The European Business Council for Africa

This report provides company-level information for investors on agribusiness, manufacturing and services. It includes performance-related data on themes like international certification, innovation capacity, ICT use and access to electricity and logistics services. Investors will find practical information on how investment in those sectors can contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the creation of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). The mission was originally tasked with laying the groundwork for Sahrawi self-determination while monitoring a ceasefire between Morocco and Polisario – the Western Sahara national liberation movement. In setting up the mission, the United Nations promised to end the long-running conflict in what remains Africa’s only territory still awaiting decolonisation. Yet, three decades later, the UN has little to show.

The Case of Chipinge – Zimbabwe

This Policy and Practice Brief (PPB) discusses the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on border communities, principally in relation to border controls by governments and trans-border activities by community members living close to the border in Zimbabwe. This is done with a special focus on the Chipinge district to the south-east of the country, which shares the border with Mozambique. The PPB argues that the border has become the lifeline of the Chipinge communities. Therefore, with the outbreak of COVID-19, efforts to regulate the movement of people across the border have served to weaken their economic and social base, while simultaneously promoting illicit deals along the border as people try to earn a living and interact. 

ITC has published its new paper entitled ''Promoting SME Competitiveness in Togo: A resilient foundation for transformative growth''

Enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in Togo can protect them from the effects of crises and unleash their potential to trigger economic transformation. Drawing on data from the SME Competitiveness Survey, this report shows that Togolese businesses that fared better during the COVID-19 crisis shared certain characteristics: better human resource matching and management, stronger connections to business support organizations and higher productivity. Yet access to skilled labour, electricity and other key competitiveness factors is unequal across regions, and also varies according to the age and gender of the business owner.

Moving On From a Year Like No Other 2020 was a year like no other. The impact of the pandemic has been acutely felt in infrastructure projects across Africa. Significant disruption to supply and restrictions on labor movement conspired to delay progress, and existing market volatility around commodity prices and government elections has been exacerbated by uncertainty. Previously reliable sources of project finance faltered and infrastructure investment in Africa fell sharply.

This period of turmoil notwithstanding, infrastructure remains key to unlocking the potential of Africa and market fundamentals show untapped opportunity and significant demand. The most recent numbers are not representative of ongoing investor interest in the region — there remains pivotal projects to be completed and value to be realized. 2020 represents a temporary global shock rather than a long-term localized trend.

Animée par Erick Maville, président de la Commission Santé, cet évènement a été une l’opportunité de rendre compte de la situation en Afrique quant à la pandémie et la vaccination, et de cerner les différents enjeux que cela entraine pour les entreprises.

In the context of the SheTrades in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) project, which supports women entrepreneurs and producers to benefit from trade opportunities under the agreement, this report presents the findings of a study, using ITC’s Export Potential Map methodology, that identifies products and markets with export growth potential in countries in the COMESA region.

In January 2020, the McKinsey Global Institute published Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts. In that report, we measured the impact of climate change by the extent to which it could affect human beings, human-made physical assets, and the natural world. We explored risks today and over the next three decades and examined specific cases to understand the mechanisms through which climate change leads to increased socioeconomic risk. This is one of our case studies, focused on agriculture in Africa.

We investigated cases that cover a range of sectors and geographies and provide the basis of a “micro-to-macro” approach that is a characteristic of McKinsey Global Institute research. To inform our selection of cases, we considered over 30 potential combinations of climate hazards, sectors, and geographies based on a review of the literature and expert interviews on the potential direct impacts of physical climate hazards. We found these hazards affect five different key socioeconomic systems: livability and workability, food systems, physical assets, infrastructure services, and natural capital.

Does Africa need more private finance?

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the tension between large development needs in infrastructure and scarce public resources. To alleviate this tension and promote a strong and job-rich recovery from the crisis, Africa needs to mobilize more financing from and to the private sector.

Why now?

It is a pivotal moment for Africa. In recent years, many African countries have relied on public investment-driven growth, which is reaching its limits given high debt levels and limited domestic revenue mobilization. Moreover, the pandemic has eroded the foundations on which progress was achieved in the past two decades (strong global growth, easy access to external financing, supportive commodity prices). In this new environment, development strategies need a rethink.

Amid economic disruptions from COVID-19, on the whole global trade held up relatively well in 2020. Much of the trade resilience was due to 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 positive trends from the last few months of 2020 grew stronger in early 2021. In Q1 2021, the value of global trade in goods and services grew by about 4 per cent quarter-over-quarter and by about 10 per cent year-over-year. Importantly, global trade in Q1 2021 was higher than pre-crisis levels, with an increase of about 3 per cent relative to Q1 2019. The trade rebound of Q1 2021 continues to be driven by the strong export performance of East Asian economies. In Q1 2021, the value of trade in goods was higher than pre-pandemic level, but trade in services remains substantially below averages. During Q1 2021, global trade of COVID-19 related products remained strong.