The European Business Council for Africa

In view of the rising humanitarian needs due to the raging conflict in Sudan, the EU launched a Humanitarian Air Bridge transporting critical supplies to our humanitarian partners in Port Sudan. The 30 tonnes of essential items, including water, sanitation and hygiene as well as shelter equipment were transported from the warehouses of the United Nations in Dubai to Port Sudan. Upon arrival, they were handed over to UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

The Humanitarian Air Bridge is organised in the framework of the European Humanitarian Response Capacity, a tool designed to fill gaps in the humanitarian response to natural hazards and human-induced disasters.

In commemorating Europe Day, the European Union (EU) officially launched its €35-million climate action programme Euroclima in the Caribbean region. Today’s launch follows October’s Ministerial meeting, where EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and Caribbean Ministers agreed to put just green transition at the core of the partnership between the EU and the Caribbean region. The launch took place at Walkers Reserve, an eco-forest located on the east coast of the country, which is also a centre for regenerative agriculture, further highlighting the focus and commitments of Euroclima.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the European Commission have joined forces to advance universal and meaningful connectivity and help achieve sustainable digital transformation.

The new ITU-EC project, ‘Promoting and measuring universal and meaningful digital connectivity’, will leverage EUR 3 million over a three-year period and help to meaningfully connect the world’s population, enabling all people to leverage the Internet to its full potential. The project is part of the EU’s Global Gateway initiative.

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank have announced €18 billion of financing under Global Gateway, Europe's investment strategy for partner countries.

This will boost investment in Global Gateway's priority areas – climate action, clean energy and connectivity – in Europe's partner countries around the world. In particular, these projects will aim to help bridge the global climate finance gap and support prevention, adaptation and mitigation.

The number of people facing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent life-saving food assistance and livelihood support continues to grow at an alarming rate. This makes it more urgent than ever to tackle the root causes of food crises rather than just responding after they occur. This is a key takeaway from an annual report launched today by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) - an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises together.

The report focusses on those countries and territories where the magnitude and severity of the food crisis exceed the local resources and capacities. In these situations the mobilization of the international community is necessary.

Trade in goods during the first quarter of 2021 was higher than the pre-pandemic level, but trade in services remained substantially below averages.

World trade’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis hit a record high in the first quarter of 2021, increasing by 10% year-over-year and 4% quarter-over-quarter, according to UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update released on 19 May.

According to the report, the impressive rebound in Q1 2021 continued to be driven by the strong export performance of East Asian economies, whose early success in pandemic mitigation allowed them to rebound faster and to capitalize on booming global demand for COVID-19 related products.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to working with the African Union to advance our shared vision of a better future.

China’s decision to ban imports of most scrap plastics and other waste materials in 2018 sent shockwaves across the globe.

The Asian giant had imported about 45% of all internationally traded plastic waste since 1992, so the new policy diverted a significant stream of plastic scrap to other countries.

It also raised important questions on how we trade waste, which carries environmental risks related to pollutants and can harm developing economies by dumping cheap, imported second-hand goods in their markets.  

550 million tons of used materials traded

In 2019, countries traded 550 million tons of used materials – such as scrap plastics, metals, electronics, paper and second-hand clothes – worth $315 billion.

Since the vision of a global circular economy hinges on turning waste into resources, China’s decision highlights the urgent need to better understand and monitor this trade.

Although developing countries attracted a record share of global foreign direct investment in 2020, finance for infrastructure and productive sectors fell significantly, weakening their COVID-19 recovery prospects.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to developing economies have shown relative resilience to the COVID-19 crisis, falling by just 12% in 2020 compared with the staggering 69% collapse recorded by richer economies.

Overall, developing countries attracted a record 72% of global FDI last year, according to an UNCTAD Investment Trends Monitor published on 24 January.

But the steep decline in greenfield announcements and international project finance in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean is a cause for major concern.

“These investment types are crucial for productive capacity and infrastructure development and thus for sustainable recovery prospects,” says James Zhan, UNCTAD’s director of investment and enterprise development.

UNCTAD defines productive capacities as the productive resources, entrepreneurial capabilities and production linkages that together determine the capacity of a country to produce goods and services and enable it to grow and develop.

“Without investment in the productive sectors of the economy, developing countries will struggle to rebuild from the effects of the pandemic,” Mr. Zhan said.