Countries are moving fast toward creating digital currencies. Or, so we hear from various surveys
showing an increasing number of central banks making substantial progress towards having an official digital currency.
African countries opened their markets on 1st January under the continental free trade agreement and duty-free trading of goods and services across borders is now underway despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other teething problems.
The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.
On 1st January 2021, trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement commenced after months of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What a challenging year 2020 has been! A year of living dangerously – “Tahun vivere pericoloso”- perhaps these words of late President Soekarno of Indonesia are the best description.
Fortunately, I managed to remain sane, reading and writing op-eds (mostly about the pandemic, here
The year 2020 is ending with the world caught up in an unprecedented human and economic crisis. The pandemic has contaminated 75 million people and killed 1.7 million. With the lockdowns, the global economy has suffered the worst recession in 75 years, causing the loss of income for millions of people. In such a bleak environment, what will the new year bring? Whilst uncertainty is the only certainty, eight points are likely to be key in the year ahead:
Economic growth is the time-tested method of raising living standards and, if not accompanied by large increases in inequality, lowering poverty. Since World War II, economic growth has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, including in South Asia.
One day in February 2020, Accra-based coffee and cocoa trader Meron Dagnew visited the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to introduce herself, even before the Secretariat was fully operational.
There is a longstanding belief that virtually everything in this world is stacked up against the poor and the downtrodden.
The Covid-19 vaccine is no exception because some of world’s richest nations, including the US, Canada and UK, seem to have cornered most of the supplies -- whilst marginalizing the world’s poorer nations.
On 10 December every year, we celebrate Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration guarantees a spectrum of human rights that belong to each of us equally, and unite us as a global community and upholds our humanity.
Education is not a privilege. It is a fundamental human right. Yet, education is undervalued even at the best of times. We often fail to connect the dots between the right to education and the realization of all human rights. As noted by the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen, we have failed to give ‘this massive potential in transforming human lives’ the attention it deserves.
After ten years without a strong La Niña weather phenomenon in Colombia, the climate pattern, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, could create a vacuum in food production and supply. Multilateral organizations, along with the Colombian government, are trying to implement measures to reduce malnutrition risk. Still, the population is already overwhelmed by a year of struggles that have deepened socio-economic differences.
Fiscal and monetary measures needed to fight the economic downturn, largely due to COVID-19 policy responses, require more government accountability and discipline to minimise abuse. Such measures should ensure relief for the vulnerable, prevent recessions from becoming depressions, and restore progress.
COVID-19 has magnified global food insecurity and is driving unhealthy eating and worsening malnutrition, food experts say. They have called for deliberate global investment in food as medicine on the back of growing diet-related illnesses.
The holding of this Special Session (the 37th in the history of the UN) is of considerable importance. It is a unique opportunity to define and implement joint actions at the global level to fight the pandemic in order to ensure the right to life and health for all the inhabitants of the Earth. As the President of the UN General Assembly wrote in his letter of convocation: "Let us not forget that none of us are safe until we are all safe".
The risks factors contributing to the dramatic rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in recent decades have been known for a long time but the Covid-19 pandemic has brutally exposed our collective failure to deal with them.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated public health to a top priority in every country in the world, it has left many poorly resourced governments receptive to any and all aid that can provide immediate assistance to help their people.
Girls are change makers and world shapers! When girls speak up, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with.
We have come to the point in the agenda where we must take a ‘deep-dive’ in reviewing the lessons learnt so far in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to chart a way for the future. But the future, by its very definition, must be relative. Flexibility and change will define policy making and the scope of action needed for development.
The United Nations’ renamed World Social Report 2020
(WSR 2020) argued that income inequality is rising in most developed countries, and some middle-income countries, including China, the world’s fastest growing economy in recent decades.
While overall inter-country inequalities may have declined owing to the rapid growth of economies like China, India and East Asia, national inequalities have been growing for much of the world’s population, generating resentment.
For my entire life, I have been forgotten. I am a Sahrawi refugee, born and raised in the Algerian desert, where my people have remained displaced for 45 years, awaiting the moment when we can finally return to our homeland, Western Sahara.