Trade & Investment

Why the African Free Trade Area Could be the Game-Changer for the Continent’s Economies

Most economists see structural transformation as one of the main routes to Africa’s sustainable development. What it means is changing the share of agriculture, manufacturing and services in an economy. It is a central aim of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Dead Rats Can Raise GDP, Economists Have Lowered It

GDP has been increasingly challenged on many grounds as a measure of economic and social progress. Clearly, GDP does not take account of other dimensions of wellbeing, natural resource depletion or environmental damage.

Pros and Cons of a Super Regulator – The case of the Spanish Regulator

On June 10, 2020, Senator Ricardo Monreal, President of the Political Coordination Board of the Senate of Mexico, presented a legislative initiative to reform Article 28 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, in order to cluster in a single regulator of economic competition, the Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Energy sectors.

Financialization: Tackling the Other Virus

The 1971 Bretton Woods (BW) system collapse opened the way for financial globalization and transnational financialization. Before the 1980s, most economies had similar shares of trade and financial openness, but cross-border financial transactions have been increasingly unrelated to trade since then.

Global Economic Recovery must Prioritise Restructuring of Debt for Developing Countries

Unless there is a restructuring of debt for developing countries, the servicing for this debt will take away valuable resources from these nations that are needed to prevent the further suffering of people during the coronavirus pandemic -- particularly with regards to safeguarding the health systems, and protecting the “integrity and resilience of economies”. 

Put Climate at the Heart of COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plans

Cast your mind back. Six months ago—it seems like a lifetime—the world’s attention was on Madrid. The United Nations was meeting to take stock of international progress in fighting climate change. Headlines were dominated by young people pointing out—rightly—that governments were still not doing enough. They demanded urgent and ambitious action to cut emissions and help the most vulnerable.

African Countries Need to Seize Opportunities Created by US-China Tensions

The unfolding US-China power rivalry bears a striking resemblance to the tensions between the US and the Soviet bloc during the Cold War years. Back then, African countries were positioned like pawns on a grand chessboard. Their social and economic progress was hampered because they expended energy aligning themselves with either of the superpowers in the battle for world supremacy between communism and capitalism.

This Year of Living Dangerously

Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno delivered his annual Independence or National Day address on 17 August 1964 anticipating the forthcoming year as Tahun vivere pericoloso, the ‘year of living dangerously’. 2020 may well be the world’s turn, and not only due to the obvious Covid-19 threat to the world.

How a Post-COVID-19 Revival Could Kickstart Africa’s Free Trade Area

The African Continental Free Trade Area was launched two years ago at an African Union (AU) summit in Kigali. It was scheduled to be implemented from 1 July 2020. But this has been pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of COVID-19 and the need for leaders to focus on saving lives.

Africa Needs a DOVE Fund: Or Should We Starve So We Can Pay our Debts?

Sub-Saharan Africa has a debt problem. According to the most recent World Bank debt statistics, in 2018 the region had about $493 billion in long term external debt.

Covid-19 Straw Breaks Free Trade Camel’s Back

Economic growth is supposed to be the tide that lifts all boats. According to the conventional wisdom until recently, growth in China, India and East Asian countries took off thanks to opening up to international trade and investment.

COVID-19: Developing Countries Must Not be Left Behind

Globalization has been a driver for increased prosperity world-wide, but it has been in reverse in the last years due to the growth of populism in the USA and Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic may well provide further momentum to increasingly national-interest oriented policies in the west.

Has COVID-19 Reversed Progress for India’s Small Tea Growers?

As the sun sets over the hills, Prafulla Debbarma, a small tea grower in Dhanbilash village in north eastern India, walks along the labyrinth path of his farm and past a thick blanket of well-grown tea plants. In the fading light, the farmer appears deeply worried. This tea farm, the sole source of his livelihood, remains unharvested thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

China & India Ranked World’s Biggest Military Spenders Trailing US

China and India, which went to war back in 1962 largely over a disputed Himalayan border-- and continue a longstanding battle for military supremacy in Asia-- have set a new record in arms spending.

Time to Raise the Ambition for Climate Action

In recent days we have seen the understandable decision reached to postpone the UN climate change conference – COP26 – which was due to take place this November. As the world reels from the widespread impacts of the coronavirus crisis, it is the right call.

Asia-Pacific Response to COVID-19 and Climate Emergency Must Build a Resilient and Sustainable Future

The unprecedented public health emergency triggered by the COVID -19 pandemic and its multi-faceted impact on people’s lives around the world is taking a heavy toll on Asia and the Pacific. Countries in our region are striving to mitigate the massive socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, which is also expected to affect the region’s economic health. In its annual Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2020 launched today, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)expectsgrowth in Asia-Pacific developing economies to slow down significantly this year.

Can We Use Digital Technology to Cushion the Pandemic’s Blow?

As the world grapples with COVID-19, governments face a daunting challenge: limiting the adverse impact of a pandemic that has ground economic activity to a halt, affecting people at a scale rarely seen before.

Harness Youth to Change World’s Future

Vanessa Nakate of Uganda may have been cropped out of a photograph taken at the World Economic Forum, but she along with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg have made the climate crisis centre stage.

Stronger UN Leadership Needed to Cope with Coronavirus Threat

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is hard to predict as events are still unfolding, and estimates vary dramatically. UNCTAD estimates lost output in the order of US$1 trillion, just over a third of Bloomberg’s expectation of US$2.7 trillion in losses. The OECD expects global economic growth to halve from already anaemic levels.

Women & Climate: Planting a Global Forest in a Connected World

In January of this year, Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shocked much of the world when they announced they would be stepping down from their roles as senior royals.

State Intervention Necessary to Overcome Covid-19 Threats

It is now clear that most East Asian government responses to novel coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreaks have been effective. In Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, the number infected have remained relatively low despite their proximity and vulnerability, while containment in China and South Korea has been impressive.

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