s administration sought to review the proposed trade deal. “Many companies had begun investing in Kenya in the wake of the Trump administration’s talks with Kenya on a bilateral free trade agreement, but that those plans were on ice until the Biden review of that policy was completed,” he was quoted by Reuters as having said.
Kenya drops China debt relief bid as banks resist (Business Daily)
Kenya has withdrawn its request for China to extend debt repayment holiday to December in the wake of opposition from Chinese lenders that recently froze disbursements to local projects. The Treasury says that Kenya has decided not to seek an extension of the debt relief beyond June, adding that the country is fully paying Exim Bank of China – which funded the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR). Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) did not offer reasons behind the fall. But World Bank data show the only major debt repayment for Kenya in July was for loans linked to SGR – signalling payment of Chinese loans. Chinese-funded projects faced a cash crunch in June, with contractors reporting delayed payments from banks like Exim Bank of China.
How Tanzania can avoid the debt trap (The Citizen)
Despite the fact that Tanzania has not entered the red zone of countries with a heavy burden of public debt, much needs to be dome to make the debt more resilient, and reduce the government’s appetite to borrow more. Experts warned yesterday that, even though Tanzania has been somewhat conservative in its approach to borrowing, strategies to reverse the growing tendency to borrow must be properly managed to prevent the situation from getting out of hand – as is the case in some countries in Africa.
New agreements between Rwanda and Tanzania to give impetus to joint projects like railway (Xinhua)
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday said cooperation agreements signed between his country and Tanzania earlier in the day will give new impetus to the implementation of joint projects like standard gauge railway. “Rwanda and Tanzania share more than just a border. Our strong historical ties and common aspiration to deliver prosperity to our people have always been central to our cooperation,” Kagame told a joint press briefing with his visiting Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan in the capital city Kigali, shortly after they witnessed the signing of four cooperation agreements in the areas of information and communication technology, immigration, education and regulation of medical products. The signing of the agreements gives new impetus to key infrastructure and investment projects of mutual benefit, particularly the standard gauge railway line, milk production and improved port logistics, said Kagame.
AfCFTA: 114 new standards approved by FG to boost economic growth (Nairametrics)
114 new standards of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have been approved by the Federal Government to boost economic growth for trade, as Nigeria prepares for free continental trade. This was disclosed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, on Friday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. The Minister stated that the new standards cut across various sectors of the economy such as civil and building engineering, food technology, mechanical, liquefied petroleum gas, as well as energy management systems, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Agenda on Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Fashola: Nigeria-Cameroon Bridge Will Facilitate Inter-country Trade (THISDAYLIVE)
The border bridge at Mfum and the Ikom bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon will facilitate international trade between the two countries when inaugurated, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said. “We have had very strong relationship with Cameroon in terms of trade and business and if you go to Aba, Enugu, Abakaliki, for example, this is the route that facilitates trade, agro produce, merchandise, manufactured goods from Aba in Abia State. “This is a very strategic infrastructure to take Nigeria to the future for many more decades to facilitate relationship between brothers and sisters in Cameroon and Nigeria and to strengthen the bond of relationship in a joint development with the Republic of Cameroon and Nigeria, “Fashola said.
Cargo haulage cost falls by 70% in 1 month over low import (Daily Trust)
The cost of cargo haulage from the Lagos ports has dropped by about 70 percent in the last one months, importers and operators have said. It was however learnt that the drop was due to a drastic drop in cargo throughput into Nigeria during the period owing to some factors. Daily Trust checks revealed that the cost of moving a 20 feet container from any of the ports in Lagos to any part of Lagos by truck which used to be between N750,000 and N800,000 now fluctuates between N200,000 and N350,000, which is about 65 to 70% drop from the period rate as of July 2021. It was learnt that some of the factors that account for the decline in imports include off-season for imports, after-effect of COVID-19 and the free fall of the naira to dollar.
Seychellois cargo service now exporting fish to Ethiopian, Ugandan hotels (Seychelles News Agency)
A Seychellois-owned cargo service, Euro African Star Transport (EAST), has begun exporting fish to African markets as part of its efforts to diversify Seychelles’ exports. The owner of EAST cargo, Carol Nalletamby, told SNA her company will be supporting the export of fish to Ethiopia and Uganda where there are five-star hotels willing to buy the product. Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is currently exporting its fish products, mainly grouper and those that have little demand for Europe and the United States.
Strengthening digital infrastructure for AfCFTA (The Nation Newspaper)
In Nigeria and across the continent, there exists a massive investment opportunity to address digital inclusion. In line with global trends in civilised societies where the digital platform is the first option in everything, Federal Government, had in 2019, unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders unveiled a National Financial Inclusion Strategy that targeted the reduction of the percentage of adult Nigerians excluded from financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent last year. Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Garba Danbatta, said it plans to invest N640 billion (about $1.5 billion) over the next three years to expand broadband access across country, in line with the Federal Government’s 2020-2025 National Broadband Plan (NBP) and in support of MTN Group’s strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading Digital Solutions for Africa’s Progress.
Experts seek AfCFTA dispute resolution mechanism for non-state parties (The Guardian Nigeria)
Ahead of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) implementation in Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and other stakeholders are seeking dispute resolution mechanisms that will address concerns of non-state entities. “The main challenge here is that, in reality, the majority of the trading in goods and services, as well as other economic activities in AfCFTA, are not done by States but by private persons. So this leaves aggrieved persons or companies to find recourse by petitioning their participating home State to take action on their behalf,” Professor Jonathan Aremu, a Professor of International Economic Relations, at Covenant University as well as a Consultant to ECOWAS, said.
Angola, Ghana call to foster African trade (Prensa Latina)
Angola and Ghana on Sunday called to boost the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to favor economic growth and reduce the historic dependence on commodity exports. In statements to reporters, Presidents João Lourenço and Nana Akufo-Addo confirmed their common stance at the end of official talks on Monday in Accra, Ghana, the Angolan press agency (ANGOP) reported. The creation of AfCFTA took into account the need for African states to look inward, in search of internal solutions to achieve their development goals, Lourenço underscored. In both presidents’ opinion, the initiative’s implementation will be a long but feasible process, ‘if all countries are committed. “The deal to establish the AfCFTA shows that ‘we really want to change the current situation in our continent,” Lourenço noted, and advocated promoting communication routes, such as roads, highways, railroads, maritime and air connections.
Towards 41st SADC Summit (Southern African News Features, sardc.net)
The 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for August in Lilongwe, Malawi will be held in a hybrid format where some delegates will attend the meeting physically while others will follow the proceedings virtually. The theme for the summit is “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation.” The theme continues with the industrialization trajectory, as SADC has since 2014 held its summits under the industrialization theme.
EAC Secretariat holds consultative meeting with the Republic of Uganda (EAC)
In his opening remarks, Dr. Mathuki told the Minister that the objective of the consultative meeting was to report on the achievements and challenges of activities undertaken in various sectors and share available opportunities as well as come up with strategies to strengthen regional integration. “Some of the interventions made by the Secretariat include the establishment of the Regional Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System (RECDTS), which facilitates free movement of people, goods and services in the region, as well as distribution of essential supplies in the region.”
Kagame, Suluhu commit to a stronger EAC (The New Times)
President Paul Kagame and Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan have reiterated their commitment to back a stronger, prosperous East African Community as well as economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Heads of State made the remarks on Monday, August 2, while addressing the press on the first day of President Suluhu’s two-day state visit in the country. Speaking after witnessing the signing of four bilateral agreements, Kagame said that Rwanda and Tanzania share more than just a border. “We share more than just a border; strong historical ties and common aspiration to deliver prosperity to our people have always been central to our cooperation,” he said.
Postponed Eco currency: Members fear Nigeria’ll dominate monetary policy – Rewane (Blueprint newspapers Limited)
The over two decade strive to have a common currency in West Africa may remain a dream, because the other member states are scared Nigeria alone may dominate the region monetary policy and stall expected benefits. It was therefore not surprising to many, when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently announced that the launch and adoption of the Eco has been moved to 2027. The common currency should have been launched in 2020, but it did not happen due to the coronavirus pandemic. “While many believe that the adoption of the Eco would enhance trade within the bloc, ease the cost of doing business, increase job opportunities and boost economic growth, there are growing concerns that Nigeria could dominate monetary policy and stall the expected benefits,” said Bismarck Rewane, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited.
West Africa Bloc Plans to Start Cross-Border Debt Market in 2023 (Bloomberg)
A plan by 15 West African nations to link up their debt markets is on track to become a reality by the end of 2023, part of a wider push toward great integration for their economies and finances, a market regulator said. The aim is to open up the debt auctions of individual countries to investors from across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). To allow that to happen, regulators and stock exchanges from across Ecowas are working to put in place a passport system that would allow broker-dealers to trade across the different markets, he said. The idea is that by giving member nations access to a wider pool of lenders, they’ll be able to bring down their borrowing costs.
Egypt Hosting African Food Manufacturing Conference this Week (Quality Assurance & Food Safety)
This week, Cairo is hosting The Africa Food Manufacturing Exhibition in cooperation with Food Ingredients Global and ProPak Global Exhibitions. The exhibition will take place at the Egypt International Exhibition Center (EIEC) in New Cairo from Aug. 2-4, 2021. After the postponement of last year’s edition due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Informa Markets said it is keen on presenting the ninth edition while following and applying all the necessary health and safety precautions. The AFM exhibition will feature more than 150 participants from 20 countries around the world, who are expected to cover the four core sectors of manufacturing – food ingredients, processing, packaging and machinery and logistics.
Microsoft 4Afrika, IFC Partner to Promote Digital Transformation in Africa’s Agri-Food Sector (IFC)
To support digital transformation in Africa’s agribusiness sector, modernize supply chains and boost farmers’ productivity and incomes, Microsoft, through its 4Afrika initiative, and IFC today partnered to make digital tools and training resources more accessible to small-scale farmers, and agriculture-linked small businesses. The partnership will leverage Microsoft 4Afrika’s unique digital platforms and IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership Program to help small-scale farmers, their cooperatives, and “last mile retailers” access information and digital tools to strengthen farming practices, build business professionalism and improve food security and traceability throughout the supply chain.
Minister urges African Governments to consider Afrobarometer data in policy-making (BusinessGhana)
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has urged African Governments to take into consideration Afrobarometer data survey reports in policy-making. She noted that Afrobarometer data would enable African Governments to improve on their internal processes such as good governance and democracy, which were extremely important. The Minister said Afrobarometer, which had expanded into 35 countries in Africa was now playing a very key role in the socioeconomic governance areas of the lives of the people on the continent.
Administrator Samantha Power on Financing New Pathways to a Stronger U.S.-Africa Economic Partnership (USAID)
We have to evolve, from a relationship based mostly on aid, to one based on trade. We must strengthen private sector ties between our countries, spur economic investment at a scale that could never be matched by foreign aid, and help Africans realize the kind of sustainable, independent future that they have long sought. Through Prosper Africa, USAID will directly connect American investors with African businesses ripe for investment by funding delegations and making crucial connections to local actors, leveraging our long-standing relationships on the continent. This work will help American businesses access Africa’s fast-growing markets, and create thousands of jobs for both African and American workers.
Partners bolster Africa’s fight against COVID-19 and poverty (US Embassy Rome)
The United States and international partners are investing $80 billion in Africa’s private sector to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and spur sustainable growth. The commitment that the Group of Seven (G7) nations and international development banks announced in June will support renewable energy and infrastructure development, as well as Africa’s manufacturing, agriculture and technology sectors. The United States “will continue to prioritize investments in vaccine manufacturing, COVID-19 response, climate mitigation and adaptation, and gender equity on the African continent,” said David Marchick, chief executive of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Recent investments build on the more than $100 billion the United States has invested in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years to strengthen health security and save lives.
Time to bring Africa in: The case for a G21 – with the African Union added (Daily Maverick)
The Group of Twenty has become a pillar of multilateralism. Although the world has many high-level talk shops, the G20 represents the best kind, actively supporting global dialogue, debate and – most importantly – economic problem-solving. Fortunately, its biggest limitation – that it leaves out 96% of Africa’s population – can be easily remedied by including the African Union (AU). The AU’s 55 countries (more than one-quarter of UN members) are home to 1.4 billion people (17.5% of the global total) and $2.6-trillion in annual output at market exchange rates (almost 3% of world GDP). All told, Africa currently has roughly the same population as China or India, and an economy that would come in eighth – just behind France and ahead of Italy – in a country ranking. Africa’s share of the world’s population and output will grow in future years.
The G20’s sole African member, South Africa, has the 39th largest economy in the world, the smallest among the G20 member states. The GDPs of Nigeria and Egypt are actually larger than South Africa’s, but they still are not in the world’s top 20. As a result, African leaders outside of South Africa have been invited to the G20 only as observers. Africa’s very limited representation drastically limits Africa’s input in G20 deliberations on major global economic issues, not only at the annual G20 summits, but also in the year-round ministerial and technical meetings.
China Vows to Fortify Support to Africa (Walta Information Center)
Mission of China to the African Union said that China will continue to help African countries overcome the impact of the pandemic, seek a long-term way to achieve sustainable development, and work together to build a closer community of shared future for China and Africa. According to the information from Mission of China to AU, COVID-19 origin tracing should be studied as a serious and scientific issue without any politicization. Constant and long term origin tracing studies on a global scale in a sound manner should be actively promoted. China and Africa have also jointly launched the Initiative on Partnership for Africa’s Development, calling on the international community to enhance support to Africa in areas such as anti-pandemic fight, post-epidemic reconstruction, trade and investment, debt relief etc., which has set a good example for global solidarity against the pandemic.
Examining Africa’s Economic Recovery in a Post-Pandemic World (THISDAYLIVE)
Africa’s economy was one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Africa’s economy falling to a negative for the first time in years, concerns about the continent have shifted from how it will survive the pandemic to how stakeholders can revive and sustain the economy. The ripple effect of the pandemic affected the economies of most African states, while some like Nigeria experienced a double whammy situation, in terms of the oil price crash which also affected Algeria and Libya. However, it was not all contraction in the continent. Guinea, for instance, was probably one of the fastest growing economies during the crisis with about 7%, largely inspired by its mining sector. The sector has also been active in Tunisia and Mauritania with smaller mining deals.
Examining the current situation, some African countries have begun to see a brisk recovery. Growth of about 2% is speculated for Nigeria and 4-5% for Senegal. The growth in terms of the macro recovery is dependent on various factors, the most notable being the vaccination programme. Africa has fallen behind the rest of the world in the vaccination race. The concern is that if the vaccine rollout is not sustained, restrictions will be reimposed.
STDF Annual Report highlights efforts to boost SPS capacity despite pandemic challenges (WTO)
The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on health systems and caused enormous disruption to the global economy, the report notes. Governments took measures to contain the spread of the virus, including travel restrictions, lockdowns, social distancing, and other safety protocols. Production and trade in agri-food products was scaled back, resulting in huge economic losses around the world that continue to be felt today. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the STDF adapted quickly across all its workstreams and kept delivering strong results in 2020, making efforts to understand the new realities on the ground and continuing to provide vital assistance to strengthen food safety, animal and plant health systems in developing countries.
“Trade is about people – about making their lives better,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a video to mark the launch of the report. “The Standards and Trade Development Facility works to enable small-scale farmers to meet international health and safety standards for their products. This opens the door to new markets and means higher incomes and more jobs and economic opportunities, particularly for women. It means safer food, lower trade times and costs, and greater capacity to protect plant and animal health capacity.
WTO issues 2021 edition of flagship statistical publication (WTO)
The WTO issued today (30 July) the latest edition of its annual publication on international trade statistics, the “World Trade Statistical Review”. The report highlights that the value of world merchandise exports declined by 8 per cent while services trade contracted by 21 per cent in 2020, with the most severe impacts of the pandemic being felt in the second quarter of the year. Trade began to recover as of mid-2020, but with major differences across regions and sectors. The recovery of merchandise trade was mostly due to trade in manufactured goods while services trade continues to be weighed down by continued COVID-19-related travel restrictions. “A full recovery for international travel, and for global trade in general, depends on rapid, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world,” Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stresses.
Productive Capacities Index (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD’s Productive Capacities Index (PCI) is a dynamic and practical tool to support developing countries in understanding the status of their productive capacity and how this can be improved. It builds on UNCTAD’s long-standing work on productive capacities, which are essential for generating inclusive and sustained economic growth and achieving sustainable development. “Productive capacities are the productive resources, entrepreneurial capabilities and production linkages that together determine a country’s ability to produce goods and services that will help it grow and develop.” The PCI covers 193 economies for the period 2000-2018. The set of productive capacities and their specific combinations are mapped across 46 indicators. This makes our PCI multidimensional in its analytical abilities.
Shipping Safety: The Covid factors (Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty)
Covid-19-related travel and border restrictions, and the widespread suspension of international flights, have significantly impacted the ability of ship operators to conduct crew changes. Between March and August 2020 only 25% of normal crew changes were able to take place (ICS) while at least half a million seafarers have been affected. As of March 2021, it is estimated that some 200,000 seafarers remained on board commercial vessels, unable to be repatriated and past the expiry of their contracts, with a similar number of seafarers urgently needed to join ships to replace them. On any given day, nearly one million seafarers are working on some 60,000 large cargo vessels worldwide, according to the IMO.
Borderless Trade Network to Empower Female MSMEs (THISDAYLIVE)
As part of efforts to deepen access to funding of female-owned Micro, Small, Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs), Borderless Trade Network has expressed its preparedness to support ad provide female entrepreneurs the access to funding, as well as technical support needed to upscale their business activities through its WINHER initiative. The WINHER project scheduled to commence on the 8th of August is dedicated towards empowering women to achieve financial wellness through the demystification of wealth creation; whilst creating an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to network, get educated on investment opportunities and principles, discover sources of funding, share experiences and build new partnerships to enhance their entrepreneurial capacities and improve their approach towards wealth generation. The programme, it added, was also designed to cater directly to female African entrepreneurs within the continent and in diaspora who are seeking to gain the ability to build long term wealth through financial education and access to high interest paying investment opportunities, whilst leveraging on the recently ratified African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Impact Investing Continues to Flourish Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, IFC Report Shows (IFC)
Impact investing continued to draw strong investor interest in 2020 amid the turbulence caused by COVID-19, with investments reaching $2.3 trillion, a new IFC report finds. Investing for Impact: The Global Impact Investing Market 2020 provides an updated estimate of the size of the market for impact investing, defined as investments made with the intent to contribute to measurable positive social or environmental impact, alongside financial return. The report identifies $636 billion in assets with measured impact in 2020, compared with $505 billion in 2019. An additional $1.6 trillion were managed with the intent of positive impact, bringing the total market size to an estimated $2.3 trillion. The report also finds that there were more measured impact funds in the market than before – collectively, 1001 funds in 2020, compared with 887 funds in 2019. Impact investing’s ongoing popularity is being driven by increased awareness of climate change and social challenges such as unequal access to healthcare, and racial and gender inequality.
Joint Statement of the Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics for Developing Countries following its Second Meeting (World Bank)
The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries, established by the heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization to identify and resolve finance and trade impediments to vaccine, diagnostics, therapeutic production and deliveries, today launched a new website that includes the first phase of a global database and country dashboards on vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to guide their work and advocacy. The database and country-by-country dashboards, which also build on the IMF-WHO COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Tracker, seek to focus international attention and mobilize action by illuminating specific gaps, not just globally but also country-by-country.
UN regional commissions launch most comprehensive Covid Stimulus Tracker to date (Mirage News)
Government fiscal support to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached nearly $19 trillion; however, the 132 low- and middle-income countries – i.e. 85% of the world’s population – account for only 10% of it, while the 62 high-income countries account for 90%. This stark inequality, raising questions on the world’s ability to recover quickly and equitably from the pandemic, is one of the many findings of the COVID-19 Stimulus Tracker, a global observatory on the social protection and economic measures of 194 Governments of UN Member States developed by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in cooperation with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The Tracker is a pioneering tool which gathers, in an unprecedented effort, all government support measures for both people and the economy in one dynamic digital platform. It facilitates comparison and analysis of adequacy of those measures and determines their beneficiaries to help identify those left behind.
Five Things to Know about the Informal Economy (IMF)
The informal economy is a global and pervasive phenomenon. Some 60 percent of the world’s population participates in the informal sector. Although mostly prevalent in emerging and developing economies, it is also an important part of advanced economies. 1. The informal economy consists of activities that have market value but are not formally registered. 2. The informal economy is difficult to measure. 3. The COVID-19 pandemic hit informal workers particularly hard, especially women. 4. The informal economy is central to the economic development process. 5. A balanced approach is crucial in addressing the informal economy, as it currently represents the only source of income and a critical safety net for millions of people.
Towards sustained development in Small Island Developing States: why we need to reshape global governance (ODI)
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have long pursued unconventional economic development strategies, often with great success. Equally, because of their susceptibility to exogenous shocks, which can be disproportionately more destructive than in larger states, their progress remains fragile and can be set back suddenly and dramatically. It has taken some time for donors and multilateral institutions to recognise this, but climate change has brought the unique condition of SIDS to the fore and their ‘special case for sustainable development’ is now enshrined in the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (‘SAMOA Pathway’) and other multilateral agreements.
Global governance reforms are urgently needed to allow SIDS to exploit new niches and sustain levels of development in a post-pandemic and warming world. Key changes include altering the way official development assistance is defined, generating new forms of debt relief, reforming climate financing mechanisms, and facilitating access to the labour markets of the Global North.
New petroleum producers strive to forge a new development path (The Commonwealth)
Emerging petroleum-producing countries in the Commonwealth, and beyond, are striving to break the historical mould of fossil fuel-driven growth and forge a new path towards economic resilience. Government officials shared their experiences during a recent two-week pilot training programme on the theme ‘Aligning the Petroleum Sector with Climate, Energy and National Development Goals’ organised by the New Producers Group (NPG). The NPG is a network of around 30 countries, including 15 from the Commonwealth, jointly managed by Chatham House, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“The clear message that emerged was the need for a national long-term strategy for managing the energy transition,” said Economic Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Naadira Ogeer, who led several of the training sessions. “Many emerging producers happen to be developing countries in extremely tenuous economic situations, who also face the daunting task of eradicating poverty, dealing with the harsh realities of climate change, while having to provide affordable and reliable energy for growing populations.”
2020 ICC Dispute Resolution Statistics published (ICC)
The 2020 ICC Dispute Resolution Statistics report includes a comprehensive overview of ICC Arbitration statistics including breakdowns by region, the constitution of the arbitral tribunals, figures for state and state-owned parties, place of arbitration, the geographical origins of arbitrators and parties, and statistics relating to gender and age diversity. “The 2020 figures reflect ICC’s status as the world’s preferred arbitral institution and our reach as a truly global arbitral institution. We remain committed to supporting the global business community with our range of trusted services and building on the growth and increased diversity of the Court,” said Claudia Salomon, who took office as President of the ICC Court as of 1 July.
OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project Addressing the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy (OECD)