The European Business Council for Africa

This briefing note looks at the long-term impact of COVID-19 on fragility and conflict in Africa. It follows an earlier brief which analysed the immediate impact of COVID-19 on conflict in Africa between March and June 2020. Responding to the long-term challenges highlighted by the pandemic will require sustained and concerted efforts, particularly ahead of the vaccination campaign expected to start later this year. 

Countries across Africa are grappling with the health, social and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some African governments took immediate action in response to COVID-19, others were unable to react appropriately and imposed overly repressive measures, fuelling social discontent. Hence, protests in Africa have seen a sharp rise since the first lockdown. At the same time, Africa presents many examples of rapid interventions by governments, community-level responses and resilience measures.

Although it is too early to fully assess the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on fragility and conflict in Africa, the pandemic is presenting long-term socio-economic and political challenges which could have long-lasting implications for fragility and security in Africa in 2021 and beyond.

COVID-19 has turned 2020 into a year like no other, a year of historic con- sequence for Africa and the world. While our immediate future will inevi- tably be consumed with addressing the virus and its consequences--and ensuring that no African is left behind in the rollout of vaccines—we also can’t allow the virus to destroy the gains in growth, improved livelihoods, and unity we have made in recent decades. There must be a balance. It is with these contrasting themes in mind that we’ve organized the 2021 edition of Foresight Africa.

Beginning with the cover, we introduce design features that embody the narrative within. While recognizing the havoc it has wreaked, we see our shared response to the virus as a source of light, spreading hope and unleashing a new dawn on the African continent. We hope, in this edition, you will be inspired by the renewed solidarity among Africa’s leaders and by the region’s young entrepreneurs, who are succeeding in Africa against all odds. In addition to including prominent thought leaders from the re- gion, we’ve made particular effort to bring in new voices to inform the de- bate on alternative futures for Africa. Moreover, each chapter begins with a salient quote from an eminent woman, emphasizing the transformative leadership of women—in management roles, on the front lines of the pan- demic, and in everyday life. Thus, as we seek to maintain the hallmarks and traditions of Foresight Africa, we, like the world, cannot escape the virus, but Africa, alongside its global partners, can overcome it.

Africa’s Development Dynamics uses lessons learned in the continent’s five regions – Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa – to develop policy recommendations and share good practices. Drawing on the most recent statistics, this analysis of development dynamics attempts to help African leaders reach the targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels: continental, regional, national and local. The 2021 edition, now published at the beginning of the year, explores how digitalisation can create quality jobs and contribute to achieving Agenda 2063, thereby making African economies more resilient to the global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report targets four main policy areas for Africa’s digital transformation: bridging the digital divide; supporting local innovation; empowering own-account workers; and harmonising, implementing and monitoring digital strategies. This edition includes a new chapter examining how to finance Africa’s development despite the 2020 global economic crisis. Africa’s Development Dynamics feeds into a policy debate between the African Union’s governments, citizens, entrepreneurs and researchers. It aims to be part of a new collaboration between countries and regions, which focuses on mutual learning and the preservation of common goods. This report results from a partnership between the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.

Vaste pays d’Afrique centrale situé à cheval entre le Sahara et l’Afrique tropicale, le Tchad s’étend sur trois grandes zones climatiques distinctes du Sud au Nord. Cette géographie est caractéristique de sa vulnérabilité climatique

à laquelle s’ajoute une précarité des conditions socioéconomiques, conséquences des décennies de troubles socio-politiques qu’a connus le Tchad. Selon le PNUD, il a un Indice de Développement Humain (IDH) de 0.401 et est classé 187e sur 189 pays (PNUD 2019).

La combinaison de ces facteurs géographiques (aléas) et sociopolitiques ont induit une situation de pauvreté qui s’observe par un manque criant des services sociaux de base. La pauvreté a un indice de 46.7% avec des disparités énormes entre les zones urbaines (20.9%) et rurales (52.5%) (ECOSIT-3). La situation de l’habitat au Tchad est lamentable. On y rencontre un habitat dont 82.4% est constitué des maisons ou les murs sont en matériaux traditionnels ou non-durable (57.7% en banco et 24.7% en pailles/natte) (EDS 2015). Le déficit national de logement était estimé entre 2009 et 2016 à plus de 357 000 unités alors que le besoin annuel en 2009 était estimé à 21 000 unités d’habitation par an (à peine 8,6 % uniquement par le secteur informel) et n’a cessé d’accroitre avec l’urbanisation dont le taux était passé à plus de 30%. Le secteur du logement est en Afrique largement dominé par l’informel et pour cause le coût très élevé du logement formel pour un ménage moyen. Le secteur informel se trouve être la solution.

Blueprint, experiences and outcomes 

East Asia’s successful experience in accelerating the process of industrial development with SEZs paved way for the use of SEZs as policy instruments in Africa. In southern Africa, Zambia and South Africa instituted SEZs in legal and institutional frameworks in the 2000s as mechanisms for catalysing industrialization and employment creation through foreign and domestic investments.

Are SEZs white elephants, or justified investments?

The notion of a SEZ refers to a geographically designated area where business rules and regulations are more liberal than in the rest of the country, to attract investment and spur economic growth.

Despite the clear evidence on the poor performance of SEZs in Africa, their development has continued to expand in both South Africa and Zambia. This begs the following question: are SEZs just white elephants, or justified investments whose potential can still be unlocked?

The Director-General’s latest annual overview of trade-related developments shows a marked slowdown in the number of trade-restrictive and trade-facilitating measures adopted by WTO members related to goods trade over the past year. The report, presented at a 11 December meeting of the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB), notes the decrease observed in regular measures between mid-October 2019 and mid-October 2020 was mainly the result of the sharp decline in overall global trade since the COVID-19 outbreak. The document at the same time provides information about the numerous trade-facilitating and support measures introduced by WTO economies in response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure a solid economic recovery.

This background note outlines the purpose and objectives of the special event that will be organised in Yangon on Tuesday 4 March 2014 at the initiative of Italy to raise awareness of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises among the domestic and foreign business community, as well as local stakeholders. It is a part of a one-day conference Promoting Responsible Investment in Myanmar: Domestic and International Responsesorganised in co-operation with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) on the occasion of the launch of the Investment Policy Review of Myanmar.

The High-Level Group Report on Climate is the combination of work undertaken during 2020 by the founding partners of the Africa Europe Foundation and under the strategic guidance of the “High-Level Group of Personalities on Africa-Europe relations”.
The report outlines how an innovative “Africa Europe Climate Alliance” based on mutual learning and joint interest can be the foundation for relaunching the Africa-Europe partnership in 2021. The report's strategic areas of action focus on the priority domains of sustainable energy and agriculture, at the nexus of climate and development.

This report presents three scenarios on the impact of COVID-19 in Africa using economic growth forecasts, mortality and efforts to ameliorate impact through social grants. Likely effects are examined on per capita income, poverty and the attainment of selected Sustainable Development Goals targets. Africa’s development trajectory has suffered a severe setback, with extreme poverty rising in all the scenarios. The pandemic threatens Africa in several ways, and the report provides policy recommendations to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience.

Promoting dialogue and co-ordination, building a coherent and shared understanding of the food and nutrition situation, and nurturing decision-making: these objectives have been at the heart of the Food Crisis Prevention Network’s (RPCA) mission for over 35 years. Created in 1984, the RPCA is an international network for co-operation and co-ordination under the political leadership of the Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the WestAfrican Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). Co-ordinated jointly by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD), the RPCA brings together more than 100 key stakeholders: representatives of Sahelian and West African countries, regional organisations, regional and international information systems, bilateral and multilateral co-operation agencies, humanitarian agencies and international NGOs, agricultural professional organisations, civil society and the private sector.