The European Business Council for Africa

The Ichikowitz Family Foundation has published its African Youth Survey for 2022. The youth in Africa are concerned about the disproportionate effect of climate change on the African continent, the role of foreign companies in extracting resources, the influence of foreign leaders on the continent and we see China moving to the top spot of positive influences in the region. 

The 2022 African Youth Survey provides a valuable update on the ‘Afro-optimism’ uncovered in the inaugural research conducted in 2019. This year’s study conveys the challenges of a generation and continent hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but shows their continued resilience and ambition despite the challenges. The study reflects tensions of youth in Africa and the challenges they will navigate in the coming years. While their personal and entrepreneurial ambitions remain strong, the declining perception that their country is on the right path coupled with polarizing national leaders that lack trustworthiness are diminishing levels of optimism for the future. Foreign leaders are expected to have a bigger impact on Africa than national figures, yet foreign companies are seen as vehicles that extract resources without sufficiently benefitting the local communities. There is a recognition among African youth of the challenges facing the continent, particularly with increasing concerns towards the disproportionate impact of climate change and the difficulties surrounding vaccine distribution to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa’s real GDP growth is projected to contract by 0.7 percent due to the Ukraine crisis, and inflation is expected to rise by 2.2 percent, pushing more people into food insecurity and poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic, and now the Ukraine crisis, has revealed the economically devastating impact of Africa’s continued dependence on external markets, even for basic agricultural commodities.

Africa imports around US$40 billion worth of food annually and the soaring wheat and sunflower prices in the wake of the Ukraine crisis threaten food security in the region. Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat and sunflower to Africa. Wheat consumption in Africa is projected to reach 76.5 million tonnes by 2025, with 63.4 per cent of this projected figure being imported from outside of the continent. Already the region is facing acute price shocks and supply chain disruptions.

This research paper argues that the European Union should roll out a European Green Marshall Plan for ecosystem restoration and local governance in the Sahel region, located between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south. Ecological degradation and related climate change put mounting pressure on the region. In combination with cyclical resource-related conflicts and the presence of terrorist and insurgent groups, this has created an increasingly volatile situation. European security and stability are indirectly at stake.

The EU’s ‘Old War’ footing and support for illegitimate, corrupt, and autocratic governments to ‘mow the lawn’ of terrorists and insurgents fails to address and often undermines fundamental human security needs in the region. The authors propose a remodelling of EU foreign and security policy to shift focus from current securitization efforts towards facilitating a green, bottom-up transition that empowers local communities’ ecological stewardship by using their existing knowledge, skills, and dynamics, and Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR). Failure to make these changes toward a human security-centred approach means the EU’s current security and climate-related policies risk further undermining rather than contributing to regional security.

Today’s global energy crisis underscores the urgency and magnitude of the task of transforming Africa’s energy sector, as well as the benefits of an accelerated shift to more affordable and cleaner sources of energy.

The Africa Energy Outlook 2022 is a new special report from the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook series. It explores pathways for Africa’s energy system to evolve toward achieving all African development goals, including universal access to modern and affordable energy services by 2030 and nationally determined contributions.

The report analyses infrastructure expansion needs, investment requirements, financing options and energy policy priorities. It also explores a shifting fuel mix that supports resilient development, opportunities for new exports, and just transition issues – including energy access, affordability and employment.

South Sudan is at a crossroads in its recovery, reconstruction, and development. Having gained independence in 2011 after two protracted civil wars, the country twice relapsed into conflict: first in 2013 and again in 2016. While the economy began to recover following the 2018 peace deal, progress has stalled amidst a multitude of crises – including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate shocks, and dwindling oil production. At the same time, the broad-based rise in commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine have on balance affected South Sudan adversely. A decade after independence, South Sudan remains caught in a web of fragility and economic stagnation, with weak institutions, recurring cycles of violence, and ubiquitous poverty.

In today’s world marked by major geopolitical and economic power shifts, multilateralism is the most effective means to govern global relations in a way that benefits all. Growing global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, conflicts and extreme poverty in many parts of the world, make all too evident the need for multilateral cooperation grounded on basic principles of international law and universal values.

In light of these challenges and opportunities, the European Commission and the High Representative have put forward a set of policy proposals for a new multilateral agenda to deliver for all in today’s complex world.

UNCTAD eCommerce Week is the leading forum for Ministers, senior government officials, CEOs and other business representatives, international organizations, development banks, academics and civil society to discuss the development opportunities and challenges associated with the digital economy.

Held simultaneously in Geneva and online from 25 to 29 April 2022 under the theme “Data and Digitalization for Development”, this edition looked at ways to strengthen the ability of developing countries, including least developed countries (LDCs), to continue engaging in and benefiting from e-commerce and the digital economy, to build more resilient and inclusive societies in a dramatically different postCOVID-19 environment.

The Global Gateway is the EU’s new connectivity strategy that aims to create smart, sustainable and secure links with countries around the world in the thematic areas of digital, energy and transport. It also aims to strengthen health and education systems across the world. The paper argues that the Global Gateway strategy has the seeds of something new, but that it will need to overcome a number of challenges to be successful.

The Global Gateway strategy presents a clear European offer based on democratic values, equal partnerships, environmental sustainability, safe and secure infrastructure, and integrates the private sector. The EU wants to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other regional and global players and to re-establish the EU’s standing, notably in Africa where the EU promised €150 billion of a €300 billion pledged under the Global Gateway investments.

The knock-on effects of the Russian war against Ukraine are felt particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, with inflation, soaring prices of fertilisers and further food insecurity. This not only stresses the need for continuous and increasing support in human development sectors like nutrition, but also comes with a (geo)political cost to Europe.

Against the backdrop of the conflict, the EU has finalised its programming for much of the €79.5 billion Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe (NDICI-GE). This paper analyses how human development was addressed in the Multi-Annual Indicative programmes (MIPs) in sub-Saharan Africa. We suggest that human development has become a higher priority in the programming of NDICI-GE than originally planned. The EU is taking a differentiated approach to promote human development in partner countries and trying to balance country priorities and its own geopolitical objectives. Yet, it remains to be seen how this will be implemented and whether the EU will follow through on its commitments, amidst new challenges presented by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This is the twenty-second volume of the publication on Indicators on Gender, Poverty, the Environment and Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in African Countries by the Statistics Department of the African Development Bank Group. The publication provides information on the broad development trends relating to gender, poverty, environmental issues and the SDGs in the 54 African countries.