The European Business Council for Africa

The 2022 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report presents new analysis and recommendations on how international trade and greater cooperation can amplify global efforts to address climate change and put the planet on a sustainable trajectory. The WTO’s flagship publication, released on 7 November at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, also examines the consequences of climate change on trading patterns and future prosperity.

“This report is being launched at the same time as COP27. What I hope to see emerge there and elsewhere is a trade and investment facilitation pathway in support of a just transition to a low-carbon economy,” Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who participated in the climate summit, said in her foreword to the report. “The report argues that trade is a force for good for climate and part of the solution for achieving a low-carbon, resilient and just transition,” she said.

Both are vital for Africa’s development but governments are more committed to free trade than free movement of people.

Free trade and the free movement of people are both crucial for Africa’s long-term development. Although they are complementary, governments show more political will for implementing free trade than allowing free movement of people. This policy brief explores the relationship between the African Continental Free Trade Area and the movement of people. It makes suggestions about how Africa can better use the opportunities presented by both.

The African Development Bank has released its latest East African Economic Outlook, predicting a slow recovery in the region in 2022 at 4.0 percent against 5.1% in 2021.

The slowdown is due to the lingering effects of COVID-19; the adverse impacts of geopolitical tensions (notably the Russia-Ukraine conflict); climate change and devastating locust invasion, together with regional conflicts and tensions.

The report notes that because of these obstacles, countries in the region have experienced heightened inflationary pressures, particularly on food and fuel, leading to rising cost of living. This has resulted in weakening national currencies, floods and drought, contraction in agricultural production; depressed business activity, and falling revenue collection, among others.

However, the continued reopening of economies globally could mitigate these adverse effects in 2023 with a projected growth rate of 4.7%, repositioning East Africa as the top-performer in growth among the regions of the continent, according to the report.

The Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) identifies ways that Cameroon can achieve its overall development objectives while fostering the transition to a greener, more resilient, and more inclusive development pathway. The CCDR finds that climate change is already a threat to Cameroon’s development and the country faces the challenge of changing the current development model to create opportunities to improve resilience and to put the country on a stronger development trajectory. Currently, about two million people (nine percent of Cameroon’s population) live in drought-affected areas, and about eight percent of the country’s GDP is vulnerable. Tropical forests cover almost 40 percent of the country and provide an estimated eight million rural people with traditional staples including food, medicines, fuel, and construction material. Changes in temperature, rain and droughts put these people at greater risk of increased poverty.

Climate change poses a serious threat to Morocco’s economic growth and human potential but with the right investments and policies in place, a more sustainable future is possible. A new World Bank diagnostic tool, The Country Climate and Development Report explores the linkages between climate and development and identifies priority actions to build resilience and reduce carbon emissions, while supporting economic growth and reducing poverty. The Morocco climate report identifies three priority areas – tackling water scarcity and droughts; enhancing resilience to floods; and decarbonizing the economy. The report also looks at the cross-cutting issues of financing, governance, and equity. The underlying message in the report is that if Morocco invests in climate action now and takes the appropriate policy measures, the benefits will be immense. Ambitious climate actions will help to revitalize rural areas, create new jobs and position the Kingdom as a green industrial hub, while also helping Morocco to reach its broader development goals. The report identifies key pathways to decarbonize the economy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and massively deploying solar and wind power. The report estimates that total investment needed to put Morocco firmly on a resilient and low carbon pathway by the 2050s would be around $78 billion in present dollar value. The good news is that these investments could be gradual and that with the appropriate policies in place, the private sector could shoulder much of the cost.

Ghana has achieved major development gains over the past three decades, but progress has slowed and there are causes for concern going forward. Ghana sought to fuel its development by leveraging markets, but debt sustainability is a concern, compounded by crises. Ghana’s economic and human development is also vulnerable to climate change and climate-related shocks. While climate change cannot be solved by any single country, local actions can help manage physical and transition risks as well as bring large opportunities. This report explores the ways in which Ghana can pursue its development objectives while considering the challenges of climate change and the opportunities from the transition.

As the Nile River dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan enters a new decade, this paper seeks to map out the Egyptian perspective of the dispute, through an outline of the interventions made, opportunities lost, and challenges posed by the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Looking at Egypt’s domestic water security challenges, regional relationships and the tripartite process, and the role and influence of external actors, the paper describes a decade of diplomatic stagnation as entrenched nationalism creates forms of immovable policy on the River Nile.

Paper prepared in the framework of the project “African challenges to multilateralism: the geopolitics of the Nile between conflict and cooperation”, October 2022.

Digital technologies have had a huge impact on governance around the globe. While increasing access to communication technologies has made it easier for citizens to mobilise politically, it also presents security risks. Social media platforms, for instance, are increasingly used to amplify and disseminate hate speech and incite violence. Digital technologies have also enabled some governments to expand their surveillance of political opponents, journalists and activists. Yet, policy instruments and frameworks have not kept up with the rapid adoption of digital technologies and their impacts on democratic processes. This is also the case for the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), which was adopted in 2007 to improve the quality of democracy and electoral processes across Africa and promote human rights and governance.

High-level Climate Finance deliberations start at the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt and will last for two weeks until 18 November. This Note aims to provide an overview of the climate finance architecture in the UNFCCC and summarises recent developments in Climate Finance talks in light of the COP26 outcomes. It then focuses on the priorities set for COP27, their prospects and potential impacts in the increasing need of developing countries and LDCs for financial support to meet adaptation and mitigation goals and to make up for their losses from adverse and extreme climate change-induced events.

The financial capacities of countries are one of the key determinant factors of their ability to cope with or mitigate climate change impacts. In this regard, Climate Finance constitutes a core element of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted in 1991, constituting the multilateral regime for Climate Change global governance.

Increased investments in agri-food systems are critical to realising the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. This requires coordinated actions across a range of policy areas and vast investments, both from public and private financiers. Yet, in developing countries, and particularly in Africa, many farmers, processors and other actors struggle to access the financial resources needed to invest in their agri-food systems.

This briefing note presents a five-step methodology to stimulate sustainable investments in agri-food systems, which was developed by ECDPM in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It also outlines six lessons learned from its application, in collaboration with local governments, farmers, processors and financial intermediaries, in four African countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya and Niger.